Saturday, December 31, 2011

Math for Philosophy

There are a few mathematical concepts that can be quite useful in evaluating life situations or options, yet are simple to explain and can be applied without any number crunching or Math classes. Usually approximate answers will do. The usual use for philosophical math is to compare the answer for a given scenario against the answer for an alternative scenario to see which is the better choice. If the two answers are far enough apart to give a clear answer after accounting for margins of error, then it is obvious which is the better option.

First, a vector is simply something with magnitude and direction. It is usually symbolized by a line with an arrowhead at one end. The longer the line, the greater the magnitude. This idea of a vector is useful because it can represent a purpose.

Purposes also have magnitude and direction. Usually the direction is taken with reference to the pro-life purpose. (See earlier blogs for how to find the pro-life direction). The magnitude would be the strength of the purpose, which is a function of how strongly the individual feels about it or supports it. The direction, of course, would show how far off or how close to the pro-life purpose (or another purpose used as a reference) the given purpose is.

Use a diagram (which can often be “drawn up” mentally) to get an idea of how valuable a given purpose is. The value is determined by how long of a “shadow” the given purpose vector would project onto the reference purpose vector (which would usually be the pro-life purpose vector). The projection is done by drawing lines from the ends of the purpose vector to be projected to the reference purpose vector in a direction perpendicular to the reference vector. The longer the shadow, the more valuable the given purpose being evaluated. Remember to take into account the direction-indicating arrowhead of the shadow. If it points in the same direction as the pro-life purpose vector all is well and good. If it is pointing in the opposite direction to the pro-life purpose vector then you have gotten ahold of a bad one. The length of the projected shadow will determine how bad or good it is. For those of you interested in tying this in with more formal mathematics, the concept just described is called the “dot product” or “inside product” of two vectors.

Note that vectors are like butterflies— they are free! You can move them anywhere you like as long as you retain the direction and magnitude. This leaves you free to place them near one another in making specific comparisons.

The next concept of philosophical math is called “area under the curve”. It is another way to compare two or more alternatives to see which is best.
First I need to define pleasure as movement or advancement in the direction of the pro-life purpose. Now, make a graph of pleasure versus time, with the amount of pleasure shown as the distance in the direction of the Y-axis or vertical axis, and the amount of time shown in the direction of the X-axis or horizontal, and to the right from the starting point. The total amount of pleasure, then, is the area beneath the “pleasure curve”, to the right of the starting point in time, to the left of the ending point in time, and above the X-axis or “zero pleasure “ line. You can usually approximate the areas under two curves well enough to compare them-- but if not ask a calculus student to show you how, because finding the area under the curve is an important area of calculus called “integration”. You don’t really need to know calculus. You could always write a computer program (or use pencil and paper) to approximate the answer by breaking up the area into little rectangles having lengths equal to the height of the curve at a given point and small widths. How small? That is up to you. The smaller the widths, the closer the approximation, but the longer it will take to calculate. You just find the area of each of the small rectangles, which of course is just length times width, and add them all up. In most cases, though, an absolute value for the area is not needed. It is enough just to know which of two or more options has the greater area under the curve, and that can often be readily seen without resorting to any kind of calculation.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Working Below the Radar: Make Yourself a More Valuable Employee, or Prospective New Hire

Note: The following is meant to refer to “add-on” level software that may be created with compiled languages such as C#.NET or VB.NET. It is not meant to refer to the creation of applications with integrated, proprietary interpreted languages such as VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), or AutoCAD’s LISP language.

Most of the large “out of the box” software tools used in today’s office work environment have a built-in customization capability. This customization capability allows the tailoring of data flows, processing, reporting, etc. A customizer niche (which is often unoccupied) is created by the facts that:
· Most users of the software do not know how to make use of these capabilities, or may not even be aware they exist.
· The above goes double for levels of management above the software users.
· Users who do not understand how to customize usually also are not aware of what types of customization could possibly be accomplished by others, so are not even at the level of making a “wish list”.
· There is usually no time or money available to train an employee on how to do desired customization.
· There is usually no time or money to hire a professional programmer to address such needs.
· If a professional programmer were hired there would have to be a formal contract developed that would fully list expected functionality and interfaces, and the final software tool would not be capable of being further evolved or revised.

