Your Ontology getting lost in Epistemology??

First (V.) is Helene’s response, to (IV.) my observations on the dilemma of “defining reality”, that doing so presents “reality” is represented as decided in our brains! Natural reality is precisely the opposite, of course, everything NOT defined in our brains.  Yet… the epistemologists keep winning the dumb argument anyway… even though the true answer is so clear.

A way to extend the idea of “empathy” termed “holpathy” is used, referring to our ability to recognized thing as “wholes” to then later to be more defined, like “a dog” seen as a whole while lacking information to describe it in defined terms. Seeing environmental systems as wholes, also from the extent of their parts acting together perhaps, allows whole parts of nature to first be recognized intuitively, to THEN be defined by information gathered and made sense of later.

Having empathy for other people is very helpful that way, giving you a tangible feeling and impression for them as a whole first, without any hard information on what’s happening inside.  It’s similar for recognizing other whole systems in nature.  You draw on your ability to listen and watch intently and create an image that fits holistically, used for the appearances of other whole cultures, shifting relationships in business or personal live, for the ineffable characteristics of  “places” too.  Those holistic impressions become highly useful later for connecting or fitting in later arriving facts.

After that is our first exchange on the subject (III., II., I.) III. discusses the question Helene asks, in II., whether holistic recognition addresses what some call “humanity’s original logic error”; mistaking logical states for natural forms, and the interesting approach of Barry Kort. I. first introduces the idea of “holpathy” for helping relieve our general cultural blindness to natural systems.

My scientific method for whole systems, developed in the early 80’s, also follows this “seeing the whole helps make sense of the parts” approach (fig 2).  I commonly start with data on continuities of change, like growth curves, that convey a holistic character of the system behaving as a whole to produce it, and of its current changes of state.  It offers a “home base” in one’s reasoning and a way to refer to the same whole system in nature for others to look at, as well as a central location for putting together all the information on a subject associated with it, to unify holistic and analytic information, like a replacement for equations to use with complex natural systems.

1. God's Cookie Jar - contains all the parts in wholes!

Whole systems have character you can intuit but not define, to then use as a mental framework to help fit bits of disconnected information you collect together

V. From: Helene Finidori To: ‘JL HenshawSent: Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Subject: RE: Meeting with High Level Forum for those in NYC last Friday – a little holpathy please?

Jessie,

I think you put your finger on the problem. And from what you wrote and the reading of these recent articles I think the problem is double. First it seems that as soon as someone starts talking of reality or nature and what is observed, or ontology, they place themselves in the realm of rhetoric and epistemology, and that’s where hard core ‘epistemologists’ get a win… Continue reading Your Ontology getting lost in Epistemology??

Sustainability = growing profit then steady profit

Posts on the UN NGO Week 4 Sustainability dialog for “WorldWeWant2015Post II references Post I below it, and is in reply to Alison Doig, working with Christian Aid, Green Alliance, WWF, Greenpeace and RSPB to understand the nature of the relation between environmental sustainability, quoted at the bottom.  Alison lays out a set of simple but broad principles for sustainability, a preview of a longer paper, but missing key issues for working with the natural phases of developmental processes for environmental transformations.  jlh

See also Jan 2014 OWG7 proposed World SDG incorporating this principle and others

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Post II  Jessie Henshaw Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Alison,    Your approach seems quite sensible, but to be missing one of the key controlling variables for all these objectives.   That’s whether the improvements you seek are “by an accumulation of larger steps” or “by an accumulation of smaller steps”.   An accumulation of smaller steps is probably sustainable, and an accumulation of larger steps is necessary to get any process of change started, but quite unsustainable, is the interesting rub.

This distinction is also quite missing from the whole discussion, always has been actually, so you’re not to be faulted for overlooking it.   Still, it does in fact control whether any of the things we hope will be sustainable actually will be.   I’m a systems physicist and this is the subject I study, both how all sorts of development processes need to begin and end, and how easy it is for people to overlook the whole subject.  I’d very much like to work with you if you see how to build any of this into your report in progress.

As a matter of change over time, start-up development always needs to be divergent and expansive, a series of ever bigger steps, and maturing development always needs to be converging and self-limited, a series of ever smaller steps.  In-between the physical momentum of change builds and decays.

The natural succession of development phases

For the  “three dimensions of sustainability”, social, economic, and environmental, it applies to all three. Continue reading Sustainability = growing profit then steady profit

Why we’d need 8 Whole Earths by 2100

We’ve largely used up or maximized our use of the good quality sources on earth, for lots of our critical resource needs.  It’s evident in their systematically rising prices, for one thing, but also in our rapidly declining rates of discovering new reserves, for half a century now!   We’ve “eaten the good stuff”, and still plan to find more and grow the economy as before.

a fact

So, not that you couldn’t use your shopping and profits for values far greater than just having more, of course,

BUT, to prosper by increasing our wealth as we have been,

It seems like it'd be a real joy! Just catch them with your radiant smile.

