Archive | June 2017

Social Dogma As an Initial Condition

Abstract

 Social transformation is under heavy influence from the collective mindset of it’s time. It’s likely that our current condition is significantly influenced by the mindset that existed during the dawn of civilization. It likely functioned as axioms for the distributed, discrete solutions that solved the problems that arose. It was a top down influence that set the tone for the next several thousand years in Socioeconomics.

Social Organization:

* What’s commonly in the collective consciousness

In all human organizations, endeavors begin with a consensus concerning a model of reality that results in a roughly agreed upon world view. Individuals share notes on what they believe to be real; and socially unifying behaviors result in significant agreement via bonding impulses. It’s this general belief about the world and humanity’s place in it that is the basis for models of possible socioeconomic change. This is an initial condition for public awareness.

The details of socioeconomic change are often worked out in the implementation. This is clearly necessary as the number of issues that arise are likely to overwhelm a central organization. This is because the shear mass of issues are the product of natural distribution. This probably suggests that distributed organization is the more adequate approach for solutions.

The two previous paragraphs are brief descriptions of two proposed aspects of society that appear to function in a feedback loop to organizational ends. It’s feedback between individuals and the collective that produces as society. The experience of the individual is data that is shared with the collective to either enforce or to amend the general world view; or to enforce or to amend agreement on possible solutions.

* What’s not commonly in the collective consciousness

Though humans are the most conscious and sentient beings that we humans are aware of, almost all of our behaviors are unconscious. This of course does include all of our unconscious, autonomic behaviors; however it also includes our sub-conscious, impulses. The latter has more of an effect on our socialization than most tend to appreciate. For instance “conscious” decisions are often effected by things like mood and the neurological state. There are two categorizations in Neurology of the nervous system concerning modal function. One is the Sympathetic Nervous System; which is responsible for the “fight or flight” mode that bolsters outward defense of the biology against predation and the like. There is also the Parasympathetic Nervous System; that is responsible for development, growth, fighting illness, healing etc. Both of these states influence our decisions; as decisions are made in the moment. Decisions are generally based as much on the environmental stimuli of the time as they are on socially supported world views.

Concerns of fear mongering exist because it’s known that the Sympathetic Nervous System can influence decision making; even in large crowds of humans. We humans are predisposed to behave in a manner that is appropriate for the initial conditions. This is in essence what “good behavior” is. This however is not exactly what happens in reality. It’s more of a perception of initial conditions that produces behavior. Where the perception is not indicative of the actual initial condition, inappropriate behaviors are more likely. This can be (and is) used as an axiom for a Pavlov strategy. Creating environmental stimuli that are likely to result in defensive responses is a common tool in political punditry. This is also a tool that is used in Social Engineering. The opposing stimuli also has significant influence in decision making. Where awareness of possible red flags is present, they can be mitigated; and interactions that are risky or inappropriate can seem like perfectly normal and appropriate interactions. For instance, a power company once hired a group of social engineers to test the security of their facility. The social engineers entered the facility and were essentially undetected; posing as technicians. Contracted technicians just don’t look out of place in such a technical environment. In this instance, just looking the part was half the battle.

Manipulation of the masses is probably one of the earliest forms of crowd technologies. This is the main focus of Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent”. Unfortunately, consent is dependent upon the most accurate perception of initial conditions as practical. Otherwise, consent can be directed by creating a perception of a type of initial condition that is appropriate for the desired type of behavior. This is in essence fabricated signal noise that promotes acceptance of a Pavlov strategy. The understanding of how humans respond to environmental stimuli is too often exploited in the interest of personal gain for an individual or small group. The evidence of this is overwhelmingly pervasive.

* Epistemology and lack there of

Natural distributions of interest and aptitude in populations of humans is diverse and specialized. This produces a large number of individuals that are adept at narrowly defined skill sets. This of course, in reality, also produces a very small number of broad thinkers; but the vast majority are specialists. This may be because the skills of specialists are required for broad thinkers to test their models. This is probably because of human neurological constraints. This is addressed naturally by collective or distributed intelligence. Many well trained hands can make large, complex tasks light by coordinating their efforts and skills.

Considering the arguments in the previous bullet point, inconsistent or misrepresented data can (and does) have an unfavorable effect on the general world view. This of course translates to an unfavorable impact on system modeling. Systemic issues are thus likely due to this. This can be (and is) a huge hurdle for systemic change; when the systemic issues become the focus of social polarity. This prevents social consensus; even where Epistemological consensus exists. These instances are probably and historically not long lived; however in modern times they tend to produce increasing amounts of risk. This appears to be a product of both general human inclinations toward Trusting Tit For Tat strategies; and the much less numerous but still pervasive Pavlov strategies.

* Economy and lack there of

Where maximally accurate perceptions of initial conditions are present, economy is essentially maximized. This is because the collective or distributed intelligence is in the maximally effective state to produce economy. This suggests that an maximally, economically effective world view is the maximally accurate one. It isn’t however as simple as circular logic. The support is in how well the outcomes meet the expectations. If a model fails to produce an expected outcome, there is probably an issue with the model.

All too often economic issues are addressed with inputs that mitigate systemic issues. This is in essence creating issues and then leveraging resources toward patching the symptoms; rather than solving the initial issue. This is of course not economically viable. This is probably a product of the two previous bullet points.

Conclusion:

It’s difficult to argue against social dogma as an initial condition; as the evidence for it as a major contribution to social organization is clearly… well… evident. The question as to whether it is favorable or not is much more debatable. Where it produces false positives for personal and civil liberty it also produces false positives for personal and social economy.

With the increases in population that almost always accompany rises in the standard of living, the risks become more concerning. The more humans that exist, the more of an environmental influence we become. Of course effective extrapolation of this data is probably a more difficult task than our current level of sophistication can muster; however the fact remains that we are more a part of than apart from our environment. The social dogma doesn’t generally appreciate this. This is concerning considering risks can be not only extinction risks but also existential risks.

Social dogma is a part of social organization. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the most influential part of social organization though. Social organization is a more complex process than we tend to be aware of. We are always forgetting something when trying to make predictions. Social systems are chaotic systems that defy our attempts to extrapolate with accuracy. There are just too many variables for the human mind to account for. At this point, computer mediation of empirical data may be our most viable ally in the quest to organize and economize.

“The major source of unhappiness is that we are incoherent; and therefor producing results that we don’t really want; and then trying to overcome them; while we keep on producing them” ~ David Bohm

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