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  1. Last 7 days
    1. As far as we are aware, there is no existing map that helps people

      Can drop this and stay positive (it begs a question ... maybe we've missed someone)


      We're creating a variety of resources to help make sense of this diverse and evolving ecosystem, especially ...

    1. “Fundamentally, this story is about something having gone horribly awry in our school community,” said Rhea Mokund-Beck, a parent who supports Mr. Sanchez. “There has been such a breakdown of trust. Such a breakdown of good will. Such a breakdown of even understanding what public education is for. And then one layers that with all of the dynamics of race and class, and, you know, this is about a real maelstrom that we’ve made for ourselves.”

      real life divisions ...

    1. Not only does this criticism vastly overrate the power of the written word or the moving image, but it looks past the real forces sending the United States toward ever-deeper division: inequality; a hyperpartisan duopoly; and an antiquated and increasingly dysfunctional Constitution.

      Yes ... and no mention of roots of division in cultural conflicts between paradigms.

  2. Apr 2024
    1. Notably, the biggest single advantage that an app like Google Sheets brings to the knowledge worker – solving version skew and creating a system of record – isn’t really an incentive for development environments to make the cloud transition.

      👍 on benefits of of a tool like google sheets

      solving knowledge skew and creating a system of record

    1. "That's just a word! Even after you tell me that, I can't make any new predictions! It's exactly like saying 'phlogiston' or 'elan vital' or 'emergence' or 'complexity'!"


  3. Mar 2024
    1. UX. Finally, these wise models would need to provide a much better user experience than is currently achieved by “disobedient” models using Constitutional AI or RLHF. Users prefer models that match their ideology, and that advance their personal goals (including goals that conflict with others’). Each user wants a model that always answers and obeys. A wise model won’t always do this, so it’d have to provide other significant benefits. In chat contexts, a wise model would probably try to resolve things and help the user in unexpected ways.

      This section is described as a "UX challenge". Really?

      It is about deep moral questions and collective governance.

    2. There is only one way to mitigate these risks: we must tune models to act on human values and promote human flourishing. We need wise models, which can broker peace, find ways out of conflict, and prioritize long-term human interests over short-term wins.

      This is a complete falsehood!

      There is not "only one way".

      This dictatorship of no alternatives (e.g. "pause/halting is impossible") is preciesely what enables the continued arms race.

      A fairer phrasing would be "One way we can mitigate these risks: we must tune models ..."

      Followed by some serious acknowledgement of the doubts about such approach.

    3. As LLMs approach artificial general intelligence (AGI), such moral actors will be replaced with artificial, amoral actors. It will become easy to employ AGIs that lack ethical qualms: Artificial Sociopaths (ASPs) that are loyal, knowledgable, and cheaper than people. We believe it’s game over, if our military, political, and financial chains of command get staffed up by ASPs with no ethical discretion.

      If you think this are you doing everything you reasonably can to halt AI development?

      If not, why not?

      (And it's ok to oppose AI development and do alignment research as a backup - but you've got to be careful, you only have so many hours in a day ...)

    1. Re-establishing the three ordersI will now go back through these orders and show how the worldview I have espoused in this essay may be able to re-invigorate them. a. The nomological orderIn the worldview I’ve put forward in this essay, there is a different kind of nomological order. Here there is also an affinity, or deep continuity, between how the mind works and the structure of reality. As I argued in section 4, relevance realization, i.e., the process by which we become more behaviorally attuned to the world, is a particular manifestation of the general process by which the universe at large is continually being created and complexified. In a previous essay I showed that there is a great deal of overlap between relevance realization and the modern science of consciousness. I think Jordan Peterson was right when said that “we are really reflective, including in our consciousness, of something about the structure of reality itself.”Or, as John Vervaeke and colleagues put it, there really are “fundamental principles by which knowledge and reality co-operate” (Vervaeke et al., 2017), and this constitutes a kind of nomological order. b. The narrative orderThe Christian-Aristotelian narrative order was participatory. We were participating in the process by which the kingdom of heaven would be built on earth. In the worldview I’ve put forward in this essay, there is no final “goal” towards which the universe is aiming. Rather, the process itself is the goal. This constitutes an infinite game rather than a finite game. Although we are not participating in a narrative that brings about some final state of utopia, we are capable of participating in a process that is of ultimate value, both for ourselves and for the world at large. Vervaeke and colleagues said that the narrative order:…provided an overarching story into which the minutia of the cosmos―individuals and their own stories―could fit and belong. Further, it introduced the idea that the agency of persons could intervene in the cycle of repetition and meaningfully impact the course of cosmic history.What I am arguing for is not far off from that. Our individual stories do fit into the overarching story of the cosmos (which is, as Azarian suggested, a never-ending story of continual self-organization and complexification). Our actions — every decision we make — can therefore meaningfully impact the course of cosmic history. That constitutes a kind of narrative order. c. The normative orderThe normative order consisted of a connection between ontology and values. In the worldview I have put forward in this essay, there is also a connection between ontology and values. In section 6 I argued that our participation in the process of complexification is biologically and psychologically optimal. This process therefore constitutes an ontological structure that simultaneously informs us about the nature of the good. Ontologically speaking, this process underlies reality as we know it. Normatively, our participation in this process is of ultimate value. This constitutes a kind of normative order. In sum, the worldview put forward in this essay may be able to re-invigorate the three orders, the loss of which precipitated the “meaning crisis” in Western culture.


    2. In Maps of Meaning Jordan Peterson describes this personality as the “revolutionary hero”. As he puts it:

      An aside question would be given the regard for Peterson to wonder how has Peterson also managed to come so magnificently adrift, to lose his own "map of meaning"?

    3. Our ancestors represented this “death and rebirth” process in the form of the mythological hero figure, which is hypothesized by Carl Jung and Erich Neumann among others to represent the existence and action of consciousness across time.

      When you dig down into that statement what does it exactly mean? The mythological figure represents the "existence and action of consciousness across time"?

      But isn't consciousness more of an evolving process (if it's anything collectively) and if so how how is that reified in the mythological hero?

    4. In a previous post I discussed the relation between self-organized criticality and the scientific study of consciousness. Multiple theories of consciousness have converged on the idea that consciousness emerges through the organism’s tendency to self-organize to criticality (i.e., the narrow window between order and chaos). If this is correct, then it seems that there is some intimate relationship between consciousness and the process that is involved in the bringing to being of everything.

      I must say since my deep dive into SOC and complexity theory from late 90s to mid 2000s i remain somewhat sceptical of SOC. It's one of those ideas that sound really good but when you dig into the details don't seem to cash out so well.

    5. In other words, personification is a cognitive strategy that human beings use to get a grip on complex patterns in the world. I think that’s right. Based on the evidence I have reviewed so far, I would then say that the mythological hero figures found cross culturally are personifications of the process of complexification discussed throughout this essay. This process fits the description of a pattern that Lightner and Hagen argue can be usefully personified. It is highly abstract, it is not directly observable, and it has substantial impacts on fitness because participation in it is biologically optimal (as discussed in section 5).

      Religions and mythologies have a bunch of other functional value as core parts of culture.

    6. Human beings are at the pinnacle of the expression of complexification in the universe. This means that what we do actually matters in the grand scheme of things. We are not insignificant specks of dust in an indifferent universe. We are, instead, key players at the cutting edge of a participatory universe. To the extent that we enact and embody the process I have described in this essay, we are playing a non-trivial role in the ongoing creation and complexification of everything.

      "we are the pinnacle of complexity that we know of" cf https://lifeitself.org/blog/2022/02/01/cultivating-an-emerging-paradigm#user-content-fn-2

      For those who are sanguine about humanity’s disappearance or view an over-concern as anthropocentric, for example, a view like: "we are a cancer and the ecosystem would be better without us … etc", it is worth noting that our downfall will hurt all living beings. We will fall because the ecosystem collapses, which will obviously be bad for the ecosystem. Plus the risk of extinction of humanity is not “good” because humanity represents (at least to our knowledge) a pinnacle of complexity so far – e.g. a first example of rich self-awareness etc.

      I'm not totally sure why this makes any one of us matter. But i like any kind of anti-nihilism i can get.

      That said, i'm personally more attracted to looking at awareness (distinct from mind) which clearly stands "beyond time and space" -- though interwoven with them.

      Meanwhile mind, and especially, mind and body as part of the unfolding consciousness that is the living is definitely valuable too.

    1. big vision

      Healthy scepticism? So many big visions nowadays, everyone has a voice ...

    2. we “believe together”

      What does this phrase mean exactly? (Catherine)

    3. climate change

      climate change => climate crisis (Catherine)

    1. In San Francisco, a 20-story office tower that sold for $146 million a decade ago was listed in December for just $80 million.In Chicago, a 200,000-square-foot-office building in the city’s Clybourn Corridor that sold in 2004 for nearly $90 million was purchased last month for $20 million, a 78 percent markdown.And in Washington, a 12-story building that mixes office and retail space three blocks from the White House that sold for $100 million in 2018 recently went for just $36 million.Such steep discounts have become normal for office space across the United States as the pandemic trends of hybrid and remote work have persisted, hollowing out urban centers that were once bustling with workers.

      Consequences of working from home.

  4. Feb 2024
    1. In brief, the right hemisphere seems to be more in touch with presence, with what actually experience comes to us and what we inhabit, whereas the left hemisphere is providing a representation, no longer the presence, but a map, a program, a theory, a diagram, but something abstracted, categorical, removed from and not having the constancy of the characteristics of the world that it is intending to map.

      Again, McGilchrist's work is extraordinary and amazing ... and ... Is there a blending here of "state" and "stage" (i.e. waking up vs growing up).

      Put very crudely, is what McG often refers to as right hemisphere simply being more into state and certain versions of state?

      Or to put it another way round for the framing of this discussion, the core sources of the metacrisis may relate (mainly) to "growing up" and could be addressed at that level ... even without much waking up.

      This point would at least clarify a useful distinction ...

    2. And so there's a whole range of events that can be traced back to the inevitable consequence of a certain way of looking at the world. And that way of looking at the world is, in my view, associated with and driven by a model of the world that is present to the left hemisphere in a way that is not the case with the right hemisphere.

      McGilchrist's point is amazing ... and i'm actually dubious about the hemisphere story (and left hemisphere primacy) as a major factor in the metacrisis and second renaissance (or, rather, that if it is a factor it is because it syncs with the overall cultural evolution story e.g. orange was LH, green is RH etc).

      Each paradigm - whether left or right hemisphere "heavy" - has problems towards the end of its "lifespan". What were strengths have become weaknesses, what was once generative has become cancerous.

    3. We were doing very well, and then suddenly people said the climate was changing and the seas were polluted.

      There are 2 parts to this: avalanches happen suddenly - so the causes could have been accumulating in that area for a long time.

      Or it could be a deeper sense of something underlying and common. Add volcanoes to the metaphor, we could say that volcanoes happen suddenly but represent a cumulating tension ... and volcanoes and earthquakes have an underlying causal mechanism related to plate tectonics.

    4. So just briefly on the metacrisis frame: before World War II, there was no risk that we could very quickly destroy the entire habitability of human civilization. That was brought into being with very powerful technology: nuclear weapons, and for the first time ever we had the ability to make a series of bad decisions and radically change the possibility space of the world.

