By Daniel Pouzzner <email@example.com>
This is the continuation of the primer that begins in a more cogent style.
Individual communities and nations, and the whole of world society, can be considered as organizations using this conceptual lexicon and grammar. The political systems by which these organizations govern themselves can be considered in terms of their compatibility with universal physical principles (with innovism).
What follows are considerations of various socio-political systems that contrast with innovism.
Anarchism is a system in which each family or troupe personally enforces laws of its own construction. Competition is dominant, and cooperation and invention play subsidiary roles. Property is safeguarded through the direct actions of its custodians (there is no institution of ownership, only the fact of possession), and there is no manner in which individuals not in the same family or troupe can enter a contractual relationship.
Though it allows for augmentation and discrimination according to universal physical principles, anarchism fails to safeguard continuity, and does not optimize for augmentation (particularly since anarchism and contract law are mutually exclusive, frustrating attempts to engage in large scale economic activity). Most importantly, anarchism presents no organized bulwark against fascism, religion, and socialism. Fascistic organizations form and grow essentially undeterred. Anarchism lacks an organizational immune system. As James Madison cautioned, “It is a melancholy reflection that liberty should be equally exposed to danger whether the government have too much or too little power.”
Primitively, fascism is a system in which a population is organized into a command hierarchy, with an individual or committee at the apex. Ostensibly, fascism permits individual initiative and self-determination only for those at the apex, but practically, it permits them to no one. The activities of an individual are dictated in their near totality, including his vocation, residence, and associations. Everything in the nation — including its inhabitants — is the property of those at the apex, to be organized, utilized, or disposed of, as they command. Cooperation is overwhelmingiy dominant in fascism. Traditionally, fascism includes virulent racism and ethnocentrism, but these are not so much characteristics of fascism as tools of fascists.
Fascist regimes collapse eventually, because of the destructive vagaries of leaders (which can precipitate a premature discontinuity), and because of the demoralization of the subjects that is inherent to the anti-individualism of fascism. This demoralization is translated, economically, into a decline in productivity that eventually precipitates a spontaneous discontinuity. Fascism is also quite susceptible to insurgencies and frontal attack, because its leadership is concentrated, organized, and often not a beneficiary of popular sympathy.
If the domain of fascism is constrained appropriately (particularly, eviscerating the ethnocentrism, and exercising authority exclusively pursuant to principles to which the subjects have voluntarily pledged), it is indeed a very efficient mechanism of cooperation and coordination, producing an immense dividend in ability to compete with other organizations in certain contexts.
The preeminent real-world institution corresponding to this abstraction is the modern all-volunteer military, with its formal command hierarchy. When military commanders and political leaders overstep the rules of the fascistic institution, the military tends to deteriorate, as happened to the US military over the course of the Viet Nam war (and to lesser degrees at various other times).
It is well to observe that the value of individual inventiveness and initiative is appreciated in the US armed forces, particularly in the special forces, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps. The military also has institutions of competition, such as the annual Ranger competitions and the regular training exercises (e.g. OpFor) that pit units against each other in mock combat. The most intrinsic are ubiquitous competition among individuals for promotions and among commands and components for funding, materiel, personnel, and appealing assignments and missions.
Effective militaries balance cooperation, competition, and invention, upon a foundation of bounded fascism. But the invention that modern militaries rely on is, for the most part, not indigenous to the military. The appropriateness of this organizational paradigm for militaries is certainly not an indication that it is suitable as an organizing principle for society at large (it isn't).
In any confrontation between the military of a free and prosperous nation, and that of a subjugated and impoverished one, the former has an automatic psychological advantage, because a victory of the former tends to bring increased prosperity to combatants on both sides of the conflict, whereas a victory of the latter tends to bring increased poverty to combatants on both sides.
Generally and fundamentally, a religion is a set of convictions (a meme complex) that includes mystic faith. Cooperation is overwhelmingly dominant. Mystic faith is a prima facie abandonment of reason: it is the conviction that belief without reason, or indeed contrary to reason, is acceptable and virtuous. Infection with the mystic faith super-meme perverts the carrier's conceptual immune system, causing the carrier to fail to hold his beliefs accountable to reason. Individuals infected with a religion become subjects of a command structure they are not generally capable of consciously elucidating or acknowledging. Religions have the characteristic that they cease to exert any influence, over human affairs or otherwise, once their adherents stop believing the tenets of the religion.
Major religions are systems in which a command hierarchy of ideologues systematically indoctrinates populations with a set of convictions that cause the population to behave as those at the apex of the hierarchy desire. All such sets of convictions (meme complexes) include mystic faith and various taboos on original or critical thinking (“freethinker” is a synonym for “infidel” in Webster's dictionary).
Unbounded fascism and religion severely handicap augmentation in an attempt to annihilate anything new that was not ordered up by the authorities. In Islam, for example, acts of creation are considered to be the unique province of Allah, so that all human creativity (for example, paintings of people) is blasphemy, for which one is (in theory, and occasionally in practice) to be decapitated under shariah law. They also discriminate on bases at loggerheads with the discrimination of universal physical principles, particularly by attempting to annihilate processes that disadvantage the institution, regardless of any advantages the process gives the individual. This results in a progressive bleeding away of the informational corpus, and an eventual discontinuity when the artificial mechanism of continuity — the institution — fails, as it eventually will under the pressure of universal physical principles. Fascism and religion both institutionalize censorship. This type of censorship is evil, since it precludes the further linking of symbols (organizational hybridization) that results from communication, thwarting evolution.
A great evil is the tenet of many religions that the self, sometimes called the ego, must be effaced to achieve a promised enlightenment and empowerment. To belabor the obvious, this promised enlightenment and empowerment is a sham. Genuine enlightenment and empowerment follow inevitably from rational discourse with the self and with others, and rational pursuit of one's desires, by an intact, undiminished, self-interested self.
One might maintain that an individual acts in his own interests in adopting a religion, because doing so brings him bliss. What this ignores is that religion is a mental ambush that corrodes, and in some cases, utterly destroys, the self. The bliss, by which one might maintain that religion is virtuous, is most evident in devout cult members. Not coincidentally, it is these adherents who have been most obviously robbed of their identities. Religion is a weapon of political control, a menace, by which people are tricked into abandoning reason and autonomy. A fool who defends religion might claim that the cost of religiosity is only a profession of faith and an occasional, obligatory act of contrition, but this isn't so. For extreme countexamples consider the Heaven's Gate, Solar Temple, and Jonestown cults.
Primitively, socialism (or, here interchangeably, communism) is a system in which the products of those who produce more are forcibly redistributed to those who produce less, eliminating or reducing the material rewards of productivity and the penalties of non-productivity. Socialism is actually a religion whose premise is that an earthly heaven, in which there is satisfaction and survival for all, is practical and feasible (it is not). In practice (and inevitably, by definition), socialism is a system in which the distribution of property is directed either by the people through the democratic process, or by a central authority, which is either an individual or, as a rule, a committee.
The redistribution itself is administered by the state, though anarchism often tends toward socialism since, absent organized protection of property, those who do not produce steal from those who do, in a wholesale fashion. Whatever the mechanism of direction, socialism is an apparatus of institutionalized and regularized extortion. Socialism is an immensely cooperative relationship among the unproductive, set against the productive. In toto, socialism destroys cooperation, competition, and invention, effectively annihilating evolution. For this reason, socialism is a particularly thorough form of evil.
Socialism is held by many to be a moral imperative by the premise that the misery of the incapacitated, if they are left to their own devices, is greater than the misery of the industrious, if they are deprived of some portion of their property. Moreover, they reason that the relative increase in total happiness if the less productive are let to enjoy the material products of the more productive, is of greater magnitude than the relative decrease in total happiness if the more productive are deprived of that portion of their material products necessary to satisfy the unproductive.
The latter premise simply ignores the central caveat of John Stewart Mill's utilitarianism: the quality of happiness, and not just its quantity, is crucial in evaluating the relative merits of multiple courses of action. Happiness attained through crime — be it extortion, assault, or fraud — has no weight in Mill's system, or indeed in any just system. In fact, depredation of the sort institutionalized in socialism has an immediate global cost to society, and that cost grows inexorably until the society is overwhelmed by it.
The former premise — the comparison of individual miseries — is implicitly founded on the doctrine that misery is a valid metric by which to guide social policy that coerces those who have abridged the rights of no one.
Both the former and the latter are founded on the premise that the attainment of happiness is the apex objective, but this premise is false. The purpose of society is not to make people happy, but to let people with imagination and ability realize their desires without injuring others, thereby creating wealth enjoyed by society.
The inherent economic hopelessness of socialism is well-known; any system in which industriousness goes unrewarded and indolence unpunished necessarily breeds indolence and banishes industriousness. But more important than all of these systematical complaints is the simple fact that socialism injures people in proportion to their virtuosity. It is such a collosal crime, such an incredibly awful idea, that it can have been hatched, and is promoted, only by monsters and fools.
Socialism subverts the discrimination of universal physical principles, replacing it theoretically with no discrimination, and practically with discrimination akin to that of fascism and religion. For a time, the result is the handicapping of augmentation. Eventually the result is a discontinuity, as the artificial mechanism of continuity — the institution — fails under the pressure of universal physical principles. Socialism by its very definition constitutes a perversion of the discriminatory processes of universal physical principles.
Socialism alienates and disfranchises the productive and virtuous so systematically, that a time arrives when the society's productivity is insufficient to maintain the bureaucratic machinery of the regime (and often, to support the subsistence requirements of the population, though this alone is often inconsequential for the regime, as witnessed in the Ukraine famine imposed by Stalin). At approximately this stage, if not long before, the nominally socialist regime often becomes a fascist one, so that sufficient productivity can be coerced for a time. This is the end stage of socialism, and the fascist regime eventually collapses spastically, as furtive disobedience among the competent and productive deprives the regime of the skills needed to maintain its bureaucracy (as happened in the Nazi regime, where scientists tasked with constructing a nuclear bomb carefully sabotaged their own research and development). Socialist and fascist regimes also tend to deliberately reject just the sort of people who have the intellectual capacity to maintain the complicated machinery of tyranny, so that with every passing year the bureaucracy grows more foolish and incompetent until it brings about its own collapse.
Institutional implementations of fascism, religion, and socialism, have an intrinsic and historically attested tendency to orchestrate informational holocausts — that is, to directly cause discontinuities. The Christians are renowned for their activities in this area. Not a single book by the great Greek philosopher Epicurus survives, and we know of his ideas only because he outlined them in letters to friends and colleagues, which escaped destruction by chance. The prolific writings of the Maya have also largely disappeared into the Christian bonfire. The Third Reich had its book burning festivals. The Soviets tore through the cultural endowment of Russia with a vengeance, seeking to annihilate most vestiges thereof. The Cultural Revolution in China is a similar episode. And of course, each of these campaigns of informational annihilation was accompanied by campaigns of mass murder.
Capitalism as practiced in the West is a system in which the state safeguards property in private hands, without any interference in the distribution of property, and in which the state enforces privately framed contracts, but places no constraints on the contents of contracts aside from the obvious prohibition on binding a signatory to commit a crime. This is not laissez faire capitalism, because the state is recruited as an enforcer for a blizzard of private contracts. Indeed, laissez faire capitalism is a utopian figment, since capitalism inherently relies on contracts, and contracts inherently rely on the interference of a state or state-like organization for their enforcement. I call the capitalism thus far practiced in the West “dialectical capitalism” — with socialism, dialectical capitalism completes a Hegelian dialectic. Dialectical capitalism also results in eventual discontinuity, but in a manner more subtle than that of socialism.
The contract enforcement infrastructure facilitates the formation of trusts, by which an individual or committee gains and perpetuates a hegemony in an economic sector. Beyond amassing control over physical resources and means of production, this facilitates the amassing of intellectual property, making the owner a sovereign gatekeeper to whole realms of art and technology.
The contract enforcement infrastructure also enables the institution of non-employee corporate ownership, by which an individual or committee can directly own and control arbitrarily large shares of many firms. Moreover, it facilitates unrestrained banking, by which an individual or committee exercises control over money and ownership shares it has been empowered to manage as it sees fit.
It is absolutely vital to recognize that the system of non-employee stock ownership, particularly in its logical extreme in which most of the public owns shares in mutual funds which consist of dominant quantities of shares in most stocks, in fact constitutes the core of communism: it is ownership of the means of production by the people, and control of the means of production by a politburo of those who vote the shares of which the mutual funds consist.
In its logical extreme, by managing sufficient votable shares, a bank or financial firm can control a trust without owning it, placing economic dictatorship in the hands of people who produce nothing. Through outright mergers or through interlocking directorships (committee crossmemberships), banks can pool their votable shares to create the desired trust, without ever actually owning the shares. Also, banks act as economic censors when they decide how to lend money. A lending policy can be uniformed, creating an economic censorship mechanism that encompasses the entire economy.
Absent restriction, firms which produce competing products can merge or acquire each other, in a cooperative or hostile manner, directly aggregating market share and producing prima facie monopolies. These combinations can only be created and maintained through contracts; hence it is the state itself which enables the construction of the trust, and the possibility exists because the terms and contexts of contracts are essentially unrestricted in capitalism.
Banking hierarchicalization produces a result similar to that of the congruency mechanisms of mergers, acquisitions, and interlocking directorships. Higher banks can withhold funds from uncooperative dependent banks. The banks that directly make the loans are themselves clients of larger banks, which impose policy restrictions on the smaller banks. These banks in turn are clients of even larger banks, which can similarly impose restrictions (though note that this mechanism lets higher banks enforce a ceiling on available credit, but not a floor). A central bank — the highest bank within a sovereign state — has the authority to identify and remove banking officers who fail to adhere to the central bank's policy.
In fact, this describes the current world banking architecture, with the Bank for International Settlements at the top of the hierarchy, the national central banks (e.g. the US Federal Reserve) immediately below, then the regional central bank branches (e.g. the Federal Reserve Bank of New York), then banks that actually make loans to individuals and ordinary businesses (e.g. Chase Manhattan Bank). It is because central banking represents such an effective control mechanism that Marx and Engels enumerated it as one of the ten points in the communist plank (“Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly”).
The particular architecture described above is distinguished by the fact that the US Federal Reserve, among many other national central bank systems, has the capacity to create money out of nothing, which the state accepts as payment. In fact, the Federal Reserve has a practical monopoly on the creation of money. Legitimate money is not in wide use; in the US, only metal money and bonds are real, with the bonds being somewhat suspect.
The central control that eventually results from the above schemes is similar to that of a socialist system, but is wielded on an arbitrary basis. The result is a similar destruction of cooperation, competition, and invention.
Because economic hegemony is in the hands of non-producers, who have absolute (fascistic) authority over the producers who actually operate the corporations that constitute the economic reality of the trusts, the result is an eventual en masse rebellion against the entire organizational framework. Those who find management by the hegemons intolerable — first, the independent-minded and inventive — leave the infrastructure of the trust, and are thenceforth forced to subsist through menial labor outside their area of specialization. Thus the economy is deprived of the products of its most productive members. Those who remain are first demoralized, then embittered, and eventually, most of those with ability become openly rebellious, departing to join the great producers who were first to leave. Evidently, many of those who leave the employ of the trusts do not simply give up, but rather become active dissidents, working tirelessly and inventively to overthrow the hegemons and precipitate the advent of a just system, often through application of their specialized skills.
As with socialism, this is a configuration of immense cooperation among the unproductive, set against the productive. The trust is a prima facie annihilation of competition, and necessarily results in destruction of individual invention.
The economic result is identical to that of socialism: those who are most productive are the first to stop producing, and the greater an individual's ability, the greater the likelihood that he has been completely alienated by the hegemons and stopped producing. Division of labor is turned on its head, with the most able performing menial subsistence labor and the least able trying to do work which only the more able are capable of performing with satisfactory results. In time, social revolution results — a discontinuity, after the value of the economy has already been almost completely bled away.
