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It says it uses the Census LEHD data. I found a huge problem with that in NYC. All of the job locations of city employees were assigned to Brooklyn Borough Hall, because that's where the paychecks come from. That issue renders the jobs data almost useless for bigger cities. The CTPP data were correct, but it's always old data, so it's useful but not for cities that change rapidly. So I guess for big cities you have to choose between data that is inaccurate or old. I prefer old, but that's just me.
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I got a gift card for Amazon for Christmas, so I ordered it yesterday, it shipped today, and I should have it on Sunday.
Toggle Commented Dec 26, 2014 on My book is shipping! at Question Everything
Just don't forget about all her other books. There is so much more in the later books. That was just her first attempt. My favorite is "Systems of Survival," but they're all good.
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What graphics program do you use to create those?
"...odd shiny things in the discard pile..." While the use of mythical aliens might not be appropriate to the book, the analysis is. And this is a good example of what makes for a good practical book, the way that Jane Jacobs analyzed how the city really works in "Death and Life..." Stripping away the glitzy posters and politicians' speeches and master theories, just dealing with how things actually work, is important. Sadly, there are way too many books stating how things "should" be according to the author, and not enough that further the depth of knowledge of actually existing sitatuations. So definitely keep that focus in the book.
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t0wnp1ann3r is now following Jarrett at
Mar 2, 2011
Phil: Did you write that part after reading this post: ? I think something that is important in your discussion in that Monbiot discussion board is the notion that you can participate in writing a view of the world. Suggesting revisions to the bible is obviously heretical to many, but it shows your interest in participating in writing your own view of the world, which is obviously characteristic of people at a higher level of psychological development than most. Indeed, as the years go by, I noticed my habits regarding reading texts change over time. Years ago I refused to write in books. After an english professor said that the only way you could engage literature was to write in your books with questions and ideas that occur as you're reading it, I started doing it. These days I prefer to find books or readings online so that I can copy the text into a word document. If I find that the text is useful to me, I realize that I don't always take in everything from it the first time. So I start editing the text and making it more applicable to what I'm looking to learn. I actively engage the material and edit it myself. Recognizing, of course, that what I'm doing constitutes manipulation of another person's ideas, I can only do it because I have accepted that all ideas that I encounter are in some way altered by my brain upon encountering them. Instead of the years of just trying to absorb information and believing that there was a certain truth to something, I've accepted that I necessarily change what is received based on my own personal filters, and now I choose to be proactive in my manipulation of the ideas as they come in. Obviously, this personal revisionism can tend to pigeon-hole your own thinking. The only antidote is to question everything, always. So not only do I practively manipulate the information as I receive it, but I recognize and evaluate my tendencies in revisionism. Too many of the blog posts I read to posit a single problem and a single solution. Too many comments on blogs simply fight over which ideas are "right" and which ones are more useful. The best thing these blogs offer is the ability to increase critical thinking capacity, to truly judge each person's position as they pur forth those theories. Of course climate change sounds like hogwash to certain conservatives. If you think, not in terms of your personal values and your own beliefs, but you temporarily suspend them and temporarily adopt the beliefs of this other person, and then evaluate the data, you can easily see why they believe what they believe. The same goes with the faults of the environmental and sustainability movements... people adopt ideas and then put forth theories based on those ideas. Somehow, if one could actually disbelieve all the things we take for granted like "money" and "economy" and "the environment" and divorce those words from the meanings that they've built up in their heads over all those years, then maybe, just maybe, we could start to have a discussion of life beyond those concepts. But we don't have the language to do it. I keep waiting for that SUNY group to come up with and cement the concept of energy that can replace the idea of money, so that they stop saying things like "...we fear that investing hundreds of billions in an electricity system that is far more complex and far less reliable will lead us in the wrong direction..." Because the billions that it is referring to is money. And we need to stop talking in terms of money, as it's not a very useful concept for moving forward. There are so many things we have to overcome, like using the idea of money, that we're not even close to moving beyond.