In order to occupy this niche, the occupier will have to find for himself alternative motivation(s). Some possible motivations are:
· An opportunity to be creative. Someone familiar with the existing work practice can imagine or envision software tools that would increase speed and/or quality of work. It is quite satisfying then to create such tools and integrate them into an upgraded work process. Many technical jobs do not allow for as much creativity as an employee would like. Here is an opportunity to add that desired creativity as an avocation.
· Increased quality and quantity and even standardization of production, which increases the morale of the software tool user (which could be the customizer or other employees), while decreasing stress in meeting commitments and dead-lines.
· Some broader use software tools that have a high ratio of utility output to programming time input may be suitable for issuance as freeware or shareware to help to “raise the baseline” of what users of the software in other offices or companies are capable of accomplishing, and so in a small way contributing to an upgrade of production and a resulting upgrade to the economy.
· If any such shareware tools are popular enough, there may be a (usually) small financial return on the programming time invested.
· If any such shareware or freeware tools become popular enough they may serve to motivate the parent software company to incorporate them into new revisions of the parent software.
· Opening new doors by learning programming languages and becoming experienced in their use.
· A long-tenured successful niche programmer may find it desirable to “work himself out of a job”. Possible reasons for this are:
o Most or all of the large-scale customizations are done in the current job, and he would like to have further opportunity to upgrade a new work environment.
o He may want to help lower or remove some of the barriers to hiring a “green” or less-experienced employee by enabling such an employee to continue an existing viable level of production through the use of such software tools. If he has put a lot into upgrading his current position he will probably feel a strong desire to see it be continued into the future at the higher levels of quantity and quality of production he has achieved.
o He may have acquired sufficient experience to work exclusively in software development (doubtful).

If a person decides to become a “niche programmer” here are some guidelines he may find useful:

