Category Archives: Stories & Experiences

Hay… We finally made the move !

1948_NearTimlof-This NY blog is real glad the WordPress tools are so portable!!   We moved from servers in the Mid-West to ones in Virginia today!    I have more to say than time to write, and another website to build, or well… that’s the plan.   Plans change a lot.

I’ll probably keep just working on the “knowledge bridge”, a tremendous labor of love for me I guess, slowly, slowly, learning how to speak to people in familiar natural language terms about the wonderfully beautiful but unfamiliar deep organization of the living systems.    Why that’s possible is fascinating, that natural language actually evolved *by means of* referring to the working features of the complexly organized systems of life, as a “way to talk” about working with nature’s systems that we rely so heavily on them “just working by themselves”.

So… it really helps to notice that the meanings of our words really do originate from the natural meanings of the complex organizations of things in nature.   It makes natural language, by default, a quite advanced sort of “organic systems theory”.    All one needs to do is “just take a fresh look“, at the things our words already refer to in nature…

Using words like “friend” or “storm” or “house”, you both refer to common “word meanings” and also to the complex systems of familiar natural relationships that the words also refer to, along with how they work in the natural world as their “natural meanings”.     It’s a way to pull your mind back to connecting with the natural meanings of things, and a fuller way to experience them.    To enrich the “word meaning” with the “natural meaning” you just keep adding to your reflections on the things of nature as you experience your natural relationships with them.

Tricky Reading – the Indicator & the Context

From a conversation on the Commons Abundance Network.

 

Of course I agree a lot is solved by having it clear what you are using the word “growth” to refer to.   But it’s easier to figure out we *should* be clear about what is being referred to than to really do it.   It’s so easy to fall into the trap of treating some “positive indicator” as the system, some changing number that “sounds nice” in name, to end up promoting something not knowing what the real situation is at all.

That’s exactly how the BAU approach to consuming the planet ever faster got off track, using a trusted set of indicators and not paying the least attention to how their meanings were changing radically over time.   So, that philosophy’s “mistake” was not paying attention to the whole system it was applying its values to.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of treating some “positive indicator”
as “the system”

False priorities develop are all over the place that way.  Giving relief wherever there is pain and suffering, for example, ignores that injecting artificial supports just skews the indicator.  It changes the ability of people to care for themselves in the wrong way, giving them dependencies rather than independence, and directly causes their own local cultures to become useless to them and decay.

to help you watch where you're going...

Continue reading Tricky Reading – the Indicator & the Context

The root conflict – in our own ideals

There’s unquestionably something wrong with a world society expecting to push the talents of its people and the resources of the earth, our cultural resilience and her ecological resilience, to absorb regularly multiplying scales of new challenge and change. It naturally gets out of scale with reality.

It gets out if scale by being a continuation of the path we’ve been on, but now pushing everyone and everything to create and adapt to ever greater change even as it becomes unmanageable. So it now increasingly pushes people and cultures to acts of desperation. It’s part of our whole culture, though, and is driven relentlessly by compound investing, the financial principle followed for seeking prosperity everywhere in the world, now escalating the challenges and risks.

For a fairly simple reason it becomes a trap, because the people leading society don’t discover the illogic of it, because they don’t feel the illogic of it. Increasing productivity by leaps and bounds had always been our ideal of “good”. It is perhaps the most unquestioned belief of modern man.

To have THAT become a serious threat is deeply unexpected. So only the people who can feel the counter-intuitive changes in the realities, (feel intuitively that the “logic” of the system has become “illogical”), are able to then maintain a motivation to search for the evidence to discover the real root of our emerging conflict with our own ideals.

the root of our emerging conflict … with our own ideals.

jlh 12/15/12

Search “Reading Nature’s Signals” for “feeling” to find essays on how we need to feel our way along, such as Emotionally proof reading your logical models.

 

 

Telling the whole stories of how things change

A crowd sourcing proposal.   Suggested to WNYC as a new form of news coverage

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From a natural history view, how the US news media reports on what’s happening of public importance is, well, entertainment news, that misses most of what’s actually happening and how it’s connected.  Even Public Radio mostly giving us six shows a day of talk about all the same things that “everyone” is talking about.  It tracks how the discussion is changing, but misses almost entirely how the world itself keeps complexly and dramatically changing by itself.

Germination and Nurture
Telling the Whole Story

Continue reading Telling the whole stories of how things change

A circle ever more broken

I’ve found that it eventually pays, to let my moral dilemmas hurt my feelings if I actually want to know the answer. I don’t ever dwell on emotional pain.  I just know I can learn from it if I attentively listen to what it’s about.  Our world is spiraling out of control, yet again, as if people had no clue as to why.

The Pentecostal anthem “May the Circle be Unbrokencontains a kernel of systems physics I hadn’t noticed until recently, in a spiral the circles don’t connect, but are eve more separated.   It came to mind when a question led me to think about the heartbreak of alienation that people all over the earth feel so personally, when they realize that are living in societies leading them into desperate troubles.

That was one of the common recognitions among the generation born after WWII, and the popular impetus for the “counter culture”.  The sense everyone seemed to share was that the post war culture seemed like it would just repeat the same sort of horrible sequence of global catastrophes it had just experienced, and might learn nothing from it at all.   That time lots was actually learned from the experience, of course.   Only thirty years later, though, world society is clearly creating conditions for the same scale of mega-catastrophe for mankind again.

It helps to face the fact “we’re doing it again”.

We have an economy requiring everyone’s energetic cooperation, running into destabilizing limits in virtually every direction at once, with no offer of a solution but “try harder”…   That’s a total formula for disaster.   It helps to face the fact “we’re doing it again”.   The “circle” today is ever more broken.

broken circle of growth
Growth is a chain of events for creating an ever more broken circle. It's a construction process leaving ever more unbuilt, to be completed or the spiral goes out of control.