Toggle Commented Sep 20, 2010 on Where is the 'Economy' Going? at Question Everything
Having decided that there exists a problem of the inability of those more sapient to somehow awaken those less sapient to the lack of sapience and move them in the right direction, the search for a solution to such a problem is rightfully complex and in some ways based on the beliefs and definitions inherent in the definition of the problem itself. In an effort to provide a simple answer to the complex question of "why can't we get through to them?", and realizing that the answer will necessarily be insufficient, I posit the following theory of "sticky" ideas: Because getting people to think more complexly involves communicating to them complex ideas, and because complex ideas do not stick easily, simple (and therefore necessarily insufficient) ideas will win out over complex ideas every time. As evidence, I point to this blog which is a reference to a review of a book:, which nicely boils down what it takes to make an idea stick. Testing complex, intricate, emergent theories against this framework shows that most of the stuff discussed on this blog is just not sticky enough, and will never be. The ideas here are complex, not simple. They are actually unexpected, but it's the only one of the six principles we get right. These ideas are often abstract and not concrete, though we strive to make them concrete. Most people can't comprehend the ideas here, and therefore think them incredible. Most people don't care about these ideas. And these ideas result in a less-than-pleasant future for us to expect, which therefore is not only not inspirational, but in fact would tend to freeze someone with deer-in-the-headlights surprise, if they actually attempt to take in all of the implications discussed here. So this is the sticking point where we lose the hearts and minds of the people. We won't ever be able to get our ideas to stick.
Toggle Commented Sep 14, 2010 on Where is the 'Economy' Going? at Question Everything
I like to find examples of sapient people getting credit, and actually being able to lead while still maintaining a complex view. In Washington DC, there's a blog called "Greater Greater Washington." It's about urban planning and transportation mostly. Over time the blog, led by a former Google employee who doesn't appear to have a full-time job at the moment other than the blog, has gained influence. The effect the blog is having in DC is mentioned in this article: The best example of the wisdom of the bloggers came today, when it was time for an endorsement for Mayor of DC. Instead of just one endorsement, there were 3. The incumbent received 2 endorsements from blog writers, one weak and one strong, and the editor chose to endorse the challenger. The editor owns the blog and could have easily just inserted his own endorsement without considering the others. However, he didn't. He let opposing views have their place, and even outnumber his. The comments to the blog start to show this fight between all-or-nothing thinking and complexity. One comment says: "Tactically pretty week(sic) to have both a fenty and gray endorsement going on at the same time . If you can't reach consensus, don't endorse." A response stated: "I disagree. A blog is not a democratic institution - David could have easily decided to assert his authority and use the power of his blog to endorse Gray unilaterally. However, he obviously cares about cultivating a more collaborative approach in the authorship of the material on the blog, and as such, he has pitted his endorsement and reasoning against two of his colleagues on the same footing (blog postings). I think that's a commendably honest and transparent way for a resource like GGW to publish about politics." So not only does the blog contain contrarian views which if they were inside a single person's head could cause cognitive dissonance, but the comments themselves at least recognize the complexity of this shared resource (the blog). In point of fact, the blog is not a democracy, but rather a controlled hierarchy. And the control at the highest point allows emergent information to flow from each individual part of the overall whole, instead of attempting to create a single voice. The single voice fallacy is something that hinders the understanding of complexity. If someone can only allow to hear a single voice coming from a complex system, they are immediately disregarding every other pertinent piece of information that might be dissonant. The most successful systems will have contrary information feeding back through the system. Group think is really just the suppression of competing information. This is similar to the way you like to have comments made on the pages instead of emails, so that a conversation may continue out in the open to spur ideas in others. Whether they agree or disagree, the comments are read by everyone. Hooray for more transparency, hooray for cognitive dissonance, and hooray for learning to live with this sometimes unstable mix.
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2010 on The Situation Now at Question Everything
George or anyone: are there any books out there that talk about how to work through or combat cognitive biases? I've seen books that describe cognitive biases, and the wikipedia page on them seems somewhat expansive... But I have yet to see a book on how to recognize them in yourself, break them down, work through them, and then learn to break them down in others. For instance, when I mentioned peak oil to my boss, he relayed how a graduate professor 20 years ago had gotten the class all worked up about the world running out of energy, but since no crash ever occured, my boss isn't worried about it anymore. I can recognize that it's normalcy bias, but I don't know how to respond to work through that. I can't just say to my boss: "You're exhibiting normalcy bias, which is the failure to plan for an event simply because it has never occurred in the past." Somehow I don't seet that conversation going so well.