      Technology reached a certain threshold.

      Plus a growing wisdom gap. We reached a critical point you might say.

    5. ¶146 And the third is the relationship to a realm of something beyond this. Again, we've mentioned this, I believe, but it is the transcendent realm or the realm of the spiritual or the sacred. And this to a lot of people now, they've been trained to think that this is a rather negligible issue, that it really is a kind of vestige of something that hangs over from a primitive time when people weren't properly educated and they invented superstitions to try and explain life.

      Beautifully put.

    6. The UCLA Loneliness Index has shot up in recent years, and I think we’ve mentioned loneliness already. And it's one of the key things that people say when you ask them about their lives. They say they're lonely.

      Where can you find data for this? I hear this statistic quoted often but not sure where i can find per-country data on this.

    7. ¶139 When you talk about, or I talk about values, I'm thinking of a hierarchy drawn up by Max Scheler, the German early twentieth-century philosopher, in which he had a hierarchy of values, at the base of which was utility, and this is the lowest level of his values.2 And then there came things like, he called them values of life, Lebenswerte, but these were values of fidelity, magnanimity, generosity, bravery, and so forth, a lot of which seem to have gone out of fashion. And then above that came beauty, goodness, and truth, the spiritual or geistige Werte, and then the top of the apex of the pyramid was the sacred. And I think that structure has been incredibly helpful to me in seeing what we're getting wrong, because the value — the only really driving value of the left hemisphere is utility. It's evolved in order to serve utility for us. And of course we need it because it's very useful. But we mustn't think that this answers our questions, or at least this sort of level of value is going to give us the fulfillment that is promised to us by our culture, which is all about acquisition and greed and competition: typical values of the left hemisphere.

      I loved this section of TMHE and discovering Schlerer.

      For me, it was helping me see a way beyond modernism and post-modernism and its flatland of values and the resultant nihilism.

      I've often thought of myself as a recovering utilitarian. I was convinced (even though i didn't like it) by utilitarianism and consequentialism as a teenager and through my 20s. Even though i felt desperately that there was a value: that a whole rose was better than a vandalized rose.

    1. Broader lessons can be gleaned from the Turkish case, particularly with regard to the limited policy space available for developing and emerging economies that are highly integrated to the global economy through open trade and financial flows: namely, having an independent monetary policy is not possible without capital controls.

      an independent monetary policy is not possible without capital controls

      A very old lesson! This is basic macro that you can work out from simple logic.

    1. He expects computers to eventually solve legal problems too: "At the end of the day, law is just natural language code for how to operate the system, and there's no reason why technology can't have impact there in terms of social problems.” Not everyone agrees that engineering is the answer to societal problems. “The world is just not like that. It just isn’t,” said Fred Turner, a professor of communications at Stanford University who has studied accelerationism. “But if you can convince people that it is, then you get a lot of the power that normally accrues to governments.” E/acc is also a reaction to another Silicon Valley movement: effective altruism (or EA). While it was originally focused on optimizing each person’s ability to help others (and is known for some of its most famous adherents’ willingness to engage in fraud), EA has also become a hotbed for people concerned about whether AI might become sentient and murder humans — so-called “doomers” that Jezos says “are instrumental to forces of evil and civilizational decline.”

      Fascinating social dynamics.

    2. t its core, effective accelerationism embraces the idea that social problems can be solved purely with advances in technology, rather than by messy human deliberation. “We’re trying to solve culture by engineering,” Verdon said. “When you're an entrepreneur, you engineer ways to incentivize certain behaviors via gradients and reward, and you can program a civilizational system."

      This is the essence of techno-solutionism.

    1. Las Vegas, he said, “no longer has the charm of motorcycle gangs, fringe gamblers and desert drifters. It’s this corporate zenith of mass consumerism run amok.”
    1. t’s all about gambling on vibes in the gulf left by financial and social and political systems in total freefall.
    2. What replaced the fantasy of the good life? Dreams of prepping for life on Mars or in the metaverse? Of financial security through wild trades, or finding a good man to take care of you so you could leave the hustle behind? And who are these new dreams in service of? If the tale of hard work and upward mobility kept us yoked to our employers and our 9-to-5 jobs, the fantasy of the YOLO investment ‘Lambos or food stamps!’ keeps its subjects attached to the market. To risking it all.

      Yes, another, healthier dream is needed. The dream of a second renaissance.

    3. Millennials and Gen Zs were raised to be entrepreneurs of the self, to believe that, if they simply worked and studied hard enough, success and security were waiting in their futures. Failure was a personal blight for refusing to invest their time wisely, for failing to grind hard enough. Post-2008, that dream was shot. You could work and work, but that did not mean that you would have job security and freedom from roommates by your mid-30s. Maybe this was what was meant by burnout culture. In the aftermath of the crash, middle-class people spoke of the death of the dream – the postwar ethos that, if you were willing to work hard enough and play by the rules, upper mobility and success were waiting in your future. If their parents had believed in climbing the ladder and just rewards for their hard work, this path was now closed to their children.

      People had higher hopes and higher disappointments.

    1. The same scary process of learning to be helpless may already begin in daycare where kids learn to overcome separation anxiety "disorder". Separation anxiety is a normal instinctive reaction to the absence of the primary caregiver, esp. in the natural breastfeeding window. That window is not your textbook 6 months. It might be as long as 3-5 years. We just never seem to see it in modern world that intervenes even in that most intimate process. As a population, we have no idea that natural weaning may take that many years! We need to look at hunter-gatherer societies to find the truth. When late weaning happens in the western world, it is seen as an aberration. Even a sexual aberration. Behavioral therapy can overcome separation anxiety to a degree. Kids can naturally overcome separation at their circadian prime. They cope much worse before sleep, at prime feeding time, or during nocturnal awakenings. In daycare, however, a 2 year old copes with separation anxiety primary by learned helplessness. Tons of self-help books have been written on how to gently separate a child from his mother at that stage, and they all prove that is it possible (in a healthy child). Except, this is always harmful. Raymond Moore warns that "the earlier you institutionalize your kid, the earlier it will institutionalize you". The second layer of learned helplessness comes with discipline. Child freedoms are limited and tolerance to limits on freedom is gradually increasing. Ideally, the kid should have a wide behavioral space opened to its explorations. The borders of that space should be set firmly at areas that entail danger to life or health of the child, well-being of others, property, etc. Children must obey the rules and obeyance must be consistently enforced along the principles of efficient conditioning. However, rules are costly. They use resources in learning, execution, confusion, violations, inconsistencies, stress, etc. It is easier to keep fewer rules. If rules are innumerous, they can be clearer and stronger. Rules should be adapted to cognitive capacities of a child and introduced slowly. Running a kid through a narrow gauntlet of rules is possible, but the narrower the channel the more conformity training is required. Conformity is largely based on learned helplessness. A child may disobey a loving parent, but may easily be pushed into submission when faced with an unwelcoming face of a supervisor or peer pressure. Hence the "magic" of daycare (see: Learning acceleration via stress).


    1. Brand vehemently disagrees with me, but I’d say that, more recently, the computer has also failed as a source of true community. Social media seems to immiserate people as much as it bonds them. And so there’s a need for future Brands, young cultural craftsmen who identify those who are building the future, synthesizing their work into a common ethos and bringing them together in a way that satisfies the eternal desire for community and wholeness.

      At best a technology enables something, it does not provide it.

      Community and connection are deep, sacred values that technology can assist -- or inhibit -- but they come from other sources and must be cultivated by other means.

      Another primacy of being point if you like.

  5. Jan 2024
    1. So another way of understanding the meaning crisis, is that unlike most cultures, we don't know where to go to cultivate wisdom.

      Is this (fully) the source of the meaning crisis? i.e. not having places to cultivate wisdom.

      What about modernity reaching its end - with it attendant hyper reductionist individualism, materialism, scientism etc.

      Other eras ending also likely had "meaning crises" e.g. there was (probably) a meaning crisis at the end of the Roman empire (think of all those rich romans fed up with hedonism who got into christianity and died in the arena with the lions).

    2. You have positive symptoms, though. You have the mindfulness revolution. People are seeking fundamental transformation in attention, awareness. You have the rise of ancient wisdom philosophies. There are more Stoics now alive than were ever alive in the Roman Empire, right? And of course you have the ongoing thing, basically from Schopenhauer on, of the increasing investigations into Asiatic philosophies, in which philosophy and spirituality, knowledge and wisdom were not separated.

      These symptoms reflect both symptoms and opportunities.

      Mindfulness - as a social phenomenon - reflects a convergence of wisdom traditions with modern science ... as well as an underlying need.

    3. But let me just finish a couple more symptoms. We've got the weird political paradox that everybody feels disillusioned and disenfranchised, but the political sphere has been now reappropriated and filled with religious fervor and symbolic religious behavior. And we've given over identity in the meaning of life to our political ideologies, even though we've lost faith in all of the institutions, this weird thing.

      an interesting take on the connection between politics and the meaning crisis.

      Would say even more straightforward: political crisis reflects a similar (mistaken) bankruptcy of ideas plus a direct connection with meaning crisis - see https://github.com/orgs/life-itself/discussions/1020

      I have a half-draft "Awakening from the Political Crisis" which walks through a genealogy here.

    4. Now that vision is quite different from the one we have, that, if only we can master more and more, using a left-hemisphere kind of mechanism, we will achieve power, and power will make us happy. But the roots of happiness are very other to that. I'm sure we'll come on for that. But effectively we think we've accounted for everything where we think in terms of matter. But much more important are values, the sense of purpose. And as far as I'm concerned, the sense of the sacred. So that's really where we're at, and I think recovering some of what we've lost is critical to making any progress. We can't just stick sticking plasters on the cancer. We need to eradicate the cause and change the way in which we think about ourselves, the world, and how we relate to it.


      McG L/R hemisphere point is in danger of becoming like marxism: something onto which everyone dissatisfied with the status quo can project their dissatisfaction onto.

      As illustration, I find it extraordinary at how many people have heard of and resonate with McG (despite likely not having read the book).

      It is this catch-all explanation of what is not working that is attractive and credible (McG is phenomenally well-read and brilliant)

    5. Because we can’t just shut it off, and we have all these trade-offs. We can't just pursue simple panaceas that will — “Just do this!” So we have to get this complex — I call it an ecology of practices: practices that intervene in our cognition, our attention, our awareness in multiple places. You know, checks and balances, very — like, think about the eightfold path of Buddhism. It's this complex set of practices and they're represented by a spoked wheel because they all interconnect and they're all self-organizing.

      Ecology of practices that help us ameliorate self-deception w/o undermining adaptive connectedness.

