Working with BigData, especially learning how to read the designs and behavioral patterns of the earth’s natural systems, its living cultures of all kinds, and to sense our roles in them, opens up a tremendous new field of understanding. It of course also opens up very new kinds of perspectives to puzzle over, both offering to show us new paths and making it clear various reasons to question what we’ve been doing.
This series of Tweets came out in a group somehow, mostly in this sequence today, seeming to build a framework of interconnecting points, like tent stakes and poles maybe, a design for hosting ways to do it. ……Jessie
What we talk about becomes society’s reality, so we can read #BigData for what’s happening #following_all_cultures and #resources_on_earth.
And what may matter most in #BigData is going from reading abstract patterns to reading naturally occurring ones. http://synapse9.com/jlhCRes.pdf
Then add the magic of learning to read the patterns #BigData reveals, as exposing the designs of the natural systems producing it.
Reading #BigData for natural patterns shows you even the best data doesn’t show what systems are producing it.
No degree in #data_science will neglect pattern recognition for understanding the natural systems creating the data.http://www.synapse9.com/pub/2015_PURPLSOC-JLHfinalpub.pdf
If our world #economy is causing trouble for the #earth, why do we think it helps to speed it up? #Get_real_people!
Are @google, @IBM or other #BigData #research teams learning how to read design patterns of natural systems?? http://synapse9.com/jlhCRes.pdf
To start reading natural systems in #bigdata look for cultures made individually, clustering or growing from seeds.
Then follow recognizing nature’s cultures with learning from them, going back and forth between models
When reading #bigdata for behaviors of cultures also note contradictions in the news, like #jobs_going_to_Mexico and #refugees_escaping_too.
#BigData exposes surprising whole system views too, #professionals managing systems of growing inequity, disruptive change and impacts too.
#BigData reveals living cultures: business, economic, social, biological or ecological, etc. all either: homeless, home seeking or enjoying.
As you see their forms you realize two things:1) our world is very #alive and 2) most #bigdata is too “big”, making you look for other views
To read #bigdata as views of shifting cultures, alone or together, pushes a #whole_system_view for units of measure. http://synapse9.com/signals/2014/02/26/whats-scope-4-and-why-all-the-tiers/
A #whole_system_view, like #studying_the_camera not what’s in its view, is how to start seeing ourselves in the data!http://www.synapse9.com/jlhpub.htm#ns
Sixteen Tweets on reading our world in #BigData, it’s many moving parts, units of measure & big recognitions required.
ed note: One tweet, that became #11, was rephrased and put in a more logical location a few hours after the first posting.
We talk about making connections…
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . but what is it that actually “connects”?
Making Connections in life mysteriously needs to start and finish, and then perhaps establish a long sustained or a short relationship. Often we don’t see quite what’s happening till it’s either all over, or has really begun to noticeably develop and notice the rapid rates of change.
Sometimes we have an ‘inkling’ that something is changing at the very beginning, before anything really observable is apparent, as if becoming aware of the ‘germination’ of the whole event with an initially very slow building of a “new pattern”. It may be that intuiting “something changed” is experienced a bit like “feeling a change in the force” . We may imagine foresight for things that don’t develop, of course, and learn to just be watchful and not jump to conclusions, but wait till a real pattern of proportional scales of accumulation are evident. That’s ‘the pattern’ of systemic transformation.
What is perhaps the best indicator is always the “building process”, that as the illustration indicates is very much the same accelerating then decelerating accumulation of working parts. It’s *not* a numerical process, but if you notice the scales of change changing scale it can help you locate what is really working.
The illustration is of course also about the connections between the natural system processes of building, and the learning processes of building, and the holistic design processes of building, that I hope to get to see emerging as a “connection”! The PURPLSOC meeting “Elements” and PLoP meeting “Mining Living Quality” papers on “Guiding patterns of Naturally Occurring Design“, are full of these stories, maybe too much to enjoy all at once till you get a feel for this unusual way of approaching the study of “how things work”.
You might try a novel way of reading, other than beginning to end. One I often use with new books on unfamiliar topics is just “picking a few sentences at random” to see if they go anywhere for me, or trying the discussion topics at the end of sections or the whole work. Today I’m writing this post to take a break from the long task of doing the final edit of the main papers, seeing a need to have ‘something’ new on RNS, having noticed some scratch notes for the illustration made a couple weeks ago I thought would be fun to work on.