· He should plan to do most, if not all of the programming as an avocation rather than as part of his vocation. This means devoting enough of his own time to complete the creation of such software tools.
· Prioritize prospective projects according to improvements in the work flow versus time required to effect them.
· Try to get a “payback” of work flow improvements as quickly in the process of development as possible, so that the increased production can then be used to justify further development/debugging of the tool.
· Break down larger projects into smaller “steps”, or levels of functionality that can each be brought into service on their own to increase productivity and also serve as a base for further steps to build upon.
· Use existing tools regularly in the work process to help justify the development of other tools.
· Try to leave “hooks” in software tools that can be tied into or built out from with future tools.
· Try to incorporate consistency in the interfaces and functionality of such tools.
· Do not let other employees use developed tools until:
o They are fully “Beta tested” and are stable (will not crash).
o They have a simple, straight-forward GUI (graphic user interface), incorporating normal Windows functionality (or at least a subset of it), and have a complete compiled Help file that can be accessed from the GUI and gives a description of the functionality, purpose and usage of the software tool, and supplies a FAQ section.
o They meet any other agreed-upon criteria (see below).
· The niche programmer will have to realize that he is his own boss in the process of software development.
o Since he is not being financially compensated for his work he must maintain his independence from hints, directions or orders of others as to what should be developed.
o He should be sensitive to the inputs of other employees in regards to the GUI and functionality, realizing that a large part of the acceptance of a new tool is the affinity another user has for it as a result of
§ Ease of use
§ Low learning curve
§ Significant improvements in desired areas
§ “transparent” invocation or even self-invocation on an event-driven basis
o He should work out an agreement with his supervisor regarding criteria that must be met by his software tools before they can be entered into use by other employees. Such agreement should be made AFTER he has developed at least some software tools for his own use and has made significant use of them, but BEFORE he allows the use of such tools by other employees.
o He should make an effort, with the cooperation of his supervisor and other employees to collate in a central location any tools he has made that qualify according to the agreement mentioned above.
· He should realize that many companies have an employee agreement that stipulates that software developed on the job becomes the property of the company. For this reason (and for the larger reason that such development is usually not even possible at work due to the lack of an Integrated Development Environment for the chosen development language) he should do all development and compilation of larger jobs on his own time (not at work). He should also recognize that the final compiled tools he develops to the point that they can be used by other employees will then become the property of the company (if he has brought them into the office place), but that he retains full control of the source code as long as he has developed and compiled it on his own time and outside of the work place.
· He should write straight-forward, maintainable source code, realizing that at least some of the tools he creates for a particular company could also be modified for use in a possible future job in another company.
· It is recommended that the niche programmer maintain a profile “below the radar” of the IT (Information Technology) group of his company. The reasons for this are:
o The IT group usually likes to maintain the large view. This means pushing for standardization and automation rather than getting pulled into particularization. All forms of customization will be a type of particularization. Keep such off the IT plate.
o The niche programmer should recognize that there are limits to the size and scope of a project that he is capable of developing. These limits may become larger as he gains experience, but they will always exist.
o The niche programmer should always be a “good IT citizen”. This means that he should never need special attention or resources more than any other user, and that he should never jeopardize existing IT resources, such as shared network drives, shared databases, etc.
o Some guidelines to use for being a “good IT citizen” are:
§ Never write programmatically to a file or database on a network or shared drive.
§ If a database is used, make it a small, local, proprietary database. Any requirement for a large, frequently-accessed, or shared database will be a sign that the prospective project is beyond the reach of a niche programmer.
§ Keep programmatic data storage within a standard file-type of the parent software to a minimum (e.g. within AutoCAD drawing files, or Office application files).
§ Limit himself to no more than the development of “add-on” software to parent software packages that can be added by individual users and that operate in the local workspace of the parent software.
§ Do not modify, or even read from the Windows Registry.
§ Do not require that the user would need Administrator privileges on his account to make use of a developed software tool.
§ Do not require an installation program to be run.

All of this takes time and commitment. It is not for everyone, but it can be quite valuable to upgrade some of the lower-level workplace data management activities that take place at the “Indian” level.

Tip to employers:
While it is not legal to require or direct such software tools to be created by an employee on their own time without compensation, there is nothing wrong with regularly assigning tedious, repetitive tasks that are crying to be automated to someone who is capable of creating software tools to automate them and has shown a desire and willingness to do so. ;) Just be careful not to state or imply the need for such automation, or set unrealistic timetables for the completion of such work that could only be met with the use of automation unless you are willing to compensate for the creation of the software tools or allow them to be created in the workplace on company time. Remember, there are lower-level programming languages such as VBA and AutoCAD’s LISP that can be used for on-the-job development of general or ad-hoc solutions for simpler tasks.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


For those who have made progress into the impersonal zone of group dynamics it is usually easier to commit to a purpose or goal than to commit to an individual or personality. Commitment to a purpose or goal is a reach in the positive or pro-life direction (as long as it is a positive purpose) from the current position regarding the relevant life area.

Committing to a personality is a pull back down-scale to the lower band of group dynamics – the personal or social band. It can feel demoralizing or interiorizing. A better option in many cases—even for only two people—is to set up a framework of policy around a purpose that leads to the desired goal, then have both parties make a self-determined commitment to carry out this purpose rather than commit to each other. People change. They have their ups and downs, their good days and their bad hair days, but the purpose and goal committed to will remain constant. The only variable with regard to these is the degree of commitment. This is usually easier to control and maintain.

P.S. Women may want to take into account that men more commonly have advanced farther into the impersonal band of group causation and so may feel or sense more intensely the demoralization or interiorization described above.

Friday, September 9, 2011

An Alternative View of the Founding and Purpose of Christianity

I hesitate to write this since Christianity as we know it today is so well established moving along in a certain direction, but I have put together a data set from existing facts that makes so much more sense to me of the life and purpose of Christ that it is hard to keep quiet about it.