    6. These are the four factors for meaning in life.
      1. Purpose
      2. Coherence
      3. Significance
      4. Mattering
    7. And I think that we're in another, a third wave of this, if you like, in the West, which began in the Renaissance with an incredible flourishing, an almost unequaled anywhere in the world at any time of everything, of interest in the sciences, in the heavens, and in the arts, in sculpture, in music, and in poetry. This is an incredibly rich time. And then from about the end of the seventeenth century, very roughly, with the scientific revolution, we began to believe that we could understand everything in terms of mechanisms. And this was a useful way to think, and indeed, let me be the first to say that we have benefited from it in many ways. We have developments that very few of us would wish to be without as a result of it. But unfortunately it led to a philosophical error. And it's not just, as it were, a philosophical error in an abstract way. It's one that runs deep to the nature of how we experience the world. That is: we believe that the world is made up of parts, and that we find reality by going down and down and down until we've got bits that are almost identical to one another, whereas in fact almost the opposite is true, that everything happens out of the coming together into complex wholes.

      This is a good example of how difficult/easy it is to project cultural explanations onto historical periods. I would read that period rather differently e.g.

      • Early modernity still has a lot of pre-modernity which is more presence/spirit centered (right hemisphere if you like)
      • By 17th century we are getting into mature modernity

      For me the hemisphere point (if it is even valid) is a sub-explanation of the general cultural evolution that is happening i.e. it is plausible that L/R hemisphere alternation is associated with cultural alternation (i.e. pre-modern is more R hemisphere, modern is more left hemisphere etc).

    8. Now, I mean, I should say that to anybody who doesn't know my work, you've probably heard that everything to do with hemispheres is wrong, and that it's outmoded and science is got past it. This is not true. If you don't know my work, then forget almost everything you think you know about hemisphere differences. They're not the ones that you were told. But there are — although we've got the differences largely wrong, not entirely wrong, but mainly wrong — that doesn't mean to say that there are no differences and it wouldn't be important to find out what these differences are. And that's something I've said for about thirty years. And in short, the difference comes down to ultimately a mode of attention, which is an evolutionary development that goes back pretty much as far as we can trace it, we think back to trilobites and possibly even beyond. So this is something in which there needs to be two ways of attending to the world that are both very important but appear to be mutually incompatible. One is that with which we grasp things. We need to get things in order to survive. We need to get food. We need to handle twigs to build a nest or sticks to build a shelter. Whatever it is, we need to be able to latch onto something precisely, target it, and get it. And that's so important that in a way, one whole half of one's brain is largely geared to this particular end — that of power. But if you pay only that attention to the world, then you will be very vulnerable, because you won't see the predator, you won't see your conspecifics. You won't see everything else that's going on of which you need to be aware. And so effectively, this is a difference in which one hemisphere plays a very narrowly targeted, precise attention to detail in order to grab it, and another kind of attention which is broad, open, sustained and vigilant and on the lookout for everything else, putting it very simply. Those two kinds of attention change what we find. No neurologist in the world would dispute that the two hemispheres attend differently. It's very clear they do. And no philosopher will dispute the fact that attention changes what it is you see. So at the end of this, very obviously, if we attend in two different ways, we see two different worlds. I'm going to grossly simplify here, but effectively in one — that is, the left hemisphere — the world is made up of little bits that attract attention and there are things that we're already targeted on, because we know we want them. They are isolated and decontextualized; they belong to categories; they’re abstracted and effectively lifeless. Whereas in the right hemisphere it sees that everything is ultimately connected. It's connected obviously to the context of things that are immediately around it or are particularly powerful, but it's ultimately connected to everything beyond that, that the world is never fixed in the way the left hemisphere needs to fix things or to grab them. It's not built up out of slices or pieces. that it is in fact a whole seamless flow, a very important word. And in this right hemisphere, implicit meaning is understood, because that's contextualized. And part of the context of that is emotion, the body, other people, the world at large.

      Great succinct summary of McG work.

    9. The metacrisis frame — the slight distinction from that terminology from polycrisis — is that we're not just looking at the mini-crises and how they can cascade, but that there are underlying dynamics that give rise to them.

      Exactly. As we write in the DDS manifesto:

      We are experiencing a polycrisis and metacrisis: a constellation of escalating and interwoven crises ranging from ecosphere degradation to political polarization. Crucially, these crises are interlinked both in source and solution, linkages which travel all the way down to how we envision ourselves, our societies and our civilization.

    1. What all of these issues had in common was that the left, especially the academic left, had pushed far enough to trigger a backlash. And more than any other politician, Mr. DeSantis was the conservative politician who rose with that backlash against “woke” and coronavirus restrictions. The broad range of anti-woke and anti-pandemic politics meant that there were many moderates and conservatives who thought they agreed with Mr. DeSantis. They imagined him as a politician much like themselves, much in the same way that both antiwar progressives and centrist Democrats saw themselves in Mr. Obama in 2008.

      This syncs with the the twitter thread i recently wrote.

    1. Rational optimism regarding our future, then, is only possible to the extent we can find prior evolutionary steps which are plausibly more improbable than they look. Conversely, without such findings we must consider the possibility that we have yet to pass through a substantial part of the Great Filter. If so, then our prospects are bleak, but knowing this fact may at least help us improve our chances. For example, if our prospects are likely bleak we should search out and take especially seriously any plausible scenarios, such as nuclear war or ecological collapse, which might lead to our future inability to explode across the universe. A long list of such scenarios for concern can be found in [Leslie 96]. Our main data point, the Great Silence, would be telling us that at least one of these scenarios is much more probable than it otherwise looks. With such a warning in hand, we might, for example, take extra care to protect our ecosystems, perhaps even at substantial expense to our economic growth rate. We might be even especially cautious regarding the possibility of world-destroying physics experiments. And we might place a much higher priority on projects like Biosphere 2, which may allow some part of humanity to survive a great disaster.

      Especially note:

      With such a warning in hand, we might, for example, take extra care to protect our ecosystems, perhaps even at substantial expense to our economic growth rate. We might be even especially cautious regarding the possibility of world-destroying physics experiments. And we might place a much higher priority on projects like Biosphere 2, which may allow some part of humanity to survive a great disaster.

    1. Because it’s “A Mattel Production,” as the opening credits inform us, it wants to have its cake, eat it, mock it, smear it on the faces of the manufacturers, and still sell a shitload of dolls—or, as a recent piece in the Times suggested, “drive near-infinite brand synergies,” the sort of phrase that makes me want to move to Bhutan and raise goats.


      And that last phrase is truly brilliant.

      still sell a shitload of dolls—or, as a recent piece in the Times suggested, “drive near-infinite brand synergies,” the sort of phrase that makes me want to move to Bhutan and raise goats.

      I want to add that, having seen the film, it is indeed v postmodern in both mocking consumerism and profiting from it. Yes it mocks patriarchy and mattel etc but all in the end in the service of an escapist comedy that will promote barbie and ken (or, at least, that's what its owners think).

    1. “These last weeks,” Dr. Gay writes, “have helped make clear the work we need to do to build that future — to combat bias and hate in all its forms, to create a learning environment in which we respect each other’s dignity and treat one another with compassion, and to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth.” This sentence echoes the Harvard Corporation’s gusty roster of commitments, improving the syntax and the prose rhythm. Those infinitives stack up nicely. It sounds like a lot of work, but how can anyone be against any of it?The real question, though, is how one institution can be for all of it. Is this work the university is really equipped to do? Combating bias may involve constraining open inquiry; free expression is not always respectful or compassionate. The pursuit of truth may outrun everything else. This cascade of noble imperatives can be read descriptively, as a diagnosis of the causes of campus turmoil. What is presented as a list of unimpeachable virtues and laudable goals is in practice a web of contradictions.

      The key point: those aims are in tension.

      to combat bias and hate in all its forms, to create a learning environment in which we respect each other’s dignity and treat one another with compassion, and to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth.

  6. Dec 2023
    1. At the end of the day, Marcuse sees that Heidegger avoids the type of analyses that would reveal systems of oppression and domination from which many human beings suffer. The modes of existence for Dasein have a social, historical, and political context that shape the way they are experienced. For example, Dasein has a race, gender, class, etc. These particular features come with specific social interpretations which affect Dasein’s life’s prospects. According to Marcuse, Heidegger’s Dasein is a sociologically and biologically neutral category (Marcuse 2005b: 167). Heidegger gives no account of the multiple forms of oppression and domination present in advanced industrial societies nor the way that individuals respond to these forms of oppression and domination. In a 1977 interview conducted by Frederick A. Olafson, Marcuse raises the following criticism of Heidegger: How does the individual situate himself and see himself in capitalism—at a certain stage of capitalism, under socialism, as a member of this or that class, and so on? This entire dimension is absent. To be sure, Dasein is constituted in historicity, but Heidegger focuses on individuals purged of the hidden and not so hidden injuries of their class, their work, their recreation, purged of the injuries they suffer from their society. There is no trace of the daily rebellion, of the striving for liberation. The Man (the anonymous anyone) is no substitute for the social reality (Marcuse 2005b: 169)

      This is just total misunderstanding of Heidegger: Heidegger is working towards the ultimate dimension. These concerns raised here are relative concerns. This is a great illustration of how western thought in general, and critical theory in general, is lacking this distinction (between ultimate and relative dimensions) -- and how problematic that is.

    1. Concerns with the over-emphasis of inner-spirituality are described extensively in new-age research (Heelas, 2009; Simchai, 2009). In short, while new-age culture sees itself as a counter-culture, it can actually reinforce dominant cultural trends of individualism, something which has been observed in some neoshamanic ayahuasca circles as well (Gearin, 2015; Rodd, 2018; Apud, 2020a). For example, some Australian ayahuasca practitioners believe that “The primacy of the individual is reflected in the idea that social transformation is only possible after the individual transforms their consciousness” (Rodd, 2018). This is aligned with the Israeli new-age ethos (Simchai, 2009), including the ethos of the population observed in this study. Within this ethos, ‘peace starts from within’ and social change happens through personal change which ‘ripples’ out, or by achieving a ‘critical mass’ of individuals who have gone through personal transformation. Important to note, that such new-age ideology in Israel can sometimes support political amotivation, and lead to ‘identity blindness’ which can serve hegemonic power relations (Simchai, 2014; Simchai and Keshet, 2016).


    1. Rabbi Daniel Geffen of Temple Adas Israel said the temple’s leadership had not been involved in the email campaign. He rued the turn of events, but, conceding he was “not an expert on Santa,” offered a slightly different lesson: Acknowledging that free speech was indeed part of the “beauty of democracy,” he suggested it also required “taking responsibility for not just what we say, but how we say it and when we say it.”

      So one is not free to have free speech if it offends someone? What was it in the tone that was so difficult?

    1. t would therefore begin to seem that Adorno’s prophetic diagnosis hasbeen realized, albeit in a negative way: not Schoenberg (the sterility ofwhose achieved system he already glimpsed) but Stravinsky is the trueprecursor of the postmodern cultural production. For with the collapseof the high-modernist ideology of style—what is as unique andunmistakable as your own fingerprints, as incomparable as your ownbody (the very source, for an early Roland Barthes, of stylistic inventionand innovation)—the producers of culture have nowhere to turn but tothe past: the imitation of dead styles, speech through all the masks andvoices stored up in the imaginary museum of a now global culture.

      summary: elimination of style leads to pastiche. to a kind of endless emptiness.

    2. AndyWarhol’s work in fact turns centrally around commodification, and thegreat billboard images of the Coca-cola bottle or the Campbell’s SoupCan, which explicitly foreground the commodity fetishism of a transi-tion to late capital, ought to be powerful and critical political statements.If they are not that, then one would surely want to know why, and onewould want to begin to wonder a little more seriously about thepossibilities of political or critical art in the postmodern period of latecapital.


