Categories
culture

The Wisdom of Crowds

The “wisdom of crowds” is, beyond the statistical phenomenon of mischievously accurate prediction, rarely approximate to any kind of wisdom whatsoever. Swept away in swells of emotional passion, people rarely notice that in seeking belonging and a salve or treatment for the irreducible existential uncertainties or emotional insecurities of life, they actually, wilfully surrender their […]

Categories
history

The Oscillating Horrors of History

Context: Jonathan P. Baird: Nazi Germany and the fall of law It is a curious property of the dissociative logic and intractable pathology of any extreme ideological position, not just to sweep along compliant and unwitting collaborators who see in the asserted “strength” of their hollow belief system a reflexive framework upon which to hang […]

Categories
Alien Anthropology

Healing America: not so simple…

A key problem: information and communication systems autonomously self-replicate by optimally-concise pattern encoding methods as an extended consequence of the orientation towards low-energy states. No surprise there, perhaps, for anyone versed in complexity theory but the problem is not necessarily the intractable antitheses by binary poles in this endless partisan argument so much as the […]

Categories
Philosophy

Authoritarian Oscillations

I am endlessly fascinated by the many ways that these systems of knowledge and information or culture and political momentum tend towards similar, recurring self-organisational and behavioural patterns. Much is (rightly) made of a contemporary, pronounced turn towards populism and authoritarianism. A suggestion for interpretation which does not seek to directly engage any specific instance […]

Categories
culture

Cultural Anxiety

The ways that fear and stress shape cultures and nations may have corollary systems, symptoms and processes to those that haunt individual brains, personal experiences and memory. The amygdala hijack is in some places and at some times a distributed cultural phenomenon. Microcosm/macrocosm explanations are useful in this context but can be (and often are) […]

Categories
Philosophy

History: In the widening gyre…

This (image above) is how I feel watching history unfold around me. Our Global systems of governance, organisation and power are in essence defined (but hardly well-designed) to compel and incentivise the ascendancy of those ideas and individuals who do not – counter-intuitively – actually represent the best-interests of that world as a whole or […]

Categories
Psychology

Human Beings Being Human: Anger

It is a simple truth. Fear drives most of our irrational decisions and our inability to admit it is in fact the greatest fallacy of all. Violence, war, hatred, discrimination, cruelty – it is all at base and in essence just fear under another name. People fear the truth of their own essential vulnerability more […]

Categories
Philosophy

Policy Enigma: Wicked Problems and Thinking in Wholes

The article Tackling wicked problems : A public policy perspective provides a comprehensive acknowledgment of the complexity of many of the “wicked” problems that large organisations (not just governments) face in negotiating the facts of reality as they are (i.e. being pragmatic), not as we might prefer them to be (i.e. ideological assertions). “The handling […]

Categories
culture

Things fall apart…

Perhaps “the centre cannot hold” because there is no centre. Chaos and disorder are far more the native state of material (thermodynamic, dissipative) facts than are the projected order and control around which we reflexively and aspirationally self-validate. Curious, indeed, (and under one perspective) that everything emerging out of the complexity sciences suggests that it […]

Categories
Alien Anthropology

Riots and Disinformation: the United States of Disunity

Context: Officials see extremist groups, disinformation in protests A Gordian Knot. How much of this disinformation is generated internally and how much externally to national borders? Have we all (i.e. Globally) arrived in a set of circumstances that suggest that, functionally – at least, the differentiation of source and attribution is not as (ultimately) significant […]

Categories
Alien Anthropology

The Implicit and Hidden Weaknesses of (Digital) Authoritarianism

Context: Strong Yet Brittle: The Risks of Digital Authoritarianism There are quite probable logical and (by extension, mathematical and) distributed material or socioeconomic, not to mention strategic, senses in which a strict adherence to unwavering and inflexible closure and continuity must necessarily create the conditions of inevitable, eventual and/or accelerated structural disassembly or decline. A […]

Categories
Philosophy

Logical Origami and the Infinite Emptiness

Or: Why The Enlightenment Inevitably Consumed Itself Each new system of thought, each extension, each insight, each historical inflection-point and distributed, systemic phase transition or levelling-up of human civilisation and each new branching of the tree of combinatorial (human) possibility – it opens the degrees of freedom, of motion, of growth and – simultaneously – […]