In seeking to understand the menace of dialectical capitalism, another crucial realization involves the nature of markets. A refrain of dialectical capitalists is that “the market is always right” — that those products chosen by the market are definitionally superior This is, however, egregiously wrong. The Hegelian conception of superiority is to be recognized as superior. It is arbitrary; whatever people treat as superior is what is superior. Reason has no effect on the validity of the sentiment. In fact, in Hegel's conception, what is true is what is recognized as true, what is moral good is what is treated as moral good, etc. Hegel is the grandfather of the infamous dialectical method used ubiquitously by Marxists. Marcuse summarizes the method as the precept that “That which is cannot be true,” and this obviously is the antithesis of an objectivistic epistemology.
A market system within which people's purchasing decisions are not deliberative and reasoned, but rather, the consequence of “feelings,” driven unconsciously by psychomanipulative advertising (buy Bud cause you will get hot chicks (or cause you like talking frogs??:-)), is fundamentally Hegelian — hence, is on the highway to Marxist hell. Why is it Hegelian? Because discrimination among competing market options is driven not by a reasoned determination of which most effectively benefits the decision-maker, but instead, by a partially or largely unreasoning process in which the victor is simply treated as though superior.
The vital realization is that markets are not magic. If the bulk of the market participants don't actually do the work of reasoning, then the market will be stupid (or insane) and will not efficiently distribute resources. There is no gestalt collective intelligence in markets. They are by, of, and for individuals, and to the degree that those individuals lose sight of this reality, the market is degraded.
For most of the twentieth century, the economic and social system of the United States has been a discombobulated hybridization of moderate socialism, increasingly overt non-ethnocentric fascism, and dialectical capitalism, steadily drifting toward the above-described terminus of dialectical capitalism.
Among the key socialist (and explicitly Marxist, appearing above the horizontal divider) features of the status quo are:
Remarkably, current US law and economic circumstance effectively enshrine all ten points in Marx's plank, significantly diluting only:
Of course, there are socialist innovations enshrined in law today that Marx did not mention, some of which are enumerated above, below the horizontal divider.
Among the key fascist features (severe social regimentation) of the status quo, some trivial and some broad and grave in the impact, are:
Clearly, some of the socialist and Marxist features are also fascistic.
Finally, Microsoft is an example of dialectical capitalism in all its disastrous, abusive, monopolistic totality. Microsoft could not exist without the corruptions of transferable intellectual property and competitor mergers and acquisitions.
For a thorough treatment of the status quo, see The Architecture of Modern Political Power, also on this web site.
Evidently, innovism is neither anarchism, nor fascism, nor religion, nor socialism, nor dialectical capitalism. Innovism firmly and categorically rejects the socialist, Marxist, and fascist features of the status quo enumerated above.
Innovism is a system that systematically perpetuates a balance of competition, cooperation, and invention — or more primitively, a perpetual maintenance of processes of continuity, augmentation, and discrimination.
Economically, innovism is a form of free market capitalism, differing from dialectical capitalism by the addition of certain constraints on the contents and operation of contracts. Specifically:
The actual system of contract constraints is substantially more intricate and subtle than this, though not substantially more constraining, and can be studied in the Innovist constitution, which enumerates the entire legal foundation in detail.
Any company can issue legitimate money, which is redeemable with its issuer for a good or service the issuer is expected to be capable of supplying on demand. Private currencies are traded in an open market. When a party makes a purchase from a company with outstanding currency, often a sufficient quantity of the appropriate currency is purchased on the open market and redeemed, in lieu of metal certificates or other monetary instruments. The price of the currency of an under-patronized company drops, as a simple consequence of the law of supply and demand, causing bargain-hunters to preferentially patronize that company. Thus, business is automatically distributed for optimum efficiency. Moreover, if weakened confidence in a company depresses its currency's market value, yet the company's products and terms are in fact competitive, the resulting redistribution of business improves the company's fiscal outlook, restoring the currency,
Please bear in mind that this summary omits important aspects of the system, aspects that are enumerated in the constitution proper. Also bear in mind that many crucial components are in various stages of development in the to-do list.
This is the Summary Rights section of the Innovist constitution, taken verbatim from the Ideological Foundation chapter:
Whenever this section and another law conflict, this section takes precedence, however whereever an ambiguity in this section is clarified or eliminated by language elsewhere in this document, the more precise language takes precedence.
Each individual physically separate human is a person, and each person is an individual physically separate human.
A right is conduct that the state must not restrain, impede, or punish, and any restraint or impeding of which by another person, the state must restrain and punish at its earliest opportunity.
Each person inviolably enjoys
(1) the right to use prudent violence in defense of himself against anyone or anything that assails him without his explicit consent in a manner that threatens or promises bodily injury, and an absolute immunity to any penalty under law or contract arising from such acts of defense,
(2) the right not to be assailed without his explicit consent by another person in a manner that threatens or promises him bodily injury,
(3) the right to speak truthfully on any matter, and to create non-ephemeral representations of such speech and distribute them to consenting people, except as agreed to in contract as described in this document, and
(4) in the event that it is alleged that he has forfeited one or more rights, privileges, or entitlements: the right to represent himself or to be represented by an attorney, in a trial lasting not longer than one month and starting within one month of the allegation, with a verdict and sentence decided by a justice on a basis strictly constrained by law, on rational grounds and by physical evidence, in public except while state secrets are being presented or the defendant has publicly requested a period of private trial. Whenever an error of fact or law is alleged, the recourse of appeal, in which the person can represent himself or be represented by an attorney, must be available. A forfeiture can be effected only on the order of a justice consistent with law, except that an individual in the act of violating another person in one of the rights enumerated in this section, or threatening clearly, plausibly, and imminently, to commit such a violation, or having moments earlier committed such a violation, forfeits his freedom of movement
Each adult person has a right not to be deprived without his clear, explicit, informed, and voluntary consent, directly by the act of another person or people, or to be clearly, plausibly, and imminently threatened with involuntary deprivation, directly by the potential act of another person or people, of
(5) body sovereignty, comprising anatomical integrity, freedom from bodily invasion, and metabolic autonomy excluding the metabolic correlates of sensation and their metabolic precipitates, except that while and only while a person threatens clearly, plausibly, and imminently, to deprive another of body sovereignty, of lawful custody of a non-adult child (as qualified in (6) below), or of property, without that person's clear, explicit, informed, and voluntary consent, he forfeits his right to body sovereignty, Furthermore, anyone whose right to body sovereignty is intact exercises, by consensus with another guardian whose right to body sovereignty is intact (if any), the right to exercise body sovereignty over the body of any guardee, on behalf of that guardee.
(6) custody of a non-adult child, if the person is a willing adult person in good standing, and (in order of priority) either (a) the person has previously acted in the role of guardian for the child for at least a contiguous month, and the child explicitly and consistently expresses a preference for him, or (b) the person is the biological mother of the child, or (c) the person is the biological father of the child,
(7) property excluding land and instruments intended for use as deadly weapons, except that if a person deprives another of property without that person's clear and explicit consent, he forfeits his right to property, in a manner specified by law,
(8) freedom from bodily restraint by contact,
(9) freedom to leave the setting of a sensory stimulus,
(10) freedom to have sex with an informed and consenting adult person in good standing,
(11) freedom to sell, purchase, occupy, and develop property in land, and to not have another enter or occupy circumferentially walled constructions and fenced areas thereon without his consent,
(12) freedom to associate, assemble, and trade with adult people in good standing, and
(13) freedom to move about his land property, if any, about the land property of another, with that other's consent, and to travel freely but courteously through unfenced areas and on public ways, except that a person may forfeit some or all of these rights, in a manner specified by law, if he deprives another person of one or more of the rights enumerated in this section.
Each adult person in good standing has (14) a right not to be deprived by the act of another, of the freedoms to fabricate, sell, purchase, possess, and employ — in courteous practice and in defense of body sovereignty, custody of a non-adult child as recognized by (2) above, or property — military pattern weapons, including all those usable or used by state soldiers excluding indiscriminate unattended weapons, and all associated paraphernelia useful in a military setting, and law enforcement pattern weapons, including all those usable or used by agents of the state, and all associated paraphernelia useful in a law enforcement setting. Those who fabricate such weapons and associated paraphernelia can be required by law to place serial identifiers on, and forensic taggants within, such items and components thereof when and only when the components so marked leave usable forensic evidence when the weapon is operated, and even then, only in a manner that does not significantly reduce performance, or increase cost by more than ten percent, provided the state requires the use of the same techniques on weapons and associated paraphernelia in common use by state soldiers and law enforcement officers. Those who transfer such weapons can be required by law to record the identity of the recipient and the descriptions and serial identifiers (where present) of the items being transferred, and to confirm that the recipient is an adult person in good standing, but only in a manner that does not reveal to others the identity of the supplier or recipient, or the nature of the transaction.
A person is in good standing so long as he has not violated a person in one or more of the rights enumerated in this section. A person cannot be violated in a right he has forfeited. A person who is not in good standing may be able to return to good standing, in a manner specified by law. The enumeration of rights in this section cannot be construed to deny or disparage other rights. The state cannot predicate rights on payment of any fee or tribute. The state cannot predicate the rights identified in this section on the filing of any information with the state, except as specified in this section. A person has qualified as an adult if he is in good standing, is sexually mature or at least 18 years of age, has memorized this section, and has appeared at a site operated by the state, where he has supplied his name and toe prints, and recreated this section in its entirety, from memory and without any external assistance, in hand written or type written form, either word for word but without regard for typographic nuance, or in language which is identical in its meaning to the language of this section. In the event that an attempt at qualification fails, another attempt cannot be made until at least 30 days have elapsed. Testing sites must be provided and advertised in every town with a population of 1000 people or greater.
Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, no person has a right to take or have custody of nuclear, biological, chemical, or autonomous robotic weapons of mass killing or injury.
Institutions define right and wrong in such a way that what is called “right” is what works for them, and what “works” — the objective — is the perpetuation and growth of the institution. This applies to governments and religions, obviously, and these organizations are quite often born as collections of arbitrary but symbiotic and infective memes, bearing no particular consonance with universal physical principles. Governments, in fact, ought often to be considered as religions, and their laws, regulations, and court precedents, as a liturgy. Such is evidently a useful interpretation of the twentieth century government of the United States.
One can create an institution that is in conflict with universal physical principles, as indeed most are to one degree or another, and pump energy into it to prop it up for a while, but eventually it will fail catastrophically. Thus, such institutions don't work. Such institutions invariably subordinate the interests of individuals to the interests of the institution whenever those interests conflict. Whenever such conflicts arise, and whenever an institution subordinates the interests of individuals to those of the institution, the corruption of the institution is evidenced. Institutions characterized by such evidence are wrong. They are, in fact, evil.
The individual is the only consciously, deliberately creative system in the universe, and wherever the primacy of individuals is recognized, their creative output far outpaces other sources of creativity. The products of individual conscious creativity are empirically stronger than those that are not the products of individual conscious creativity. One cannot win a war against a modern army, or fly from New York to Paris before the sun sets, or budget water reserves for resilience in an extended drought, or coordinate evacuations in advance of a hurricane or tsunami, without technology. To the degree that a value system and legal framework enables individual conscious creativity, it is good. To the degree that it impedes that creativity, it is evil.
Conscious, thinking, perceptive, autonomous organisms are the paramount inventive systems, and the invention of such organisms by such organisms is the paramount, and practically boundless, process of the universe.
(reply to personal correspondence, 1999-Feb-28 and 1999-Mar-4, with some editing and integrated addenda)
“the current World system and the progress that it yields are realized at the planet's expense”
The current world system is largely an accumulation of senseless conventions and of the designs of evil and foolish people, though of course there is much in the world that is not part of the world system. Most of the "progress" involved, I wouldn't call progress at all. One person's definition of progress is another's definition of descent. Consider particularly that Marxists have a very special definition of progress, viz.: progression along the stages of social organization that Marx asserted (falsely) are the inevitable course of history. By this definition, progress is social evolution toward communism. Ah, but communism is impossible, and attempts to get there are murderous abominations.
What one means by "the planet's expense" requires some elucidation. If in one's view the natural state of the planet excludes a technological species, and one's view of expense consists principally of deviation from this natural state, then definitionally the presence of any technological species is at the expense of the planet.
However, this view (held by a variety of eco-terrorist extremist groups) is inescapably horrid. The capacity for and realization of technological innovation is an indispensable asset to prosperity and survival.
A reasonable stance is that "expense" entails actions which precipitate reduction of species diversity. "Ecology's welfare" consists essentially of avoiding actions which tend to precipitate reductions in that diversity.
Though there are some species not worthy of serious consideration (e.g., animals evolved into sloth and defenselessness on isolated islands), these definitions are essentially ones I am comfortable with.
The key from my point of view is to formulate a system within which technological and artistic innovation is largely unfettered, but within which ecological welfare is vigilantly guarded. When serious conflicts arise, human desire generally must take priority over animal welfare.
“My hunch is that you are trying to make a positive difference for humanity formulating an alternative global system?”
The system I have formulated and continue to refine is explicitly national, but by design is suited to globalization. I am not a globalist, except insofar as I recognize the intrinsic globalness of environmental and economic issues. It is my position that a nation that engages in environmentally calamitous conduct has initiated force against the nations of the world, and abandons its sovereignty to precisely that degree necessary for another nation to force a stop to the offending conduct. After avenues of diplomatic negotiation and economic coercion have been exhausted or failed to produce a sufficiently prompt response, any nation — including, routinely, non-state paramilitary organizations — is within its rights when it engages in a responsible minimal-force military action to compel compliance with reasonable international standards of environmental conduct. In particular, such acts as gross pollution of bodies of water shared with other nations, and wholesale destruction of biospheres involving significant species annihilation and reduction of CO2 sinks, invite such a response.
"what would be Innovism's suggestion regarding the most important flaw of forcibly uniting different people?"
Innovism's suggestion is that reasonable people get along, because they recognize the myriad coincident interests neighbors have — whether next door neighbors, neighboring towns, or nations in the global neighborhood. Initiation of force is anathema. Whether "uniting different people" is a virtuous goal depends on what one means by "unite." If by unite, one means a situation in which people consider each other as peers and gain respect for each other, then the goal is virtuous. On the other hand, I have no patience for "affirmative action," forced relocation, compulsory eugenical breeding, or other abusive and coercive policies designed to force the blending of distinct groups of people. People are not dog breeds. People have a right to choose for themselves whether to associate within or outside their class, ethnicity, race, intelligence bracket, etc. This is not to underestimate the danger presented by racists, separatists, and their ilk, against whose schemes we must vigilantly guard.
I am a firm proponent of the sovereign nation-state, and of maximal individual freedom of movement within and between nation-states. Central is the primacy of individual self-determination, abridged only to the degree necessary to safeguard the self-determination of other individuals.
In Innovism, individual rights are defined in such a way that the total volume of individual rights in the society is maximized. This is a variation on utilitarianism, in which individual rights and autonomy have replaced happiness as unifying objectives of social architecture. The reason this adjustment takes place is because it is innovation, not happiness, that I (and the universe, as far as I can see) prize.
Pursuit and realization of innovation is precisely the type of quality that John Stuart Mill may have had in mind when he differentiated happiness on the basis of its cause and the quality thereof. The quality of a right is positively correlated with the degree to which exercise of that right facilitates innovation, and negatively correlated with the degree to which exercise of that right inhibits innovation by others.
Individual autonomy is conducive to innovation, and happiness in the form of contentment is inimical to inventive productivity. As Thomas Edison said, "Show me a thoroughly satisfied man, and I will show you a failure." I recently learned of experimental results showing a diffuse reduction in cortical activity accompanying contentment — not conducive to thoughtfulness! Considering that contentment can be attained and maintained using drugs and other technology, a system that defines happiness in the form of contentment as the goal of life (e.g. Bentham's utilitarianism) is essentially nihilistic and morbid. Contentment is that emotional state in which one has little or no inclination to take action, and perpetuation of contentment perpetuates inhibition of action. There are people whose earnest ambition is to bring about such corruption through the use of drugs and technology.
Pleasure itself is, of course, not at all inimical to inventive productivity. In fact, pain is inimical to innovation, and pleasure generally accompanies and is conducive to innovation. Pleasure, in its proper form, is a consequence of progress toward satisfaction of a desire. Pleasure and happiness are not the same thing; when happiness is contentment it includes the attenuation or absence of desire. The ideal emotional state of the human is simultaneous desire and pleasure, called joy, constituting happiness that is not contentment.