David: the fault lies in allowing the collective teachings from your past to influence you so that you call 'economics' a 'science.'
Re: continuous vs. discrete... Sounds like wave vs. particle.
Help me work through this thought exercise: Property is a tacit agreement amongst people that only one person has the right to use a specific area of land. Money is in some way related to (and maybe more correctly should be directly related to) the use of energy, so that money flows in the opposite direction of energy... someone hands money over for oil, which has embedded energy. If "debt" is really borrowing originally off of existing surpluses (the grain silo example)... then for whatever energy we're using now it already exists, and all "debt" is really the use of more energy than we actually need at this current moment to survive. So if you think of "debt" not in the terms we usually think of it, but instead think of it as the use of currently surplus embedded energy (that really is just already existing on the planet as transformed sunlight)... And then if you think therefore similar to property as being tacitly agreed upon left-alone land... Then what "debt" really is, is actually existing surplus embedded energy already existing on the planet that a select group of people are using for their own desires while everyone else on the planet tacitly agrees that those people somehow have a right to that energy. ...because supposedly at some point in the future that select group of people will have lots of energy to bestow back upon the people who are voluntarily waiting for their chance at the energy trough. And they're hoping that as they "develop," through increased esteem of the people currently allowed to use the excess embedded energy, that one day they too will be allowed to use some of the excess embedded energy. And the reason everyone sticks to this tacit agreement that those specific people are allowed to use that land and use that energy, is because we still have these ideas in our heads that certain people are endowed with certain rights over other people... the same way people used to believe one race was better than another race. So the only reason we don't have planet-wide revolution is because some people still believe that because of whom someone's parents were, that person is likewise entitled to use of excess energy that someone else wasn't because of who their parents were. Well, there's that, and the energy embedded in the bullets that would be shot at those without as much energy, thereby keeping them in line, or rather out of line for feeding at the energy trough. So, one way or another, because there is a finite amount of energy available on this planet and it is already spoken for by a minority, the approaching collapse will be a great equalizer. The competition for energy will heat up as collapse gets closer, but at some point the EROEI of even these energy wars will eventually dissipate. There will be no energy left to fight each other over the energy that they no longer have the energy to extract. How crazy does all this abstraction sound?
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2010 on More News on the Economy at Question Everything
I can't remember the reference specifically, but I've read something before about "the illusion of choice." What people think of as their own decisions are so heavily influenced by external forces that replacing one decision maker with a decision maker who holds completely opposing values will still often make the same choice. It's like a fallacy of free will. We think we can do anything and be anything, and yet we can't wrap our brains around how much the various systems in which we are engaged guide our decisions. The inherent complexity in our lives, combined with a lack of sapience, means that we are unable to recognize the influences shaping our decisions based on delays in feedback that happen at every level. What would it take to be able to fully accept that you are powerless to see through your own veneer of certainty?
porge: You're right. I don't use metaphors much in my writing. Maybe it's because I'm just no good at them.
Not to sound like a nihilist, but when it comes to searching for a “purpose of life,” each individual makes up their own purpose. And in reality, absent our own second-order consciousness, there can’t be any empirically-proved “purpose” for life. Evolution moves along, and we’re just a particular iteration. We create our own value of life and divine our own purposes (or some people just accept the purpose of life as dictated to them by their friends, family, religion, or society). I feel intermittent sadness for my lack of attachment to the survival of this species. I guess since we aren’t aware of any other beings in the universe possessing second-order consciousness, there would be no one to mourn the extinction of our species, as such. You responded to a comment of mine by saying “you seem to cling to the notion that somehow you can get through and change minds, presumably just in time to save the world?” In truth I don’t think it’s possible to save the world. I enjoy little exercises, little projects to focus on, as I simultaneously realize that I’m just a breathing organism flying around for a short time on a watery planet going who-knows-where. I will continue to try to refine my incomplete map of the world; I will continue to try to expand the worldview of the people around me; I will continue to ponder how to affect the worldviews of a greater portion of the population; I will continue to learn more about systems and the limits of biofuels and discrete math; and I will continue to breath as I hurdle inexorably towards a time when I am no longer a part of this planet’s living creatures. These entertainments, these projects, these ponderings, all contain their own enjoyment. I take the enjoyment I can from them. I try to spread a little joy to some people. I try to feel the phenomenological falsehood that we call ‘time.’ I support changes to the teaching of our youth not because I think it’s possible to arrive at a more sapient version of business-as-usual, but because for whatever time our species has left on this planet, people with higher levels of cognitive development seem to experience less pain. If changes to teaching can do this, at least it would do some good.