The story we are told of Christ’s life has always felt to me to be lacking in coherency. Why would He have felt so strongly regarding us, Mankind, as to go through all that he went through, then leave a legacy that has little comprehensibility and thus little value? The legacy I am speaking of is the statement “I am the way.” It makes so little sense that I doubt He even said it. It is just confusing, which is definitely NOT what I would expect to find in a legitimate legacy of a spiritual leader.

Here is the gist of my alternative story of the purpose of His life:

  • He was aware of a group that was (and still is) an enemy of mankind. We have an account in the Bible where He is tempted by one of the enemy while he was fasting in the desert when he was told “All this could be yours”.
  • He was aware of the enemy plans to disrupt and tear apart the existing Roman civilization and pull Man into a permanent state of ignorance and enslavement which we call today the Dark Ages.
  • Because of this He was motivated to give Man tools he could use to defend his civilization and so thwart the plans of the enemy. This was the purpose of His life—to communicate and allow for the propagation of practical philosophical tools that could be used by Man to defend the civilization and prevent it from falling into the Dark Ages and under the influence of the enemy.
  • These philosophical tools would have been simple enough so that they could be readily understood and applied by the people of that time. There was no widespread system of education that we have today. Formal education would have been spotty if it existed at all. Most of the education available would have been directed towards practical purposes: how to build a house, how to plant crops, how to cook, how to hunt and fish, how to make clothes, etc. Spending time studying an impractical philosophy would not have been popular.
  • Towards the end of his life He had gathered a group of men together—His disciples—that He spent time in teaching these philosophical principles to. He spent several years with these disciples. It sounds like there was a lot more to say to them than “I am the way”.
  • The philosophy He promoted was directed at an area of life which was (and is) a weak point of the enemy, but which was something that was well within the capabilities of honest men to handle. He knew Man was capable of learning and applying this philosophy and thus defending his civilization from the efforts of the enemy to undermine and destroy it.
  • He trusted his Church to promote and propagate this knowledge that He imparted to his disciples.
  • The philosophy dealt with how to form and operate within strong, causative groups—above the personal level. See this blog for more on this. Strong groups add up to a strong civilization. Strong groups are hard to face up to by the enemy, much as fire is hard to face up to by wild animals.
  • The Church began this work but was quickly infiltrated by the enemy and perverted from its purpose.
  • It failed. Rome did fall. Man did fall into and spend a good while in the Dark Ages of ignorance and enslavement.
  • There doesn’t seem to be any record of it, but somehow this philosophical knowledge of group health seemed to have reached St. Patrick in Ireland a few centuries later. St. Patrick was able to communicate his inspiration to his followers well enough, and they to theirs, that western Europe was able to rebuild itself to a large degree over the next couple of centuries. See the book How the Irish Saved Civilization as a reference on this. Unfortunately the Irish made the mistake of turning over the results of their success to the Church in Rome, which was still very much under the influence of the enemy. So an alternative title to this book could be How the Irish Saved Civilization and Then Lost It Again.
  • The philosophy of group dynamics is still available today. I have written some of it here, but it is so simple that much of it could be derived by honest men (or women) who direct their attention in this area. It has been well demonstrated that organized religion cannot be trusted to forward this purpose. I suggest that it be forwarded in the area of practical philosophy rather than religion, simply because it affords less cover for the enemy who would pervert it. I recommend a decentralized format of propagation rather than a formal organization for this same reason. The internet is ideal for this.
  • The enemy still has the purpose to undermine civilization and pull us down into ignorance and enslavement. He will do so if allowed to.
  • The Founder of Christianity would no doubt be pleased to see His followers wising up to the point where they can at last successfully forward His life’s purpose.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Want to Go in a New Direction?

