From: Forrest Bishop (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Jan 05 2002 - 13:22:14 MST
----- Original Message -----
From: remi sussan <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2002 3:50 PM
Subject: >H invisible friends and a few considerations on piost-biological darwinism, too.
> ...and will make my
> definition closer to Gregory Bateson's notion of "mind"
> a) the components are themselves organisms, possessing internal states and
> able to build maps, or models, of their environment. these maps can be of
> three kinds: maps of the external environment, maps of themselves inside
> this environment, maps of their relation between them and the environment).
> ...In other words,
> observation, in anthropological matters , is less important than
> For instance, one cannot, in analyzing a communication situation, make the
> past history of the participants irrelevant, and eliminate it in order to
> obtain a "pure" situation. this is the very example given, by Gregory
> Bateson to, explain the difference between the "pleroma " (the world of
> matter, of physics) and "creatura" (the world of biology, of information, of
> communication). "if I hit a ball, he said, the way the ball will react is
> function of the strength of my hit, and of course, of the various parameters
> such as the ground, air, gravity, etc. But if I hit a dog, the reaction of
> the dog will not be function, excepted perhaps marginally, of the strength
> of my hit. It will be function of the history of the relationship of the
> dog with me (and this includes of course, the relationship, and the
> representation, the dog has about all humans)."
The dog is made up of physical materials and processes embedded in the objective universe. Its behavior is certainly different
from kicking a rock, a ball, a gob of nitroglycerine, a cranky computer, or a delusional Statism fundamentalist. Each of these
systems has general properties that can be teased out from the study of their past histories. The observation of patterns of
behavior in natural systems precedes the deduction of a theory, or model, of the system that can then be used to predict its future
states after application of the step-function stimulus- cf the earlier post on Argentinian banks and hyperinflation. As you say,
each new situation is unique, indeterminate, and different from all others, thus a scientific prediction cannot be totally accurate.
The true believer- a system composed of an adult human partially locked into an unsustainable delusional state- is especially simple
to model, as the belief structure forms an internal control system that outputs mechanical, robotic responses to external stimuli.
Mr. Bateson's two-part division of the world suffers, like all divisions must, from a simplification that can constrain further
inquiry. This is of course an artificial method of dividing up the spheres of mental processes; a 'framework' for a 'picture'.
Sometimes this particular division is useful, other times it obscures. The question "what is life?" is far from settled; biology can
be considered a subset of physics; physics can be partially unified under the principle of extreme physical information (EPI).
Philosphers in particular seem prone to locking in to a particular framework, then attempting to make everything fit into it.
Dialetical Materialism and Marxism are notorious examples of thoroughly refuted toxic meme-complexes that refuse to dry up and blow
away. They cross-breed and resurge in the doctrines of Fabianism, Communitarianism, Social Democracy, (the original name of the
Bolsheviks/Mensheviks, btw), Keynesianism, Neoconservatism, and so forth. Thus, we look for an underlying explanation for the
persistence of these dynamical structures.
The techcniques of switching pictures, frameworks, or models, has proven very sucessful in scientific inquiry- flipping the
telescope around, rotating the interferometer, blocking off one slit or another, changing to a different mathematical model, and
selecting what to include or exclude from observation. Forming ensembles of 'frameworks', or imaginary divisions of systems in
multiple combinations, can demonstrate the exisistence or non-existence of holistic residues. Performing these operations on the
holistic constructs of Keynesianism, as the Austrian School theoreticians have done so well, is like peeling the layers from an
onion: there is no pit or residue- the center does not hold.
> ... A few days ago, for instance, there was this very
> interesting Paul Hugues's post where he mentioned and tried, rightly imho,
> to criticize the point of view of some famous transhumanists about the
> future of competition between uploaded beings: a very dark, harsh vision,
> dominated by fierce competition and ruthless greediness. It seem that, for
> these thinkers (who are some of the best and sophisticated transhumanist
> writers around) it is possible to imagine human evolving not only in a
> virtual world, but even becoming without bodies and environment, even
> virtual, working as pure software (an hypothesis I find personally extremely
> weird), but that the most primitive form of interaction through fight and
> competition will continue to lead the game.
> Seriously, I think this kind of reasoning is one of the major defects of
> transhumanism.Again, I don't say that this is your point of view (that I
> don't know on this precise topic),
I do not share the "dark, harsh visions" on these subjects. I did see Paul Hughes's email, it sat in the inbox for awhile but I
didn't get around to replying. Perhaps the notion of fierce competition is a perceptual artifact stemming from existing in a
ladder-climbing, rent-seeking, hirearchical environment (no offense intended). The real-life examples of co-opetition between
quasi-species on mutually deforming fitness landscapes seen in economies and ecosystems appears more applicable.