Individual organizations, Complex natural designs, Emergent forms of naturally occurring design,
Evolving organization & behavior of complex whole systems,
Discovering more and more of the hidden interior designs of lively whole systems…
One way of introducing the “what” and “how” comes from a “pattern language approach” to the science of “naturally occurring systems”, presented in a paper for PURPLSOC:
Guiding Patterns of Naturally Occurring Design: Elements
that I presented at the July 3-5 PURPLSOC pattern language research meeting in Krems Austria. It was in a group of papers on pattern language as a general science; with papers by Helene Finidori, Helmut Leitner,Takashi Iba Et. All.; Christian Aspalter & Reinhard Bauer. (links to follow)
As an approach to working with natural systems “Guiding Patterns of Naturally Occurring Design: Elements” seems unprecedented in using a fully scientific method for focusing on the “objects of nature”, using a pattern language approach to identify working complex relationships of natural designs, in their natural contexts, with nothing “held equal” or represented with models, a practical way to relate to the “things themselves”, as “known unknowns”.
The key is not to avoid data and models. It’s not to rely to heavily on them. It’s to just never use them to represent natural systems, but only to help you discover why naturally occurring systems and their complex designs are of real interest, and doing things quite different from theory. It turns out that Christopher Alexander’s pattern language, as a structured language for discussing holistic solutions, as designs for recurrent problems, has now evolved to let it jump from one profession to another. So, if the branches remain connected to the root… it seems to make a good foundation for building a new language of science, one that doesn’t replace nature with the abstractions of boundless theory.
The paper is a “sampler” of explorations of the topic, including an advanced “starter kit” of methods, terminology and examples, for how to use the patterns of natural design to guide efforts at intentional design and integrate with our world of natural systems. It introduces a way of recognizing natural designs as ‘objects’ in nature, with their own individual boundaries, allowing separate discussion about what goes on inside and outside, and using pattern language (not abstract models) to make verifiable sense of it. Identifying a boundary is what permits considering what goes in and out, and open up the use a traditional use of terms of physics and economics, for understanding the thermodynamics and the coupling between energy budgets and financial budgets, etc. for natural systems. Based on that, it would appear to make a true “object oriented science” a practical possibility.
The original paper introducing this from a traditional biophysical scientific point of view, as “Whole Systems Energy Assessment” (5). That paper can perhaps now be understood if interpreted from a pattern language viewpoint, as showing that shares of GDP measure shares of global impacts of delivering GDP… The economic system does appear to work as a whole, and the effort to validate that seems to successfully result in a far more accurate, and far more actionable, measure the impacts of our choices than efforts to directly trace economic impacts can produce.
For the translation of these and related natural system principles to the language of Alexander’s “pattern language” for defining “object oriented” principles of holistic design see the 2015 “Guiding patterns of naturally occurring design” papers for PURPLSOC (Pursuit of Pattern Language for Societal Change) (Jul 5 2015) (1) and PLoP (Pattern Language of Programming)(Oct 23 2015) (2) and related slides and supplementary materials (3). Also in the directory is a YouTube video link to the first 15 minutes of the slide narration, for the July 5 presentation of ‘Elements’, salvaged from a cell phone recording (4).
Need to update & add notes and discussion on both conferences….
It was reallyexciting to be part of, and to watch this new way of thinking emerge, PL as a whole system language for “designs of services” to balance and support
the traditional view of science as a whole system language for “defined controls“
The traditional scientific method doesn’t fit our new information world very well, with the rapid emergence of so many new forms of knowledge communities, computational science and commerce, seeming to take over. They are also being built on a foundation of science with major problems unsolved, like an understanding of how complex systems emerge and become unstable. The Edge asked What Scientific Idea Is Ready For Retirement?, and got 174 responses, one of which was Melanie Swan’s answer: “The Scientific Method”. She points persuasively to the differences between the emerging computational approaches to knowledge and the traditional practices of science, and hopes a “multiplicity of future science methods can pull us into a new era of enlightenment just as surely as the traditional scientific method pulled us into modernity.”
There’s a flaw in that, though I generally agree with the hope. Science is still unable to study nature except in abstraction, representing nature as a theory of deterministic calculations. It’s been unable to use them to study 1) our own or nature’s great creativity, or 2) any individual thing or event, in its own natural form. It matters because our old habits of multiplying new forms until they caused trouble is now the foundation on which we’re adding an uncontrolled “Cambrian explosion” of new forms of computational (and often disruptive) knowledge. We also appear to be trusting the future of civilization to them, even as the radiation of old forms further depletes and disrupts the natural world. It’s seems we’re “missing something”.