Pain is a consequence of injury to one's progress toward satisfaction of a desire, or to one's expected ability to make that progress. Anger often accompanies pain when the pain is caused by a person or personified agent, or when rapid and possibly violent action can attenuate the injury. Anger results if a person or personified agent obstructs progress toward satisfaction of a desire for a subjectively significant duration, and this anger evolves into hate as the duration increases. Anger also arises when a risk of injury by a person or personified agent is detected, and it is expected that rapid and possibly violent action can prevent the injury. Anger, in other words, is a form of confrontational agitation. Fear arises when a risk of such injury is detected, and is espectially intense when it is expected that rapid action will not prevent injury, which in the most extreme case constitutes dread. Fear is the other form of confrontational agitation. Sadness is a consequence of losing the hope of satisfying a desire, or being significantly set back in its pursuit, and when the sadness is caused by a person or personified agent, hate sometimes results. Pain, anger, hate, fear, and sadness, are inextricable aspects of normal mental life. When they arise as described above, it is an indication that things aren't going well. These emotions should not be avoided as such, but situations conducive to them should, of course, be avoided when they are not integral to strategically effective pursuit of a goal. When such situations transpire, and these emotions do not result, it is an indication that something is wrong with the mind.
With Innovism, I do not ask, expect, or suggest, “depriving current species brains of happiness.” I optimize the social architecture for innovation, rather than for happiness. I have not rigorously explored this possibility, but it occurs to me that this may in fact result in concomitant optimization for quality happiness (discontent happiness).
What I mean is: if you design social architecture to maximize the expected volume of innovation, then the expected volume of quality happiness is probably also maximized, given a suitable metric of quality. Happiness resulting from shooting heroin or sociopathic thrill killing is essentially ignored here, and only the damage to innovative capacity (of the junkies, the criminals, and of the criminals' victims) figures in.
So, as you can see, far from expecting people to deprive themselves of happiness, I am actually only urging people to deprive themselves of drug addiction, criminality, couch potatodom, etc.
My vision of the future includes two processes of immediate
relevance, one of which is a surety. The surety is war — short,
massive, unlimited wars between nations with conflicting ideologies,
and certainly various low intensity long duration conflicts. I expect
that, after the Rothschild-
Exhaustive border defenses are deployed, including exhaustive border crossing scans (of people and all packages and containers) for bioagents, explosives, chemical agents, and radioactive material. Full coverage cruise and ballistic missile defenses, ground-based and orbiting, are part and parcel of Innovist national security measures.
Innovist nations will generally operate huge engines that cleanse the atmosphere of pollutants and replenish the oxygen supply for everybody. They will also develop and deploy engines that restore the oceans and replenish the ozone layer. Ecological plagues will be beaten back with genetically engineered “silver bullets.” Artificial climatic correction systems will be constructed and operated. This will make attacking Innovist nations a cardinally stupid idea. Occasionally a non-Innovist nation will commit major environmental crimes or crimes of international aggression, and Innovist nations (and perhaps other non-Innovist nations) will find it necessary to take military action to halt the crime. As the years go by, Innovist nations — which admit high quality people, and are intrinsically eugenical — will come to be populated almost entirely by high quality people, and the non-Innovist nations will continue to bludgeon each other in the madness of religious wars and the like. Nations that get a clue become Innovist nations, or occasionally, aggregate with existing Innovist nations and become provinces therein.
When nations grossly abuse or oppress their citizens in a wholesale fashion, private often multinational armed forces supplied and paid by private often multinational foundations may intervene forcibly, as is their prerogative according to the Innovist constitution. However, the state military of an Innovist nation engages in such interventions only when the conflict represents a clear and credible threat to the physical security of the Innovist nation.
The second process is extropianism — exploring and colonizing worlds outside this solar system. I do not expect that people will do this, but rather, that our inventions will. We are essentially at an intermediate stage of evolution, in which our individual control over the form of our offspring is somewhat awkward. Once we invent and construct intelligent, conscious life that is itself capable of inventing and constructing intelligent, conscious life, a new type of evolution is started in which the culture of one generation is translated into the phenotype of the next generation. Moreover, these generations of invented lifeforms are not limited to life in the protective shell of earth's atmosphere, nor to our very restrictive diets, nor to the very limited lifespans we suffer from. This makes them ideally suited to immensely lengthy campaigns of exploration and colonization. A troupe of these entities could spend tens of thousands of years in transit to uncharted star systems, and hundreds of thousands of years building fantastic civlizations when they find habitable worlds. After ten million years, this entire galaxy can be teeming with diverse colonized worlds. After a billion years, many neighboring galaxies can be colonized. After twenty billion years, much of the known universe is within reach. Somewhere along this path, other intelligent life will be encountered, and inevitably, conflicts will arise. This is nothing we are equipped to imagine in its particulars — the players in the game are so many generations removed from us that we can't really understand them.
Here I provide three brief case studies of four personages who preach against innovism. They are Richard Dawkins, Jaron Lanier, Robert Wright, and Bill Joy. They are all darlings of the intellectual left, though leftism and intellualism are hardly prerequisite for opponents of innovism, as amply demonstrated by the proponents of the theology of Intelligent Design (creationism). I choose to scrutinize these four particular personages because they spend a lot of time and energy paying lip service to such innovistic themes as prosperity in general and evolutionary and technological advancement in particular, while delivering punch lines that are devastating for that very prosperity and advancement. It is precisely because they have the ability to say reasonable things for pages in a row, that they warrant particular caution.
The following excerpt from an exchange between Richard Dawkins, of Selfish Gene and meme fame, and Jaron Lanier, coiner of the term "Virtual Reality", is a very effective example of the thinking of anti-Innovists. These thoughts, and these men to the degree that they promulgate such thoughts, are evil. In fact, the evil promulgated here is clearly more thorough, succinct, and precise, than that of socialism — this is the intellectual core of anti-Innovism, even more than are Kantianism, Hegelianism, or Marxism. These men have embraced universal Thanatos — the principle that it is virtuous to extinguish all life and all meaningful processes everywhere in the universe (cosmic suicide). Observe that Lanier seems to cite socialism specifically ("help the needy"), though helping the "needy" is sometimes not altruistic, and through the cooperation component of an evolutionary operating system, is often coherent with evolution proper. Viable retorts to the many false assertions in this exchange are found above, in this primer.
JARON LANIER: I'm worried that evolution is being used in the wrong way by all sorts of people who otherwise have almost nothing in common. It's become a banner for New Agers, and for many in the hard sciences. This annoys me no end, because evolution is the only natural force that should be understood to be evil. The evolutionary process that created us was cruel.
RICHARD DAWKINS: Treating evolution as though it were a good thing is a point of view advanced by English biologist Julian Huxley in the 1920s and 1930s. Huxley tried to make evolution into a kind of religion. In contrast, his grandfather, Thomas Henry Huxley, thought that evolution was a thoroughly bad thing, and I agree with him. I would hold it up as an awful warning.
JL: Here's the dilemma simply put: Most of us subscribe to the belief that it's not possible to draw a clean line between people and the rest of nature. Then on the other hand, we also believe that nature is amoral, that it doesn't revolve around human ethical systems.
JL: So it's hard to figure out the basis of our morality. Either we find ways in which we're different from nature, or we have to be willing to judge part of nature as evil. I believe that as a civilization we've helped thwart evolution, and that's good. Every time we help the needy, or make it possible for a handicapped person to live and pass on their genes, we've succeeded in defying the process that created us.
RD: I believe natural selection represents a truly hideous sum total of misery. When you look at something like a bounding lion, a sprinting cheetah, and the antelopes they are bounding and sprinting after, you're seeing the end product of a long, vicious arms race. All along the route of that arms race lie the corpses of the antelopes that didn't make it, and the lions and cheetahs that starved to death. So it is a process of vicious misery that has given rise to the immense beauty, elegance, and diversity that we see in the world today. Nature is beautiful. Even a cheetah as a killing machine is beautiful. But the process that gave rise to it is, indeed, nature red in tooth and claw.
However, you go further when you call evolution evil. I would simply say nature is pitilessly indifferent to human concerns and should be ignored when we try to work out our moral and ethical systems. We should instead say, We're on our own. We are unique in the animal kingdom in having brains big enough not to follow the dictates of the selfish genes. And we are in the unique position of being able to use our brains to work out together the kind of society in which we want to live. But the one thing we must definitely not do is what Julian Huxley did, which is try to see evolution as some kind of an object lesson.
JL: But if we hope to separate ourselves from the awful history of evolution that created us, we have a very difficult time defining exactly how we're different.
This doesn't warrant a point-by-point response, but I'll add a few general comments. First is to observe that these men reveal a rather stark ethnocentrism, in that they purport to believe earnestly that their personal shared morality is correct, whereas nature (the universe as it is, as science shows is to be) is “amoral”, has nothing to say about morality. Amusingly, when Lanier says “it's hard to figure out the basis of our morality” he has in his hand the kernel of his epistemological bankruptcy, but he doesn't recognize it and simply continues with his conceit. Whether they realize it or not, these men are intent on the destruction of the human race. Unlike their personal idiosyncratic moralities, evolution is not a mere opinion, any more than the related laws of economics are mere opinions. To defy them is to invite extinction. Dawkins, with his proposal that “we are in the unique position of being able to use our brains to work out together the kind of society in which we want to live”, has simply restated the core premise of positivism — the philosophical stance responsible for the Holocaust of the Third Reich and the gulags of Stalin's terror. Likely without realizing it at all, Dawkins is providing a sophisticated philosophical pretext for another wave of terror and genocide, couching sociopathy in the vocabulary of reason. If years from now these principles are institutionalized by another murderous regime, history will convict him just as it has already convicted men such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte.
Robert Wright follows quick in the footsteps of Dawkins. He too is treated as a standard bearer by the establishment (Scientific American, The New Republic, etc.). He too concludes evolution is evil. In The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, he concludes that “You should, in short, go through life considering the welfare of everyone else exactly as important as your own welfare”. Since this gruesomely collectivistic premise is inherently, intractably, and violently at odds with human nature (a human nature which evolved as it did because it works), Wright is simply articulating a pretense for eternal guilt and oppression, terrain already well-trod by many murderous religions. Wright unreservedly embraces orthodox Millsian Utilitarianism, with its hopeless calculus for maximizing happiness, and condemns as nihilists those who reject the premise that happiness is the highest good.
Wright maintains that a moral code is “an informal compromise among competing spheres of genetic self-interest”, but this is just a form of the familiar false premise that morality is no more than circumstance. It precludes a recognition that one moral code might be inherently more or less correct than another — obviously, his is a totally relativistic conception of morality. He asserts that “what we call cultural ‘values’ are expedients to social success. People adopt them because other people admire them.” This is a psychological proposition, which is certainly true of some people to some degree, but really this is just another way of leading the reader to accept the relativistic premise. With this tack he arms his opponents with obvious retorts. For some, including myself, self-armament and self-sufficiency are cultural values, but this cultural value simply describes behavior that tends to lead to success by simple, natural, universal physical principles — and the success at issue is largely if not entirely individual, not social. The admiration of peers is irrelevant. This value is first hand, not the product of opinion but the product of fact.
Wright's egalitarianism is fanatical: “But social inequality in the larger sense — gross disparities in wealth and privilege across a whole nation — is another matter. That is a product of government policy, or lack of policy.” Without the tyrannical imposition of unnatural policy, social inequality and disparities in wealth are automatic and ubiquitous, since humanity is not an array of clones. Wright does indeed promote the tyrannical imposition of unnatural policy, to promote (as Winston Churchill put it, and as Wright certainly would not) “the equal sharing of misery”. But an even more fundamental fault in his assertion is that, indeed, nothing can be the product of a lack of something. Causality is about connections between what was and what is, not between what wasn't and what is. Wright relaxes his egalitarianism on one point, revealing himself: “This isn't to say that utilitarianism is mindlessly egalitarian. A powerful person who uses his or her station humanely is a valuable social asset, and thus may merit special treatment, so long as the treatment facilitates such conduct.” In other words, he's not an egalitarian at all: he recommends systematic discrimination against anyone who is not powerful, and whose conduct does not meet with his approval (is not “humane”, an adjective that in this context of relativistic morality is totally plastic).
In another passage, Wright lets loose a barrage of hopeless and wrong ideas: “Big strong men and beautiful women may always have a head start in status competition. Stupidity may never provoke widespread admiration. The command of resources — as tokenized by money — will tend to hold a certain appeal. Still, resistance is possible. There are cultures that try to put less emphasis on the material and more emphasis on the spiritual. ” The trouble is that he observes several Hegelian dynamics (those of status, admiration, and monetary influence which he incorrectly calls “command”), then dives straight into the madness of mysticism, while giving the appearance of rhetorical coherency. It's probably significant that he appears to be disinclined to appreciate the difference between the exercise of influence and the exercise of authority either. Moreover, he is apparently disinclined to concede that resources can be and usually are commanded with no social mediation (i.e., with physical action manipulating the resources directly). This is a crucial enabling confusion for second-handers. It's illustrated in such verbalizations as "In Egypt the Pharaoh Khufu built the Great Pyramid of Cheops." (a phrase I actually found in a brief search for examples on the web, here). Finally, he arrives at mysticism. Having swept first-handedness clear out of view (the fact of actual creations being thus rendered a mystery), leaving only a banal vista of influence peddling and imposition of authority, he tells us redemption is to be had in spirituality — by which he means, though he cannot admit it, fervent unquestioning belief in false but appealing ideas (he has Buddhism in mind, specifically). Wright is trying to pin the reader for the count, having long since been pinned for the count himself.
In Nonzero, Wright writes (of printing technology), “Greed and the lust for status, for power over people, helped drive a technological evolution that granted people more freedom”. This is a very important observation for Wright. It is obviously true, but Wright — unlike myself — raises the example because it allows him to imply that all technology has a similar motivation and pedigree. Indeed, Wright writes of the “seeming superfluousness of consciousness” in following the course of history. Wright is concertedly assaulting the premise that real inventors exist at all. Real inventors create principally for the joy of creation, and are intensely conscious. Their — our — creations dominate history.
Men such as Wright cannot afford to see this truth squarely on, since they are convinced they cannot compete on the battlefield of honest merits and ideas. Wright himself is an obvious Hegelian proper. John B. Judis, a senior editor at The New Republic, in a review of Nonzero titled The Wright Stuff, writes “Wright's work is an attempt to return to Hegel and Marx's progressive theory of history by drawing upon a dissident school of cultural anthropology and the work of evolutionary biologists, like Richard Dawkins, who have tried to extend the principles of natural selection to history.” Hegel, Marx, and Dawkins, are indeed in his intellectual and moral neighborhood. This wretched posse commands a vast empire of intellectual corruption, an empire which tracks its progress by counting how many men it has turned to corpses.
It's worth mentioning that Wright advertises himself explicitly as a proponent of world government, realized through such organs as the United Nations and the WTO.
Bill Joy, chief scientist at Sun Microsystems until his resignation in September 2003, promotes a pure form of evil (by the innovistic calculus). He repeatedly protests that he, and those who agree with him, are not Luddites. This is true. Joy and his ilk have no desire to reverse scientific and technological progress. Instead, their vision is to arrest it in its tracks, to outlaw investigation and development that breach the boundaries within which they believe they can maintain control. They argue intricately from half-true premises, and use florid often ritualized language (e.g. “gray goo”), to threaten total planetary (and even interplanetary) doom if society does not collaborate with them to force a stop to scientific and technological progress.
Bill Joy is very bright, and was a child prodigy, and as is often the case with people who can be thusly described, he is what is commonly referred to now as a “liberal” — a leftist. He believes all the garbage a leftist is expected to believe — that our nuclear attacks on Japan were abominable, that Ted Kaczinski is on to something, that the Dalai Lama doles out wisdom, that happiness through altruism is an economic engine (and that happiness is a moral end in itself), that we live in a democracy founded on the ideal of egalitarianism, and that we must reformulate society to be predominantly collectivistic. Most importantly, as suggested by the foregoing convictions, he believes we should strive for Utopia and beware dystopia. This is a classic goof, of course — all Utopias are dystopias. Joy wants society to be neat, just right, even while recognizing it can never reach that ideal. That's what he wants to aim for. And that aim is the goof.
