Sunday, August 30, 2009

Data Mining

Data Mining

Data have different values in terms of capacity to align to or with other data. The more basic or fundamental the datum, the more value it has. Of course, this is all relating to true or valid data. Hitting upon a basic, valid datum is similar to hitting upon a rich vein or lode of ore. As you work down the vein you may be able to generate many new understandings by aligning this basic datum with older data and new observations. Understandings are generated through correlation and cross correlation with “known good” data.

A set of such “known good” data is a great tool for data mining, and for testing the validity of new data as it is encountered. The idea is to develop a coherent data set which has been largely or even completely cross-correlated so that if it is accessed or “touched” at any point then all cross-correlations from or to that point are immediately known and available as self-determined understandings. The coherency is a test of validity. There should be no datum that has to be “crammed in sideways” to make it fit with the others. A set of coherent data is a good tool for testing the validity of any new data encountered. If the new datum is valid it will fit in well with all parts of the coherent data set.

A person might want to have more than one of such coherent data sets. A different set can be used for different areas of life or work. The data set or sets would be expected to grow in size with time as the set is “worked” through cross-correlating within itself as well as with new data encountered. The larger the set the easier it becomes to add new valid data and to reject newly encountered false data.

Data Prospecting

Where would a person look to find the makings of a coherent data set? Look for data that govern areas of activity that have operated at a high level over a long period of time, or areas that have shown jumps of productivity.

A prime example from biology is the organization of cells of the body into tissue and organs. Animals and plants have been quite successful over a long period of time. The success, in general, seems to come more from order built into the system of organization of cells rather than from any particular intelligent entity occupying or governing such organizations of cells. There is much more variance between these intelligent entities than is observed between individual plants or animal bodies.

An example from mechanics is the internal combustion engine, or the steam engine. Civilization really took off from the Middle Ages into the Industrial Revolution and beyond as these motive forces were developed and brought into widespread use.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Missing Group Technology

Life and vitality are brought into the area of groups by the application of self-determination by the individual. First, the individual decides what goal or goals he would like to achieve in his neighborhood, city, county, state, country, or even the world. A purpose is a route or path leading to a goal. His next step, then, is to determine or discover or decide on a purpose to reach the goal. By this point it will usually have become apparent that achieving the goal is beyond the reach and capabilities of the individual himself. This is where groups come in. A well-formed group can be much more efficient than the same number of individuals acting in parallel, and its life can extend as long as is needed to achieve the group goal.

A group operating at a high level of causation is a servo-mechanism that is used to forward a purpose determined by an individual. Self-determination gives it life. It exists to follow a purpose to achieve a goal. The better the goal is, the more it will inspire others to participate, form up the servo-mechanism, and forward the purpose to achieve it. Once the goal has been achieved the group is disbanded. Group resources can be reformed around a new purpose, or they can return to a common "pool", where they can be drawn on to forward other purposes to reach new goals.

So how are these servo-mechanisms formed? Here are the pieces that should be included:
 Self-determination. All participants should have a self-determined desire to achieve the goal. This gives life to the group. Group members should have the understanding that a well-organized effort by a number of persons will go further in following the purpose than the same number of people working by themselves in parallel.
 A system of interconnected and coordinated poles of functionality that channels the self-determination of group members, rather than cuts across it, and whose activity is aligned with and forwards the purpose of the group.

The models for the system are the anatomy of living organisms. The poles of functionality are the organs, and in the context of groups are termed "hats". The framework or form of the system is determined by analytical agreements which should be codified into a set of policy.

The policy of a group is the set of agreements between members that are actually being acted upon. The agreements actually being acted from determine the form of the group. In an aberrated group they may be quite different from officially issued policy. The set of policy is equivalent to the set of genes in a living organism. In an aberrated or unhealthy organism there will be some part of the organism where the genes are not being followed completely or where some outside force or agency is applying a counter-intention or counter-force to that dictated by the genes, and which is causing the application of the genetic patterns to be thwarted to some degree.

There is a spectrum of policy that runs from completely general, that could apply to any group, and any purpose, to more specific, to the most specific policy that applies to a particular job in a particular section of a particular group with a particular purpose line. A given hat can be thought of as a "stack" of policy, with the lowest part of the stack formed by the most general policy, and the higher levels being more and more specific.