There may be a low critical mass for consciousness that negates the possibility of a singulatarian Jupiter Brain. Propagation
delays between sections of the big brain would exceed the time needed for one section to change its mind about whatever the subject
was. The Turing stopping problem as well as the butterfly effect makes that future state unknowable to the rest of the brain, hence
it is at continuous risk of section defection. The complexity catastrophe may limit the nanotech brain to something smaller than a
breadbox. Defending a large, unmaneuverable spherical object against standoff directed-energy weapons and relativistic bombing is
geometrically similar (compounded by the three-dimensionality) to Hannibal's annihilation of the Roman army at Carthage. Therefore,
its construction would probably not even be attempted. Outer space is not in short supply; good fences make good neighbors.
It requires less resources for a critical-mass consciousness to interact with the real world sans the virtual-reality-interface
markup costs. Thus, it has a type of fitness not found in the liquid infomorph system. It is just as plausible that the contemporary
'ecosystem' of computation will become more complex and expand throughout the Solar System. The biological world can be caracictured
as beetles, bacteria, and a few other organisms. Similarly, the present-day computer 'ecosystem' is composed of billions of 4- and
8-bit microprocessors, plus single money. The tiny machines help out the bigger ones and vice versa- the quasi-static Nash
equilibrium of "Mutually Assured Construction". One does not use an 8051 to model climate, nor a Blue Gene to run the toaster. The
natural order of division of labor in a free market allows each kind of machine to do what it is most fit for. The absense of
deception, coersion, and associated rent-seeking behavior of the machines themselves is partly responsible for Moore's observation.
The overhead costs associated with socialistic schemes-holding virtual guns to virtual heads, swarms of bureaucratic software agents
eating out productive agent's substrate, jupiterbrainwashing, infomorphs coursing through the system prattling on about facilitating
social contracts, and all the rest,
would produce a less fit system.
> Now a few speculations about "the state".
> If we admit that societies are ["superorganisms"],
What exactically is a superorganism? I wrote: "The notion that the physical structures of civilization resemble a "superorganism" is
sometimes put forth. It has some utility, as the functions and evolved structures of these artifacts appear to have analogs in the
biological realm.", which did not make any claim of identity between "society" (whatever that is) and a "superorganism" (whatever
> we speculate they possess,
> in turn, representation or maps of their environment, and representation of
> themselves. these different maps being materialized in form of "social
> institution". One may ask if the central power structure of the society is
> not such a map.
I think my earlier proposition of "a giant Stanford Prison Experiment" is close to the mark:
"...there is a tendency on the part of this Government to overstep the boundaries marked out for it by the Constitution. ... one
evil example will lead to other measures still more mischievous; and if the principle of constructive powers or supposed advantages
or temporary circumstances shall ever be permitted to justify the assumption of a power not given by the Constitution, the General
Government will before long absorb all the powers of legislation, and you will have in effect but one consolidated government..."
--Andrew Jackson's farewell speech, March 4, 1837
"In addition to all this, the habit of dealing with large sums will make the government avaricious and profuse. The system itself
will infallibly generate the base vermin of spies and informers, and a still more pestilent race of political tools and retainers,
of the meanest and most odious description, while the prodigious patronage, which the collecting of this splendid revenue will throw
into the hands of the government, will invest it in so vast an influence, and hold out such means and temptations to corruption, as
all the virtue and public spirit, even of republicans, will be unable to resist."
--McGuffy's Fourth Reader, 1838
"There were three types of guards. First, there were tough but fair guards who followed prison rules. Second, there were "good guys"
who did little favors for the prisoners and never punished them. And finally, about a third of the guards were hostile, arbitrary,
and inventive in their forms of prisoner humiliation. These guards appeared to thoroughly enjoy the power they wielded, yet none of
our preliminary personality tests were able to predict this behavior. The only link between personality and prison behavior was a
finding that prisoners with a high degree of authoritarianism endured our authoritarian prison environment longer than did other
--Philip. G. Zimbardo, 1999
"...[since] they would have to do these things whether they wanted to or not; and the probability of the people in power being
individuals who would dislike the possession and exercise of power is on a level with the probability that an extremely
tender-hearted person would get the job of whipping-master in a slave plantation."