Joy even manages to loosely recapitulate Marxist classism, depicting the whole of humanity as a new proletariat, and the machines as the new bosses.
Here are some key excerpts from his 2000-Apr essay, Why the future doesn't need us, from Wired magazine:
As Thoreau said, "We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us"; and this is what we must fight, in our time. The question is, indeed, Which is to be master? Will we survive our technologies?
The GNR [Genetic Engineering, Nanotechnology, Robotics] technologies do not divide clearly into commercial and military uses; given their potential in the market, it's hard to imagine pursuing them only in national laboratories. With their widespread commercial pursuit, enforcing relinquishment will require a verification regime similar to that for biological weapons, but on an unprecedented scale. This, inevitably, will raise tensions between our individual privacy and desire for proprietary information, and the need for verification to protect us all. We will undoubtedly encounter strong resistance to this loss of privacy and freedom of action.
Verifying the relinquishment of certain GNR technologies will have to occur in cyberspace as well as at physical facilities. The critical issue will be to make the necessary transparency acceptable in a world of proprietary information, presumably by providing new forms of protection for intellectual property.
I believe we must find alternative outlets for our creative forces, beyond the culture of perpetual economic growth; [...]
Joy yearns painfully to snuff out in the crib, successive generations of technology. His central terror is of technology he and his ilk cannot control, and in particular, technology which by accident or mad malevolence causes the extinction of the human race. His terror leads him to give up, and to agitate to enlist the power and violence of the state to force everyone else to give up. He is a consummate establishment figure who, having succeeded, now seeks to deny to upstarts his own avenue of success. It is implicit to his proposal that someone has to decide what thoughts, what speech, what work, is and is not permitted, and someone has to vigilantly watch everyone to expose their thoughts, speech, and work, to scrutiny and restraint. Inevitably, Joy fancies himself and those like him, to be uniquely qualified to decide what is permitted, and government to do the watching and restraining. He thinks of himself as having humanity's best interests at heart. This is one of the vital theological fictions animating socialism: that a government of people can be omniscient, omnipotent, and infallible.
Joy's concern, that we may through the use of technology cause or facilitate our own destruction, is certainly legitimate. What is illegitimate is the response he proposes. The whole point of living existence is progress (growth), so that if progress is arrested, existence is certainly a hopeless horror. If progress is not arrested, there is at least some chance that we can develop effective defenses, or launch life to disparate star systems, in time to mitigate the consequences of technology gone murderously berzerk. As for the totalitarian government Bill Joy yearns to inflict on all the brilliant children and visionaries of the world to stop them from thinking and speaking in ways that trouble him, his plan might just succeed well enough to stop society from developing the technology to defend against murderous runaway technology, but it will certainly not succeed well enough to stop the murderous runaway technology itself from being created. Restated with greater specificity: if artificial self-replicating contagious/wild agents are criminalized, only criminals will make artificial self-replicating contagious/wild agents, and eventually a criminal will make such an agent that can only be stopped by another such agent. Thus Bill Joy is promoting a suicide pact, is effectively an ally of the madmen intent on destroying the world of people.
The following (indented) is a paraphrased version of Ten Commandments for Humanists, written by Humanist All-Star Bertrand Russell:
1. Do not feel certain of anything.
Certainty is not something that can be rationally embodied by a mind. It is irrational, constituting a perversion of confidence, and is a form of faith. Confidence is a stance consisting of expectation with high probability, and is rational when that high probability has a logical derivation. Obviously, when one talks of degree of certainty, “certainty” is synonymous with “confidence”.
2. Do not conceal evidence; it will eventually come out.
3. Do not discourage thinking; you will almost certainly succeed.
4. Resort to argument, not authority, to settle issues.
5. Do not respect authority (Russell was jailed twice for his views).
This might be restated as: that which is unlawful is sometimes right, and that which is lawful is sometimes wrong. Moreover, that which a superior commands is sometimes wrong, and that which he forbids is sometimes right. In short, it is a retort to the central process of Hegelianism, the pursuit of social recognition, and particularly, recognition of social authority.
6. Do not repress pernicious opinions, lest they repress you.
7. Be eccentric.
8. Engage in intelligent dissent, not passive agreement.
Well, at least when a rational ground for dissent exists.
9. Be truthful, even if it is not convenient.
10. Do not be envious of the happy fools, because only fools live in a fools' paradise.
An Innovist applauds the above sentiments almost uniformly. This form of rationalism is cognitively (scientifically) sound, and in the final analysis is the true path to asymptotic objectivity — the only type of objectivity possible for minds.
(indented material from http://www.flinet.com/~carp/phenom.htm)
Seven Widely Accepted Features of the Phenomenological Approach
Phenomenologists conduct research in ways that share most of the following positive and negative features.
1. Phenomenologists tend to oppose the acceptance of unobservable matters and grand systems erected in speculative thinking;
Innovists maintain that that which is insusceptible to observation through a facility of perception, possibly with the necessary assistance of a technological apparatus (which may be currently unavailable), is irrelevant to life and is indistinguishable from that which does not exist. This is clearly identical to the phenomenological stance.
The "grand systems erected in speculative thinking" that Innovists reject are those that have a deleterious moral impact (impede innovation) by dint of irrationality — either by the absence of an empirical foundation, or by the presence of logical flaws. This is evidently a rejection of positivism and religion, and this rejection is shared by phenomenology.
2. phenomenologists tend to oppose naturalism (also called objectivism and positivism), which is the worldview growing from modern natural science and technology that has been spreading from Northern Europe since the Renaissance;
The objectivism being spoken of here is the naïve objectivism of the nineteenth century, according to which reality can be exhaustively, authoritatively, and practically formalized with decisive logic, a view held by Bertrand Russell for much of his life. This is of course undiluted hogwash.
The most important aspect of the positivist stance is its premise that legitimate human moral systems are infinite in number and variety, and that empirical foundation is immaterial. This premise is horribly false.
Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677), the founder of the naturalist school, said "Such things as please us, we denominate good, those which displease us, evil." In this way it is quite similar to Bentham's naïve utilitarian stance. In the final analysis, this stance is not actually particularly wrong, but simply misleading and crucially omissive. Spinoza was also a determinist: he described free will as an illusion resulting from a lack of conscious awareness of the causes of one's actions. This alludes to the kinship between Spinoza's naïve naturalism and naïve objectivism, in that both lead to determinism. Moreover, Spinoza recognized no universal good and evil; thus his morality is much like that of Hegel. This alludes to the stance's kinship with positivism.
Innovism shares with phenomenology a decisive rejection of these stances.
3. positively speaking, phenomenologists tend to justify cognition (and some also evaluation and action) with reference to what Edmund Husserl called Evidenz, which is awareness of a matter itself as disclosed in the most clear, distinct, and adequate way for something of its kind;
I do not understand this, but I believe the Innovist/cognitivist equivalent is to refer to registration of cognitive models with the real objects and dynamics they model (measured by predictive accuracy, both in the abstract and in the neurophysiological correlate). It is this registration that justifies cognition. Clearly, the most efficient way to justify cognition, then, is to identify parsimonious schema within which predictive accuracy can be easily measured. This is precisely the manner in which scientists conduct formal experiments — the parsimony is seen both in the minimized complexity of the apparatus, and in the single variable approach. All of this appears to be identical to the phenomenological approach.
4. phenomenologists tend to believe that not only objects in the natural and cultural worlds, but also ideal objects, such as numbers, and even conscious life itself can be made evident and thus known;
Innovism obviously concurs that conscious life can be made evident and known in its particulars, since that is just science. The empirical reality of numbers and arithmetic (for example) is a testier issue, but Innovism certainly recognizes their reality. It is simply a matter of whether abstract mathematics is real in the same way that physical object instantiations are real, or (as a closer analogy), in the same way that the principles that govern the behavior of matter are real.
The trouble is simply this: there is no possible physical (real) system which adheres precisely to the principles of arithmetic. Obviously this is the case for minds like ours, notorious for their imprecision in such matters. It is less obvious that a handful of two marbles, combined with a handful of three marbles, does not necessarily result in a set of five marbles. That is the overwhelmingly probable outcome, but the laws of nature allow for the spontaneous evaporation of one of the marbles, or the spontaneous appearance of another marble.
The same uncertainty is characteristic of any apparatus by which arithmetic might be actually performed — paper and pencil, abacus, electronic computer, etc. Moreover, from the principles of arithmetic one can derive the arithmetic validity of numbers and operations which cannot be represented in the universe in any but a symbolic, non-enumerative, referential manner, simply by a paucity of information capacity. A number with 10^(10^(10^(10^10))) patternless digits cannot be precisely represented, for example, though I have just described its size and demonstrated its validity in the language or arithmetic. To make this obvious: try to picture how many zeros would be contained in that number if it were a one followed by a great many zeros. Even if you were to assign one particle to each zero, you wouldn't be able to find anywhere near enough particles in the universe to get the required number of zeros. Now, it is possible to precisely represent the number provided it is highly repetitive — for example, all zeros. If, on the other hand, it is not repetitive or otherwise patterned, clearly there is no way to represent it. There aren't enough particles, or more to the point, quantum states, to do it.
The above does not, however, mean that arithmetic isn't real. The fact that the laws governing the behavior of matter produce results that clearly tend asymptotically toward those that are indicated by the principles of arithmetic and set theory (in various manners) is, in and of itself, the evidence of the reality of arithmetic and set phenomena. They are real, but their reality is of a third type — not the reality of physical objects, not the reality of the principles that govern those objects, but a third type of reality. The fact that arithmetic and set theory are completely invariant in time and space — that their asympototic truth is absolute and universal — is symptomatic of their reality.
5. phenomenologists tend to hold that inquiry ought to focus upon what might be called "encountering" as it is directed at objects and, correlatively, upon "objects as they are encountered" (this terminology is not widely shared, but the emphasis on a dual problematics and the reflective approach it requires is);
An "encounter" is the system of the object and dynamic observed, and the apparatus performing the observation (initially, the senses, and finally, the mind). An Innovist might explain (5) as follows: legitimate inquiry attends both to empiricism, by which percepts are collected, and to the process of modelling, by which patterns in the percepts are identified, elucidated, and interrelated. That is, the process of modelling is viewed as a necessary component of the inquiry, because models are the only means whereby perception can become conscious and illuminate conscious action, and because the inherent unreliability of perception is asymptotically compensated by modelling activity. Truly, the act of modelling is an inseparable part of the act of perception. Perception without modelling is meaningless — indeed, meaning is what is embodied exclusively by cognitive models.
6. phenomenologists tend to recognize the role of description in universal, a priori, or "eidetic" terms as prior to explanation by means of causes, purposes, or grounds; and
The fact that one is unable to rationally account for the presence or nature of an object is not in and of itself evidence that the object does not exist or does not have that nature. Nonetheless, cognitively, perception of such an object is more likely to be illusory than perception of an object whose existence and nature can be accounted for. Phenomenology and modern cognitivism (including Innovism) both lodge this firm caveat sensor. Nonetheless, perception of the real yet heretofore unexplained is natural and routine, and this an understanding shared by phenomenology and Innovism but perhaps emphasized more by phenomenology.
7. phenomenologists tend to debate whether or not what Husserl calls the transcendental phenomenological epoché and reduction is useful or even possible.
I have made a cursory attempt to determine what Husserl is talking about here and have yet to make sense of it.
Another key stance of phenomenologists, and this is more operational, is that happiness (by which is meant, contentment) is not an ideal. It has this in common with Innovism, which includes the view that prolonged contentment is a morbid stasis without virtue.
As evidenced in the above comparison, the epistemology and ontology of Innovism is nearly indistinguishable from those of phenomenology.
Libertarianism is a nebulous ethos, but can be summarized with the following principles:
These principles are shared broadly by Innovism, but are not adhered to precisely or uniformly. The nucleus of the libertarian ethic, as enumerated above, is evidently nihilistic (containing no metric of good and evil) and mostly negativistic in its description.
Here is collection of excerpts from email sent by me to individuals and sometimes cc'd to a mailing list I experimented with over this period. The messages are presented in chronological order with a single exception, and cover many details and subjects not covered above. For anonymization, the recipient of each message is encoded with the name of a Greek letter. Messages to a particular recipient are tagged with a particular letter, and messages to other recipients are tagged with other letters.
Some words of caution, 2001-Jul-26: these emails do not necessarily reflect my current positions in their nuances and details. I should also note that I engaged in this exchange on the occasion of quitting smoking, so that all of this was composed in a state of nicotine deprivation. I am generally slightly less obstreperous than the below emails suggest.
2 Jun 1999 alpha - The Cathedral and the Bazaar
Treating your list message (about Linux) directly: you have hit a good number of my hot buttons. You will perhaps find some of my positions on these issues surprising, but perhaps you will be receptive to ideas which will no doubt differ from your own dramatically.
First: I do not particularly like Linux. I use NetBSD and SunOS4. I do this because they are technologically superior. These operating systems are cathedrals, Linux is a bazaar. I do not like bazaars as operating systems, though bazaars are quite acceptable, and arguably superior, in applicationland, e.g. drawing programs (c.f. gimp), but kernel/system components are not like that. The cathedral is superior there.
Second: I do not collaborate. Collaboration is a practice that many, probably most, people find natural and empowering. I do not. I am a systems guy and an architect. I have zero interest in ceding architectural control.
Third: There are two main types of selfishness, and they are mutually exclusive. One type of selfishness is short-sighted inconsiderateness, in which the interests of others are simply ignored. This is vaguely sociopathic and certainly contrary to the long term interests of all involved. It is, obviously, bad. The other type of selfishness is systematic adherence to that which, through careful reasoning, has been identified as in one's interests. Curiously, the Linux community consists mostly of people being selfish in precisely this way. They recognize, either consciously or unconsciously, that an active, mutually supportive user community, acts like an insurance policy. Each participant contributes assistance when he has an abundance of capacity, and receives assistance when he has a deficit of capacity. This reduces individual risk, and increases both individual and aggregate productivity. But it is all driven by selfishness - by the pursuit of self-interest, by action in pursuit of personal, individual goals. Because it is entirely non-coercive, almost wholly non-exclusionary, and because of the dividends just described, it is obviously a good thing.
Fourth: Though you use the word "unselfishly" to describe a virtuous community of selfish individuals, your language implies that selfishness is bad. In point number three I explained how this was quite wrong. You also use the word "egotism" in a disparaging manner. This is fair, since "egotism" actually means mild megalomania, and is therefore a delusion and not good. However, I have the sense that you would have been just as comfortable using the terms "egoism" or "self-centeredness" in its place, and there you would have run directly afoul of reality. Though egoism has some denotations and connotations that are bad (for example, moral obliviousness to deleterious impact on others that one's individual pursuit of self-interest might have), it is as a basic principle, the unavoidable reality of human existence. Definitionally, that which furthers one's individual goals is what is in one's self-interest. To suggest that an individual is virtuous in acting in a manner injurious to his goals, as a general principle, is horrible and wrong. Though some people have evil goals, this general principle (known as "sacrifice") does not discriminate between individuals injuring virtuous goals and individuals injuring malignant goals, and in fact maintains that injury to a virtuous goal is virtuous, a flat inconsistency. Since the principle of sacrifice can be called Thanatos (desire for death), it can clearly be seen as the morbidity that it is.
"Self-centeredness" is an interesting term. It is typically equated with "egoistic" and "selfish", and its direct meaning supplies a mechanism whereby an individual can come to view egoism and selfishness as themselves virtuous. If an individual is not self-centered, then there is something else at his center - in short, he is not what he appears to be, and is fundamentally a fraud who cannot be trusted. Having one's self at one's center - that is, having a goal structure that is one's own, clear to the very top, not adopted from others - is precisely what it means to be an individual. If one is not self-centered, one is not an individual, but is instead just a meat puppet.