For those thinking things are not right and are looking for a new direction, here is a suggested set of guidelines directed at improving the current scene:

1) Discontinue communication with data sources promoting unethical conduct or criminality, including organized crime:

a. Hollywood

b. Rap music

c. Cults

Rationale: Should be obvious. Organized crime is a non-analytical, non-volitional compulsion to link up in a pyramid-form structure rather than confronting and facing up to participation in groups analytically.

2) Develop the ability to monitor yourself to stay out of the mob mentality or group think. Keep yourself in the analytical band of thought.

3) Reduce the size of the U.S. military. Do what you can to reduce its role to no more than defending our borders.


a) Our economy cannot afford for us to be the world’s policeman.

b) Reduce the chance of a military coup or planned and contrived martial law police state.

c) It is not trustable.

4) Learn how to study well, then study simple, practical knowledge.

5) Face up to the fact that organized religion has had its run and has failed. The Age of Religion should be declared to be over. In its place an Age of Philosophy should begin, but with the recognition that those exist who would pervert it, as organized religion has been perverted. To help to avoid such perversion, any legitimate philosophy should meet these criteria:

a. Should be simple and practical. No transcendental or metaphysical B.S. Should be able to be organized into a fully coherent set of data.

b. Should not ask for or require donations or financial support.

i. Any legitimate philosophy will support a more stable civilization where honest people will be able to have good life experience . The improvements in civilization should be payment enough for the small effort required to promulgate a legitimate, effective, pro-life philosophy.

ii. If it is viable then anyone applying it should be able to earn their own way without requiring financial support.

c. Should be based on increased competency rather than social connections.

d. Should recognize the self-determination of the individual as vital.

e. Should appeal to the reason of the individual rather than relying on subjugation, subordination or forcing in agreements against the will of the individual.

f. Should include mechanisms that protect society from the destructive use of self-determination by incompetent individuals.

g. Should support the resolution of problems or issues through the application of a known set of straightforward, coherent policy rather than arbitrary rule by the few or based on exclusive or hidden policy or laws.

h. Should be able to be studied, understood and applied by an individual independent of any organization or institution.

i. Use a peer-to-peer, consultant or mentoring paradigm rather than a central organization paradigm to ward off perversion.

6) Move civilization in a pro-life direction through education in sound, practical, simple philosophy and the application thereof.

7) Use strong, competent, well-organized groups directed to a specific practical purpose (not religious or philosophical) as a servo-mechanism to extend the reach of the will of the individual toward making improvements in society and civilization.

8) Put reliance on the application of individual competence rather than on God or a Supreme Being. If there is a God, He will be happy to see us making progress in the pro-life direction while protecting our purposes from perversion.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Value of Team Sports

The average man, despite not being taught much about it through education or religion, has some sense that teamwork is the right direction to go. In today’s world the best opportunity for supporting and emphasizing teamwork is team sports. In the USA, football, and to a lesser extent basketball are the primary team sports that lend themselves best to be learned from through participation, spectating and analysis of the game. In most other countries it is soccer that affords the best opportunity.

Basketball is more variable in its value for promoting teamwork because it can more easily be warped away from the ideal of teamwork in favor of an overweighting centered on a particular star player or players and still be successful. Mostly this is due to the smaller number of players. There are only five players on the court at one time, so it is much more possible for a single player to be a large part of the success of the whole team. In some cases all that is required of the other players on the team is to space themselves widely around the court and just stand there as a potential receiver of a pass from the “star”. These potential passes to an “open”, or undefended player, limit the ability of the defensive team to apply extra attention to the star player and allows him room to work in a given area of the court against a limited part of the defense. At this point the game has dropped away from being a true team sport and has taken on more of the character of an individual contest.

That doesn’t happen in football. There are no plays in football that will be successful when most of the players are standing around watching. The success of football plays requires each, or at least most of the players on the field to successfully carry out their assigned part of a coordinated team action. Such team actions are usually part of an overall strategy designed to make best use of team strengths and/or to exploit perceived weaknesses of the opponent’s defense. A good play is designed to have a lot more value and success than the sum of the individual efforts. That is the value of a group-- to be so configured and arranged as to maximize the betterment of results obtained over the individual group members working on their own in parallel.