    1. One of the concerns frequently aroused by periodizing hypotheses is that these tend to obliterate difference, and to project an idea of the historical period as massive homogeneity (bounded on either side by inexplicable ‘chronological’ metamorphoses and punctuation marks). This is, however, precisely why it seems to me essential to grasp ‘postmodernism’ not as a style, but rather as a cultural dominant: a conception which allows for the presence and coexistence of a range of very different, yet subordinate features.

      Exactly. See previous comment.

      First, any cultural mode is exactly that: a mode. A plurality not a universalism or even a majority. Within a population there will be a wide variation.

      Second, even within individual there can be a mixed of parts at different cultural locations. We contain worlds.

    2. A last preliminary word on method: what follows is not to be read as stylistic description, as the account of one cultural style or movement among others. I have rather meant to offer a periodizing hypothesis, and that at a moment in which the very conception of historical periodization has come to seem most problematical indeed. I have argued elsewhere that all isolated or discrete cultural analysis always involves a buried or repressed theory of historical periodization; in any case, the conception of the ‘genealogy’ largely lays to rest traditional theoretical worries about so-called linear history, theories of ‘stages’, and teleological historiography. In the present context, however, lengthier theoretical discussion of such (very real) issues can perhaps be replaced by a few substantive remarks.

      Another beautifully put paragraph.

      Jameson is dealing with the objections, that we encounter too, about creating "periods" (aka stages or phases or paradigms in our onto-social contexts). Because, of course, in any study of cultural phenomena and cultural evolution there are no completely sharp breaks. It is always, at least when zoomed in, evolution rather than revolution.

      But that misses the point. Good theoretical (e.g. dynamical systems theory) and empirical reasons suggest that we do have more discrete changes.

      His second point is that this genealogical not linear. - it is branching and refolding Again of course, though a simplified genealogy is a linear one (e.g. the kings/queens of England).

    3. Such theories have the obvious ideological mission of demonstrating, to their own relief, that the new social formation in question no longer obeys the laws of classical capitalism, namely the primacy of industrial production and the omnipresence of class struggle.

      Aphoristically put. and, at the same time, an incredibly marxist to view this more general point.

      Maybe they are onto something -- and are not simply apologists for the capitalist status quo. And onto something less than they may claim.

  7. Nov 2023
    1. We need to be able to create tokens without removing Direct Leaders. Great things get built over long periods of time by great leaders with the legitimacy to take bold action. To realize the benefits of tokenization without misguided decentralization, we need to create a regulatory environment that enables this. In doing so, we will enable bigger outcomes, which lowers the cost of capital for crypto, enabling further growth. But more importantly, we will reduce the fragility of the industry, closing off an avenue of attack that we are largely blind to – the potential for malicious actors to leverage decentralization against crypto.

      Wow but isn't this just the old system we had i.e. shares etc. why did we need crypto for this ...?

    2. Why do Direct Leaders decentralize when they issue a token? Decentralization imposes costs on an organization — decisions are made more slowly by lower context people who are not held accountable for bad decisions — this is why companies don’t operate this way. These costs are being felt across the industry. Kevin Owocki, who left as Direct Leader of Gitcoin to later return, described a broader trend of “founders boomeranging” back into leadership to solve the organizational dysfunction caused by decentralization. As the impetus for governance changes, Rune Christensen wrote of MakerDAO in 2022, “The governance processes and political dynamics… fundamentally aren’t compatible with the reality of effectively processing complicated real-world financial deals.”

      Just keep relearning the lessons of a 1000 years of governance experiments.

      People have been trying decentralized governance for a really long time and it's really hard. Progress does not depend on structural innovation, duh! It depends mostly on ontological/cultural innovation (e.g. "god is watching" aka the internalized morality of e.g. late christian religion) with some amount of increased monitoring and transparency ...

  8. Oct 2023
    1. I’m preparing to teach a weaving class. It’s the first time I’ve done one in a few years – the last big effort was 2017, when I did a class for the DFW Fiber Fest board members, trying to get my brain back into teaching mode. It didn’t really take. Don’t get me wrong – class went well, everybody had a good time, and we got excellent results – but I didn’t feel inspired to keep going and teach. Since then, I’ve done a lot of psychedelic-assisted therapy work, and have fixed a decade of treatment-resistant depression – and I’m ready to teach again. I’m not going to talk about the therapy part here… but if you want to know more, get in touch: wormspit@gmail.com and I’ll share more in private.

      psychedelic assisted therapy. the world is changing ...

    2. I have been working on my brain. Years of therapy, meditation, lucid dreaming, vision work; I’ve been an explorer for most of my life… but recently, I’ve taken a deep dive into a different kind of therapy that I’m going to call non-plant-based-medicine, because the organisms aren’t plants, and the folks who know, will know, and if you don’t know but you’re really curious, please talk to me privately after class. It’s an adventure in non-ordinary consciousness, and the results have been PHENOMENAL. The changes are seismic, and they have radically altered the way I’m interacting with the world. If you see me, and you think, “What got into HIM?” feel free to ask. Later on, I’ll probably be a little more frank about it, but for the moment, I’ve got to be just a bit circumspect. This morning, I had a surprising realization. These little satoris, these moments of sudden awareness, have been rising to the surface and bursting like bubbles in fizzy water; they keep catching me by surprise, and I am living in a constant state of wonder and delight. I have had a slight psychological stammer for the past couple of decades. It hasn’t been terribly noticeable; it shows up when I’m nervous mostly, but it’s been a constant companion. Things like strings of complicated words are difficult for me to get out, and particularly difficult to get out QUICKLY. My mouth would fight with my brain, and I would often end up either making some nonsense sound, or just shutting up. I made myself smaller, I backed away, I hushed myself. I know where it came from, and I’ve talked with my therapists about it, and I’ve worked on it… but it’s been a Thing. It has diminished my shine.

      Waking up is happening to more and more people

  9. Sep 2023
    1. The move made sense for Reddit, particularly as the company looked toward its IPO. Reddit isn’t profitable, and the infrastructure to support third-party apps costs Reddit $10 million per year. Charging for the API could wipe out that loss and potentially be a net positive on the balance sheet. (Microsoft declined to comment if it would pay for Reddit’s data; OpenAI and Google didn’t reply to requests for comment.)

      Reddit still loses money. Think about amount of funding that supports reddit year on year for over a decade. This is capitalism baby.

    1. Raising the price of pollution remains the most important, and likely necessary,approach to decoupling growth from emissions (the merits of which are surveyedby Knittel 2012). Unfortunately, it is out of favor in many places. Governments haveinstead turned to subsidizing “green” alternatives. Even if the green alternativeswere carbon-free (which they typically are not), subsidies for green technology arenot equivalent to taxes on pollution. In at least one important sense, the subsidyapproach is counterproductive. Subsidy-favored technologies become artificiallyinexpensive to adopt, which expands overall demand while crowding out profitableinnovation along currently unfavored or not-yet-imagined abatement pathways. Theopportunity cost is incalculable. The countries of Africa offer a concrete example ofthis concern. Their population will likely double in the next century, and transpor-tation demand will increase in concert with a larger and richer population. It will beadvantageous for urban planning to center around public transit and small vehiclesin these economies. Increasing the cost of pollution creates incentives for cleanerurban growth, but cheap electric vehicles does not.

      Yes, yes, yes!

      And we don't do it because the majority of population given their current knowledge, sensemaking, needs and ontological development don't support the action needed here.

      This is an ontological/cultural issue far more than an "economic" one.

    2. worldwide, to the extent they are taking action at all, have overwhelmingly chosenthe path of “carrots,” not “sticks.” In the absence of several favorable draws frominnovation lotteries, this pathway will likely be expensive and characterized byonly partial decarbonization success.

      [Governments] worldwide ...

      Indeed! It is another collective action + cognitive bias point. Voters don't notice / mind subsidies nearly as much as taxes.

    3. The question is whether these regulatory agencies can achieve the decar-bonization goals by leaning on a policy that transmits weak incentives to marketparticipants. In the case of both cars and maritime shipping, the compliance costsmay be sufficiently large as to reduce the aggregate level of transportation servicesenjoyed in the economy. The economic costs could far outweigh the environ-mental benefits, even when approximated by using the most aggressive estimatesof the social cost of carbon.

      What are those aggressive estimates of the social cost of carbon? $1000 / tonne? higher? what if we risk a true catastrophe?

    4. To date, demand for electric vehicles in the United Stateshas been concentrated among wealthy, highly-educated buyers who express concernabout climate change (Davis 2019; Archsmith, Muehlegger, and Rapson 2021).These buyers tend to own multiple cars and live in single-family homes in coastalstates or the suburbs of large cities. To achieve full (or even deep) electrification,adoption of electric vehicles will need to extend into new consumer segments. Twoof these include low- and middle-income households who are interested in adoptingan electric vehicle, and rural Americans who tend to prefer light trucks to sedansand are less compelled to make decisions based on concerns about climate change.Figure 5Per Capita Generation and Electricity ReliabilitySources: Electricity Reliability (World Bank 2019); Electricity Generation (IEA 2022a).Notes: This figure plots electricity quality and annual electricity generation capita by country in 2018.Electricity quality is measured a scale of 1 to 7 and reflects the average response by business leaders to thesurvey question to the World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report: “In your country, howreliable is the electricity supply (lack of interruptions and lack of voltage fluctuations)? [1 = extremelyunreliable; 7 = extremely reliable].” Generation is measured in megawatt-hours per capita. Selectcountries are highlighted.BangladeshCanadaChinaIndiaIndonesiaJapanNigeriaUnited States1234567Electricity quality (1 = worse, 7 = best)0 5 10 15 20Annual Megawatt-hours Per Capita


    5. Electric vehicles are getting cheaper. This is driven mainly by reductions inbattery costs, which fell by 14 percent per annum from 2007 to 2014 (Nykvist andNilsson 2015) and have continued to decline since. Over the past decade, the speedat which battery costs declined exceeded even the most optimistic of earlier projec-tions (as discussed in Knittel 2012).

      Batteries drove electric vehicles and happened b4 Tesla! (not elon)

    6. In Figure 1, we plot the evolution of global greenhouse gas emission esti-mates from these subsectors from 1970 to 2018, based on European Commission(2023). For comparison, worldwide greenhouse gas emissions across all sectorsof the economy were roughly 36 gigatons in 2018 (IEA 2022b). Figure 1 suggeststwo themes that will recur throughout the essay: the centrality of road vehicles inthe task of decarbonizing transportation and the ongoing rise in transportationFigure 1Transportation Emissions by SectorSource: Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (European Commission 2023).Note: This figure plots annual emissions greenhouse gas emissions (in gigatons) for five transportationsectors from 1970 to 2018.01234Greenhouse gas emissions (gigatons)1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020OECD – roadNon OECD – roadAviationWater-borneRail /other

      ongoing rise in transporation emissions in developing countries.