What I have attempted to show you is that the participants in your Linux bazaar are actually people who are selfish, often self-centered, and often egoistic, and that selfishness, self-centeredness, and egoism, are virtuous. I have also attempted to show you that the cathedral and the sovereign architect are never obsolete.
2 Jun 1999 beta - How to fight back (regarding The Architecture of Modern Political Power treatise and library)
>still not sure where to go with it
That is for each individual to determine individually, inventively, perhaps secretly. You will think and think, until you have identified a weakness you are positioned to exploit. You may find many such opportunities. They may not be exploitable today, but you will watch and think and plan, and when the time is right, you will implement your plan, and if you have been careful in your thinking, and have understood the material on my web site, your plan will work.
If your plan involves sacrifice, you know you have gone awry. Your plan should be entirely in your own interests. You should not contemplate dying for a cause, not for *any* cause *ever*. If you plan to sabotage your employer by quitting your job, don't quit until you know you will experience more pleasure and less pain from quitting than from staying. If you plan to create something, to build something, keep it under wraps until you believe it is unstoppable.
Do not consider a plan that involves initiating violence. You would lose your soul were you to make this mistake; you would lose all moral authority and self-respect. By all means, consider how you would respond to someone else's violence. Learn to defend yourself; understand that some of your plans may involve death and killing (incidental or in self-defense), make your peace with it, and learn and equip to do it. At all times, remember that if your actions are themselves moral, but lead to the death or suffering of others, perhaps at the hands of the enemy, perhaps inherent though not intentional by your actions, you have nonetheless done no wrong. You did not initiate violence, you did not intend harm, and in the net effect, you do not cause harm.
Remember that revolution involves disaster even in the best of situations. Remember that disaster involves great pain and death. Keep your eye on the ball. Do not fear the dead while among the living.
Don't reveal your plan unless you have determined, rationally, that it is in your interests to do so - because you need the encouragement of camaraderie, because revealing it furthers a goal in some direct way, because you cannot implement your plan alone, but for some specific reason or set of reasons.
Remember you are human. Knowing your frailties makes you stronger, both because you can plan around them, and because you can specifically work to overcome them. Think deeply about what you could imagine defeating you, and change yourself so that you come to believe it would no longer defeat you.
2 Jun 1999 alpha - Zeal vs. Manners
There are two different types of tolerance. Oversimplifying, one is "I won't lynch you, even if you believe and say things I believe are horribly wrong and evil." The other is multiculturalism, i.e. Hegelian anthropology, by which beliefs and actions within a particular culture are ostensibly right simply because they are considered right within that culture. By this latter principle, a man in a nation with Islamic law is right when he murders his wife because she has disgraced him.
Obviously, he is not right, he is a murderer, and in a just system he would be incarcerated for the remainder of his natural life.
I am zealously intolerant by the latter definition, and extremely tolerant by the former. I liberally condemn beliefs and speech and acts that I know are wrong, according to my absolute moral system, but of course I do not want to lynch anyone for his beliefs, or censor anything other than slander and incitement (and a handful of other such special cases), and I believe that it is clearly evil to do either.
3 Jun 1999 alpha - The Robber Barons and Randian Religion
The fact is this: Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller I (and those like them) made their fortunes through corruptions, principally corruptions of law in the former case, and both criminality and corruptions of law in the latter case.
The most egregious corruption of law exploited by these men is a contract law infrastructure that is essentially unconstrained. They were and are able to frame contracts with nearly arbitrary terms, which are then enforced by the force of government, without any payment of taxes to the government to cover the expense of enforcement (and thus constituting a redistribution of wealth to contract-happy businessmen). In the case of Bill Gates, the paramount contract corruption is transfer of intellectual property. Without this corruption, Bill Gates could not exist. Gates created virtually none of the value of Microsoft. Through dealing and subterfuge, he simply amassed intellectual property created by others. Another contract corruption of great significance is mergers and acquisitions that combine companies that actually or potentially compete with each other. Gates has engaged in this corruption systematically, on a vast scale. Once again, without it, Microsoft would not be what it is today without that corruption.
Rockefeller's fortune was substantially enabled by a specific contractual corruption. Morgan gave Rockefeller preferential rebates on rail rates (a contractual arrangement). However, railroads are monopolies, and rate uniformity in monopolies is compulsory in a legitimate system.
>you remind me very much of an old acquaintant of mine; a
>philosophy student who was also a strict objectivist. The similarities
But the dissimilarities are also remarkable.
That was a paraphrased version of Russell's "Ten Commandments for Humanists." I agree with them categorically and enthusiastically.
The crucial difference between myself and an Objectivist is that I recognize the human mind to be entirely the product of the activity of the human brain (having specifically accounted for its manner of operation, in a paper published on my web site), and thus I recognize that all human knowledge takes the form of cognitive models, and that all cognitive models are probabilistic, Thus, human knowledge is never absolute and never objective, but asymptotically approaches absolute objectivity.
The methodogy by which cognitive models are made to approach absolute objectivity is enumerated by Russell's Ten Commandments. That is the bridge between Humanism and Objectivism.
Upon even brief consideration, one can recognize that Humanism and Objectivism are virtually identical, but tragically those who now call themselves Objectivists typically neglect the domain of intersection between them, thereby marginalizing themselves (in a Hegelian manner, a bitter irony indeed).
Note that Objectivists (Ayn Rand Institute types etc.) LOVE Bill Gates and Rockefeller. Those faithful Randites are ignorant, deluded, sick fucks, evil people, flat out.
3 Jun 1999 alpha - On Wealth
>Owning islands in the Carribbean, entire floors on hotels (in case you
>feel like getting away), having a private jet and a few boats scattered
>across the globe is senseless if you don't REALLY need it
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” -William Pitt, speech to the House of Commons, [Nov. 18, 1783]
If I've earned my material wealth fair and square, by generating wealth which is now enjoyed by members of society, and I want to fly around in a 747 jumbo jet with a private casino on it, then I will fly around in a 747, and there's no way to make it right to take that away from me.
It happens I have no such desires, much less such capacities, but you see my point. Though I am an elitist, insofar as I recognize the reality of an elite, distinct from the rest of humanity, I do not believe that the elite have any advantage IN LAW, in a just system, over anybody else simply by being elite by some definition of elite.
Wealth is routinely correlated with membership in the elite only in a just system. The best measure of whether an individual is among the elite is the capacity and quantity of that individual's wealth creation, where wealth is fundamentally that which enables individual satisfaction, innovation, and freedom. In an exchange between an individual and society, where the individual receives material wealth such as floors in hotels and fancy airplanes, and society receives satisfaction, innovation, and freedom, it's clear who's gotten the better deal (considering only this exchange): society has done well for itself.
The great trouble is when wealth is amassed by men who have contributed no wealth to the world, and this is possible only within an unjust system.
“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed
of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed
10 Jun 1999 alpha - On human nature
All I'm saying is that any morality that is predicated on a change to human nature is one that is not suited to humans. It's definitional. If you change human nature, you change humans into non-humans. It is our nature that makes us humans. I'm interested primarily in moral systems suited to humans as they are. My extropianism is quite separate, and though it is also Innovist, I do not envision Earth being taken over by a breed of supersmart superstrong invented organisms. That is my vision for the rest of the universe.
>>>There's more to a
>>>person than his intellectual fruits.
>> Sure, but not much more, and not much that's of any concern to me.
>> I'm a full time intellectual.
>Depending on how we define "intellectual fruits" I may have to very much
>disagree with you on this one. But then we don't have to agree on
>everything, do we? What would be the fun in that?
Well, what more is there to a person - I'll take a brief survey. There's the body outside the central nervous system. Inside the central nervous system, there are fairly uninteresting areas like the cerebellum or the ventricles (heh heh). There is the brainstem with a variety of centers critical to action, sensation, autonomic maintenance, and diffuse modulation. There is the emotionally oriented portion of the brain, localized in the so-called basal forebrain (include here the hypothalamus, the amygdala, the septal nuclei, the habenular nuclei, the basal nucleus of Meynert, etc.). Finally, there is the apparatus of integrated, coherent, rational cognition and action, consisting of the thalamus, the corpus striatum, and the cerebral cortex. When I speak of intellect, I mean the total system and dynamic of the brainstem, basal forebrain, and the apparatus of integrated cognition just enumerated. There are certain dynamics in this system that I would not describe as characteristic of intellect, but rather of morbidity, but the substrate is the same. Thus I have left out only the cerebellum (which is nonetheless crucial for normal muscular control), and the body itself consisting of skin, bones, blood, muscles, viscera, etc. Though this is certainly not nothing, I consider it to be of far less significance than the intellect. In particular, its totality contributes virtually nothing in the way of innovation (though clearly acts as a vital tool), and the intellect contributes virtually all innovation (though clearly relying on the rest of the body for externalization of those innovations).
>> Roger Penrose is a big fan of the
>> quantum consciousness stuff. As far as I've been able to ascertain,
>> there is no need for or evidence of any quantum tricks to make it (me,
>> consciousness, cognition) work. Check out my paper.
>I am not saying that there is a need, but I would be greatly surprised
>if the brain somehow escaped a large influence by quantum mechanics.
>Have you ever read any of what Niels Bohr has to say on the issue of the
>human mind? It's most intrigueing. He doesn't make any definite
>conclusions on the nature of the human mind, though, and he convinced me
>that such conclusions would be, if not too bold, then atleast premature.
There's two ways to look at this. Obviously, quantum phenomena are the whole and singular explanation for the way the brain works, it being made of quantum particles and all. This is the one that's easy to accept. The harder one is that there is something akin to quantum computing going on, involving prolongation of uncollapsed wave functions, non-local quantum effects, etc. This one is hard to accept. The brain doesn't seem to lend itself at all to the cultivation of such subtle effects. On the other hand, I have come to believe that there is something going on involving complexity which is not predicted by established theory, but my thoughts on this are vague at best.
10 Jun 1999 gamma - On consciousness and glory
> What I want to ask you is do you see anything beyond this
>intricately figured and baroque mechanism of consciousness you've so
>tortuously delineated? I see a deeper reality from which everything in
>this universe, from ad hominem attacks to quarks continuously emerges,
>time after time. I also see no reason to differentiate between
>conscious and subconscious "minds". These barriers are artificial ones
>we each create in fear of ourselves and the glory we transcendentally
This consists almost entirely of language I consider suspicious. By "Blessed be" I hope you mean blessed by you or by myself?!?
I see a substrate behind everything, sure. It's what unification and high energy physicists study, and beyond that, what mathematicians study.
The differentiation between that which is conscious and that which is currently unconscious but can be made conscious is significant. The conscious wavetrain circulating through frontal cortex, the corpus striatum, and the thalamus - the observer and actor when one talks of a subjective point of view - is, at any one time, influenced (by direct fiber projections) by only a small subset of those portions of the mind capable of influencing it directly. This difference - the fact of being a current direct influence on that wavetrain or not - is stark and of paramount significance. Imagine being simultaneously aware of all your memories - it's a nonsensical idea, isn't it?
There is only one mind running inside each head (or two, in neurological patients with severed corpora callosi), but it can be divided into conscious and unconscious portions, along a boundary that changes from moment to moment, as consciousness deliberately attaches and detaches influences, and as influences interrupt consciousness.
There are, of course, many portions of the brain that are substantially disconnected from the substrate of the conscious wavetrain, and can influence consciousness only indirectly. This includes particularly the cerebellum and some portions of the hypothalamus.
These distinctions (boundaries, barriers, what have you) are natural, phylogenetic, topological, and first class. Those who deny them evidence their own fear of demystification.
I have no idea what this "glory we transcendentally arise from" is supposed to be. We arise from sex and other metabolic processes, and millions of years ago our immortal ancestors arose from cell division and other metabolic processes. There is glory in all of this; the fabulous ballet of chaos that is life is indeed glorious. If, by transcendent, you mean the usual mystical definition (Kantianism, "being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge", "transcending the universe or material existence", all from Webster), I vociferously disagree. The glory follows precisely from the fact that life is a substantial realization of the universe's indigenous potential, operating wholly consistent with universal physical principles.
Humanity is another qualitative step more glorious than the animals that preceded and accompany us, because we, uniquely on this planet, deliberately innovate, and externalize those innovations, as a pursuit in and of itself. We alone use universal language - language capable of describing any actual or potential thing or process in the universe. At the opposite end of the spectrum of logical levels of treatment, neurophysiological and neurodynamic distinctions are many. In no other species has the conscious substrate (cerebral cortex, corpus striatum, thalamus, and related diffuse modulatory systems and relay/buffer nuclei) attained substantial and practical (if inconstant) dominance over the protoemotional influences of the basal forebrain (principally, the hypothalamus and amygdala). Another key distinction is that no other species has a region of cortex within which all senses with obvious topographic mappings are associated in a grand integrated fashion (visual, temporal (auditory), and parietal (somesthetic)), constituting the key neuroanatomical transformation undergone between the australopithicines and homo erectus.
Do not lose sight of the obvious, that we are endowed with these fantastic facilities only because it makes us more successful in terms of procreation (aside from the depopulating effects of war). Fundamentally, the superconsciousness of humans subserves the sex of humans, and the fact of its inconstant but prolonged dominance over protoemotional influences is a remarkable, though inevitable, product of Darwinian evolution. It paves the way to the next phase of evolution, in which individuals invent and fabricate their offspring. Humanity is a gateway species; a literal stargate. There is a race afoot, known of by a tiny handful of people. Will humanity extinguish itself (through a bioweapon armageddon unleashed by a madman or by bumbling bureaucrats) before or after our invented children are set loose on the stars, to themselves invent and explore?
12 Jun 1999 delta - Specialism, generalism, and rationalism
I have an interesting perspective. At the Institute, folks such as Minsky and Selfridge dismiss my efforts to integrate neurophysiological particulars into my integrated theory of mind. Folks doing serious practical experimentation to develop a better understanding of neurophysiology dismiss my efforts to develop a broad, integrated theory of mind. People specializing in finance and economics dismiss my model for monetary reform, while nearly all others find it appealing. The addled masses, upon exposure to my architecture for legal reform (constitution), are receptive to it nearly in its entirety, but act in a manner contrary both to its dictates and to its enactment. Though the opportunity has not arisen, it's clear that lawyers will be almost uniformly opposed to it (it has no tort!). People cannot find a flaw in my morality (Innovism), and its explicitly stated definitions of good and evil are unequivocally powerful and natural, but many wind up succumbing to their socialization and accuse me of nihilism, because my morality is founded on principles alien to and incompatible with establishment religion (particularly, Christianity and Marxism/socialism).
The general principle is that specialists - those in positions of authority within a field, or who perceive a reliance on its status quo for their prosperity - predictably oppose (on unreasonable grounds) those portions of my agenda and ethos that impact them, while others tend not to be opposed. To a great degree, modern civilization is a matrix of scams, understood and maintained by specialists with vested interests. The masses are heavily socialized in certain ways, by a certain set of specialists (media, clergy, so-called educators), so that certain ideas perceived by those specialists to be injurious to their interests are irrationally rejected or practically opposed by most people. More scams, more victims.
Why am I so categorically, even excruciatingly, reasonable and formal? Isn't it obvious? Isn't it obvious that the preeminent tools of the enemy are fiats, ambiguity, irrationality, omission, and dissociation? And then, isn't it clear that empiricism, precision, rational systematization, enumeration, and integration, are the preeminent methodologies whereby the enemy can be defeated?
I do not expect to be widely understood. I expect that some will make my ideas more widely accessible, but I'm not in a great rush on this matter.
“Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are
any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.”
-Howard Aiken, designer of the Mark I relay computer
13 Jun 1999 epsilon - The bounds of individual knowledge
>do you know everything and if not does it
Sure, I know everything.
Duh! Obviously not! Let's look at this in various ways.
POV#1: what proportion of the state of the universe can I report at any given time? Answer: so close to zero as to be best treated as zero. By this metric I know approximately nothing. But this is a stupid metric, and everyone knows approximately nothing according to it.