The fact that teamwork in basketball can more easily be warped or degraded down towards the level of an individual contest is the minus side of the ledger, but there is a plus side also. There is much more of continuous action in basketball than American football, thus giving the game more “life” and therefore more opportunity for the players and spectators to observe and sense changes in the “flow” of the game (because there will often be more of such changes). The ability to observe these changes, and beyond that to make appropriate changes in response, is a valuable skill that can be carried on into other areas of life. That is because what is being observed or felt are changes in the state of communication or interchange with the environment of the team, or even a sub-unit of a team, and sometimes (most often in basketball) even of an individual player. These states can be called interchange states vis-a-vis the environment, or “interchange states” for short.

There is a scale of such interchange states that applies to any group, sub-group or individual in any activity in any area of life. The interchange states are always traveled up or down in the same order, one after another. The more “life” the group or individual has with respect to interchange with its environment, the more often these interchange states may be expected to change, and so have more value as a subject of study or observation for those who may want to develop a skill in recognizing and responding to changes in them. Team sports have a value in this regard—both through participation and spectating.

So, the states of communication are determined by the amount and quality of exchange of communication and production with the environment of the group, sub-group or individual. These states apply in every aspect of life, so that a single individual can be in different interchange states in the different parts of his life. Within a group, each separate hat that an individual wears will have its own interchange state, and be capable of moving up or down the scale of interchange states.

Some general rules that apply to the scale of interchange states:

1) They are arranged in a scale, with each state being a step or stage in the scale.

2) The higher stages govern higher levels of communication and interchange with the environment than lower stages. The higher stages can be considered to be more viable or “lively”.

3) They must be passed through in sequence, one by one—at least that is true in the upward direction.

4) Each interchange state has its own set of rules or actions appropriate to it. If these rules/actions are carried out fully then the next interchange state in the upward direction will be reached.

5) If too long of a time is spent in a particular interchange state without successfully applying the rules/actions appropriate to that state, then the group, sub-group or individual will fall down to the next lower interchange state.

Every individual, every group, every sub-group will always be in one of these states of interchange with their environment (whether they are aware of it or not). A group member will have a separate interchange state for each hat that he wears. You can probably imagine that an individual or group that is unaware of its interchange state is less likely to follow out the appropriate rules/actions to reach the next higher state, and so is more likely to eventually fall to the next lower interchange state.

See a later blog for a listing of the individual steps on the scale of interchange states and the rules/actions appropriate to each.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Simple Solutions or at least Improvements


· Stay healthy.

a. Don’t overeat.

b. Exercise.

· Don’t engage in activities that thwart the pro-life purpose.


If we have to make progress in a given direction, regardless of whether there is a God or not, then it does not matter if there is such a spiritual entity , at least not as far as we are concerned anyway. If there is a God, then we might expect more help in the future, but only if we make sufficient progress in the right direction now, and we still have to make such progress now even if there is no God.

Drug Cartels:

· Stop using cocaine.

Illegal aliens from Mexico:

· Stop using cocaine.


· Stop using cocaine.


· Go back to gold or silver standard.

o If Politicians won’t go back to gold or silver standard:

§ Buy gold and silver yourself. If enough people do this we will be back on that standard “virtually”.

· Get knowledge of group dynamics known and into use. (See this blog).

· Get rid of tax code. Have a flat tax rate for everyone. (15, 20 percent ?)

· Reduce our military role to defending our shorelines and borders, and cut military spending proportionally. We can't afford to be the world's police force and pay for it by inflating the money supply. It is a huge percent of our budget that does not need to be there.

· Follow suit with every other major western country and eliminate frivolous lawsuits by adopting a legal system in which the loser pays all court costs.

Gays in the military are a national security risk. They are more easily suborned and increase the likelihood of a coup.


· Use study methodology as described in this blog. Parents will have to get it going at home. It will never get started in a public education system.

