Archive | August 2017

The Uncomfortable Complexity of the Civil War

Opening Remarks:

Much of the political discourse of late concerning the Civil War is grossly oversimplified. This includes the notion of the war being centered on the south’s will to preserve slavery. This is a purely political opinion and not so much a scientific one. It’s another account in the massive, historical pool of accounts of political support of existing industry. It’s also an account in just as large a historical pool of accounts of disenfranchisement of the majority.

“Money is Power”:

The Limited Liability Act of 1855, The Joint Stock Companies Act (1856) and Companies Act (1862) had President Lincoln more concerned than about the Civil War itself.

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” ~Abraham Lincoln

The distribution of slave owning plantations was small as well. The concerns that saturated markets entail were the concern of the average farmer during this time. The corruption that existed in Washington also existed in the southern states. Those large economic entities (large plantations as well as corporations) are the ones that have the most impact on economies. Loss of them equates to significant loss in the economy itself. This is in essence the leverage that large industries and financial institutions employ when interacting with governance. The plantations in the south had similar economic leverage to influence legislation in the southern states; thus influencing congress, that corporations had to leverage influence over legislation in central governance. President Lincoln’s (R(when it meant something)) concerns revolved around the threat to the republic. To President Lincoln the war was not about slavery; it was about the loss of governmental power.

Politics in the southern states was vastly influenced by the plantations that produced cash crops. The writs of secession were thus porked with anti-abolition entitlements. Less than one third of the southern soldiers had family income from slave ownership. For the rest, their perspective of the war was one of fighting against an invasion. They were disenfranchised and in essence along for the ride. They were being invaded through no fault of their own and were concerned about the safety of their homes. There is however more to it. This was a time when the country was being industrialized. The advent of the barn engine and subsequently the tractor was likely to end slavery regardless of the outcome of the war. Over a period of decades, it became increasingly difficult to sustain a family on a family farm. This is because of the commodification of farming and expenses like shipping via the railroads. The railroads for instance, were charging high prices due to no competition. This was part of the corporate influence on the economy. Many of the family farmers were coerced to look toward employment due to the automation of farming. by then reconstruction was under way and working tractors existed. This change would likely have had an effect on the motive for southern soldiers to fight in the war. This would of course be more of a subconscious, impulsive behavior. The rejection of the change that was being imposed upon them was likely a strong motivator.

“It Was About Slavery”:

The notion of what anything is about is entirely subjective. It is not a scientific notion. It can however be criticized scientifically. It appears that, to the vast majority, the war was not about slavery at all. Most of the people who were wielding influence were aware that slavery was nearing obsolescence through automating technologies. This is uncomfortable for most to realize; due to the will to be masters of ones own path. The abolition movement would likely have not even existed if there were no replacement for slavery. It “coincided” with the advent of the barn engine; and slavery was made illegal coinciding the advent of the tractor. Civilized humans tend to take credit for what emerges and until then, take advantage of each other. History is full of precedent that attests to that fact.

Closing Remarks:

The Civil War was an interesting though trying time in our history. Even today it influences politics with various truncated opinions that divide the populous against itself. This is concerning on many levels. In order for one to vote their conscience, there is a requirement that one be educated on the subject matter. This is not something that the Industrial Revolution has promoted in the American culture. Political discourse has since become brandishing truncated factoids that are taken out of context in order to prolong the division. President Lincoln’s worst fear has come to be.

Revolt does not come from a population that is oppressed alone. It comes from one that is also uneducated. The struggle between political and economic influence tends to produce both. There is a great deal of precedent in our history that attests to that fact as well.

 

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The Unfavorable Effects of the Current World View

Opening Remarks:

The world view that has been in development since the dawn of civilization has produced a wide variety of favorable attributes. This is however on the creation of unfavorable ones as well. When such a large influence as collective consciousness is wielded as a control measure by a minority, the outcome is most likely going to be large scale disenfranchisement. This has been empirically demonstrated in written history and in common practice. The most disconcerting aspect of this fact is probably the billions of lives that this has influenced in an unfavorable way; though the current extinction and existential risk obviously warrants much concern as well.

Control Based “Work Ethics”:

The current view of work is generally one of sacrifice for the common good. Though it’s often the case in practice, it’s also a product of the view itself. The manner in which society is developing is highly dependent upon the views of the society itself. There is a “group think” type of hive mind that is guiding social structuring. Such a view of reality ensures the acceptance of the solutions that are produced.

Humans tend to think in a top down type of manner. Axioms provide a conceptual model for the development of solutions to problems. If the conceptual model is incoherent, the solutions are more likely to produce unfavorable effects. When leaders spread unsupported dogma in the place of awareness of maximally accurate approximations of the initial conditions, for the purpose of personal gain, the outcome is more of a control measure than an attempt at socioeconomic solutions.