I keep coming back to this idea, the anthropology minus the sociology. I'm thinking of it in terms of what it would take to change the worldview of society in general; to break people out of their shells and at least acknowledge that things like climate change and peak oil and the collapse of society are possible and not just science fiction. Robert Kegan’s book called "Immunity to Change" (which is for personal development), says that the only way to change is to observe, recognize, and then deconstruct assumptions that you hold that you don't realize that you hold... My hope is that a book about things as they empirically are, not just as society has agreed they are, would help to crack open the shell and let people examine what they really believe about things by making them aware of what assumptions they've layered on top of the physical world. The bottom of that page talks about the difference between physical knowledge (the stuff that exists whether or not we have a name for it) and the social knowledge that we are taught. Reading what I previously wrote, I actually was talking about the development of those social constructs. Now I look at it and I realize that you first have to start with just the physical world and don’t even acknowledge the existence of the social knowledge. Then, once empirical, falsifiable, physical reality has been set out, then you can go back in and add social knowledge on top, recognizing that it is held only in the minds of Homo calidus, and not in any way empirical beyond that. So you would first lay out that there are humans, that they live in organized tribes and large groupings… and the objects that provide them energy have been aggregated from various plant and animal products from far distances brought to them through a network of other humans and agglomerations of metals and other products that are able to transport this energy-containing biomass by igniting a derivative of sweet crude inside of a complicated construction of various parts similarly transported across long distances. These constructions that burn the crude derivative can travel very quickly on a surface that has been prepared specifically for this transport of goods and humans. The large semi-organized built environments scattered across the land and concentrated mostly along rivers and coasts contain a rather large number of these surfaces, connecting the many constructions of mostly stone and would that the humans inhabit so as to protect them from various dangers in the environment. The material used often in place of stone is likewise made up of materials... and so on. Maybe I should go look at children's books, or maybe early foreign-language books that lay out the basic things that make up our civilization and start a wikipedia-like collaboration for the description of objects disregarding any social connotation.
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2010 on Energy and Value at Question Everything
One day I'll read this, but I haven't gotten to it yet: "Where There Is No Doctor" from the Hesperian Foundation. Maybe that's what I'll print off just as civilization is crashing.
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2010 on With Lots of Time to Ponder at Question Everything
Further support for how a lack of sapience guides our current civilization: Another blog I frequent ( ) that analyzes urban complexity and furthers the work of two of my favorite authors, Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander ( ), puts everything in the perspective of systems and complexity. The latest post there ( ) awakened me to a deeper realization of the problem of lack of sapience. I’ve had trouble in the past reconciling the completely local view of Jacobs & Alexander where decisions are only made by people in the locations, and there is no modernist overarching false form given to enormous government projects pushed through by bureaucrats and having nothing to do with local daily life. In this local world of small, iterative decisions, how do you muster the collective efforts needed to build a mass transit system between local villages and city centers or build the Hoover Dam to harness larger amounts of hydroelectric energy? The latest blog post by this author deals primarily with the lack of sapience in institutions of higher education, whereby the establishment can’t give Jacobs her due because they are locked in a certain reality tunnel that maintains the status quo, namely themselves and their accomplishments. It hit me when I read “…she distinguished between problems of single-variable organized simplicity and multi-variable organized complexity…” that the modernist ideals, the large organizing principles that the public is supposed to be able to use to decide their own fate through democracy… those simple variables only work at the local scale. Yes, at the local scale, Jacobs & Alexander are great. They can get you profit energy so you can do more local work, you can create houses and streets that are real and livable and feel right to a human. But at a larger scale, simple solutions do not work. Freeways, subway systems, sewer systems, government, tax systems, property law… the more complex they are, the more the average person starts to get annoyed. When they’re complex, they can’t be understood, and therefore they’re bad. The average person wants simple things