A set of policy should be coherent and aligned with the group purpose. The complete set of policy can be thought of as a "framework" which defines a "space" in which safety and freedom is guaranteed for the individual to apply his self-determination. This safety and freedom allows the individual to more easily and fully apply his self-determination, which allows higher levels of group causation to be achieved. At the same time that the individual is protected from arbitrary counter-action, disturbance or distraction by the environment, the environment is protected from misuse of misapplication of the self-determination by the individual. A well-formed, coherent set of policy defines channels and boundaries within which self-determination can be applied, so the environment is then protected from arbitrary activity on the part of the individual. It's a win-win situation. The only "losers" are those crazy enough to value contra-life activity and purposes.

Teamwork is a high level of adherence to a known, coherent set of policy defining hats organized to effectively forward the group purpose line. A group member who operates out of agreement with such policy is disruptive to the morale of the group. An exception to this is where the set of policy is incomplete, or incoherent in a particular area. If an individual acts in a way that aligns more closely to the group purpose line than the existing policy set dictates, then morale is improved. In such a situation the policy set should be upgraded to incorporate this new successful action. Morale can be defined as a feeling of well-being or satisfaction from an understanding and knowledge of the fact of a self-determined purpose being successfully forwarded.

A set of hats is something that each group member can help to build, grow, correct and maintain. Of course, there are specialized hats that are focused in each of these areas over the whole group, but each group member also can be responsible for these activities in his own immediate area.

Have you ever seen a Chinese celebration where a dragon parades down the street? It is a good analogy for a group. In fact, to the Chinese people the dragon is a symbol for themselves as a people. There are several people animating the dragon. They are at different positions, have different responsibilities, but they are all interconnected by the fabric of the suit. In effect, as they march down they street in coordination, they ARE the dragon. They have set their individual, personal identities aside to don assume an identity which is a part of this interconnecting dragon skin. They now interface with each other in a manner defined by the dragon skin/body rather than from personal viewpoints. The dragon is virtually alive, but all the life is coming from those underneath the fabric.

So they march down the street. The people along the side of the street see a "living" dragon. The dragon reaches the end of the parade. The people inside now take off the skin. They clean it, fold it and store it for future use. They are now done with the group purpose line. They have reassumed their own viewpoints now, possibly, or maybe the viewpoint of another hat, such as citizen. Anyway, they have left the dragon "hats" back "in the office", and are not going to carry them home. The dragon suit is ready for future use. All of those participating were in agreement with staying inside the suit and following the "dragon way", at least temporarily. It would not have gone down well if one of them had abandoned their post in the middle of the parade and left their part of the dragon dragging on the ground, or torn a hole in the side as they ran off to do their own thing. The dragon suit is ready to "live" another day.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that no other cultures that I know of have similar activities in their festivals/parades/parties where a group of individuals assume a larger identity together. The Chinese culture is also many thousands of years old-- much older than any western culture. Is there a correlation? Probably so.

A vital point to understand, especially in America, is that operating from the viewpoint of a hat, which is using an interface to other group members that conforms to the “dragon skin”, or to group purposes and policy, is completely impersonal. There is such a thing as warmly impersonal. A group member operating wholly “on hat” should also be “on purpose”, and so is as warm as the purpose of the group is warm.

It is true that in social groups the individual operates to some degree, if not completely, from his personal viewpoint. Social groups are groups, but low-level ones. There is not so much form or order to them. While there usually is some sort of uncodified, low-level “policy” in effect regarding dress and conduct, and possibly some specific topic of interest, there is much more arbitrary interaction unaligned with such an interest. You can think of social groups occupying the bottom end of the scale of group causation. The family is the first group that a child encounters, and it is a usually mostly a social group.

So on the bottom of the group causation scale there is more randomness, more arbitrary action by the individual unaligned with group policy, and in fact there may be little or no group policy in effect. On the top end of the scale is a group with a coherent body of policy that is completely aligned with its purpose, and with the purpose leading directly to its goal. All “hats” are manned, or at least there are personnel who can wear them when needed. All group members have a complete, self-determined understanding of the “policy stacks” relating to any hat they wear. There is an awareness on the part of each group member of the “dragon skin” that includes his hat, any hats he supervises, and at least the hats which directly interface with those hats. He has an awareness and understanding of what things or people are dealt with, how it is done, what communications are needed. He is able to operate in his area as well as maintain or correct any structure that supports production, and even build more structure that supports production in his area.

