Friday, July 25, 2008

The Structure of the Human Condition

Below are schemas of my own design. They are copyrighted as reusable with attribution for non-commercial purposes.

The Problem Space Reinforcing Loop

  • Initialization: Humans born with little climate or fight/flight protections (no fur, claws, or fast legs), but do have big brains, and high contrast eye coloration which enables finer grain communication.

  1. The world is a problem space(A).
  2. Innovation(A) occurs as answer to problem space.
  3. Innovation(A) creates new problems. Problem space(B).
  4. Innovation(B) occurs as answer to problem space(B).
  5. Problem space( n )->innovation( n )->
    problem space(n+1)->innovation( n+1 ) .

As much as the above maps human cultural evolution, and I just simply like it, the map may be deficient. Maps are meant to be simple abstractions, so "missing information" is a good trait, not bad. But when one one has to call exceptions too many times then the map, or epistemology/world view, is a poor one.

The map "The Problem Space Reinforcing Loop" is a hunter/protection/war intensive scheme. That is maybe why it works so well with the initialization statement, a time when humans especially needed to think about hunting and protection.

I've long accepted the archeological narrative claiming somewhere in the Middle East women began demanding more protein from their mates in return for sex. It makes sense, women need lots of protein during pregnancy. These men became ever improving at the art of hunting animals, and the art transfered over to a heightened capability of warfare. A larger scale, more sustained, intensive warfare was spawned in this time and place of human cultural evolution. Let's call this the "birth of Big War".

So far in this blog posting the material is highly plausible and probably would not be scorned if uttered in academic discourse. What follows is a pet thesis I developed long ago that may be full of holes, or just plain wrong.

The Eurasian Progress Via Many Wars Narrative:

The Eurasian landmass is structured such that it propelled human cultural evolution in a "The Problem Space Reinforcing Loop" that was especially sustained by warfare. The natural boundaries of deserts and mountains ( e.g. the Gobi and Himalayas ) created the ancient divisions of Indo-Europeans, Han and so forth. The land structured an ability to isolate for periods of internal cultural iteration, then military/trade/tribal migrations across these deserts and mountains would spark exchange of culture or militant competition of cultures.

The "Eurasian Progress Via Many Wars Narrative" is a distinction which only becomes meaningful when mentioning the rest of the world. The narrative gains traction when looking at the early years of European colonialism. Before the Anglo-American incursion into India, China and Japan's economy, the list is mostly neolithic, aboriginal people who's lands are invaded. I believe in all these places of invasion, the aboriginal cultures lacked in their cultural evolution two things: 1) a "birth of Big War", and 2) thousands of years of escalating cultural competition such as my "The Eurasian Progress Via Many Wars Narrative".

It as this point of historical awareness that most people stop and take sides. Put simply, the liberal/left/moralist camp stakes a claim of victory in siting Eurasia as a dystopia and the cultures invaded as utopias, due to the very lack of Big War and escalating violent cultural competitions. The right, old school Protestants, and amoralists see the outcome as its own validation -the European inertia of Big War as something to proud of, rather than indicted for.

I believe these opposing camps are posing a problem for our present world and where we are going. They are both right, but claiming they are both right is a useless form of resolution, something more is needed. More maps of historical narrative, and human condition, are needed.

The "The Problem Space Reinforcing Loop" forked in the mid 20th century. In the 1950's visionaries within the largest industrial companies worldwide began to discuss client-side economics versus supply-side economics. From the little I've read it seems the Japanese and Scandinavian counties wholly embraced client-side economics. Client-side economics is driven by consumers, with industry making what consumers want. The consumer is god. Supply-side economics is where the suppliers determine more of the playing field, and consumers are convinced they are being served by use of marketing (called propaganda in its earliest days). The stockholder, and corporate culture, are god.

Supply-side is an escalation of the early modern power structure with an elite, small oligarchy of merchants who crushed Kings and built armed expeditions to extend their markets. Supply-side was a little more refined, it acknowledges consumers somewhat, but believes stacking lies in the right order will fool almost all consumers. American automakers were excellent examples -putting racing stripes and fins on vehicles with engines better suited for garbage trucks, while Japanese and Scandinavians were iteratively getting better at small efficient engines appropriate for family transportation. The Americans get way with it through advertising and national or racist pride, but lose sales every time gas goes higher than prejudiced or gullible people can afford. I should also add that supply-side players tend to develop products for both the military-industrial complex and American consumers.

Client-side economics, to get to my logical endpoint quickly, are more in tune with the interests of the commoner, and the technologies are more peaceful, and less for military application. But this logical endpoint, although I think is valid, has forked.

What are commonly called "terrorists" are using ubiquitous and affordable consumer goods, such as cell phones and automobiles, to carry out deadly militant attacks. This is the fork, in which consumer technological goods are spinning into an ironic competition with the supply-side technologies of the nation-state military.

Maybe the client versus supply side dichotomy has matured to a point where I can't place unlimited faith in consumerist bourgeoisie as the end all, cure all. I do think the answer is in getting more or all people into a bourgeoisie and technological economy. I don't mean "economy" really, but rather an ethos and culture. People should believe in being consumerist bourgeoisie. But the mix in which the counter to consumerist bourgeoisie is surprisingly not an anti-materialist posture, but rather government and corporate supply-side economics.

This belief in supply-side big budget and government encouraged activity as part of the solution comes a day after Barack Obama's speech ( transcript here ) in Berlin. He speaks of world cooperation, big projects such as mitigating climate change, and extending more of the footprint and benefits of bourgeoisie market economy/culture to classes of people that see mostly the exploitative end of the bourgeoisie construct. Maybe supply-side command economy structuring can be the solution when driven by the right visionary, such as Obama.

I will begin closing this blog entry with an iterative improvement on the "The Problem Space Reinforcing Loop". It is designed more for a peaceful consumerist bourgeoisie world without militant harassment from the anti-bourgeoisie nor prejudiced racial wars or social exclusion processes.

The Opportunity Reinforcing Loop

  • Initialization: Humans are globally intertwined with almost endlessly recursive transactions, making the enrichment of all an enrichment of all, and the impoverishment of one a quantifiable subtraction of overall wealth.

  1. The world is an opportunity space(A).
  2. Industry(A) occurs as answer to opportunity space(A).
  3. Industry(A) creates new opportunities. opportunity space(B).
  4. Industry(B) occurs as answer to opportunity space(B).
  5. Opportunity space( n )->industry( n )->
    opportunity space(n+1)->industry( n+1 ) .

There is an extremely new form of large social behavior that is possibly economic, and seems to grow inside the client-side population, still deeper inside that, to the internet-savvy with some amount of leisure time, able to commit to building up a cultural repository for free. Wikipedia is a prime example. The engine of this has some of the old problem space/opportunity space dynamic to it. It propels forward iteratively, with something reinforcing its existence against entropy or pathological attacks. It may be the glisteningly clean apex of consumerist bourgeoisie technological culture -washed of the taint of money and all that is left is serving the problem space/opportunity space transcendently -a different animal altogether because its asceticism is not mystical and its industriousness is not for personal profit but rather globally accessible enrichment.

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