they can understand. Unfortunately, simple solutions cannot solve complex problems that are present in complex systems. You need a more complex set of solutions. Enter Jay Forrester and his ‘Urban Dynamics ( ) ,’ published 8 years after Jacobs’ ‘Death and Life of Great American Cities,’ both of which attack modern city planning practices and the bureaucracies that propagate them. What these show is the complete failure of efforts that we still currently use for regional development. Alexander and his methods can help shape local areas. Beyond that you need Jacobs’ observations put forth in Forrester’s urban dynamics. The problem of course, as you addressed previously, is the lack of sapience in democracy itself. Democracy can in no piecemeal way deal with the complexity of regions. Democracy depends on voters electing people who should be able to handle a higher complexity of thought. To make democracy work, it would somehow have to provide for elected officials more sapient than the average person. Another method I found for measuring sapience is integrative complexity ( ) and a professor of psychology has spent some time researching the ways to score complexity and actually offers a manual for how to score the complexity of a person’s cognitive structure by analyzing written texts ( ) . Through the methods for scoring complexity one can easily see how someone who sees the world devoid of differentiation cannot in any way provide solutions to complex problems. Unless the decision makers can score at least a 5 on the scale of integrative complexity, they don’t have the cognitive structure to even understand proposed solutions to complex problems - - or even recognize that problems are complex. The people that receive a 1, 2, or 3 on the scale don’t actually recognize that there is complexity. They think that there can be simple solutions because they think that these are all simple problems. So absent an Emergent Layered Sapience which exhibits feedback and hierarchical control in place of our current democratic system, we have no way to put into power only those people cognitively complex enough to provide and evaluate solutions to complex problems which exist in any realm beyond a local, walkable area. I think you’re right. We don’t have the sapience as a species to put into power people who are complex enough to solve the wicked problems we encounter. And we’re not sapient enough to realize that our currently proposed simple solutions won’t work, because we can’t interpret the feedback because we don’t have a system in place to interpret what the feedback is telling us. We, as a species in toto, are subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect ( ) . Our incompetence, our lack of sapience, denies us the ability to recognize the feedback that would otherwise make us aware of how much sapience we lack. We are kinda screwed.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2010 on The Situation Now at Question Everything
Thinking about this further, I realized that I let religion and ideology off the hook, basically blaming an individual for their own resistance to change. I did not intend this, as I define culture by the maintenance of the status quo that provides the inertia to resist change. Many people today have a fear of fundamentalism, but feel that moderate religious beliefs are benign. Ideology, religion, fundamentalism, and even the straw man this is scientism, are the most effective creators of reality construct inertia. Questioning everything constantly is the only cure. It thus creates a state of constant change in velocity. Permanent change. However, that is an individual’s own personal journey. Where is the empathic translation of change to others? I speak specifically of my daily polite fictions ( ). While I thoroughly engage all of this blog commentary with true conviction, I politely leave it out of everyday conversations. When I talk about the subjects of this blog with others, I speak of it as an interest of mine, and interesting ideas to think about, but I do not in any way attempt to disenchant them of their reality tunnel. The best quote I know to represent this is part of the headline of the New York Times after Einstein’s general theory of relativity had been proven: “Stars Not Where They Seemed or Were Calculated to Be, but Nobody Need Worry.” It’s the “nobody need worry” part that provides the comfort and negates the concomitant news that everyone’s view of the universe was wrong. So your understanding of the universe is incorrect, but so what? It’ll be OK. The best example I’ve witnessed of the effect of the impolite intrusion of fictions on another person’s reality was when discussing people who have died and their status as angels. Common culture, as enabled by books and movies, states that people can become angels after their death. It is comforting to some people to believe that the loved one who has recently died is now following them as a guardian angel. In the example I witnessed, a devout Christian would not let this inaccuracy stand, and informed the grieving person that according to the Bible the deceased was not an angel and could not be an angel, as all angels were created by God prior to the creation of man. This in no way comforted the griever, but the devout person felt justified in defending the correct dogma. In everyday life, attempts to disenchant