 

People keep making cultures and economies that spiral out of control.  They abuse the love, cooperation and talents of their people, steering their lives toward performing tasks leading to great evil.   But.. who is society but a consensus on common purposes?   No one is “in change”.    Still people somehow build great societies with all good intent, that contain an internal logic that is “broken”.   Gradually over time we just notice them “spiraling ever further out of control”, each loop an ever further break from the past.

These aren’t metaphors, really.  Growth is a spiral process.  It physically builds upon the changes of to past to create ever greater changes in the future, diverging ever further from its prior path on every cycle.  That we’re now losing control of it is generally felt. It’s also accurately observed in the “fishtailing” of over-corrections and panicked avoidance of terrible consequences, dodging the consequent failures of guesswork on which excess reliance was placed.

Economic planners are “shooting from the hip”, unsure what to do, because nothing is really working.  The general progression is of events becoming ever more unmanageable.   Having things spiral out of control is a very natural process, like some cosmic storm of misfortunes, that happens in environments.   The error if there is one is our failing to notice it in time to reign it in, to make our “circle” unbroken again.

Self-organization as “niche making”

Marinella posted regarding research on self-organization at NECSI (the New England Complex System’s Institute LinkedIn forum):

“I’ve found this research really interesting, as it goes (finally!) against our deepest beliefs in human (in) ability to collaborate and be socially engaged without specific behavioral rules. People behave socially and ‘well’ even without rules Fundamentally people behave in a social and rather compassionate and ‘good’ way rather than aggressively, even without specified rules.”

I think the more useful relationship is that “rules” for how to behave quite often just affirm how things work best naturally.   So *rules follow people rather than people follow rules*.  Every sort of “system” is recognized as embodying an emergent sets of rules that work.  So, social rules that describe what’s been found to work in the world assure that people are free to behave the way they’d mostly want to anyway.

They’re also remarks about the whole self-organizing system of relationships displaying them, whether you call it a community, culture, nation, niche, commons, world, language, or movement, etc.   Those rules, of course, may also need to change as the world around them does.   It means that rules inherently also represent stages of learning for a system, not end points. That’s often the real source of friction, as old rules clash with the need to find new ways of making things work.  My comments below expand on the way we find rules that work, as “niche making”.

 

Marinella,

Simple examples of self-organization like those really help.   The common habit of explaining everything with deterministic rules needs to be shaken gently, it seems.     I tend to not find cooperation as deterministically caused, for example, but opportunistically discovered.    One easy way to pick it out is with seeing how niches for innovation form in the gaps between and to connect other things.

Diverse individual niches work to connect resilient cultural networks

After years of working with simple examples to help me separate those two paths to causation, I think the deterministic and self-organizing aspects of nature fit together just fine.

Seen as a difference between “imposed” and “discovered” causation can also then be understood as between “remotely determined” and “locally developed” causation.   Examples of the latter might range from the opportunistic formation of a rust pit, on what had been a smooth shiny metal surface, or of social subcultures taking off in some whole new way. Continue reading Self-organization as “niche making”

All time Top 22

Top page Requests for:

 Reading  Nature’s  Signals   &    Synapse9.com

All time Top:    1. 22 of May/11,    2. 30 of Aug/11,    3. 39 of Jan/12

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also

Top 85 Jun 2013 Top Blog PostsTop Archive Pages
Top 67 Dec 2012 Top Blog Posts & Top Archive Pages

 

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# Reads                   Page/Post Title

3. Top 39  in Jan 2012

557           2007/08/18    Whether successfully averted for the moment or not/

328           2011/07/18    My most disturbing finding/

322                                 Phpub.htm (publications list)

302                                 Systems Energy Assessment (SEA)/

186           2011/07/27    Urges arousal and keynes animal spirits/

162                                 Design/dollarshadow.htm ($’s = btu’s)

118                                 Cartoons/ (mostly New Yorker’s)

115           2011/08/05    Its the leeches that make us strong/

101                                 Pub/EffMultiplies.htm (natural effects of efficiency)

100                                 Chapters.htm (“S” curve reading templates) Continue reading All time Top 22

Transition to New Blog Site

Posts on this site preceding this one were transferred from my oldest blog, I called “Alongshot“, from its blogspot.com site.   My main archive of blog posts is still at my original “Reading Nature’s Signals” blog, perhaps to be transferred at some point, and quite worth site searching for key words like this one for mentions of Keynes.

The move is really from one directory to another, on Synapse9.com, needed to upgrad the format to WordPress 3.1.3.  The old blog site just got to be a problem.

My original systems physics research is still at The physics of happening, and scattered around Synapse9.com, along with my collections of images, reference libraries, introductions and writing .

My subjects and writing style, of course, will remain just as “primitive” (whether you saw that as a liability or benefit I leave to you) so the software upgrade won’t really change anything but the look and feel.   ;-)

Scientists admit to physical world!

A bit tongue in cheek about a serious subject.   It’s following from my comment to Dot Earth about how all the climate mitigation plans do actually allow for a mysteriously silly expectation that reducing CO2 could be funded by an economy causing all other economic impacts to endlessly multiply.

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Dateline: No York Times 5/12/10

Scientists admit to physical world

Scientists have finally admitted there might be a physical world, in addition to the existence of scientific theory, long used to explain the source of all information.

Despite there being no information to explain it, as theory is ample by itself, scientists admitted today that there was also no information to deny the popular notion that there might be a physical world.   It “could be creating natural phenomena and not just our theory” Dr Hyper Foible said. Continue reading Scientists admit to physical world!