There is NO arbitrary activity in a well organized group. All required job actions and activities have been planned for and codified in policy, or plans that conform to policy. When something new enters his domain he does not ask himself what he should do with it. His job is first to get into communication with the reality of what is coming in so that he can identify it. Once it is identified he has a certainty already in place of what to do with it. He just does it. Decisions should not have to be made in a well organized work activity. Arbitrary action and decision points always slow things down. That is to be avoided in any work flow. Any and all decisions required should have been foreseen and incorporated into policy or plans that conform to policy. If any new decisions are seen to be required in a work area it is a sign that more organization is needed there.

A causative group will take care of its “dragon skin” so that it is always available to be easily worn by group members, new and old. Each hat should have a write-up available that includes general and specific actions, duties and pertinent technology. The write-up “stabilizes” that hat. It captures the sometimes hard-won knowledge necessary to successfully wear it, and makes such knowledge available as a reminder to the original wearer and also a way to allow knowledge transfer to any new wearer.

Since all such hat write-ups, taken collectively, are the “DNA” of the group, they require special care and attention. There should be a central repository for them, or copies of them. One of the duties of a manager should be to verify that these write-ups are available, up-to-date, and in use in his area. Such verification can be part of a periodic review process.

The scale of group causation runs from the personal, social group to the completely organized, impersonal group. Movement in a pro-life direction is movement UP the scale.

In a well organized group work environment there is often still room for personal interaction by those who desire it—for instance around the water cooler or the office printer, or at break time. There should be an awareness in these cases that such interaction is part of the private life and has nothing at all to do with the work process or forwarding the purpose of the group.

There is a common confusion here regarding names. A name actually has a dual role. Within the context of a private life it is an identifier, but within a work context a name is an indexer that relates a body to a hat. If you want something done with a certain group you first ask which hat would deal with that function. Hopefully there is some kind of index available that relates a name to any hat. Once you have the right name you know which body to go to or communicate with to get what you need to do done.

Some cultures deal better with this confusion than others. In America there has been more and more fixation on personal interaction in recent years. It used to be, even in America, that when a customer went into a sandwich shop or a bakery he would take a number in order to be served. When the servers called his number he would step forward and give his order. When his order was ready his number would be called again. This was in conformity with a higher level of group causation. There was an awareness and assumption of the hats of customer and server. In America these days it is more usual for the server to ask the personal, or first name of the customer, bringing the whole interaction DOWN to the bottom of the scale of group causation. It is a movement in the contra-life direction, but for some odd reason it makes many Americans “happy”.

In Germany it is not unusual to work for years with a colleague without ever using or even knowing his/her first name. The first name is reserved for the private life. It is easier to stay focused on a higher level of group causation this way.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

You CAN Take It With You

Actually, you WILL take it with you, whether you want to or not. What?
Your life experience. What you will NOT take are your material possessions and goods. Most people will not remember anything from a previous life, so what does this really mean? Good life experience in a particular area of life and living will translate in a future life (or from a past life) into better ability to face up to and deal with that area of life, better reach to it, better ability to communicate with it. That’s the good news.

Unfortunately the opposite is true as well. Bad life experience in an area of life translates into a decreased ability to face up to and deal with that area.

One thing to keep in mind is that, though a particular life incident which occurs in a given area of life contains specific details of place, time, identity, etc., its benefit of good experience (and the
opposite for bad experience) will carry over not just to that particular area in the future, but to similar areas and situations. The degree of carry-over is correlated to the degree of similarity.

So, for example, a good experience with a daughter should carry over to better relations with other daughters in the future, particularly in the same type of activity or setting, and to some degree to relations with sons in the future.

Good experience in taking care of the body and personal health will carry over into better future health (all other things being equal), and improved ability to help maintain the health of others.

Good experience on a job will carry over to more ease in facing up to and doing that type of work, or a similar type of work.

A high level of some type of physical or athletic skill will carry over into a similar proficiency in the future.

All this gives a good motivation for living ethically. There is a payoff for living right, and on the other hand there is a penalty for not doing so. Keeping this in mind helps to keep the spiritual being from falling into the trap of being subordinated to materialistic concerns and focus on that which will pay dividends in the future.