POV#2: what proportion of the fundamental principles of the universe do I understand with sufficient precision to apply them practically? Answer: practically none. My physics is rusty, I never did quantum or general relativity (and even if I did they don't work right with each other because *all humanity* is still unenlightened in this area), never did chemistry seriously, and have no predilection for or particular talent in formal higher mathematics. The other hard/pure sciences belong here - biology, geology, etc. Mechanical, electrical, and aeronautical engineering also belong here to a degree. By this metric I know approximately nothing, and this is not a stupid metric. Still, I have far more knowledge in most of these areas than do most people who are not specialists.
POV#3: what proportion of those systems and processes that have universality among humanity and significant practical direct applicability affecting innovation/power/economy do I understand with sufficient precision to apply practically? Answer: many, and the most important, broadly integrative ones. Perhaps more than anyone else, and almost certainly more than anyone else who is my age. This is the domain in which I seem to know "everything," and the reason is I've been working for years to develop my knowledge and understanding in these areas.
POV#4: what proportion of mundane colloquial knowledge, like sports results, the quality and plot of the current crop of movies, the latest crop of top-selling novels, recipes, fashion, etc., do I know? Answer: very little, and of course it's of little or no consequence.
So, does it bother me that I don't know everything? Not in the slightest. I know what I know because it has utility in pursuing my goals. My total system of mind chooses memories on that basis. I am a human being with a human brain with a limited, if vast, capacity. Since it would be inefficient, I do not embrace subjects that would occupy large regions of mind but produce small dividends in terms of facilitating goal fulfillment. Examples of this are higher mathematics and physics, where I try to maintain an intelligent layman's clue but not much more.
I know a great deal, a great deal of it is immediately applicable and novel to other people, and I know what I know, and this can give the impression that I know everything. That is an absurd conclusion, but there it is. Now, I do know many of the answers to the questions many people consider to be the biggest and hardest of all - the great "mysteries" of life. In producing these answers convincingly, I also seem to "know everything," but still I do not!
14 Jun 1999 zeta - The morality of dissipation
Right, I have no intention of eliminating gambling. That which is called gambling differs from that which is called e.g. venture capital, currency speculation, etc., only because (1) the former creates no (or trivially little) wealth, and (2) the person taking the risk does so despite the knowledge that he will probably lose more than he wins. I don't see any compelling reason to make such gambling illegal or specially regulated, and absent a compelling reason I always allow the conduct (the mask-out principle at work: everything is allowed unless otherwise stated and compellingly supported).
One aspect of my morality that I have not yet spelled out anywhere on my web site, though need to, is that I do not consider a failure to commit a good act (when presented with the opportunity to commit one) to be an evil act, any more than I consider it to be a good act to refrain from committing an evil act (an inverse the absurdity of which is quite evident - for example, one is not continuously committing good acts, infinitely many in the limit, by refraining from killing those in one's social circles:-). The converse, in which such a failure is considered in and of itself evil, implies that individuals are in some way indebted to the abstract moral system, owing it good acts and being evil by their failures. Such a moral compulsion would bring out the mule in me and many like me. It should never be considered evil to choose to just sit there. It should be viewed as what it is: an abdication, a self-annihilation to one degree or another, but an action of inviolable free will. Taking action to convince other people to not take good actions is, however, obviously evil. This is what Ayn Rand did with Atlas Shrugged, and with the writing and publishing of that novel she committed an act of great evil (as the followup to her act of great good - writing and publishing Fountainhead).
15 Jun 1999 eta - Living in America
>[the US is] just about one of
>the best places to be on earth.
Oh, maaaan, you're smoking crack!
It's better to live here than Serbia or Russia or Rwanda or China, no doubt. Better than anywhere with Islamic law of course. Better than anywhere the IMF makes substantial contributions.
It's about on a par with Australia by my estimation.
It is not better than most places in Europe, however. What's the difference? The US is a burbling cauldron of social, ethnic, and psychological disease and stress without parallel in the world - there are worse such cauldrons, e.g. historic killing fields in Africa, S.E.Asia, and to a more limited degree, ex-Yugoslavia, but none of them _parallel_ the sheer scope of the situation in the US. Countries in Europe have social, ethnic, and psychological disease and stress, but at a lower intensity, and in the context of recognizable social and ethnic bonds.
The legal system of the US is considered a joke the world over. The political system efficiently translates the will of the power brokers into electoral reality by way of the mass media. The military is now conducting periodic exercises in places like downtown Oakland, CA and Corpus Christi, Texas. The police are now routinely using tactics imported from military special forces programs to target civilians committing victimless and nonviolent "crimes." They are also using riot control tactics and technologies against assemblages of non-violent people (party goers, what have you), as in the massive tear gassing of Eugene, Oregon on Halloween 1998. The major entitlement programs - Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid - will go bankrupt in the foreseeable future, creating either a massive increase in taxation or a massive social disruption.
Dude, this barely scratches the surface. Your country is fucked. Most of the population consists of zombies who have no ability or desire to Get It, and just want to be told over and over "everything is ok, just keep up the 9-to-5 grind and you'll keep getting your paycheck and watching Friends every Thursday."
By all means visit/revisit http://www.mega.nu:8080/conspiracy.html if you're not satisfied that the US is a lousy place to live compared to many other countries.
15 Jun 1999 eta - Order vs. organization
>>Human beings are an ordering species. Cults, sects, cliques,
>>guilds, parties, clubs, gangs, clans, tribes... All this fidgety
>>why-do-we-have-these-rules whining always turns out to be the
>>unintended preamble to NEW rules and regs.
>Now that is a direct, hit the nail on the head statement
What y'all say is true. What it misses is the distinction between order and organization, and the fact that many humans are not ordering individuals. Still, consonant with your observations, I venture that most humans are in fact dedicated to the "ideal" of order as an organizing principle of society, and not to the legitimate ideal of organization, because the former minimizes risk (at a calamitous cost either not perceived by "normals" or not considered rationally by them). The latter does not have inherent to it reduction of risk in a manner which onerously abridges individual autonomy (itself a first class ideal).
It's interesting that my own titanic whine about existing rules and power structure (a collection of >100MB and >10000 pages on my web server) is in point of fact a preamble to my Innovist primer and constitution - constituting a great system of new rules. This arrangement departs from your general principle only in its particulars, since my "NEW rules and regs" are a system by which individual liberty is safeguarded, in a very robust, practical, broad manner.
I strive not for order, but for organization. Not only do I tolerate chaos (compartmented randomness), I enthusiastically embrace it. Why? (1) I know the probability that chaos will be a net benefit to me is overwhelmingly greater than the probability that it will be a net liability. (2) I'm confident. I'll almost surely be able to deal with whatever happens, short of global thermonuclear war or a major comet/asteroid collision (the latter not being a symptom of sociological chaos, of course). (3) the morality and aesthetic please me. I know it's good, based on the derivation of the fundamental morality of the universe as enumerated in the Innovism primer.
15 Jun 1999 eta - The blue wall of terror
>old timers have been bailing out as fast as they can.
To me, that is the single scariest phenomenon of all. It's happened both in the LEC and in the military, and the bottom line is that both communities are losing what conscience they had.
Combine that with paramilitarization of domestic LEO's and you've got a recipe for disaster. Still, America is filled with civilian guns - by some estimates, over half a billion - so a showdown between today's paramilitarized Gestapo-like drug warrior LE community and the body politic has no clear outcome other than massive bloodshed. This fact is encouraging for those of us who are interested in avoiding or greatly forestalling violent revolution (a group in which most Americans, including myself, count ourselves). The unpredictability means the string-pullers-in-chief won't try pulling that string any time soon. Though they can manufacture a crisis that creates plausible deniability, they *still* can't predict the outcome. So, no huge artificial crisis any time soon. If I had the money I'd still have a getaway set up somewhere, stocked with food and the implements of agricultural subsistence, but I don't see a cataclysmic precipice any time in the next 3 or so years, and probably not in the next 10. There's always those damn thermonuclear-tipped ICBM's to unsettle your bowels though :-).
The uncomfortable wildcard is that the string-pullers-in-chief (houses of Rothschild and Rockefeller) actually have a subconscious goal to destroy humanity, so they really can't be counted on not to do something stupid and horrifically destructive.
>the drug war which was
>always contrived and made impossible to control on any local level.
The biggest drug dealers in the world are none other than the houses of Rothschild and Rockefeller. That neatly explains why the drug war can't be won and why it does more harm than good - RothRock controls both sides and stands to lose a fortune in annual revenue if the war ends.
Also, recall that the "Opium Wars" were fought to *create market access*, not to enforce a prohibition on opium! heh heh
20 Jun 1999 theta - The top of the drug pyramid
>In some countries the drug lords are
Prominent examples: the United States and Great Britain.
What am I talking about, you ask?
The bottom line is this: the houses of Rothschild and Rockefeller are far and away the biggest drug cartels in the world, not to mention the biggest money launderers. They are so big that the US and NATO fight wars for them (e.g. Viet Nam, Kosovo). They are so big that they create and destroy (usually monstrous) states to further their business agenda (e.g. the Taliban in Afghanistan).
They have a quasilegitimate wing crowned by the council known as Bilderberg. David Rockefeller is a primary liaison between the overt (quasilegitimate) and covert (organized crime) apparatuses; Henry Kissinger is probably also such a liaison.
RothRock is the government insofar as RothRock controls who is in the White House, and has enough control over who is in Congress to control critical votes, thereby controlling who is in the rest of the government. There's no mystery to how this control works: it's done with campaign fund donations by different allied corporate components of the RothRock apparatus (the "establishment"), by bribery, by blackmail, through tailored treatment of candidates, officeholders, and issues, in the mass media (most of which they control directly), and when all else fails, by assassination. They also control who is on the Federal Open Market Committee, though that control is more a matter of candid record.
>Now if drugs were legalized here it might cut into their
Allow me to rephrase that with less understatement: if drug prohibition were rescinded, the world's dominant power brokers would lose their preeminent instrument of political control.
16 Jun 1999 iota - The innovation embargo
>He says that the LAST true discovery was the laser; all else
>since then (c. 1960) is mere refinement of already known techniques.
I agree with this sentiment, though I put the date squarely at 1971 or so. In 1971, we had C, Unix, the single chip CPU, the mouse, the windowing GUI, hypertext, and routed packet networking. These technologies weren't integrated at that time, but there they were.
Cellular communications should be considered a major qualitative innovation, but I'm not certain if the qualitative realization was before or after 1971.
More generally, it is probably quite unfair to view the "refinements" since 1971 as inferior to the "breakthroughs" that preceded them. Still, clearly there are many breakthroughs yet to be made, and the chill and swoon of contemporary culture is responsible for inhibiting them (replacing them with managed corporate incrementalism).
The next crop of truly revolutionary technologies is in the pipeline, by the way, it's just that most people haven't heard of them. Star players are room temperature thermionics (extremely efficient electrically powered refrigeration and electrical power generation from fuel or solar), high performance flywheel batteries, and artificial microbes that synthesize fuel from sunlight. In other words, we'll see power sector stuff that dramatically reverses the power centralization trend that started in earnest with JD Rockefeller's petroleum trust in the 19th century. Automobiles will be refueled in the garage rather than the fill-up station, and their exhaust products will be water and carbon dioxide (with the CO2 emission precisely offset by CO2 absorption from the fuel synthesis process) with only a tiny taint of combustion impurities. The days of the utility bill (other than communications) will be gone forever, for people not living in dense city pack.
16 Jun 1999 kappa - Rand's follies
>I read Atlas Shrugged years ago, but don't remember the reference you
>I didn't get that she was evil, just "cold" (and had a penchant for beating
>every point to death.)
My only point with Atlas Shrugged is that Rand recommended that the prime movers retreat from society to a sort of nirvana, rather than apply themselves directly to the task of overthrowing the power brokers.
There's certainly nothing evil about being "cold" and beating every point to death, and indeed Rand seemed to exhibit both.
I think Rand backed into promulgating evil (thereby becoming evil) by accident. AFAIK she promulgated good (and was thereby good) up to and including publication of the Fountainhead. Her strident, tyrannical advocacy of laissez fair capitalism is her most outrageous failing. Laissez faire capitalism is in fact inconsistent with the good part of her ethos, but she was either not bright enough or not sane enough to recognize this in time to avoid publically committing herself to the position. So it goes.
19 Jun 1999 theta - On selling out
>Every person has their price.
This sentiment is extremely widespread, probably because people who do not have a price are so extremely rare. It is also central to the system of the power brokers, in the form of practical bribery.
I am a person without a price. I do not seek authority. I know that central banking systems in general and the Federal Reserve (and its money) in particular, are scams. I recognize that my source of pleasure is not material or monetary wealth, not the recognition of others, but is simply the pursuit and attainment of my own goals, many of which do not integrally involve any other people in their initial phases of development. Moreover, most of my goals cannot be realized through the instrument of money alone - regardless of the supply. Indeed, one of my goals deprecates the existing money systems completely.
Think about what money is. It's a contract, and as such it is a relationship. Relationships always have a Hegelian component to them; its proportion is a question of degree. The foremost Hegelian component of money is that the lendor (the person holding the dollar bill) exerts authority over other people, provided those other people recognize the authority of the lendor - and this is the crux of the Federal Reserve scam. People treat Fed Notes *as though* they are worth something, even though they are not. The Fed creates money however it pleases, in whatever quantity it pleases, according to the dictates (essentially) of the private shareholder banks (proportional to their size), without any promise to redeem it for anything of worth. When Fed money is born, the Fed appears to be a lendor, but it hasn't lent anything of value to anybody. By statute, the US government treats the Fed's funnymoney as though it is real money (i.e. money that can be redeemed with its issuer for something with non-Hegelian, i.e. objective, value). Because the USG does, it is inevitable that everybody else does too. It certainly helped that FDR issued an executive order commanding the civilian population to turn in their coined monetary metal in exchange for Fed Notes. As an aside, consider that the main responsibility of the Secret Service is anticounterfeiting of Fed Notes (which are instruments of private credit, not public money), and their secondary responsibility is protection of various elected principals and ex-principals. The fact that the security of a Fed Note is directly protected by the same organization directly responsible for the security of the President should have alarm bells going off in people's heads.
What is my price? Think about it: what is the price of an individual such as myself, with an understanding such as mine? After reading this, and everything else I've said on this list and on my web site, do *you* (reader, whoever you are) still have a price?
You might say that my price is the realization of my goals on my terms. Aaah, but that's cheating and paradoxical, because then I've gotten everything I want, and paid nothing for it, in so doing deprecating the whole system within which a price might be paid to me on the implied terms. The paradigm behind the "every person has his price" cliche is that everyone has goals he considers valuable, but if you give him enough authority over other people (e.g. by giving him money), he will willingly abandon those personal goals and be embraced by the selfless haze of the Hegelian nightmare. In other words, "everyone has his price" is a restatement of "anyone can be destroyed through his own voluntary actions." Neither is true.
So, what is my price? I have seen the whole, I know the world, and there is nothing now in the world for which I would exchange my desires, not even the whole of the world. I want what I want. It is an absolute, not subject to amendment or compromise or bartering. And it has nothing to do with me controlling anybody (aside from incidental standard employee-type relationships, when engineers and the like are cranking on a project of mine). I find most relationships of authority disgusting, and when my work involves designing authority systems, I minimize the breadth and depth of the authority, maximize its accountability, and of course, do not envision myself ever wielding any of it.
So, I have no price. This puts me beyond the principal control mechanism of society, and in fact puts me largely outside society, precisely where I need to be to achieve my goals.
19 Jun 1999 - More on selling out
The type of price I believe we're talking about here is "selling out" - abandonment of a top-level goal, of what people sometimes call "hopes and dreams" and I call "apex goals". Sadly, many people are not consciously aware of their apex goals, making them that much more difficult to pursue and defend.
In the next few weeks I'll be moving back to the city and starting a job as a system administrator for some company. I am doing this solely to get money with which to finance the work I'm really interested in doing. This is indeed a form of intellectual prostitution, just as any mental work one does solely because one is paid to, is prostitution. I've chosen work as a sysadmin because it transfers the smallest quantity of wealth to the check writer for each dollar he pays me, and because it involves no substantial prostitution of my principal and most valued intellectual talent: system architecture (which is an extremely high-leverage intellectual occupation).