people of their religion are met with outright anger and sometimes violence. If you were to correct someone and say that the sun is not setting, but that the earth is rotating so that people located in our longitude will shortly be out of sight of the sun, they would dismiss you as a fop. If you were attempt to explain to someone that puppies have no souls, but that neither do humans, you would be written off as crazy. So I walk through my day, watching people make decisions with less-than-helpful maps of the world, and I continue walking. It’s Somebody Else’s Problem ( ). Who am I to try to intrude upon their reality tunnel? I’m just a bystander ( ). It’s the general diffusion of responsibility ( ) that we as a group who realize the presence of reality tunnels can all hide behind if questioned as to why we don’t do more to awaken our fellow humans. I’m not an elected leader, and one might assume that an elected leader would bear the responsibility of this sort of awakening. Except that since the leader is elected by those who have not awaked from their reality tunnel, they elect someone who has not awaked from his own reality tunnel, and he can therefore not take on the responsibility himself. What we’re missing is some sort of social intervention. In situations where an individual is unaware of their own addiction and their inability to control it themselves, their friends and loved ones will perform an intervention ( ). And therapists will make use of cognitive interventions ( ) and rational emotive behavior therapy ( ) to awaken individuals, and move the locus of control ( ) to an internal position, enabling them to begin active engagement in the creation of their world view. We need some sort of social intervention. Education seems like a candidate, but not the current state of education. Systems science and learner-centered learning might work to produce people capable of sapient thinking, but getting society to adopt this approach is its own wicked problem. If a group of sapient individuals were to band together and attempt to perform an intervention on someone to bust open their reality tunnel, the human mind would be limited to the amount of change it is capable of creating within itself in a short period of time. So between the full long-term change of creating a University of Noesis to begin with the appropriate precursors to sapience, and a short-term but ineffective attempt at a reality tunnel intervention, what tools does the average bystander have at their disposal for acting locally? What can an individual do to effect change in those around them? What would be the sapience equivalent of an evangelical? Could someone knock on doors and ask, “Pardon me, but have you accepted that your worldview is incomplete into your heart? Have you heard the word of the awakened?” Obviously, this is all very silly. Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe I’m stuck in bystander mode, unwilling to challenge my own assumptions about people’s ability to absorb the news that their reality tunnel is inadequate.
“…grow up and no longer believe in fairy tales.” – That is my main concern these days. How do we facilitate this awakening? In the comments on one of your posts ( ) you said “the word construct implies construction which might imply conscious engineering.” I was actually referring to Constructivism ( ) which is concerned with the creation of an individual’s map of the world. It has been constructed in the sense that it is not inherently true unto itself, but instead created over time by the experiences of the individual. In another set of comments under one of your posts ( ) you mention the idea of a self-unfolding code that unwraps the knowledge of the universe, instead of learning individual ideas transferred one-dimensionally as memes from one generation to the next. Frankly I think that this idea is the most brilliant idea you’ve had, bar none. So much of the reality tunnel ( ) that people lacking in sapience are trapped in is constructed based on our current memes. For instance, when someone says that the “sun is setting.” Is the sun really going somewhere? Obviously, it’s going through the galaxy at a high rate of speed, but it’s simply the human perception that the sun is moving while the earth is standing still. This holdover from the days before Copernicus remains with us. This is the same way that most people talk about gravity, in the Newton sense of the idea, never knowing about the curvature of spacetime. Understanding Newton’s universe is good enough to get them through the day. What I see missing from the discussion of the reality tunnel or the world view ( ) is the resistance of these world views to change. There is a natural continuity in the minds of individuals, an inertia that maintains the current world view, something akin to the Psychological Immune System ( ). There is an oft-occurring immunity to change which limits an individual’s ability or desire to question their world view. In one set of comments ( ) you state that you have confirmation of people questioning the dominant paradigm. I’m interested in how we speed this up. How do we create acceleration of the number of people able to question their own reality tunnel? The Wikipedia article on reality tunnels says that this awakening “…is achieved through various processes of deprogramming using neuro-linguistic