What is Man

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are
spiritual beings having a human experience.” Teilhard de Chardin

“Man is a the combination of a spiritual being with a mind inhabiting or controlling a
human body. I’m not sure about women.” Tumpliner

So what is good experience? Forwarding or following a pro-life purpose. Life is trying to improve itself, recover from its past mistakes, increase its reach, become more able to act with, communicate with and exchange with other areas of life and the physical universe. Each individual has a set of life areas along which he can grow and expand. Each such area is a subset of, and dovetails with the next area in the succession.

The first such area is simply himself, his mind, body and personal effects.

The next step outward in reach is family, spouse, children. This puts him into his first experience as a member of a group. It is not a formal group (usually), and usually not a large group, but it is definitely a group.

The next step is being a member of a group, whether it is a class, a society, a sports team, employees of a business, citizens of a city, state or country. Actually this area of life comprises quite a succession of dovetailing groups from the smallest (family) to the largest (country).

All countries sum together to form mankind—our species.

We like to think of ourselves as pretty special, and perhaps we are, but we are also just one of many life forms on this planet, and probably on many other planets.

That’s far enough for you to get the idea of which direction is pro-life. Going back to the individual, each person has gone some distance down this track (or maybe fallen down from a higher point) so that he is comfortable facing it up to a certain point at which he starts to encounter a little trouble or confusion or lack of ability to deal with. The trouble is not necessarily all of his own making, but he can still improve his abilities to deal with it and make progress doing so.

How does life make progress down this path? Through the competent application of self-
determination. Self-determination does not mean that you have to do something different from others (although you might), but it does mean that if you are going along with others that you are doing so because you have a self-determined understanding that it is the right direction to go. You would want to go in that direction even if you were by yourself.

You can think of it as a game of chutes and ladders. The reward for making enough upward progress is gaining of more ability to confront and participate in life—more good experience. You climb the ladders with competent self-determination. The chutes are traps to be avoided. Before looking more at the chutes it will be necessary to explain a little about the mind.

A good reference for the mind is Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health. I am certainly not endorsing the author, or any other of his works, and I don’t even recommend reading the whole book. He does do a good job of presenting what the mind is and what it is composed of. Then he repeats it over, and over, and over, and over…. At some point most readers will have gotten the idea without having to read the whole book. There are two parts of the mind—the analytical and the non-analytical. The analytical part is able to perceive objective reality, align data, form plans and solutions, and can recognize hierarchies of data where some data are more fundamental and broadly applicable and so more valuable, while other data are only narrowly applicable and of less value. The analytical mind is open to the inspection, awareness and use of the spiritual being. The analytical mind includes a collection of mental pictures of the experience that the spiritual being has had. It seems that the pictures are stored in some minimized state that does not require any special attention to maintain, but can be temporarily maximized or “blown up” in the process of remembering or recalling for detailed examination. The analytical mind can also become, to some degree, at effect of the non-analytical mind.

The non-analytical mind is usually not open to the inspection and awareness of the spiritual being, though its effects can be. The non-analytical mind does not grasphierarchies of data. It does not recognize that some data are more fundamental than others. It sees all data to be on the same flat playing field. It can impinge illogical or false data on the analytical mind. It can even cut across the ability of the analytical mind to stay in contact with objective reality.

The non-analytical mind has more impingement on the individual when he is engaged in
unethical or criminal activities, when he is tired, when he is on drugs or has been drinking
alcohol, or when he is physically ill or injured. So the individual can help himself to be in a better frame of mind just by staying healthy, getting enough sleep, not abusing drugs, and living ethically.

One of the major traps or “chutes” to be avoided is what has been called the “mob mentality” or “mob hysteria”. Hollywood used to make movies about this where Jimmie Stewart or Gregory Peck would stand on a box and talk down an angry mob. More recently the Island of Doctor Moreau had it as a theme.

A characteristic of the mob mentality is that a crowd under its influence will act differently and more nastily than the individuals comprising it would do on their own and in control of their analytical minds. It is because the mechanism at work is a non-analytical agreement between individuals comprising the mob on the basis of similar or identical parts of their non-analytical minds. This non-analytical agreement subordinates or shunts self-determined analytical thought to the side. The individuals comprising the mob allow the non-analytical mind, and specifically that part of it which is in agreement with others, to become the senior datum in determining the behavior of the individual. Self-determination is necessary to go in the pro-life direction, and it has just been shunted aside. All that is left, then, for the mob is to go in the contra-life direction. The only remaining question is how quickly and how far it will go in that direction.