    1. An aptitude test recently conducted in the province of KwaZulu-Natal seems to back up Khusta’s assessment. Fully 298 of 1,944 city and municipal councilors in the region are illiterate – a rate of 15 percent. It looks as though the curse that befell many post-colonial countries in Africa now has South Africa in its grips – a curse that saw politicians take over control following independence despite a complete lack of expertise or thought-out development plans and ultimately run their countries into the ground. The cautionary tale most often told is that of the once booming neighboring country of Zimbabwe, which dictator Robert Mugabe and his one-party government turned into a poorhouse.

      Not great reading for the anti-colonial theorists.

    2. Behind the walls along the tracks in Jeppestown, the imposing skyline of Johannesburg juts into the sky, a metropolis built on gold and a place where mining magnates used to live in vast palaces. Today, many parts of the city center look little different than a slum. Opulent Art Deco facades are crumbling while homeless people are living in abandoned offices and skyscrapers, cooking over open fires. Just last week, a massive fire consumed one of these illegally squatted buildings, killing more than 70 people.Large sections of the city lie in complete darkness at night, the result of widespread power outages and because the streetlights on major arterials have all been stripped of anything of value. Hundreds of trains sit motionless outside the train station, rusting away. Rail travel in the city has collapsed.Fears of crime and violence have grown widespread. Those who can afford it have moved out of the city to the affluent suburbs, living in houses surrounded by high walls and electric fences.Letta scrambles over a stoplight pole that was cut down on the street above, stripped of its insides and then thrown onto the tracks below. He walks along the railroad bed in search of metal that he can then sell for a few rand to a scrap metal dealer. But there isn’t much left. Windows, doors, water faucets, tiles, roof panels, signs, signal poles, switches, overhead power cables, isolators, elevators: It has all been gutted.

      a collapsed state.

    3. "9910. That was the train I used to take to work every day. The last one ran six years ago," an aging Black man says in disgust as he walks past the station entrance. He adds caustically: "We used to have work when the whites were in charge, and life was better."It’s hard to believe: A 60-year-old Black man, who was oppressed and exploited for half his life, misses the Apartheid era?


    1. The dangerous mistake we were making gets to the heart of what people often get wrong about environmental stewardship: the notion that, no matter how rapacious or careless we are, we can always dig or plant our way out through sweat, pluck and industry. Rather than leave a forest intact, we clear-cut it, then plant a new one. My troupe of planters thought we were making things better. I spent this summer watching that youthful idealism literally going up in smoke.


  10. Jun 2023
    1. Ultimately, I’m reminded of the umbrella organisation Stop Climate Chaos that formed in 2005. By 2009, all that its diverse membership could agree on (and this after much negotiation) was a march called the Wave which happened in December to coincide with the UN climate summit in Copenhagen. The numbers on that march? In the same ballpark as the Big One: about 50,000 people. And after the Wave there was only a trickle, for many years.

      What happened to these and why? my guess is that it was hard to breakthrough to the broader public on a complex long-term topic.

  11. May 2023
    1. They work, they go to the pub and while they share cooking duties they’re not against ordering a takeaway on a Friday night. ‘I would argue that quite often intentional communities reflect the period in which they were formed,’ explains Kirsten Stevens-Wood, a senior lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University and lead for the Intentional Communities Research Group.

      Interesting person to contact Kirsten Stevens-Wood

    1. One Synthesis employee says: “It’s been like a bad trip. I can say that the dissolution of the business was one of the most unprofessionally-handled and emotionally manipulative things I’ve ever witnessed. It has caused a lot of pain for a lot of people, and was nearly textbook 101 of how NOT to do this kind of thing. I don’t sense any intentional maliciousness—just a serious level of incompetence. Turns out you have to build your business on something more solid than a bunch of psychedelic journeys together! Heart-centered businesses can really fuck things up.”

      Indeed, especially that last point.

    2. A medical professional who briefly worked for the company reflects: “High-end wellness retreats for affluent folk was a great idea, but psychedelics ask questions that need more than enthusiastic, good-looking amateurs and delicious vegan food. It was an entrepreneurial enterprise that wasn’t equipped to take the developmental step to more serious work.”


  12. Apr 2023
    1. If you told me you were building a next generation nuclear power plant, but there was no way to get accurate readings on whether the reactor core was going to blow up, I’d say you shouldn’t build it. Is A.I. like that power plant? I’m not sure.

      This is the weird part of these articles … he has just made a cast-iron argument for regulation and then says "I'm not sure"!!

      That first sentence alone is enough for the case. Why? Because he doesn't need to think for sure that AI is like that power plant ... he only needs to think there is a (even small) probability that AI is like that power plant. If he thinks that it could be even a bit like that power plant then we shouldn't build it. And, finally, in saying "I'm not sure" he has already acknowledged that there is some probability that AI is like the power plant (otherwise he would say: AI is definitely safe).

      Strictly, this is combining the existence of the risk with the "ruin" aspect of this risk: one nuclear power blowing up is terrible but would not wipe out the whole human race (and all other species). A "bad" AI quite easily could (malevolent by our standards or simply misdirected).

      All you need in these arguments is a simple admission of some probability of ruin. And almost everyone seems to agree on that.

      Then it is a slam dunk to regulate strongly and immediately.

    1. When I got home, I thought about my four-year-old who would wake up in a few hours. As I considered the world he might grow up in, I gradually shifted from shock to anger. It felt deeply wrong that consequential decisions potentially affecting every life on Earth could be made by a small group of private companies without democratic oversight. Did the people racing to build the first real AGI have a plan to slow down and let the rest of the world have a say in what they were doing? And when I say they, I really mean we, because I am part of this community.


    1. 38.  It does not appear to me that the field of 'AI safety' is currently being remotely productive on tackling its enormous lethal problems.  These problems are in fact out of reach; the contemporary field of AI safety has been selected to contain people who go to work in that field anyways.  Almost all of them are there to tackle problems on which they can appear to succeed and publish a paper claiming success;


    2. The current state of this cooperation to have every big actor refrain from doing the stupid thing, is that at present some large actors with a lot of researchers and computing power are led by people who vocally disdain all talk of AGI safety (eg Facebook AI Research).  Note that needing to solve AGI alignment only within a time limit, but with unlimited safe retries for rapid experimentation on the full-powered system; or only on the first critical try, but with an unlimited time bound; would both be terrifically humanity-threatening challenges by historical standards individually.

      This makes it hard, but it is not impossible and may be your only option. NB: this is not so much about lethality and the difficulty of coordination to prevent further rapid advance ... which now seems the only option.

    3. We can gather all sorts of information beforehand from less powerful systems that will not kill us if we screw up operating them; but once we are running more powerful systems, we can no longer update on sufficiently catastrophic errors.  This is where practically all of the real lethality comes from, that we have to get things right on the first sufficiently-critical try.

      Exactly, we have a probability of ruin and don't have multiple shots. Even the probability of ruin would make this a very dubious and unwise thing to do IMO - what's the rush. Let's get wiser for a few hundred years. We don't have any asteroids coming.

    4. A large amount of failure to panic sufficiently, seems to me to stem from a lack of appreciation for the incredible potential lethality of this thing that Earthlings as a culture have not named.)


    1. Right now, there’s money pouring into this area, but that’s all going to be patient-related77 Meaning for use by patients with a clinically diagnosed medical ailment, not just someone looking to explore consciousness more deeply. — there’s a pathway to medical approval. I do have concerns that we don’t replicate the mistakes that occurred in the 1960s, which over-promoted psychedelics’ use culturewide. They’re so powerful that if misaligned with cultural institutions, they can result in cultural kickback. In the 1960s they became aligned with the antiwar movement and radicalized-youth movement that was terrifying to existing political structures and institutions, and as a consequence, legislation was put up against them, funding dried up, they were considered a third rail in academic research. We need to proceed cautiously.

      Massive 👍

    2. I have a long-term meditation practice,22 Griffiths practices Vipassana meditation, which comes out of the Buddhist tradition. and the focus there is on the nature of mind, of consciousness, and one comes to see that thoughts, emotions, are transient. They’re appearances of mind that you needn’t identify with. That practice — and some experience with psychedelics — was incredibly useful because what I recognized is that the best way to be with this diagnosis was to practice gratitude for the preciousness of our lives. Grasping for the cure wasn’t useful.

      A long-term meditator.

  13. Mar 2023
    1. Mr. Guo, who also goes by Miles Kwok and several other names, held court at his $68 million residence at the Sherry-Netherland with sweeping Central Park views. While buying the apartment, he provided the building’s co-op board a recommendation from former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. “Miles is honest, forthright and has impeccable taste,” Mr. Blair wrote in the letter, unearthed by a British tabloid in 2021.

      Mr Blair seems to have quite a few low-integrity acquaintances.

    1. They can generate somewhat reasonable plans for acquiring money or scamming people, and can do many parts of the task of setting up copies of language models on new servers. Current language models are also very much capable of convincing humans to do things for them.

      Woah 2

    2. However, the models were able to fully or mostly complete many relevant subtasks. Given only the ability to write and run code, models appear to understand how to use this to browse the internet, get humans to do things for them, and carry out long-term plans – even if they cannot yet execute on this reliably


    1. As Graeber and Wengrow point out in The Dawn Of Everything this was by no means a directly linear transformation


    2. I believe that overlaying this same concept (of hierarchical stages) at the level of cultures or worldviews can lead us in some unnecessarily undesirable directions

      What directions?

      And agree on skilful speech point ...

    3. Map Of Worldviews

      Strong parallel with Jeffery Martin approach to mapping waking up dimension - away from stages and to locations.

    4. Developmental Stage Theories

      Worth noting that there are clear subgrouping / connections here e.g.

      • "Spiral": Graves => Beck/Cowan (direct inspiration / citation)
      • Wilber Integralists: Wilber, Terri O'Fallon
      • Metamodernists (Freinacht): direct taking from Wilber / Spiral (IMO and based on their own statements e.g. "symbolic" segment of Listening Society)

      Gebser is a kind of root kind of for all of the "grand theory" cultural evolutionists.

      NB: Kegan and Cook-Greuter are more classic individual developmentalist (specifically ego-developmentalist). They aren't so worldview/culture oriented.

      That said, that strain of research (Kegan, Cook-Greuter etc) sort of mixes stuff up (as does the academic adult / child developmental literature - e.g. work on morality and critique of Haidt etc)

    5. Map Of Worldviews

      Worldviews = cultures (at least in academia)

      e.g. academics will talk about cultural evolution (e.g. Henrich et al), cultural values (e.g. Schwarz, Inglehart etc)

    6. They include the venerable Hanzi Frienacht, Clare Graves, Don Beck, Christopher Cowan, Susanne Cook-Greuter, Terri O’Fallon, Jean Gebser and Ken Wilber

      These are basically the "integralists".

      What about the more "mainstream" (i.e. conventionally academic) work on worldview (usually in the form of "culture and values") e.g. Inglehardt, Schwarz etc.

    7. few terms

      I'd say a worldview was views and values and what makes a worldview is that it is comprehensive.

      Mirriam webster has:

      a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint

      For the kind of worldviews we are interested in I would emphasize the ontological aspect: i.e. it includes core views (often implicit) about the nature of the world and the nature of human beings (especially the latter is what i mean by ontological).

