Noticing change, through the fixed world illusion

From Jim Maendel on a Linkedin Foresight group

[I was] just looking for smart people to join our group. After checking out your site, I believe you may be overqualified. Your stuff is brilliant. I found this portion on the market pundits fascinating, from The Bump on a Curve Notepad:

“Well, I’ve been wondering for a long time why the flows of change are so hard for people to see, and do think there’s some kind of “fixed world illusion” to contend with. There’s a list of reasons why we don’t update our information regularly and so miss the flows of change because of that.

It’s a little speculative, but another detail caught my attention recently, that even when repeated changes in “normal” are quite dramatic, people often only have to “sleep on it” to readjust and see even very short lived situations as if they were permanent and a brand new permanent “normal”.

Nearly every pundit and media source from 2007 to the present has radically changed their stories about the economic collapse nearly every week… for example.  They always seeming very comfortable with the “ever present” finality of their quickly changing stories. It’s like there’s a “reset button” that they all keep using, in their sleep, that completely hides the facts of accelerating change.

I’ve been wondering about what that has to do with sleep. Could it be that the way the mind digests information collected during a waking day is similar to how your computer loads new software updates when you shut it down to reboot? Could both need to operate with a fixed system that is regularly updated when turned off? Sleep might clear the memory and refresh the world image. Perhaps relieving the conscious mind of continual complex rethinking accounts for our not noticing how our own world is changing.

That would be a very efficient design concept, having brain’s that refresh their model of life every night and give you an fresh but changeless new “snapshot” copy every day, an ever changing “blank page”. If you live in a stable world it’s only a minor defect that the strategy would arrange our awareness as always of a fixed world, moving you through life one fixed frame at a time, that you would not need to consciously account for. That sort of defines the “fixed world illusion”, as well as the common experience of life in a changing world as an “ever present”….

I’ll have to chew on this site for a while. Jim



Thanks so much! Once you start uncovering these things, how perception is just not working as intended… they sometimes come out in bunches. Another one that connects a lot of what ruins so many of our solutions is the unintended way nature is producing multiplying problems. It’s in direct response to our overextending our attempts to multiplying solutions.

Maybe the main one is “doing well by doing good”, putting money into problem solving to take more money out… The problem with that is in a constrained environment (like we’re in) that multiplies our problems faster than the solutions. It also takes money away from the interests supposedly invested in.

The way investing in healthcare is making us need more healthcare as well as making healthcare completely unaffordable is an example(1). How making the economy more resource efficient is multiplying the rate at which it uses resources is another.(2)

Pushing against constraints in a non-expanding environment, investing in competitive learning to “raise all boats” will often have the opposite effect. It may just give the fast learners and easily solved problems more resources… and take resources away from other people and their oability to take care of themselves. How our solutions become self-defeating seems mainly that as the world changed we weren’t paying attention.

So, how we’re all caught up in self-defeating solutions is definitely something to look at!

1) The Troubling Truth of Our Addiction to Healthcare
2) Inside efficiency, Why efficiency multiplies consumption – 2009 conf. presentation



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