So, my counter proposal is to open the eyes of science to the study individual natural systems as subjects, not just as abstractions, but to learn directly from them, to create an “object oriented science”. My years of work on that, creating a form of physics for studying individual natural systems, works by raising particularly good questions. For example, all natural systems that develop from a common origin as individuals are found to face a common pattern of life challenges, in part:
There are reasons to worry when the foundation for a radiation of new sciences is an “old science” for radiating new forms that make us quite unable to “fit in” on the earth. It makes it likely that the new forms of knowledge instead of correcting that, actually contain the same flaw as the old one. I think a very big part of that comes from science relying on representing nature with equations, that have radically different properties from the subjects that are meant to represent.
A counter proposal…
[first posted to IEET article] Certainly the recent discovery that “the world is complicated” (and both people and nature unusually *inventive*) does expose a deep flaw in the idea that nature follows simple scientific rules and models. That seemed plausible only because some of the simple rules of physics are also so amazingly reliable. Those still exist, and others are to be found most likely, but the question is: “What then do we think of them?”
I think we probably should not throw out the scientific method… particularly just because we’ve been misusing it. The common flaw in our use of science as I see it, and studied since the 1970’s actually, is its “misrepresentation problem”. The world is not a model, and we’ve been treating it that way.
The world is not made of numbers, not made of quantitative relationships. It’s made of organizations of separate things, often found in “improper sets” with the parts of one thing also often taking independent part in others too. It makes things in nature *highly individualistic*, and held together by some kind of “organizational glue” we’ve hardly begun to study. That presents not only a wonderfully interesting “mismatch in VARIETY”, but also several wonderfully interesting “mismatches in KIND” as well. It may not be ‘neat’ but it’s very ‘lifelike’, and opens all sorts of new doors!
So what I think we need to retire is not so much “science” as “the representation of scientific models as nature”. The article points to a number of the big discrepancies that have become too big to ignore, but where does that take us?? One place it takes us back to the age old “million dollar question” of how science is to refer to nature at all. What is it we CAN define that DOES NOT misrepresent what we are studying?? I think a quite simple place to start (and obvious solution once you recover from the shock, I guess) it to treat models not AS nature, but AS “our limits of measurable uncertainty about nature”. Yes, Popper and Bohr with turn in their graves… but models understood as representing upper and lower bounds within which we expect nature to operate, independently, will also be found to be much more useful.
If you actually look closely at natural behaviors you readily see that, that the paths nature takes are always individualized, and we can understand them much better having some information from past events to suggest what to expect. It gives you a straight and clear view of the all-important “discrepancies”. To make use of relieving science of its century (or more) of seriously false thinking, about nature being theory, what you then need are ways for science to refer to nature as “individual phenomena & organizations” to identify the stuff of nature that science studies. In our century or more of trusting abstraction by itself, that’s what I think science has been missing, having a natural object of study.
So, in a fairly direct way I’m calling for an “object oriented science” to correspond to the “object oriented programming” that has become such a big help for giving order to computer coding and the web. My main two tools for that are what I call a “dual paradigm” view (alternating between attention to ‘theory’ and ‘things’), and a “pattern language” view (the emerging scientific method of describing natural organization based on Christopher Alexander’s work).
Alexander’s pattern language is evolving to become a versatile general method for working with ‘recurrent patterns of design’ as ‘whole sets of working relationships’ found in ‘problems’, ‘solutions’ & ‘environments’. My new work describing how these fit together is being presented at the PURPLSOC and PLoP meetings this year, presents a broad picture of the fundamentals, and very worth using to begin the process of recognizing natural design as a working environment. If interested, do searchs for “dual paradigm”, “pattern language” & “Christopher Alexander” both on the web and in this journal.
This is a good introductory description, excerpted from an email, w/ a little edit. The abstract and link are for a paper on “Guiding Patterns of Natural Design:Mining Living Quality” for an upcoming Pattern Language of Programming conference.
Oh, it’s sort of magic..
the hope of course:
is that this emergence of a sound new way to communicate “wholeness in design”
leads to the world ‘transformation to living design’ everyone is so eagerly awaiting…
Pattern language is a new way of communicating design concepts, created by Christopher Alexander, an architect whose ideas came out of the same 60’s/70’s architecture community as mine did, only starting a decade earlier, and he became a wonderful architectural design teacher. Anyway, his idea for how to ‘encode’ principles of ‘wholeness’ for architectural design elements was fairly successful, resulting in a series of books beginning with “A Pattern Language” in 1977, and experiments in urban design as recorded in “A New Theory of Urban Design” 1987, and in attracting a significant following.Then his methodology for defining ‘designpatterns‘ did the magical thing… of being picked up and translated for use in other fields, a real technology transfer, actually representing the encoding of a set of rather ancient and wonderful architectural design principles, for other uses, i.e. “realmagic“! Where it had an amazing impact was on computer programming, becoming the basis of “object oriented design“, as a way of letting programmers communicate and understand their own design objectives, for both the wholes and parts of their programs. Till the late 80’s when this new approach to defining design purposes took hold, programmers really had no good way to define the ‘parts‘ of computer programs, or how they needed to work together to make a ‘whole‘.