      Wikipedia has (oddly following)

      A worldview or a world-view or Weltanschauung is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the whole of the individual's or society's knowledge, culture, and point of view.

      Wikipedia cites a source which has another, even better, definitional quote:

      In his article on the philosopher Wilhelm Dilthy in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, H.P. Rickman writes

      a Weltanschauung [worldview], or philosophy, in which a picture of reality is combined with a sense of its meaning and value and with principles of action ...

    1. The answer varies according to my mood and circumstances — how can I pick just one? — but most consistently it’s “La Dolce Vita.” I wouldn’t necessarily call it the greatest movie ever. It might not even be Fellini’s best movie. But I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it — for pleasure, for work, as an assignment in classes I’ve taught — and there is always something I’ve forgotten, never noticed or remembered wrong. I still hope Marcello gets his act together, and I still don’t understand why he can’t.
    2. But I’m not a fan of modern fandom. This isn’t only because I’ve been swarmed on Twitter by angry devotees of Marvel and DC and (more recently) “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” It’s more that the behavior of these social media hordes represents an anti-democratic, anti-intellectual mind-set that is harmful to the cause of art and antithetical to the spirit of movies. Fan culture is rooted in conformity, obedience, group identity and mob behavior, and its rise mirrors and models the spread of intolerant, authoritarian, aggressive tendencies in our politics and our communal life.

      Interesting point.

  14. Feb 2023
    1. At the same time, you had this big wind at the back of less power for employees, less labor unions, less anti-competitiveness regulation, less antitrust, more and more things that allowed prices to keep coming down and more and more to go into profits. Big, big, big forces in this direction. And what’s happening today is you’ve kind of let this run its course. There aren’t a lot of pressures that can keep lowering and lowering prices.One exception to that could be the pace of technological development, which, while it has been very deflationary for many decades, we don’t really know what’s going to happen with it going forward. But I think it’s hard to believe that you’re going to get the same kind of deflationary pressures from technology that you have for the last 40 years. Just look at what technology was like in the ’80s.

      on the money

    2. One way of thinking about those pressures is that a lot of decisions were able to be made by entities all around the world with the purpose of getting more efficient and reducing costs. So if you go and you outsource your workers to China and all of China comes online, you’re spending money to literally make things cheaper. So globalization, outsourcing, all of these things, these were multiyear processes, multidecade processes that kept lowering and lowering and lowering prices in a way that was very efficient, productive. Companies were doing it because they would say, “I want to move my costs over there because it will be cheaper.”


  15. Jan 2023
    1. I confess that this screed reflects my own experience. For the past decade, being a finance professor meant being asked about crypto or about novel valuation methods for unprofitable companies — and being smiled at (and ignored) when I would counter with traditional instincts. Every business problem, I am told, can be solved in radically new and effective ways by applying artificial intelligence to ever-increasing amounts of data with a dash of design thinking. Many graduates coming of age in this period of financial giddiness and widening corporate ambition have been taught to chase these glittery objects with their human and financial capital instead of investing in sustainable paths — a habit that will be harder to instill at later ages.


      I'm running out of +1's here.

    2. For these purposes, magical thinking is the assumption that favored conditions will continue on forever without regard for history. It is the minimizing of constraints and trade-offs in favor of techno-utopianism and the exclusive emphasis on positive outcomes and novelty. It is the conflation of virtue with commerce.

      techno-utopianism indeed.

    3. I have come to view cryptocurrencies not simply as exotic assets but as a manifestation of a magical thinking that had come to infect part of the generation who grew up in the aftermath of the Great Recession — and American capitalism, more broadly.


  16. Dec 2022
    1. It included a shared public ledger with crypto-provable integrity that recorded all this stuff. But no blockchain because we just couldn’t convince ourselves that the real world wanted zero-trust; so there was a transaction manager you had to trust. Dear Reader: I think that at some point, in a civilization, there has to be trust. I think that’s maybe the main reason we have civilizations. Call me crazy.

      Trust is an achievement not a burden.

  17. Nov 2022
    1. “We’re at war. This is a political war, a cultural war, and it’s a spiritual war,” Ogles said after he won his primary. “And as we go forward, we’ve got to get back to honoring God and country.”
    1. In his videos, Mr. de Hek treats all of these and other twists in the Hyper plot with a light touch, one befitting a farce. That’s especially true when the topic is Mr. H, a figure who now appears on HyperNation videos as some kind of spokesman, wearing a gold mask and a black hoodie and uttering slogans — “HyperNation will be an equal, fair and transparent platform that can solve the pain points of today’s society” — in a variety of slick studio settings. It’s like getting lectured about utopia from a character in “Squid Game.”

      this use of the utopian twist is what is so fascinating.

    2. “Everyone in the Jehovah’s Witnesses loves other members, and it’s that sense of community that is the most precious thing to them,” he said. “Everyone in those HyperNation Zoom chats keeps talking about how much they love each other. And in both cases, there is no talking anyone out of their faith. For the Witnesses, it’s faith in the Bible and in end times. For HyperNation, it’s faith in the blockchain.”

      Cult like aspect of crypto.

    1. In a world that’s heating up, speeding up, and increasingly interconnected, there’s so much that can’t wait—and can be made better. We believe that a more sustainable, equitable future is for all of us to design. Here’s the work we’re doing to get there, and what we’re learning along the way.

      sustainable, equitable future! Yay!

    1. Other countries do things differently.Canada has undertaken steady changes to improve its election system. In 1920, the country put federal elections under the control of an independent official who does not report to any government or politicians and who has the power to punish rule breakers. Responsibility for setting electoral boundaries was turned over to 10 similarly independent commissions, one for every province, in 1964.Taiwan and more than a dozen countries have also established independent bodies to draw voting districts and ensure that votes are cast and counted uniformly and fairly.The approach is not foolproof. Nigeria, Pakistan and Jordan all have independent election commissions. Many of their elections have still failed to be free and trusted.But in the places where studies show that turnout and satisfaction with the process are highest, elections are run by national bodies designed to be apolitical and inclusive. More than 100 countries have some form of compulsory or automatic voter registration; in general, democracies have been making it easier to vote in recent years, not more difficult.

      Notice the structural-solutionism. Structure is important but what ails the US is cultural (ontological) - though structure may exacerbate it.

      As evidenced by the exceptions they then list. See Putnam on Italy.

    1. If you squint, open source could be seen as a very generous charitable donation to some of the largest and wealthiest corporations on the planet.
  18. Oct 2022
    1. Peter Kalmus, Data Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory: [Update 23 August 2019: This comment was updated for clarity.] What science projects under plausible scenarios of human courses of action is varying degrees of further disruption of fundamental planetary life support systems (e.g. water, agriculture, ecosystems) needed to support the nearly 8 billion humans currently living on Earth. This disruption poses some degree of existential risk to civilization as we know it—with the amount of risk likely still depending on how rapidly we reduce radiative and ecological forcings—but these degrees of risk are not quantified with any certainty. Ice models have had difficulty projecting the melting rate of the Greenland ice sheet; predicting the mechanism of the collapse of civilization and the number of lives lost as a result is a far more complex problem, and there is no scientific consensus that six billion lives will be lost. On the other hand, models have tended to underestimate ice sheet melting, and model projections in general have been systematically “conservative.” I unfortunately don’t see how the possibility of six billion deaths can be ruled out with confidence, especially when the intrinsically unpredictable but real possibility of climate-related war (which could include nuclear weapons) is considered. In other words, Hallam’s claim is speculative, but given the depth and rapidity of anthropogenic change, so is confidently ruling it out. While I don’t agree that “science predicts” the death of six billion people, in my opinion Hallam’s broader warning has qualitative merit and in the context of a lay translation of risk his use of “six billion” might reasonably be interpreted as figurative, an illustration of a worst-case scenario (again, that I don’t think can be ruled out). Whether to interpret this claim literally or figuratively is a question perhaps best left to humanists. Given this ambiguity I judge it “unrateable.”

      He is basically saying this is plausible. And his is the most sensible answer here by far IMO.

      The whole point of "bad case" scenarios is that they involve feedback effects and breakdown of "civilization" as we know it.

      This article as a whole is an illustration of the narrow, conventional thinking.

      NB: i came here via https://passivehouseaccelerator.com/articles/building-our-solarpunk-future where they are citing this as evidence future won't be too bad:

      For many of us, it’s all too easy to imagine the terrible, particularly as we witness the damage caused by just 1.2°C of global heating today. We’re also bombarded by Doomist messages.

      For example, Roger Hallam, the co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, recently said this of climate change: “I am talking about the slaughter, death, and starvation of 6 billion people this century. That’s what the science predicts.”

      Only that’s not what the science predicts. According to the fact-checker website, Climate Feedback: “Research shows that continuing climate change results in a broad array of serious threats to humans and other species. However, counter to Hallam’s statement, published studies have not predicted 6 billion human deaths this century and there is no credible mechanism referred to justify how this could happen.”

  19. Sep 2022
    1. Ideally, the green and digital transitions reinforce each other. For example, distributed ledger technology, which underlies blockchain and thus cryptocurrencies, can be used in material tracing, aiding the circular economy by better maintenance and recycling.
    1. Leftists, who won more than two-thirds of the seats, took full control of the process; they did not need a single vote from conservative convention members to approve additions to the proposal.

      Wow, how did the electoral process allow that?

      And how did the "leftists" think that was going to work out?

  20. Aug 2022
    1. “Once you go to one, you become addicted to this feeling that the hotel can achieve in you,” said a frequent guest who didn’t want to be named because she and her husband don’t want people to know how much money they make.


    1. Most fundamentally, though, the reigning model of liberal education — opening doors without helping us think about what lies beyond them — prevails because it reprises a successful modern formula. Agnosticism about human purposes, combined with the endless increase of means and opportunities, has proved to be a powerful organizing principle for our political and economic life. It has helped create the remarkable peace, prosperity and liberty we have enjoyed for much of the modern age.

      Yes, there was much about "orange" and "green" that were good. At some point though the scales turn.

      Also note that "orange" still did have an up: the agnosticism about purpose and technological achievement are quite distinct though partially run together here.

    2. Thomas Aquinas, another author on our syllabus, calls the reason that is the orienting point of all your other reasons your “final end.” Those who discover that they have such final ends, and learn to assess them, see their way to the exit from the fun house of arbitrary decisions in which the young so often find themselves trapped.

      The fun house with its illusions and hall of mirrors is a good metaphor for the shallow temptations and ultimate emptiness of relativistic (narcissistic) hedonism.

    3. Once students are freed from this idea, they can consider the possibility that people can reason together about the best way to live.

      though here, in their (sensible) reaction to simplistic relativism reverse into reason which is also ultimately insufficient - that is why we ended up in relativism. The path of plato ultimately leads to nihilism - and relativism. "Chacun a son gout"

    4. Students’ first reaction to the “Gorgias” is incredulity, sometimes even horror. It is the dialogue’s premise that alarms them: the idea that we can seriously argue about what constitutes the human good. Everything in their education has led them to believe that such arguments cannot bear fruit.“But happiness is subjective!” someone will exclaim, expecting to win over the room. We decline to affirm such assertions, which reliably astonishes the class. Our reticence is intended, in part, to dislodge our students from the idea that life’s purpose comes from some mysterious voice within. Once students are freed from this idea, they can consider the possibility that people can reason together about the best way to live.