--Frank H. Knight, 1938 [quoted in Hayek, pp 167]
"I was sitting there all alone, waiting anxiously for the intruders to break in, when who should happen along but a colleague and
former Yale graduate student roommate, Gordon Bower. Gordon had heard we were doing an experiment, and he came to see what was going
on. I briefly described what we were up to, and Gordon asked me a very simple question: "Say, what's the independent variable in
"To my surprise, I got really angry at him. Here I had a prison break on my hands. The security of my men and the stability of my
prison was at stake, and now, I had to deal with this bleeding-heart, liberal, academic, effete dingdong who was concerned about the
independent variable! It wasn't until much later that I realized how far into my prison role I was at that point -- that I was
thinking like a prison superintendent rather than a research psychologist."
--Philip. G. Zimbardo, 1999
and there is no independent variable. There is no governor for the governor; no lender of last resort for the lender of last resort.
> One interesting thing is that, even long before the
> invention of democracy, the ruling power, the government, has always been
> thought to be, in some way, representative.
"[A] myth concerns the historic transition from absolute monarchies to democratic states. Not only do neoconservatives interpret
this development as progress; there is near universal agreement that democracy represents an advance over monarchy and is the cause
of economic and moral progress. This interpretation is curious in light of the fact that democracy, in the twentieth century, has
been the fountainhead of every form of socialism: of (European) democratic socialism and (American) "liberalism" and neoconservatism
as well as of international (Soviet) socialism, (Italian) fascism, and national (Nazi) socialism.
"More importantly, however, theory contradicts this interpretation; whereas both monarchies and democracies are deficient as
states, democracy is worse than monarchy at keeping the size and reach of the state in check...."
--Hans-Hermann Hoppe, 2002
Democracy can be modeled as two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for lunch. Back to Planet X, populated by three ideal-type
"... Party C may entertain the private notion that he is entitled to take things claimed by Party A and dole some "fair share" of
them out to Party B (less the vig of course), e.g. the Social Security swindle. Parties A and B may or may not hold similar views.
Regardless of the unknowable individual views of any of the persons, there are no external factors at work...."
Come the elections, Party B (who may be a member of a state-chartered corporation) will climb out of his couch just long enough to
vote for the hand that feeds him: Party C. Party C will also vote for Party C. Majority rules. Party A might decide it's easier to
switch than fight, hence he too becomes a recipient like Party B. This is a classic runaway system- the mechanism behind the
collapse of Rome, the Soviet Union, and many other examples. Now playing in Argentina. I think it was Aristotle that first noticed
this progression: Monarchy -> Republic -> Democracy -> Dictatorship (->collapse), a lietmotif of the past few centuries of Western
Confederations, republics, divisions of jurisdiction and execution, and proscribing limits on the applications of compulsion and
coersion (sometimes referred to as the government, or barrel of the gun) are attempts to avoid the tyranny of the majority- to
provide for the general welfare, not the specific welfare, of this or that imagined special interest. Coersion requires an
enforcement mechanism. Each new rule requires passing several more to counteract the negative effects of the first, thus the
67,000ish new US federal regulations passed in 2000. This too, is a classic, positive-feedback, runaway control system.
> Even the king, in feudal
> society, was not considered as the biggest alpha male of the crowd, but was
> seen as a kind of symbol of the country. this is beautifully summarized in
> John Boorman's Excalibur, when Parsifal says to King Arthur: "you and the
> land are one".
"Beautifully" is not the only adverb available to qualify this summary. Mr. Arthur was (or may have been) considered a man,
whereas land is considered to be dry terrain on Earth. It is quite a stretch to consider these two classes of objects identical.
Compose and decompse this claim of ownership by inclusion and exclusion.
> And of course, the map is not the territory, and the representation will
> never be completely accurate. But is this a reason to think that this
> representation is a pure fiction and that it could disappear?
Yes, of course.
> representation of myself is certainly inaccurate, but I need one in order to
> act. In the same way, how to act in meaningful political way if one doesn't
> accept to work with these social representations ?
Meaning is entirely personal and subjective, there does not appear to be any external authority capable of providing this service
to the individual. The bulk of social representations, or political theories, appear to be apologetics for the staples of Statism-
murder, robbery, kidnapping, enslavement, theft by deception, and the public-commons production of other "bads". Court philosophers
of every era seem prone to claiming their world the best of all possible. Calls for acceptance of consensus reality, scientific
consensus, fads, manias, and manufactured social representations cannot apriori yield useful models. The objective reality of the
manifest universe is not subject to the ballot box.
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beggar thy neighbor:
anatomy of the state:
the discount of State-worship:
Mr. Clinton's death list (abridged):
social security swindle:
interview with Karl Marx:
how to destroy civilization:
9/11: restate your assumptions:
"war is a racket" bibliography:
national/international socialisms and power structures:
The Democratic Leviathan by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
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