I candidly admit this is prostitution/slavery, just as I would candidly admit that if I were working tarring roofs I'd clearly be a slave (though not, as it happens, an intellectual prostitute:-).
What's the vital point? I'm doing the crap work _in order to_ do the work I care about, not _instead_. There's no sell out in this picture. And there is no violation of my principles.
The real deal-with-devil question is: what must a person be offered control over, in order that he will violate his principles? For most people, there is a specific and feasible answer. A hundred dollars, a million dollars, a harem of blonde models, whatever.
Interestingly, once you've led a man to name a price - any price - that price tends to drop precipitously. You've shown the man he's not worth much to himself, so his price comes down and down. Get a man to admit he'll violate an important personal principle or ruin an important personal dream for a million dollars and you can probably get him to do it for a hundred grand, no sweat.
My own price is not even infinite - the Federal Reserve, with its fiat currency, can promise an infinite amount of money (which nonetheless is a nonsensical construct since the wealth in the universe is finite). My price is undefined - it cannot be described at all; I wouldn't trade my dreams or violate my principles for anything, concrete or abstract, period. That is because I recognize my own worth and legitimacy, and know that to be worth more to me than the rest of the universe combined. Put that way, it's terribly obvious that any person in his right mind has the same view! This is simply what it means to be a strong, actualized individual.
19 Jun 1999 lambda - On subjectivity
>in a way, he's right about the world being an idea in his head. cosciousness
>researchers have shown that "you create your own reality." the world we see
>only appears to look like this. for instance, oranges are not really orange,
>they just appear that way after filtering through our neural processes.
Predictably, I do not like this paragraph. Recall that I myself am a consciousness researcher (see http://www.mega.nu:8080/wavetrain.html).
Madmen create their own reality. The reality models in the minds of sane people are consistent with and predictive of external reality. Many of them are not inventions but derivations, formed to account for and profit from patterns perceived in sensory stimuli. The minds of sane people do, of course, contain models of future realities they hope to bring about, and these are called goals. They too are rational and predictive, though it can indeed be said that they specify reality creation - often as an externality perceived by others.
In the following, I'm going to replace your orange-is-orange with lemon-is-yellow to escape the symbol space collision.
Lemons are really yellow. "Lemon" is a consensus symbol for the fruit of a particular (set of?) species. "Yellow" is a consensus symbol for the color that has a wavelength of roughly 620 nanometers (don't quote me, figure is from memory). It is really true that most lemons are yellow. That is what we mean when we say "lemons are yellow." It is straightfoward and unsophisticated. It happens that the meanings of these symbols are embodied in human brains made of meat, but what of it?
>world around us is nothing more than a dance of quantum particles, which we
>interpret to "be" the way it is.
We are also nothing more than a dance of quantum particles. That dance is the whole of reality. It is first class.
The following paragraph is a somewhat elaborate (though nonetheless simplified) description of the neurophysiological reality of visually perceiving a lemon.
Sunlight (an incoherent omnichromatic shower of photons) hits a lemon. The lemon diffusely reflects the light, favoring that centered around 620 nanometers. The reflected light passes through (and is focussed by) the cornea, lens, and fluid of your eye, striking the retina, which transforms the impinging light into an electrochemical signal which passes through the optic nerve to the optic chiasm, from which the fibers continue on to the appropriate geniculate body (in the thalamus), from which fibers relay the signal to the visual cortex in the back of the head. The visual cortex performs various correlative and convolutional operations on the received signal to identify features at successively higher levels. the visual cortex feeds its output, at various stages of processing, to the neostriatum, and when attention is being paid to visual stimuli (by flipping the appropriate switches in the neostriatum), some of the information borne by this signal becomes a component of consciousness (which is the electrochemical wavetrain circulating through the system composed of portions of associative frontal cortex, the corpus striatum, the thalamus, and back to the frontal cortex in an endlessly circulating manner). Fiber linkage between the visual cortex and other regions of cortex - particularly, the region at which visual, parietal, and temporal cortex junction, and associative frontal cortex - enables automatic high-level integration of the stimulus (the sight of the lemon) firing off appropriate memory constellations spanning any number of sensory (auditory, tactile, gustatory, olfactory) and non-sensory (symbolic, functional) modalities, and portions of these memory constellations often become conscious subjects themselves. If the individual likes lemonade, then consciousness may set itself to poking around for a knife and glass and some sugar and water, because a memory constellation describing a functional schema for lemonade fired off and influenced consciousness thusly. Then he'll direct further action outwards through motor pathways, driven by the functional memories, to slice the lemon and squeeze it into the glass, add the sugar and water, stir it up, and drink it producing the pleasure that is the memory constellation's most likely raison d'etre in the final analysis.
It seems to me the fellow doing the above knows what a lemon is, has that knowledge in common with others, and that this knowledge is not at all mysterious, nor particularly indirect. The fact that the precise geometries of neurophysiological substrates of lemon-related memory constellations differ from person to person does not injure this thesis. They're usually embodying the same thing, with obviously similar external functional consequences and less obviously similar internal dynamical and component-wise embodiments.
20 Jun 1999 lambda - On madness
>how exactly would you define "sane" and "madman/insane"?
My working definition of sane-insane is a spectrum of the degree of registration of cognitive models with external reality, as demonstrated by the accuracy of the predictions the models make. Neurophysiologically and cognitively, consciousness and the memory coordination circuit (see my paper, URL'd below) can be viewed as special cases of modelling substrate, since they embody models that exist entirely as activational patterns in "smart buffers", with no permanency (ordinary models are semi-permanent, embodied by changes to myeloarchitecture and to synaptic and cell body transfer functions). Consciousness in particular is capable of embodying complex predictive models all by itself, and the accuracy of the predictions is an important measure of sanity.
If you read my paper on consciousness, you will find hundreds (maybe thousands, by now - it's over 40 pages long) of descriptions of normal and healthy mental dynamics. Sometimes I identify specific morbidities, and some of these cause or contribute to insanities. Even when I don't enumerate morbidities, it's often easy to recognize the way the healthy dynamic might be corrupted resulting in morbidity that sometimes causes or contributes to insanity.
There are other dysfunctions that might be thought of as insanities - for example, lack of registration between the action specified by a goal and that actually taken - but these aren't what people really have in mind when they say "insane". Theoretically observers can't tell the difference between model morbidity and action morbidity (since obviously predictions have to be reported with actions), but as a practical neurophysiological matter, this sort of dysfunction is quite different (e.g. Parkinsonism).
That's what I got on this for now. It's a big subject.
20 Jun 1999 lambda - More on madness and subjectivity
First of all, there is exactly one reality, and we are all part of it. When one talks of jumping from reality to reality, if one is sane, all one means is that one is jumping from realm to realm, skillset to skillset, schema to schema.
If your cognitive models are inconsistent with each other, then there is no question that at least one of the model components in any pair of mutually inconsistent model components constitutes an insanity. Using "insanity" this way obviously downgrades its gravity, since now it has become nothing more than a synonym for "flaw".
Concatenate enough flaws and you get what ordinary people would call insanity. Ordinary people might call me insane because I am so much more sane than they are (so that my models are often wildly out of registration with theirs, and they are very much in the grip of consensus pseudoreality). I tend to consider ordinary people to be insane because the number and seriousness of the flaws in their models (the nonregistrations with reality) crosses the threshhold of insanity from my point of view.
Thus the general topic of consensus pseudoreality is raised, and this brings Hegel back into the discussion. On other than psychological matters, consensus does not in and of itself create any legitimacy (model accuracy). Your example of the aborigine brings up the matter of multiculturalism, a special case of Hegelian consensus pseudoreality that nonetheless need not be treated separately.
Your question boils down to: can the consequences to the cognitive models of a person who adheres religiously to the cultural consensus in which he is immersed justify a characterization of him as insane? The answer is, of course they can! Morality is absolute and merciless and does not concern itself with the origins of one's motives, it matters only *that* one does what one does. If one adopts from one's culture the principle that Jews are subhuman and to be deprived of all human rights, one is insane, even if all one's peers agree. There is no flexibility in the assignation. When an individual with such a conviction acts to deprive Jews of their rights, and in particular, of their lives, morality is merciless and inflexible in dictating conviction. This is precisely the message of the Nuremberg trials. The consensus moral pseudoreality was completely irrelevant.
Naziism was a product of a philosophical principle called "positivism", which maintains that morality is a creation of man, to be formed according to his arbitrary will. The philosophers who promote this view tend to be in the "idealist school", which should realistically be translated as "utopian/dystopian school". Johann Gottlieb Fichte and G.W.F. Hegel are players of distinction in this school, and the horrors of Auschwitz (not to mention Stalin's gulags) can be fairly attributed to the ideas of these and other members of the school.
Positivism, obviously, is a horrible type of insanity. There is only one legitimate moral system in the universe. I have named it Innovism; alien races millions of parsecs from here have obviously come up with other names for it, though the morality is fundamentally the same for them. In short, Innovism is gauge symmetric. It is the solitary, unique, absolute, eternal, intrinsic moral system of the universe. Moralities that deviate from it evidence insanity in proportion to the deviation. I have surely made various errors of varying gravity in deriving Innovism; I do not believe I have made any gross errors. Many bright people have examined my presentation and found only minute, contained, easily corrected errors.
20 Jun 1999 gamma - The cradles of communism
It became clear to me only in the last day or two that Marxist communism took off in China because the culture was already permeated with the yin/yang dialectical system, in the same way that it took off in Russia because the culture there was already permeated with the dialecticalism of the eastern orthodox church.
For those who haven't wasted time learning the obscure intellectual claptrap of Marxist communism, at its core it's about Hegelian dialecticalism as a method of manipulating cultural evolution. This is an amusing paradox, since Marx maintained that the evolutionary trajectory of culture is predestined - this is the crap about the proletariat seizing the power structure, akin to the crap in the bible about the meek inheriting the earth. For a more thorough explanation and a catalogue of dialectics at work here in the USA, visit http://www.mega.nu:8080/conspiracy.html and search for "Hegelian Dialectic".
> Spirit I would say not only lives beyond the grave but is the very stuff
>itself, as Stephen Wright refers to when he defines quantum mechanics as "the
>dreams stuff is made of". Spirit is the unknowable spaceless timeless essence
>behind the veil of the Zero Point Energy field. Spirit is the single consciousness
>all our minds forget we are inextractably enmeshed in the moment we are born into
>this manifest existence.
This talk of a "single consciousness ... we are inextractably enmeshed in" is very dangerous stuff. It is Schopenhaurian - and you may remember that all the other ideas Schopenhauer had were bad too. More directly: there is no evidence for it, there is much evidence against it, and the onus is on the claimant of the positive.
There isn't any collective consciousness. There are billions of separate consciouenesses, which affect and communicate with each other in various ways.
Maintaining that there is a collective consciousness is dangerous because it invites all the horrors of collectivism. In particular, it provides a basis upon which one individual can claim that another individual has various obligations to him simply by the fact of being conscious - and I don't mean the obligation to refrain from injuring him or stealing from him. Most importantly, if the collective consciousness premise is accepted, then the collective will naturally takes precedent over the smaller constituent individual wills. Do you understand what this means? This means gas chambers and crematoriums. This means genocide. This means megadeath.
Don't fuck around with collectivism. Collectivism kills. The reason I slug so hard in my messages (when I do) is because I, apparently unlike those who protest my gravity and slugging, see that the issues I treat with gravity are matters of life and death. In the 20th century, communist regimes have killed 110 million people, and plunged into slavery and abject misery untold millions more. Most horribly, the dead, enslaved, and miserable, include most of the brightest, most independent-minded freethinking individuals in the affected societies (principally, Russia and China). People like myself have been, and probably will again be, butchered by the millions in the name of collectivism. Do I take these matters seriously? Do the math.
20 Jun 1999 gamma - The ubiquitous foil of the dialectic
> In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tse wrote -- "It is the mother of ten
>thousand things. Knowing not its name, I call it Tao."
That's mysticism. It's a weapon trained on, and intent on destroying, your capacity to reason.
> The main idea I take from this is that the world can only be made up
>of dark and light, beauty and blood, gentleness and murder, joy and pain.
>There will never be any resolution.
This is essentially what Hegel says:
"We must analyze everything into what it now is, then analysis will show that it contains its opposite, which in turn will have to be harmonized into something that includes them both. But the resultant synthesis will itself be subject again to a negative element, this then, will be resolved into a still more comprehensive synthesis, which will be subjected once more to the principle of contradiction."
This is simply wrong, and the methodology it dictates is quite incompatible with the systems methodology (which is the methodology by which I operate). Marxism produced the Trabant and Aeroflot. The systems methodology produced the Boeing 747 and the moon shots. Get the picture? When the Soviet Union excelled, and it often did technologically, it was not by Marxism but by the systems methodology unencumbered by the toxic waste of dialecticalism. The MiG-29 is a systems product. So is the Enyergiya booster.
21 Jun 1999 theta - Communism, still here, still evil
>I don't know why you are still overly concern about communism/socialism. That
>Ideology has gone the way of DOS. That is viewed as obsolete.
Maybe you missed the happenings in the most populous nation on earth:
from the South China Morning Post, 1999-Apr-1, by Daniel Kwan:
Marxist message to be drilled home
Beijing is to step up its "Three Emphases" campaign by sending 46 teams on a tour of provinces and central government organs to raise cadres' ideological awareness.
The teams were made up from more than 260 "educators" who would teach cadres in the instructions issued by President Jiang Zemin , Xinhua said.
The "Three Emphases" stresses studying of the Marxist canon, "talking more about politics" and raising the level of Marxist righteousness.
It was put into top gear last month when Zeng Qinghong, a protege of President Jiang, took over as the director of the Communist Party's organisation department.
The news agency said the educators would study "conspicuous problems" cadres faced when they visited departments and workplaces. The teams would focus on the conduct and performance of senior cadres.
They would report their findings not only to the bosses of the units they investigated but also the central leadership.
Although the campaign stresses virtues such as honesty and clean government, analysts said it had more to do with the "talking more about politics" requirement set by Mr Jiang to ensure that every policy serves the interests of the Communist Party leadership with the President as its core.
Official media yesterday quoted two political heavyweights - Vice-President Hu Jintao and Politburo Standing Committee member Wei Jianxing - as backing the campaign and urging cadres to give it their full support.
On a visit to Henan province, Mr Hu said the campaign was a "Marxist re-education experience" for cadres and told them to open themselves to criticism and public scrutiny.
"This Three Emphases re-education is a test for our senior cadres to check if they truly follow the mass direction as enshrined by Marxism," Mr Hu was quoted as saying.
Public criticism would help cadres to correct their mistakes and improve work practices, he said. In Shanghai, Mr Wei stressed the importance of honesty in the campaign and said it would help curb corruption in the bureaucracy.
Last month, a commentary in the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily lamented that some cadres had neglected their political responsibilities and strayed from Marxism.
>Also you have confused Stalinism with communisism/socialism
No I haven't. The former leads inevitably from the latter. Lenin was also a murderous monster, so was Mao, so was Pol Pot, so was Hitler (National _Socialism_).
from the Boston Globe, 1995-Dec-7, by Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist:
TO THE VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM, LEST WE FORGET
For pure murderous evil, there has never been a force to compare with Communism. The Nazis didn't come close. The Holocaust was uniquely malignant - never before or since did one people construct a vast industry of death for the sole purpose of rounding up and destroying every single member of another people. But the Nazis exterminated 11 million innocents; the Communist death toll surpasses 100 million. Nazi power lasted from 1933 to 1945. The Communist nightmare began in November 1917, and continues to this day.
Savagery has always been a hallmark of Communism. It is an ideology that requires the destruction of human beings. “We have never rejected terror in principle,” wrote Lenin in 1901, “nor can we do so.”
Half a century later, even as he denounced the extremes to which his predecessors went, Nikita Khrushchev vowed that the terror so esteemed by Lenin would go on. “The questioning of Stalin's terror,” he cautioned the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956, “may lead to the questioning of terror in general. But Bolshevism believes in the use of terror.” Not long afterward, Khrushchev sent 3,000 Soviet tanks to crush the Hungarian freedom fighters.