      Ah the poison of simplistic relativism.

    5. Colleges today often operate as machines for putting ever-proliferating opportunities before already privileged people. Our educational system focuses obsessively on helping students take the next step. But it does not give them adequate assistance in thinking about the substance of the lives toward which they are advancing. Many institutions today have forgotten that liberal education itself was meant to teach the art of choosing, to train the young to use reason to decide which endeavors merit the investment of their lives.

      👍 and well put.

    1. Kesler was especially devoted to theorizing about what he saw as the menace of progressivism. As he wrote in his 2021 book, “Crisis of the Two Constitutions,” the takeover of the country by the “administrative state” marked a fundamental change in the understanding of the purposes of government and was “based on a new view of the nature of man.” The figure who “prepared this revolution” was Woodrow Wilson, who served as president from 1913 to 1921. Though the framers had constructed a government “to display the laws of nature,” Wilson argued that the laws of nature were antithetical to human freedom. Because history is progressive, each new generation might find that the definitions of liberty and happiness, and therefore the appropriate forms of government, would change as well. In Kesler’s reading of Wilson, the Declaration of Independence could “therefore have no teaching concerning the best regime or even ranking legitimate regimes,” putting the country into a chaotic and potentially disastrous tangle of relativism.

      Ontological politics strikes again. "based on a new view of the nature of man"

    2. Much of the scholarly work at the Claremont Institute stems from the belief that the American founding is the culmination of centuries of Western political thought. But, thanks to a century of liberalism, the principle of self-governance has been replaced with a permanent class of unelected experts: the regulatory bureaucracy otherwise known as the administrative state. Members of Claremont wish to see the right take control of all three branches of government for a generation, dissolve certain federal agencies — break up the C.I.A., get rid of the Department of Education, shrink the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — and also stop, as Anton wrote in “Flight 93,” the “ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for or experience in liberty.”

      There is an odd core of truth mixed with a lack of appreciation of both the collective action problem part of governance and the simple scale of the US which renders a traditional liberal polity completely infeasible.

      The point being that the state has in many ways become incredibly overgrown and sclerotic. That mass democracy at such a scale is necessarily corrupt in key ways. That underneath a polity is a shared culture that underpins and supports the institutions and ensures adequate trust -- and that was already weak in the US and is now weaker.

    1. Will this work? Ask a pessimist, get a pessimistic answer. So don’t ask. Ask instead: is it worth trying? Is it better than the alternative? If you can’t say, forthrightly, “yes,” you are either part of the junta, a fool, or a conservative intellectual.

      Boy is he going for it e.g. "or a conservative intellectual".

    2. He departs from conservative orthodoxy in so many ways that National Review still hasn’t stopped counting. But let’s stick to just the core issues animating his campaign. On trade, globalization, and war, Trump is to the left (conventionally understood) not only of his own party, but of his Democratic opponent. And yet the Left and the junta are at one with the house-broken conservatives in their determination—desperation—not merely to defeat Trump but to destroy him. What gives?

      This is actually a pretty good point. Trump policies on these points were leftists.

      You can have cultural progressivism / nationalism along with economic progressivism (hey the Nazis were national socialists). This is a reversal of the modern right in america which largely did right wing economics whilst doing little in terms of culture (though cloaked in cultural conservatism).

      My contention is that the progressive left should be doing this rather than leaving this to the right. Take on genuninely economic progressively policies whilst adopting a more culturally evolutionary perspective (or even culturally conservative).

      Oddly the author does not consider than those disliked scandinavian social democracies are actually extremely ethnically and culturally homogenous. See https://rufuspollock.com/2016/04/11/ill-fares-the-land-by-tony-judt/

    3. This trend has accelerated exponentially in the last few years, helped along by some on the Right who really do seem to merit—and even relish—the label.

      And acknowledgement of how the neo-reactionaries aren't helping themselves on that nazi front.

    4. For two generations at least, the Left has been calling everyone to their right Nazis.

      Unfortunately partly true.

    5. A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda, plus items few of us have yet imagined in our darkest moments. Nor is even that the worst. It will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent hitherto seen in the supposedly liberal West only in the most “advanced” Scandinavian countries and the most leftist corners of Germany and England. We see this already in the censorship practiced by the Davoisie’s social media enablers; in the shameless propaganda tidal wave of the mainstream media; and in the personal destruction campaigns—operated through the former and aided by the latter—of the Social Justice Warriors. We see it in Obama’s flagrant use of the IRS to torment political opponents, the gaslighting denial by the media, and the collective shrug by everyone else.

      Ah here are the (petty) resentments and slights. The Davoisie is a wonderful coinage (no doubt not due to him).

      As is often the case in a horse-shoe world i would share (some) of his concern with the Davoisie and their policies.

    6. Conservative intellectuals never tire of praising “entrepreneurs” and “creative destruction.” Dare to fail! they exhort businessmen. Let the market decide! Except, um, not with respect to us. Or is their true market not the political arena, but the fundraising circuit?

      He's really going after those "middle of the road" conservatives 🙂 It feels like the Judean People's Front vs the People's Front of Judea.

    7. Whatever the reason for the contradiction, there can be no doubt that there is a contradiction. To simultaneously hold conservative cultural, economic, and political beliefs—to insist that our liberal-left present reality and future direction is incompatible with human nature and must undermine society—and yet also believe that things can go on more or less the way they are going, ideally but not necessarily with some conservative tinkering here and there, is logically impossible.

      See the ontological politics there:

      to insist that our liberal-left present reality and future direction is incompatible with human nature and must undermine society

      What is the assumed "human nature" that liberal left approaches are incompatible with? That is a fascinating question and key to much of this discussion.

      It is perfect evidence of the central but hidden role of "ontology"[^1] to politics.

      [^1]: i.e. beliefs about human nature.

    8. Continetti inquires into the “condition of America” and finds it wanting. What does Continetti propose to do about it? The usual litany of “conservative” “solutions,” with the obligatory references to decentralization, federalization, “civic renewal,” and—of course!—Burke. Which is to say, conservatism’s typical combination of the useless and inapt with the utopian and unrealizable. Decentralization and federalism are all well and good, and as a conservative, I endorse them both without reservation. But how are they going to save, or even meaningfully improve, the America that Continetti describes? What can they do against a tidal wave of dysfunction, immorality, and corruption? “Civic renewal” would do a lot of course, but that’s like saying health will save a cancer patient. A step has been skipped in there somewhere. How are we going to achieve “civic renewal”? Wishing for a tautology to enact itself is not a strategy.

      Brilliantly written and accurate from that point of view.

    9. If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed “family values”; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere—if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.

      A breathless paragraph that does articulate well and generously the conservative (nay) reactionary position of those who year to return to an "orange" (or even amber) order before the arrival of green.

      The issue is they want to go back rather than forward which is the only option. We need to "transclude" green -- and orange and amber. Yes we do want virtue, and values, and (probably) a reduced government -- and more. And we need to recognize difference and systematic injustice and a multiplicity of perspectives. And go beyond that into something new.

      This ultimately is simply reactionary. One can sympathize and appreciate it. One imagine what it was like for Catholics in their old ordered world with the all good things of the high middle ages bemoaning the arrival of the protestant heretics. But there is no going back. We can go forward -- and still take much of what was good from that past.

    1. In a normal society, when politicians get investigated or charged, it hurts them politically. But that no longer applies to the G.O.P. The judicial system may be colliding with the political system in an unprecedented way.

      When you are in a culture war, trust breaks down. When were the last great culture wars. Think of the Dreyfus affair as France came into modernity or further back to the English civil war.

  21. May 2022
    1. The mechanics of KlimaDAO are incredibly complex and, if they are successful in accomplishing their goals, we could very well be witnessing the birth of a powerful new economic system — a regenerative economic system.

      Are they that complex?

    1. The worker cooperatives organized in the era of artisan labor paralleled, in many ways, the forms of work organization that are arising today.  Networked organization, crowdsourced credit and the implosion of capital outlays required for physical production, taken together, are recreating the same conditions that made artisan cooperatives feasible in the days before the factory system.  In the artisan manufactories that prevailed into the early 19th century, most of the physical capital required for production was owned by the work force; artisan laborers could walk out and essentially take the firm with them in all but name.  Likewise, today, the collapse of capital outlay requirements for production in the cultural and information fields (software, desktop publishing, music, etc.) has created a situation in which human capital is the source of most book value for many firms;  consequently, workers are able to walk out with their human capital and form “breakaway firms,” leaving their former employers as little more than hollow shells.  And the rise of cheap garage manufacturing machinery (a Fab Lab with homebrew CNC tools costing maybe two months’ wages for a semi-skilled worker) is, in its essence, a return to the days when low physical capital costs made worker cooperatives a viable alternative to wage labor.

      This is the same old delusions cf commons based peer production. Isn't it obvious that capital expenditures are still substantial - if anything perhaps higher (cf. google, facebook, microsoft etc)

    1. While the traditional web-based architectures that have predominated in the first decades of the 21st century are built upon pre-existing societal and economic structures, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain represent an entirely new ecosystem of human transaction.

      These bold claims are made with no substantiation e.g. "blockchain represent an entirely new ecosystem ..."

      Note, that i would argue that it was the internet (and its costless copying) that was by far the more substantive transformation.

    2. The blockchain is the mechanism that permits and facilitates this potential. It represents both an evolution and a revolution of the transaction of consciousness. The blockchain is the medium through which crypto and its accompanying consciousness is transmitted and exchanged. The assets known to the world as crypto do not exist in any tangible form. There is nothing actually there that materially exists. Only a footprint of their existence can ever be detected—as a transaction hash recorded on the blockchain. Like consciousness itself, crypto is non-material, elusive, ephemeral, and ethereal. Yet both consciousness and crypto may be tracked through the traces of codes that it impresses upon the material world. And it is the blockchain that reveals these hidden codes that are the essence of the asset. It is the blockchain that decodes the kryptos, the movement of attention and intention that is at the heart of each and every transaction.  

      What happens to people when they get into crypto? They get to project all this weird stuff onto it. Kind of like people projecting their utopian visions onto marxism. Utopian visions are good when grounded ...

    3. Crypto consciousness represents an awakening to this cryptic phenomenon of our essence, and in a crypto play on words, to its encoding and tokenization into an essential asset of our being. Just as consciousness is transmitted and transacted through the seeming mundane exchanges of words, touch, glances, goods, and monies, it is our crypto consciousness that animates the underlying economy of attention and intention that is at the heart of our individual and collective human experience. The potential of crypto consciousness is thus to transform our consciousness into an asset of attention and intention, capable of illuminating the blockchains of life with more transparency, freedom, and collective wellbeing.


    4. This brings us to consciousness. In this context, the term consciousness refers to the living substance of our being, or of any life form. There is also a collective consciousness, which is the living substance that is shared by any conglomerate of life forms. Unlike exclusively material forms, consciousness also includes our inner atmosphere with its amorphous, ethereal and essential nature. And our consciousness expresses our inner will and its attendant qualities through external behavior. Thus, our attention and intention, along with all our associated inner aspirations, affect the quality of our consciousness and its expression. 