A false dichotomy of leaders and followers is also part of the current world view. Though there is natural predisposition to invest in the strengths of leaders, natural systems diversify, in mass, in a distributed manner. Allowing small numbers of leaders to aggressively guide society is probably hindering novelty to a significant degree. This probably means that much more advancement might have been possible if distributed intelligence had been employed in the initial model of civilization. Rather, top down influence produced exploitation of the vast majority of the population; which is as prevalent today as it has been for thousands of years. The severity of it has however decreased significantly.

It would appear that contribution to society was generally, originally a very purposeful and meaningful experience that was generally passion provoking and fulfilling. It was likely more appreciated as an important part of social interaction. It was also probably more enjoyable than most of the experiences that people have with employment.

The Separation of Education and Entertainment:

In all mammals accepting civilized human societies, education is developed through play. Animals play to learn useful life skills. Humans however have separated entertainment from education for the reason of acclimation to the work ethic. Entertainment thus became a reward for contributing to society.

It would stand to reason that a fun, game like, educational experience is what humans have evolutionary predispositions toward. This being the case, an educational system that is framed in that manner is likely to be the most successful model; as humans are likely to be intrinsically suited to it. Rather, educational models are too often taken for granted or under appreciated; due to incoherent socioeconomic views. For instance, many have asked “why invest in the education of someone that is doing unskilled labor?”. This truncates the issue to the “means of production” when education is originally for the purpose of learning life skills in general.

Thinking of education as a lengthy endeavor of hard labor is probably ensuring that a large number of young people fail at it. It’s probably supposed to be fun. The dividends from making it fun again would probably be enormous.

The Prevalence of Punishment and Lack of Positive Reinforcement:

The general world view, when it comes to criminal behavior is that people have a choice; and the wrong choices should be punished. There is more positive reinforcement now then in previous centuries; but punishment is more often than not the first and only action taken. This is a complex and complicated issue when considering the sovereignty of the mind; but erring in the first action tends to be most common.

The manner in which drug addiction is addressed is a pretty good indicator of where we might make some progress. For instance, it’s difficult to have an aggressive intervention because of concerns of infringing upon the rights of the individual. It’s also more likely that the individual would require some serious form of consequence before the denial of the seriousness of the situation became evident to them. With the ethical considerations, that is probably where the first action should take place. When the first action is punishment alone, the success of the action isn’t being maximized; it’s not even really being promoted. what’s usually happening is that those who have been victimized by the actions of the addict are being avenged. Often it’s also the addict being punished for possessing an illegal substance. This in essence doesn’t really promote the correction of the behaviors of the addict. For that, positive reinforcement would probably be a more effective strategy. If part of the terms of release were to get help for the offending condition, the success of the action would probably increase dramatically. Without it, the chance that the addict would continue to victimize others is not being mitigated. The system should take responsibility for this; and it generally doesn’t.

In recent times, there has been significant maturity in local law enforcement. City police are employing psychological tools for recognizing not only deception but also red flags for mental illness and disorder. The local courts are also more sensitive to such things. This however worsens up the ladder. The states are being pressured not only from the local governance but also from federal governance. The difference in the world view is evident as well. There is of course the fact that federal cases are often severe and highly publicized cases to consider as well. This is probably feedback from an incoherent, general world view. This will not change the fact that the current approach is much less likely to be successful than one including the added positive utility of positive reinforcement. The costs of dealing with repeat offenders is probably more than the costs of mitigating repeat offenses.

It doesn’t seem likely that the life of an addict, in the darkest hours is a good life. The well being of the individual should be a concern as well as the protection of those that the individual might harm.

Polarity and Blame:

The two party political model often prevents favorable change. This is because of the tendency to choose a side and stand by it keeps the populous polarized and incapable of effecting change. The issues cannot be effectively addressed if there is a 50 / 50 ish split on the solution. The lack of change is often blamed on the opposing party; and allowed to be unsolved. There is also the issues that arise from more personal values that probably shouldn’t even be political issues at all. This distraction from favorable change is constant and pernicious in it’s ability to pit half against the other half; again with no solution.

Closing Remarks:

The view that one might gain from the work of Stephen Pinker is one of a world that is getting better over time. This is probably because it’s derived from the developments from civilized society alone. The mistakes that were made early on are influencing society even today. When considering extinction and existential risk factors, the assessment may be going in the other direction. Though Graham Hancock has made some large mistakes concerning the myth of Atlantis, he has a poignant view of the level of self awareness of recent humans. His suggestion that humans are a “species with amnesia” appears to be true on many levels. Though I don’t think that we have entirely forgotten who we are, our failed attempts to re-invent ourselves has all but severed our deep connection with nature and left us in critical danger. This doesn’t however mean that this condition is necessarily fatal. We can’t entirely forget who we really are. Our base instincts are probably much more influential when the dangers become generally obvious. The purpose of this article however is to illustrate the notion that life is supposed to be better than it is; and better understanding of ourselves and our deep connection to nature is probably the solution.