programming, cybernetics, hypnosis, biofeedback devices, meditation, controlled use of hallucinogens, and forcibly acting out other reality tunnels.” My question is how can we accelerate the acceptance of the best of these tools for the use of everyone? How can these become popular to the extent that a majority of people on this planet question their current paradigm and advance towards sapience? For me, it was neuro-linguistic programming and dabbling in self-directed amateur meditation. And it took years. My wife has no interest whatsoever in questioning her current paradigm, and is quite happy in her current reality tunnel. Nothing that I say or try to give examples of will convince her that she should expand her world view. I think about methods of persuasion ( ) and would enjoy it if this sort of awakening could go viral and get a million “likes” on Facebook, but I don’t know how to get us there. It might not be possible with our current propped-up fairy tales. The illusion of prosperity appears to prohibit most people from considering this line of questioning. It will probably require a more severe dip on the short decline downward for people’s attention to be arrested to reality. Then, perhaps during the next bump we can awaken more people to the situation, and they can scramble like hell to secure sapience and wrap-up the knowledge of the world in a self-unfolding code for those that survive the next upcoming dip. After several dips, the world will have saved some sapient portion of the population, everyone still living will have passed the awakening stage and at least started down the path of sapience, and enough knowledge will have been wrapped up in the code for future generations to rebuild slowly in a low-energy steady-state society to create the University of Noesis and produce a better future. For me, the future of the species will depend on our ability to facilitate the awakening of enough world views to survive the wars that will be waged by the idealogues.
Krugman is decrying the Bandwagon effect ( ) claiming that a self-reinforcing availability cascade ( ) is creating a consensus. Maybe he’s right, but he’s caught in the same trap as many who are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. They refuse to allow that overpopulation and peak oil might cause a problem so severe that the species doesn’t recover. They’re falling victim to an availability heuristic ( ) and allowing their status quo bias ( ) to anchor ( ) them to their own Bias blind spot ( ), their selective perception ( ) never allowing them to accept that things like overpopulation might make all this discussion of the economy a moot point. Or that the “economy” that they talk about might be some complex show that they can’t see all of the strings of, and therefore will never be able to truly control, no matter how many laws and policies they pass, because it’s all ethereal and mass-produced willing suspension of disbelief, coupled together to form fiat. I myself am most likely falling victim to the impact bias ( ) and underestimating the resiliency of this species to respond to the impending doom caused by climate change, peak oil, peak water, peak soil, overpopulation, and lack of sapience.
The individually consistent on-going narrative that we hear in our heads, that we refer to as “I” has no actual control over any of the actions executed by our body. Rather this “I,” through its rationalization of events and meaning-making mapping of the world, constantly alters the store of tacit knowledge. From this store of tacit knowledge that is constantly updated by the rationalizing “I,” the tactical and operational controllers evaluate the environment and take action. The rationalizing mind is susceptible to the myriad of cognitive biases ( ) and therefore humans continue to make suboptimal choices for themselves and their species on a daily basis. The work of questioning everything, reducing the influence of belief, and allowing creativity and logic to create a better map of the world enhances personal efficacy. The holding of any belief or ideology as beyond question is the preservation of a less-than-helpful map of the world. Conservative thinking and the fear of the unknown are balanced against the utility of a map of the world that can never be perfected. As we are subject to this consciousness and trapped by the solipsistic inability to know the world except through this consciousness, the most useful thing we are able to do is modify the map of the world towards the asymptote of imperfectability. The worst thing one can do is to believe that there are answers and that they have found the answers. In order to develop one’s self (specifically one’s store of tacit knowledge) towards the impossible goal of a perfect map of the world, one must continually question everything. Hold all ideas and assumptions as theories that can never be proved correct: they are merely theories yet to be disproved. We are all madmen fighting the windmills created by our own rationalizing, meaning-making narrative. We can never shake off this hazy consciousness and see the world as it truly is. “I” continue to fight the unbeatable foe, dream the impossible dream, and attempt to perfect my imperfectable map of the world.
For me, without falsifiability, there is no usefulness.
Holy Toledo! Please don't let the solipsism inquisition get me!