 

we need to

*Double* our total previous use of natural resources
three more times this century !

(like being the sorcerer’s apprentice)

It’s a detail overlooked by the world’s mainstream economists, and apparently nearly all the critics too.   Our present economic plans are to keep prospering as we did over the past two centuries.  That necessitates continuing to double of our resource uses every ~33 years in the future, then, or magical change only dreamed of.

It’s really ALL our long term professional economic modeling, all our long term environmental rehabilitation planning, such as responding to climate change, as well as all our long term government, finance and business plans, that “just assume” continued growing resource use as before.  Just to make the point clear,… our long term plan is not only to “make bricks without straw” but also to project making bricks without water or clay!

Why it not adds up to our really needing 8 whole earths by the end of the century has to do with the sneaky mathematical properties of doubling… sneaking up on our brains. In each doubling period everything changes as much as throughout all its prior history.   The oddest and most sneaky of all aspects of it, of course, is that this dilemma is quite real…

Even if we could find 7 more earths worth of resources as good as what we started with, it would actually end up just make our problems worse.   “Enjoying them” would then reasonably be expected to involve 7 times the impacts we’ve had on the beauty and sustainability of the earth too…!!   It also exposes the  madness of our well meaning hope to rely on growth to pay for reversing climate change!

These problems add to the evidence that the fundamental in-feasibility of our long term growth plan has avoided most everyone’s attention.   It’s not just “unlikely” that we’d keep finding many times the total amount of natural resources we’ve consumed before,… and that using them would have no effect.

You might as well be looking for an endless line of magical frogs to kiss.

Continue reading Why we’d need 8 Whole Earths by 2100

Post 2015 UN Sustainable Development Strategy

Responding to questions for UN Post2015 Sustainability Consultation with NGO’s
Week 2: Development Challenges in a Changing World (11 Feb- 17 Feb)
on the UN http://www.worldwewant2015.org website  

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1. Which global trends and uncertainties may influence how environmental sustainability is framed in the international development agenda over the next 10-30 years?

There’s a major global shift that will continue, and upset virtually everything people are planning on, because people are NOT planning on our world economic growth model to stop producing growing economic returns.  It financially relies on consuming the earth ever faster.  That is produces ever shrinking returns.

You can see the physical evidence of it happening all over and as the main cause of our converging world crises, the world commodities crises, food crises, inequity and ‘missing middle’ crises,  the related financial crises and ecological liability crises.   It is giving us a world increasingly mired in conflicting interests, complexity, confusion, and indecision. Continue reading Post 2015 UN Sustainable Development Strategy

Thinking a natural world Into Being

A group email on how to connect the mind’s concept language with nature’s process language, earning one “KaShu!” from Alanna.

 

To get things to connect it really does help to first see how they are disconnected.   People put no particular value on where their money comes from or goes to, for example.  As that is a major pathway for our own accumulative effects on our world, nature cares about that a great deal!   People also quite ignore small % changes over time, even though they naturally result in exceeding large scales, complexities and rates of change, inevitably pushing the limits of stability for whatever physical system is doing it.   People just tend to see no association between accumulative causes and their dramatic effects, though.    I indicates “something funny going on”.

So to get a reliable grasp on how different a conceptual world is from the natural world, you need personal examples of where you notice “something really missing”  to go back to it again and again to reground your own thinking on the disconnect between thought and nature.    What I go to are times and places when I could observe growth producing lasting change, making it obvious it’s not in my head but happening where I’m seeing it happen.   There are any number of different kinds of “pregnancies” where bursts of growth large and small develop in isolation. Continue reading Thinking a natural world Into Being

connecting social language to nature’s process language

Helene and Steven had raised the need to include finance in the narrative of “the commons” and Myra had said about my reply “Jessie, This is your clearest writing by far on the new financial commons. ”  … so I hope it’s of use here.   (The discussion was part of a follow-up to a CAUN Commons Action for the UN conference call with Barrett Brown, on the different kinds of “thought leaders” he had identified setting the course for the sustainabilty movement, using social science methods, reflected in his Fall 2012 article in Kosmos. fyi)

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Learning to speak nature's language

 

I. On Feb 4 2013 Jessie responded

Helene & Steven,

Great to have someone bring up the need to work on having a new financial commons.  We need to map out how to transform finance, so that it acts to care for the earth as its main objective rather than to squeeze it dry as fast as it can, as at present.    So we’d need to understand things that people already do that contributes to steering finance in one direction or the other, kind of unusual territory for social organizers…

So what we need to do is get our social language to somehow recognize nature’s process language.

Continue reading connecting social language to nature’s process language

It’s the student that creates the education

Posts to the UN NGO Thematic Consultation on Education on how to measure and improve education for the Post2015 UN development goals.   My series of three comments focus on the tools a student needs to create their own educations… NOT on measuring the productive value of their educations for business.  We did that already, and overdid it.   It would do both students and society a great deal more good to look at the basic competencies offered, to see if students are getting the tools they need for exploring the world, like having competence in math, reading, and understanding ‘relationships’.