· Watch film “Network”, open your window, yell “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”, then throw out your television.

Closing Thoughts:

-If everyone thought the same there would be no need for rights. There would also be much less possibility of correction if things start to go wrong.

-Those who would enslave prefer us not to think for ourselves.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Politics will Never Hold the Answer

Success in achieving long-range and/or far-reaching goals requires healthy, dynamic organizations organized around a purpose that leads towards the goal. The active ingredient of this group dynamism is self-determination on the part of the group members— competently applied within the framework of policy of the group. There is a need for enough competency on the part of each participating individual (and the self-determination to drive it) to be able to meet the minimum requirements or standards for the job he is assigned and of the position to which he is posted. Many times this is not hard to come by.

A leader, whether a political leader or otherwise, can only bring his/her own self-determination to bear on the group purpose and goal. He can try to inspire others to apply their self-determination along the same lines, and may have some success in doing so, but the only thing he has under his own certain control is his own self-determination. In a large, healthy group that operates above the personal level in the “What Band” rather than the “Who Band”, the self-determination of the leader amounts to only a small fraction of the total amount of self-determination competently applied by all members of the group (or country). When this is understood it can be seen that by far the greatest amount of drive that results in progress along the group purpose line comes from the application of self-determination by the many within the framework of group policy, rather than by a particular personality, no matter how prominent.

The argument so far assumes that the leader is knowledgeable about groups and group health, and is relatively deaberrated in the area of groups. Unfortunately this is often not the case, especially in the field of politics. Most political campaigns are geared towards name and face recognition, along with large doses of “up close and personal” as the top priority. Any treatment of issues comes in second to all of this “Who-ness”. Putting the “Who” before the “What” is like putting the cart before the horse, only worse. The “Who” (or social) band of group activity occupies the bottom level of group causation. To be effective a group (or country) must rise above this into the “What” band. There is usually plenty of room for improvement in the “What” band for most groups and all countries. Any emphasis on “Who-ness” will act as a tether to keep a group from rising above a given level of causation, even if it gets somewhere into the “What Band”. A commitment to continuous improvement in group causation requires the cutting or loosing of all tethering to the “Who” band—letting all such “Who” concerns remain in the social band without impingement into the “What” band.

Most politicians in the United States today 1) do not know what a group is, let alone a country 2) are aiming at shallow-depth sound-bytes that are intended primarily to provoke a non-analytical response in the “Who Band” from the voter. Any actual “What” issues are relegated to the rear.

Politics promotes the idea of Democrat vs. Republican, conservatism vs. liberal. The Democrats rail against any Republicans who have won or who might win an office, and visa versa. Really I think the Republicans would do less damage in office (though you might make a case that W. was an exception to this rule). All elections represent for me is a chance to vote for the one who would do less damage to the country. I don’t expect either to go far, if at all, in the pro-life direction, but I do want to avoid the one who will go further in the wrong direction.

Talk radio and the media in general promote the idea of conservatism vs. liberalism as a fundamental and lasting choice in life. This does not make a lot of sense to me. I go back to the pro-life purpose line. The senior idea is to make as much progress in this direction as is possible with a given amount of time and resources. With this in mind it can be seen that in some cases liberalism will go further, and other times (probably most times in this civilization) conservatism has the bigger payoff.

Liberalism has the better payoff when the environment is so peaceful, rich and nurturing that a seed thrown anywhere has a high chance for successful growth and fruition. In this scenario the “bottleneck” that determines the amount of pro-life progress is just the amount of seed that can get thrown out in a given time period. A classical example of this scenario is the Golden Age of Greece. Conservatives of today in the United States might want to take a breath and realize that the inspiration for our democracy was a liberal one— democracy was an extremely liberal idea in 450 B.C. Greece.

Unfortunately, the scenarios when Conservatism is the better choice are far more plentiful in our civilization. In these cases the greatest progress along the pro-life purpose line requires preparation of the soil, careful placement of the seed, followed by irrigation, fertilization, and defense and cultivation of the resulting sprouts.