So having a way to define “working units of design” seems to me at least to be a big part of why modern programming became so successful, like maybe the other real secret behind the communication power of the internet other than micro-chips. Pattern language lets programmers break computer programs into intelligible workable parts, representing real whole purposes and intentions. It was Alexander’s loving way of describing the pieces of designs that did that, understanding and portraying design as a search for “living quality“. And it caught on. It provides a model for describing
versatile solutions for common problems
as a balance of the forces they resolve
Of course, one of the “forces” is whether we are creating a “living world” or an “inhuman world“, and whether the designs we make can become at home in our environment, to bring us and the earth living quality, or not. That was the issue he was obsessed with from the start. So, like I said, a sign of magic.
What’s more of course, is that his method of defining “design patterns” and my pattern science for understanding “natural systems” are awfully close cousins. You might say they’re much the same thing in several ways, except his focus was on the patterns of wholeness for purposeful design and my focus was on patterns of wholeness in naturally occurring designs. His “search model” for design patterns was “living quality” and mine was for “what makes life lively”, asked as a physicist who happened to have an education in design too. So when I was introduced to his work as it had later matured (I really wasn’t “in the loop” or didn’t “get it” before) and I saw how it was being used by non-architects, I finally recognized the connection and now have lots to do! It’s such a pleasure.
Most of my economic writing revolves around what we inherited, an economic system design for changing faster and faster, exponentially. It’s a dangerous design for which we now have no exit plan at all.
Lots of people mistakenly blame the use of fiat currency for the persistent instability and inequity of the economy. The problem isn’t technically with fiat money at all though… It’s with the deeper compulsion of users of money to use wealth and power as a weapon (we call “investing”), to pay for professional help in taking more wealth and power. It’s the core behavior in question in “the tragedy of the commons” too, that one farmer uses his cattle capital to multiply till the community suffers. Fiat money (basing credit on the value of investments) would actually not be a problem if investors didn’t compound their investments… It’s of course also a broader cultural issue of ignorance about our place in the web of life… but I think the compounding of returns is from what the economy’s growing inequity and disruptions actually originate. I think if investors took care to spend their profits to relieve their demands on the commons when needed then an economic system with fiat money would level out and stabilize.
We need a mid-course correction for the evolution of our economy
What a surprise it will be if to avoid the crises we see coming today, the economy needs a “Circular Jubilee”? It would be a massive effort to give away a great deal of money, very carefully, with the aim of slowing down the economy’s unstable acceleration. Done correctly it would relieve the rapidly building strains we all see, letting us escape from racing the economy ever faster till it fails.
It would be like learning to take our foot off the economic accelerator, to relieve strains and coast a little at the same time. We really need the relief. That really does seem necessary to relieve the economy’s building strains in a lasting way. It would restore society’s resilience and allow us to become more self-healing again too! The design is fairly simple, …to do just the opposite with financial profits as we do now. People would be persuaded to join together and turn away from collecting profits to reinvest in collecting more and more profits. It’s that very widely practiced way of managing money for ever faster growing returns that also sets the course of the economy for changing at exponential rates of acceleration. It has the globally destabilizing results we now see all around.
That traditional way of managing money we inherited is quite untenable in the long term. The one truly sustainable alternative is for investors to learn to spend their profits rather than continually reinvest them! It’s simple math. That’s the the Jubilee part, investors choosing to “release” their profits back to freely circulate in the exchange economy again. The “circular” part is that those profits then freely circulate in the economy again, and return to the investors as sustainable profits. That is the opposite of how we manage our money today.
Today the profits concentrate in the hands of investors at ever faster rates, to only circulate in the economy with promises of being repaid multiplied. It seems to investors that they are becoming more and more wealthy as their world and all its strains increase faster and faster. That’s the fatal path, pushing us toward society’s many possible breaking points. We can do better.
Compounding profits may sound good,
but driving economic change faster and faster
till we are pushed to disruptive and unstable change… is a real problem
((in the diagram, the choice is shown as the alternative between
“$Divested for Care” and “$Invested for Profit”. ))
(note: first published in 2017 but back dated to 2014, as more consistent with proposals of that time. Using collective profits to care for the commons (rather than for abusing the commons) has been the natural general solution to the tragedy of the commons first recognized by Keynes, and that I’ve proposed in various ways since I first noticed it’s simple necessity around 1979. For more of my writing on it search for my discussions of Keynes.)
New object oriented natural science for working with natural systems.