Communism equals murder. Everywhere. Always.
>implication of communism
Communism equals death. For it to be pragmatic from one's perspective, one would have to wish for death, i.e. exhibit Thanatos. This is a cardinal morbidity, a profound mental illness.
23 Jun 1999 mu - On the obstacle of cultural inertia
>If the major proponent(s) of new system have a tendency to
>pronounce vast segments of a planetary civilization evil, is it likely to be
Don't you think there's a more important question that should be asked before that one?
If vast segments of a planetary civilization are evil, isn't it imperative to pronounce them as such?
A consensus morality formed from the various moralities of existing social establishments gives you a heinous collectivist morass which eventually collapses catastrophically - i.e. everybody loses. That is, the synthesis of existing moral rubbish gives you more moral rubbish.
The solution (Innovism) is not a synthesis of existing moral rubbish, but a system founded directly on empirical universal physical principles. By happenstance some of its principles can be found in the status quo of some or all locales, though in Innovism they are more well-defined.
The psychosocial reality is that the inertia of existing value systems (the tendency of each member of society to continue to believe what he believes simply because he believes it and those around him believe it) represents a practical impediment to reform. Society's members have to be shocked in some manner that leads them to discard their logically invalid, practically unworkable, and morally reprehensible value systems, and adopt Innovism.
The fact that Innovism in its details (as enumerated in the Innovist constitution) is an obvious win for the majority of the population certainly helps to enable its adoption. Certainly, many bureaucrats, and most of those who receive substantial entitlements (welfare of various sorts) in the current system, will be opposed, as they desire to continue to lord over people abusively (in the former case) and steal from people (in the latter case). These people do not make a majority, and what they want is not worthy of consideration except insofar as it informs the virtuous as to the shape of the threat.
24 Jun 1999 alpha - Non-Hegelian societies
There is something extremely interesting and complicated to talk about here.
It is this: how are people with inflexible principles that preclude Hegelianism - particularly Innovists - to form cohesive social circles?
I am so accustomed to opposition, and to the unreliability and corruption of others, that my instincts now seldom lead me to consider group solutions.
However, revolutions (of whatever sort) involve many people, and they are not magic. I have a couple close friends - one male, one female - who I believe are now Innovists, and agree with my conclusions and proposals categorically or nearly so. It is certainly the case that there are many other people who would be Innovists if the ideas were properly presented to them.
Aah, I've sidetracked myself.
The issue at hand is social organization and cohesiveness.
The question, at its heart, is: what is the emotional substance that binds together rationalists in general and Innovists in particular?
For a contrast, I'll briefly consider what binds together organizations of non-rationalists, and particularly, of anti-Innovists. Clearly, Hegelianism is the foremost glue - in the form of exalted authority systems. People in these organizations like being subordinated to higher authorities (both as such, and because it justifies abandonment of responsibility), and like subordinating others to their authority (and observing the recognition of that authority). Another major ingredient is each member's expectation that he will be positioned to exploit other members of the organization. Another one is the expectation that members will, through collusive favoritism, be positioned to give each other advantages they deny to non-members. Another is the expectation that the organization will act the way insurance does - a voluntary form of socialism, in which members with capacities in excess of those necessary for the maintenance of a tacit consensus baseline employ some of those capacities to benefit a member in need, who is below the baseline and lacks the capacities necessary to return to baseline. This is done either out of naked altruism (basically, a morbidity, though one which is genetically predestined and universal in its primitives), or out of the expectation that the bail-out will be reciprocated should the need arise in the future (in which case it is like insurance, and actually a reasonable arrangement if the non-formalization is ignored). Each member also expects that other members will be restrained from excelling, and will act to effect such restraint, since individual excellence is contrary to the interests of the organization and of the rest of its members. Anti-Innovist organizations are not founded on commonalities of interest; in fact, in these organizations, the interests of one member usually have various intrinsic conflicts with those of other individual members. The organization is collective-centered; the primary subjective commonality of interest shared by members is that each perceives the perpetuation and growth of the organization to be in his interests. The policies to which members are expected to adhere are often either unspoken or presented as something ostensibly other than policy; the power structure of the organization is often cryptic, ad hoc, or partially and misleadingly formalized, and designed to favor the interests of the organization (and usually its power elite) over those of its members, and peopled in a manner reflective largely of manipulative aptitude and influence (prima facie Hegelian). Actions are usually viewed as collective affairs, with members viewed functionally (interchangeably) and most or all members viewed as individually expendable. Diversity among members is discouraged and assailed, because it moves the focus of attention from the collective to the individual. A sweeping pseudosovereignty of the collective is masked out to provide selected individual autonomies that are not expected to injure the organization.
Organizations of Innovists are bound together and driven by almost completely different forces. The foremost glue is the manner in which the organization facilitates the realization of goals that are common to most or all members of the organization. Some of these goals may be attainable only with the involvement of others. Examples of this range from playing football to building a high rise building. Another glue force is the basic good-company principle: members of the organization communicate their thoughts, in a manner that is of benefit both to the speaker (who has caused the minds of others to be changed in the manner he desires) and to the listeners (whose minds are changed in a manner that benefits them). Moreover, good company - conversation with others of similar aptitude - is naturally pleasurable, essentially because it is pleasurable to exercise and experience one's skills and talents, and good company facilitates this experience. Somewhat in common with anti-Innovist organizations, Innovist ones act to detect threats to members and coordinate defensive bulwarks or campaigns of action. Innovist organizations are founded on enumerated commonalities of interest, and this alone makes them extremely robust, at least in theory. These organization are individual-centered, with the organizational structure acting only as scaffolding for actions viewed as individual but coordinated. The organization is viewed functionally (interchangeably), with no particular religious/patriotic attachment by the members to a particular incarnation. The policies to which members are expected to adhere are openly enumerated with thoroughness and detail; the power structure of the organization is open and formal, designed to further the interests of the members of the organization, and peopled according to aptitude. Diversity among members is embraced and accentuated, since it is conducive to powerful division of labor arrangements, and perhaps even moreso, because it is conducive to valuable conversation and conceptual hybridization. The total informational corpus (wisdom and expertise) and capacity embodied by a diverse group is immensely greater than that embodied by a relatively uniform group of equal size. In Innovist organizations, the natural sweeping sovereignty and autonomy of the individual is masked out to specify selected and clearly bounded responsibilities pursuant to organizational interests.
The key to the health of an Innovist organization seems to be open enumeration of commonalities of interest. In other words, members have to honestly announce to the other members their dearest desires. This is something that makes most people uncomfortable, if they are able to do it at all. One tricky aspect is that a member whose desires have evolved such that he no longer has a sufficient commonality of interest with the other members should be willing and emotionally able to withdraw unilaterally from the organization, having recognized that he no longer belongs. It is good to work to discourage others from having evil wants, and to encourage them to have good wants, but there are practical limits on the effectiveness and appropriateness of such efforts, and two people with essentially good wants can nonetheless lack sufficient commonality of interest to form the foundation of a healthy cooperative arrangement.
The survival of an organization proper pays practical dividends, since its infrastructure has value, and once destroyed, cannot be restored without effort. Organizations with substantial and widely distributed properties, and operational complexity and intensity, are particularly expensive to construct or restore. Shipping companies and militaries are prime examples.
The primary practical liability of Innovist organizations, from the point of view of organizational survival, is that they cannot glue themselves together around the toxin of Hegelian authority structures. If this were simply a matter of organizational minutiae, there would be no major issue, but in fact Innovist organizations have (often hierarchical) power structure just like non-Innovist organizations do. Clearly this is a matter of member psychology and policy codification, and not of the dispassionate aspects of extant power structure. The members of anti-Innovist organizations freely delegate control over themselves to leaders, and these leaders then exercise that control in a manner that leads the members to bolster and expand the organization. The members do this often without understanding why they are doing what they are doing, beyond knowing they have been told to do it. This system's tactical and operational agility, and tumor-like efficiency, are undeniable. It is also undeniable - in fact, definitional - that it is toxic to an Innovist organization. It is clearly incompatible with individual adherence to reasoned action. That is why it can lead to such horrors as the Holocaust, while Innovism is intrinsically incapable of producing such horrors.
What is needed is an emotionally satisfying non-Hegelian social operating system that recognizes that some socio-emotional phenemena that are components of Hegelian social operating systems are natural and must be accomodated in a manner that carefully avoids institutionalized or codified legitimization or other reinforcement. Though I've clearly described much of this operating system in my above description of Innovist organizations, I need to go further.
First of all, I'll briefly identify those emotions that are not inherently toxic, but which are in fact mechanisms used in Hegelian social operating systems. The first and foremost such emotion is pleasure due to the approval of others for one's actions. Evidently, this can serve as social glue, and does not intrinsically involve any toxicity (as of authority, relativism, etc.). This takes the form of compliments, applause, payment, awards, promotions (escalation of authority), and endowment with privileges. However, all of these are somewhat limp and obviously Hegelian in character. For my own part, I like getting paid not because it is an expression of approval, but because it empowers me to pursue my desires. The rest of it I do not much care for. However, there *is* a form of approval that does bring me pleasure, and it is when my own deliberate actions pursuant to my own reasoned goal structure bring pleasure to people I consider to be my peers of common interest, or lead others (of any sort) to act in a cooperative manner. I have almost completely lost the capacity to get pleasure from either of these dynamics, as nearly all trace of Hegelian candidate emotions have been burned out of me by a very hard life (which I chose by my nature - the complaints of all the Hegelbots follow inevitably from the complete lack of any evidence of Hegelian sentiments in my writing), but nonetheless I think these emotional dynamics ought not to be deliberately targeted for destruction even by the purest Innovist.
Another example is even trickier. It is how an individual in a position of legitimate authority (a project leader, an architect, an infantry squad leader, etc.) can get pleasure from the exercise of control pursuant to mission, without embracing the toxin of pleasure from control over people. The former emotion is pure Innovism - the pleasure of competence in action, of effectiveness and virtuosity. The latter is pure Hegelianism - a toxic emotion that smacks of the demagogue and the tyrant. Where is the boundary between the two? Indeed, is there a boundary? And if not, as seems quite likely, this domain must obviously be the subject of vigilant attention by any Innovist in a position of authority over other people. Each such individual must through personal discipline expunge all pleasure due to contemplation, recognition, or exercise of control over other people as such. Control over the actions of others must first something done with stoic resolve and confidence, perhaps with an initial stage during which it is done with discomfort or disgust.
The above dynamic can be turned the other direction, to the emotions accompanying acceptance of commands, with very little change. A carpenter on a work crew should get pleasure from participating in the construction of a structure he believes in, but should not get pleasure from the fact of being ordered as such, or from the fact of being part of an authority system as such. Each individual subject to the authority of another individual must be vigilant in disciplining these emotions.
A key difference in propensities between the Innovist and the anti-Innovist is particularly evident in the organizational context. The Innovist prefers to do work himself (delegating only reluctantly), and particularly, to do the hardest parts when they fall within one of his specialties. The anti-Innovist prefers to delegate as much as possible, and particularly, to make sure that the work that he himself does involves minimal intimacy with final products. This is because, whereas the Innovist gains pleasure from the pursuit, realization, and recognition, of excellence and competence in matters of solidity, and knows he can maintain maximum control over and gain maximum pleasure from the task by doing it himself, the anti-Innovist gains pleasure from cheating and manipulating, and despises excellence and competence in matters of solidity. The anti-Innovist seeks to put as great a distance as possible between himself and such matters of solidity, since they constitute an objective measure of merit that mercilessly condemns him.
24 Jun 1999 alpha - More on non-Hegelian societies
>you shouldn't ignore non-formal organisations,
>where co-operation is decided ad hoc.
Good point. The systems approach is cathedralesque, but Innovists are certainly not all systems people all the time wall to wall!
The bazaar actually seems to be quite a natural, inevitable dynamic, since Innovists tend to be curious, industrious, rational, and integrative people. The bazaar is a marvelous example of an evolutionary arena - it includes autonomous individual innovation, automatic competition between the innovations, and unilateral and multilateral cooperative synthesis of the innovations.
Bazaars aren't really organizations, they're arenas with a largely anarchistic character. They can survive because they are encapsulated within a non-anarchistic organization. Organizations can and do precipitate out of bazaars, and that's fine.
>when egos become dominant, i.e. the power
>structure becomes a sub-goal for the "elite", the project will either
>fail or be restructured.
Well, "ego" is a loaded word, but you're certainly right that an influx of Hegelian social dynamics ruin or transform a project.
>a democratic model
>strenghtens the growth and stability of the project.
Don't lose sight of the fact that democracy (voting) is an appropriate decisionmaking method in already-contentious contexts, and such contentious contexts ought to be kept as far out of a mission's critical path as possible.
>This operating system
>would be next to unthinkable in e.g. an office environment, where
>employees do not share common goals, but are rather the footpads of the
Ever heard of United States Information Services? USIS is a private, employee-owned company that does all the background research and interviews for high level US government security clearances.
Each and every employee has a share of ownership in the company. Common interests between the employees (all of them, from secretaries to the CEO) are immense and explicit. This is an office environment that runs counter to your assertion.
Though USIS is a dramatic exception, it is a real-world proof of concept.
>not everyone would fit
>into an Innovist organisation.
Yes, this appears to be the case. My suspicion is that almost anyone will "fit" (one doesn't fit into an Innovist org, the org fits into one - individual-centered) as a matter of genetic predestination, and that it is massive toxic meme loads (socialization) that make them incongruous in Innovist orgs.
>I have a slight suspicion that you have let your personal attitude
>towards work accomplishment forms interfere with your ideas.
That is oddly put. It's a bit difficult to describe it as interference, eh? My personal attitude == my ideas, is my point. I'm being a bit facile here though.
>that an Innovist will always strive to do as much of the actual work as
>he possibly can.
Yeah, you're right. It's an overgeneralization.
>For instace, one person could possibly accomplish
>such a task as writing a major piece of software, an office suite, for
>instance, but a co-operative could do it if not better then faster.
Actually, this is a very interesting matter. It turns out that the dynamic in software implementation is similar to that in parallel computing: initially, adding workers speeds things up almost linearly, but the incremental gain drops and drops until there is no benefit. Unlike in parallel computing, however, at a certain point the addition of personnel carries a penalty, and indeed beyond a certain point a _single_ worker can complete the project in less time, with higher quality, than can an armada of workers. With a well-developed managerial system and project architecture, and competent leadership, these penalties can largely avoided of course.
>A single person could possibly co-ordinate
>the entire work force, which would possibly take up all his time. Such a
>project leader would contribute no code of his own, but still he has
>touched every part of the project. Have I misunderstood something?
I don't think so. An anti-Innovist wouldn't do that, by the way; he wouldn't want to know the details, wouldn't be curious, wouldn't want to be in those loops.
The more general matter, my assertion that Innovists love the hands-on part, well I think that's a loose rule. Notice that my work on e.g. the Innovist constitution is in fact unusually hands-off, and I enjoy it greatly nonetheless. The fact that I do very hands-on work on many technologies described in the constitution, and am constantly doing hands-on thought exercises to test and evolve the constitution, is perhaps key.
>Imagine a very wealthy person who has no real use for the
>major part of his wealth, so he donates it to the poor.
With no strings attached? Sounds like burning money. Actually, worse: it probably creates crime and destroys morale. I disapprove.
>This is not a
Actually, it is. Generating crime is contrary to his interests, unless he's evil. At any rate, it destroys wealth.
>a rush from having done
>something to help other people
The rush is from doing something that many other (errant or malicious) people approve of. It's Hegelian.
A much better example to pose to me would be the wealthy fellow who sets up an inner-city business startup fund, or a scholarship fund, or what have you, always merit-based but with residence and financial need requirements and proportionalities. Now, we're talking. This is the sort of philanthropy that I believe in. It is in the interests of the donor, because by donating he changes the world in the manner he desires, and it is in the interests of the recipients, because through industry they become independent, self-supporting, and quite possibly prosperous.
There, we're four-square, because what you actually had in mind was actually the latter, and *not* the former (which I condemned). Yay! Agreement!