It is far more common to have small pockets in time and space where liberalism flourishes rather than have it as the best choice of wide areas or long periods of time. War is a bad time for liberalism. When the enemy is at the gate it is time to take careful stock of your resources and make sure effective use is made of them. It is interesting that pockets of liberalism seem to show up at the end of a war. This is true even for the vanquished if the victor is willing to allow them to rebuild. In this case the vanquished have much to do to get things back in order and there is a pervasive will to get it done. This tends to pull the scene towards the end of the scale that allows for seeds to take root easily and grow with seemingly less care requirement than usual. Actually, I think the care requirement is still there, but there is more care available to be supplied from those in the area who all feel strongly about rebuilding.

Rebuilding after a war is also a time where an enthusiastic personality that is not taken aback by or does not go into agreement with the misery and devastation about him can come to the forefront. These types are usually seen as liberal since they want to take bigger, quicker steps in rebuilding than others would if left on their own.

More often liberalism is generally not the best choice for making progress in the pro-life direction. Local exceptions to this are if liberal-minded people decide to concentrate themselves in a given area. In those cases liberalism can be the better choice for that local area, but only if the will of the people involved is enough to overcome and surpass the different results that would be had with a more conservative approach. I would call this artificial liberalism. It only is viable or approaches viability through support of the liberal-minded. If the concentration of liberal-minded people is not high enough, or they do not feel strongly enough to increase their participation, then it can still not be viable even in the local area.

The mass media of the USA is pushing the idea of liberalism and conservatism as two fixed poles of polarization. Talk radio is full of liberals and conservatives yammering back and forth at each other. This is not very productive, or not as productive as it could be. From an analytical perspective it is pretty obvious that a conservative approach will be required to get the USA out of the hole of national debt and deficit spending we have gotten ourselves into. It is so obvious a choice that the main requirement to go in this direction is just to educate John Q. Public enough so that he can operate and evaluate for himself analytically. The conservatives could make better progress in this by taking the high road of just educating others in some basic philosophical knowledge of what groups are, how they can be built up and maintained, and how they can be used as servo-mechanisms for the will of the individual to effect improvements with minimal reference to the noisy sideshow of politics. Clean people will stop complaining and take action to improve a situation when the possibility to do so is present. Dirty people will just keep complaining and yammering away, taking little or no effective action.

Politics is not the answer. There is a lot of yammering going on there by people whose priorities are to be elected or re-elected, most of which do not have much of a clue about what sane groups are. Vote for the one who will do the least damage, but count on making real progress on your own initiative.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Character of a Group

A group exists as an optimal configuration of resources to maximize progress along a particular purpose to achieve a particular goal. Of course, it has a name too, but the name is only a label or identifier. The actual character and form of the group is determined by the group goal, purpose, and the set of policies that allow the purpose to be forwarded.

It is interesting to note that the policies that define the form of the group are the actual agreements between members that are acted from. In an aberrated group these may have little or nothing to do with written or formal policy, and there may be a lot of informal “localized policy” that is followed by some part or parts of the group, and which may be unknown to other parts of the group. Such “localized policy” results in the individuation of parts of the group. The individuated parts become less in touch with or involved with the overall group purpose and more into their own separate “thing”. This is symptomatic of dirtiness in the area. There will be found some sort of unethical or criminal activity happening in these individuated areas that undermines or cuts across the group purpose.

What happens if the goal, purpose or policies of the group change, either formally or through an accumulation of dirtiness as described above, but the group name does not? Is it still the same group? Should it still demand the same loyalties as before?

If the change was a reconfiguration of resources to follow the same purpose to achieve the original goal, then yes, it is still the same group. If the purpose, or even the goal, has been effectively changed, then it has become a different group, and should not expect to hold the same loyalties that were applied to the original purpose and goal. This can be a little confusing if the group retains the same name. It can get a lot confusing if the “change” of purpose/goal is the result of an accumulated amount of group dirtiness rather than a formal change.