A group in this mob mentality can be counted on to knock out what is good and uphold and promote what is bad. Going back to Jimmie Stewart again, there is still the possibility for an individual to get something good accepted or pushed through in a group under the influence of the mob mentality, but it is not easy. What that individual needs to do is to communicate well enough to the individuals comprising the mob mentality that he lifts them, atleast temporarily, back into the analytical band of self-determination where he can appeal to their reason. He has to do this with enough members to allow his agenda to be supported, and it has to be done quickly enough so that those he has already convinced do not slip back into the mob agreement while he is convincing others. It is not an easy thing to do, and can be dangerous.

What is not usually realized is that the “mob mentality” most often exists in less dramatic
manifestations than a mob running through the streets. It shows up more often in areas where stress is higher and analytical thought is lower. It is often seen in adolescents and teens, who are being forced to face up to new areas of life without being given much in the way of philosophical knowledge to help support their analytical abilities.

The mob mentality is actually the “glue” that holds gangs and organized crime together.

The term “creep” can actually be given a technical definition of “a person who prefers to operate and chooses to operate under the influence of the mob mentality rather than thinking for himself.” Interiorizing the individual is an effort to put him less in objective communication with his environment and more at effect of his non-analytical mind. It is not hard to understand that this is not taking things in the pro-life direction. Name-calling is usually just an effort to interiorize, but if this technical definition of “creep” is understood by all concerned, then it can be used to draw the subject’s attention to the fact that he is under the influence of the mob mentality. Hopefully, once he realizes that he will choose to bring his self-determination to bear and get himself back into the analytical band.

So, for the overall good there is a responsibility for those who are able to monitor themselves to stay out of the mob mentality to take it a step further and help monitor others. It can be an insidious trap, especially when peers and life influences are encouraging the individual to fall into it and remain in it. Those who are able to monitor others can be a great help to them and to any groups they are involved with.

The solution to it is simple, and already known: just think for yourself. Never agree with anything unless you have a self-determined understanding of it.

Though the solution is simple, it fails when the individual does not have, or does not bring to bear, sufficient analytical “horsepower” to deal with the present situation or circumstances. Unable to “front up” to the situation analytically, he looks for a crutch to lean on. In other words, unable to determine his own path analytically with respect to a particular situation, he finds when he agrees with others in a similar state to his, that he can put himself in touch with a “powerful” mental force or impulse that gives him a subjective feeling of “strength” to face the situation. The non-analytical mind really can contain mental forces and matter analagous to physical forces and matter. The individual in this state may be subjectively feeling some of this “powerful” mental force which helps to bolster his ego, but he is really not facing up to the situation. His self-determination with respect to the situation has been subordinated to impingement of mental force or matter from the non-analytical mind. He is actually just feeling this impingement from the non-analytical mind. To go in a pro-life direction, life has to be senior to the physical universe, but in this situation the individual has put himself in a position subordinated to the mental matter and energy of his non-analytical mind. The situation is analogous to a drug addict who has subordinated his will to some material substance that he sniffs up his nose or injects into his veins because it gives him that "powerful" subjective feeling he can use as a crutch to face up to a life that he thinks he cannot face up to otherwise. When life subordinates its self-determination to materialism or allows itself to be mastered to some degree by physical energy or matter then it runs starts running into trouble. It puts itself onto a chute in the game of chutes and ladders.

The solution is still just to think for himself, and bring that self-determination to bear. Even if he cannot go far with his analytical mind in this kind of situation, he can always just stay in touch with objective reality. Perceiving and communicating with the present environment is a function of the analytical mind. Staying in touch with objective reality helps to validate the analytical
mind in any situation, and so reduce the impingement of the non-analytical mind.

To summarize:
  • Think for yourself.
  • Don’t trust individuals or groups that want to do your thinking for you (e.g. Rush Limbaugh or Al Gore), or do not want you to think for yourself .
  • Stay in touch with objective reality.
  • Stay healthy, get enough sleep.
  • Don’t engage in unethical activities.
  • Strengthen the analytical mind.
  • Gather to yourself a set of philosophical tools for your analytical mind to employ.