Productivity is often the assumed purpose of education, but has produced an unsustainable spoiling and depletion of the earth’s resources, now straining all its human and natural ecological systems.   So it’s our students who need the tools for guiding their own educations, to take us out of that dilemma created by the poor learning of their parents.

Schools and teachers should mainly be judged by their own peer and served communities, only measuring achievement in core competencies, and create a new core competency in “relationships“. Understanding relationships is a new essential competency for living in a world thrown into disarray by rapidly changing relationships of all kinds, caused by our prior vast misunderstanding the relationships between ourselves and the earth.

 

What he needs is the tools not the answers...

World We Want 2015 – Thematic Consultation – Education

Quality of Learning – Week 2 Questions

1.       1. How should learning outcomes be measured and how can measurement of learning improve education quality?

2. What would be your recommendations to address and improve the quality of education in the post MDG framework?

________

I. E-Discussion TWO: Week 2 – Quality of Learning
JLH Tue, January 15, 2013 at 06:11 pm

1. Based on my understanding of quality of learning, the indicators used to measure learning outcomes should be:

  1. … kept simple.  We should only use unambiguous measures giving confidence in what is being measured, like “numeracy”, “literacy”,  “understanding relationships”, “understanding design”, i.e. rudimentary life skills. Continue reading It’s the student that creates the education

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.

 

 

What creates the real value of money??

It’s oddly obvious what creates the real value of money.  People get confused, about it because it seems hard to connect logical theories with how the real world works.  It’s the real world that gives our theories whatever reality, relevance and meaning they have, of course. The real value of money is as a unit of credit, for a share of anything the whole economy can do in exchange for money.  It makes money a direct measure of what people want and the whole economic system and its networks of parts can do for them, its real value.

Below are two related comments from the Systems Thinking World “Where does the Money Go” conversations.  They focus on why the value of money goes bad, and why that’s NOT that the money supply expands with expanding credit in the economy.  The real problem is the viral process of multiplying bets allowed, a different feedback loop.

For further discussion of this natural systems view of how the money economy works, and why it fails, see the reference page “Concept$.htm” and the Natural Economy posts here.   The classic failure of the money system occurs as permitted viral circles of betting demand unreal growing returns from the rest of the economy.  That “betting economy” drains credit from theproductive economy” and the “grants economy” (aka the “Love Economy”) it supports, the original economy in which people use what they have for purposes other than money.

 

1) On STW 11/7/12

Duane – You pointed out that a very early use of money was cowrie shells. I think earlier evidence of money use were notches on sticks and wedge marks in clay, accounting for natural units and credits for them. But the questions remains, what is the actual seat of their value?? No artifact has a value without a use of value in relation to other uses of things, right?

So how do you then define what gives monetary markers value, if both the marker and the things of value themselves, have no independent defining characteristic making them valuable at all? Don’t they seem to only have value in relation to their how they are used in a whole system of other things of value? Continue reading What creates the real value of money??

How mismeasures steer us wrong

10/26/12 in Shining Light on “Dark Energy”, part of my “reality math” series, I describe how standard measures of business impacts vastly under-count them, and how it has equally misled our theory and practices of sustainable design.

We’re not counting the consumption required to deliver business services at all, and that’s commonly much larger than the impacts we can trace directly.   The article is in the Sept 2012 SB “New Metrics of Sustainability” letter (& here as a PDF).  The research for it is the peer reviewed 2011 SEA assessment method published in Sustainability (MDPI).  In discussing it on Systems Thinking World I found good added ways to explain the huge problem it causes us. The graphic below shows the scale of the error, the typical four-fold under-count.

But… Why Does the Changing Information Matter ???

Loraine noted that if the same error of perception is the same for all, it might not matter, for example.  So, the problem that misinformation distorts every decision you make wasn’t getting through.  The question she asked help set up a good explanation.

________

10/25/12 Loraine – Thanks for inquiring.   I do recognize there is something in my work that is hard to connect with.   Maybe its best exemplified by the weird quotes I get occasionally, like my dad’s, the outstanding physics professor who taught me to be so observant I could recognize behavior not following the laws of physics.   He finally gave up in exasperation saying “Everything you say is true dear, it’s *just not physics*”.   Needless to say, I also had no idea what to say to a response like that!!

Business energy use
The scales of counted and uncounted direct energy demands for operating the model business for the SEA case study.

But that was years ago, and I do see a lot more clearly what keeps people from recognizing how I depart from the common perspective.   I am, after all, talking about systemic errors in perception.  In this case it’s for the world’s standard setting bodies for economic measures.   They’ve been thinking our data was the reality, unaware of how much of business system impacts are hidden from view.   Thinking our information is reality is a problem lots of places. Continue reading How mismeasures steer us wrong

New object oriented natural science for working with natural systems.