    5. When it comes to transacting assets, the blockchain itself is agnostic. It does not care what crypted hash is being transmitted across its chain of records. There are likewise infinite possibilities of the kinds of assets that can be transported across its technological grids. It can be a monetary asset such as bitcoin, a work of art such as an NFT, a smart contract, a tokenized wish, prayer, or intention, or a set of community covenants encoded into a protocol. The blockchain thus has the potential to subvert those societal systems that have long been used to control wealth, power, information, and resources. Since the mechanisms of human transaction on the blockchain are solely up to the individual and the community of one's choosing, intermediary entities such as banks, religions, and governments cannot manipulate, regulate, or control the flow of assets through the blockchain, be them of the monetary, aesthetic, or contemplative kind.


      Subversion of these systems how exactly?

  22. Apr 2022
    1. The basic structure of the trade is (1) Ponzi, (2) acceptance, (3) diversification, (4) permanence. I feel very dumb typing that! But I guess it works.

      This is a very good summary of the steel-man version of this thesis.

      The history of foreign-currency runs makes me dubious of success on many of these.

    1. Dominic Williams, founder and chief scientist of the Dfinity Foundation commented in a statement: “The NNS now means the Internet Computer is feature complete. It represents a seminal moment in the history of the internet. For the first time, internet services will be governed in a completely independent, decentralized manner. It is the technical solution to the systemic problems Big Tech has created with its monopoly over the internet, a public utility that should be completely open — bringing back the concept of the programmable web. The NNS is the catalyst for the open internet we were promised in the 1990s, and it ensures that the future of the internet remains open and free.”
    1. The only way the rest of us improve our lives with cryptography is to use it as a temporary, provisional shield to shelter our organizing to redeem democratic accountability, not abolish it.


    2. Which brings me to the other problem with financial secrecy: dark money and its role in undermining the rule of law. Dark money funded the dismantling of tax on the wealthy and anti-monopoly enforcement. Today, we have monopoly-funded billionaires who keep the dark money faucets open, doing everything they can to make guard labor cheap, and corruption profitable.They are probably immune to rubber-hose cryptanalysis, because they have something even better than the rule of law. They have the golden rule: Them that has the gold makes the rules.Can cryptocurrency resist tyranny? Sure. Of course it can. It’s not hugely practical for this purpose, but cryptocurrency has some utility in defeating financial censorship.I was raised on my grandmother’s tales of her girlhood in Leningrad and the boxes of barter-goods an uncle in the USA would mail to her. This was a hugely inefficient way to transfer financial aid to a distant relative, and there are probably people living under despotic rule for whom cryptocurrency transfers would be easier to convert to useful goods than unreliable deliveries of barterable trinkets.But any accounting of the peripheral role cryptocurrency plays in fighting despotism has to also include the central role that financial secrecy plays in promoting despotism.

      That last part is spot-on

      But any accounting of the peripheral role cryptocurrency plays in fighting despotism has to also include the central role that financial secrecy plays in promoting despotism.

    3. The primary role of cryptography in human rights struggles is not to exit from society, but to provide a robust, temporary shield for those who would reform it.


    1. The prevailing belief in the business world is that if you don't obsess over the bottomline, you won't see the profits others see. But what we've seen is that steward-owned companies’ long-term profit margins outperform traditional companies. They are 6x more likely to survive their first 40 years. Returns also tend to be less volatile and more resilient in the long run. Employees are happier and stay longer. What’s not to like?

      I suspect this is a highly misleading stat and said so to Armin 😉

      Almost certainly suffers from serious survivorship biasing. AFAICT from looking at the study there was no random selection of firms into these groups at the start of the study so you'll get major bias in that the only visible stewardship firms were successful ones.

  23. Mar 2022
    1. A free economy The goal of all this is to allow people to participate in a free economy thanks to a free currency. What is a free economy? Relative Money Theory defines it through 4 economic freedoms: The freedom to choose your currency system: because money should not be imposed The freedom to access resources: because we all should have access to economic & monetary resources The freedom to estimate and produce value: because value is a purely relative to each individual The freedom to trade with the money: because we should not be limited by the avaible money supply Those 4 economic freedoms should be understood together, not exclusively. Plus, "freedom" has to be understood as "non-nuisance". So here, freedom does not mean the right to take all of a resource (like water source in a desert) so no more is available to the others. Now you get it, this is the goal: free economy through free currency.

      The goal of this ... is "a free economy thanks to a free currency". And then freedom is defined pretty broadly ...

    2. Now you get it, this is the goal: free economy through free currency.

      But how are those two linked? This is the classic logical fallacy / sleight of hand of most currency oriented blockchain stuff ... how on earth does creating your own currency give anyone more freedom?

      Created money (including us dollars etc) only get value to the extent they are convertible into something with "use-value". Sure, control of the currency gives some power but it is relatively minor compared to the big question of the "real economy" where production and exchange of "real" stuff actually happens.

    1. evolution

      He seems to be using evolution in this context for cultural/structural evolution e.g. competition between groups of humans with their associated onto-culturo-techno complex and then the selection of those.

    2. Importantly, the emergence of a cooperative, sustainable global society does not require a fundamental change in human nature.  It does not require all humans to suddenly become saint-like.  Past evolution has repeatedly shown how to organize self interested individuals into cooperatives through the institution of effective governance.  A society with a high proportion of wise, compassionate and altruistic citizens would be much easier to govern, but evolution shows that the achievement of a cooperative and sustainable society does not depend upon it. 

      Really?? This is an explicit statement against primacy-of-being - in the name of pragmatics (we need to move fast and onto-cultural evolution is slow ...).

      Plus isn't a straw-man to say everyone must become saints? Maybe not but we may well need a substantial cultural shift for this to work.

      What evidence is there that:

      Past evolution has repeatedly shown how to organize self interested individuals into cooperatives through the institution of effective governance.

      What we now know is that for markets and democracies etc to function we actually do need quite bit shifts in people's onto-cultures. cf WEIRDest people in the world etc.

    3. Further major challenges will be to ensure that global governance does not constrain the interests of participants any more than is necessary to align interests (i.e. it must maximize freedom); and to ensure that the interests of those who exercise governance are aligned with those of the global society. 

      Indeed, that is a pretty big challenge - any answers here? 😉

    4. This brief analysis of past evolution points to what is needed to establish a unified, cooperative and sustainable global society.  A system of global governance will be required to continually align the interests of all citizens and organizations with those of the whole.  When this is achieved, nations and multi-national corporations will benefit in proportion to their positive contributions to the global society, and will suffer in proportion to their harmful effects on others.  Corporations driven solely by the profit motive will search for ways to advance the interests of the society. 

      yes ... and ... that's a) hard to do b) the dysfunctions of governance just described get worse as you scale.

    5. Evolution has previously met these challenges successfully by implementing systems of constraint.  These constraints punish or restrain members from free-riding, cheating, or thieving.  They also can reward actions that benefit the organization but are not part of reciprocal exchanges (e.g. the provision of public goods).  In human societies, these constraints are our systems of governance.  They align the interests of individuals with those of the society.  In order to be effective, these systems of constraint need to be more powerful than the members of the organization.  If they are not, members will be able to escape their control, and act contrary to the interests of the organization (e.g. corruption in human societies).  However cooperation can be undermined if these powerful processes are used by some members to advance their interests at the expense of the organization.  Because of this possibility, a major challenge for evolution at all levels of organization has been to prevent power from being used to further the interests of a minority at the expense of the organization.  For these reasons, much of the history of evolution at all levels of organization has been about what humans describe as exploitation, the abuse of power and class struggle.  But past evolution has dealt with these challenges by constraining the interests of the powerful so that they are aligned with the interests of the organization as a whole. 

      OK, so he acknowledges some of the major issues of governance (structural) solutions:

      • You need strong constraints to align incentives of members with the group
      • But once you have that you have a risk of abuse whether of the majority of the minority or a minority of the majority (corruption, authoritarianism etc)

      This is a tough problem to solve.

      Furthermore, I think it misattributes the major driver of greater cooperative scale which has been onto-cultural rather than structural (though of course the two resonate and reinforce each other).

    6. The role of governance in organizing cooperation 

      And it seems like we are going for structural solutionism i.e. we will solve free rider by governance ...

    7. Significantly, the emergence of cooperatives does not depend upon the surrender of self-interest.  This would be as impossible at all other levels of organization as in human affairs.  As biologists have long known, organisms that take the benefits of cooperation without cooperating in return will generally out-compete those that cooperate.  Cooperation emerges only when evolution discovers a form of organization in which it pays to cooperate.  To an extent, this form of organization can be achieved through reciprocal exchanges between members.  Members will benefit from providing goods and services to others if they receive benefits in exchange.  In human societies these exchange processes take the form of economic markets.  But these processes alone will not align the interests of members with the organization—there is nothing to prevent members from taking benefits without reciprocating.  Those who cheat in this way tend to end up in front.  Cooperation will be undermined.  Furthermore, systems of reciprocal exchange are unable to deal effectively with goods and services whose benefits can be obtained freely by anyone—i.e. where the benefits cannot be restricted to the individuals participating in the exchange (the ‘public goods’ of human economic systems).  In these cases, ‘free riders’ will be able to obtain benefits without giving anything in return, again undermining cooperation. 

      So we acknowledge the free rider problem 👏

    8. As a result, members who pursue their own individual interests will also pursue the interests of the organization, as if guided by an invisible hand.  Cooperation pays.  Members capture the benefits of anything they can do to assist the organization.  Within the group, they therefore treat the other as self. 

      Within the group, they therefore treat each other as self.

      But what about when they don't - when people "free-ride". That's a key question. I agree that should we really treat others as ourselves suddenly completely new levels of cooperation would become possible and become easy. However, I think that needs quite a profound ontological shift and that isn't easy.

    9. Intentional evolutionaries are energized by the knowledge that these outcomes have been achieved time and time again during the past evolution of cooperative organization.  They are not naive ideals.   Repeatedly, evolution driven by blind trial and error has overcome these types of challenges.  The prevention of war between nation states is no more difficult to achieve than the near eradication of conflict between cells that had previously spent millions of years in destructive competition, or between the ancestors of social ants who had been programmed to kill each other whenever they met, or between the members of the United States of America or the members of the European Union, all of whom have a history of conflict and reciprocal destruction.  Evolution has organized warring individuals into harmonious cooperatives by aligning the interests of the individual with the interests of the organization.  This ensures that when a member’s actions advantage the organization, they also advantage the member.  And when the actions harm the organization, the member is harmed.   As a result, members who pursue their own individual interests will also pursue the interests of the organization, as if guided by an invisible hand.  Cooperation pays.  Members capture the benefits of anything they can do to assist the organization.  Within the group, they therefore treat the other as self. 

      Big +1 that such breakthroughs in levels of cooperation are possible ...

      And, that this isn't easy and in e.g. multicellular organisms took a long time ... (and still goes wrong e.g. cancer).

    1. Should the transaction fees dry up, your UST is now backed by air and you're back to betting the project grows in the future. Looks like it's reached a critical mass though and is continuing to grow and can easily support the current burn rate.

      Woah! "Your UST is now backed by air"

    1. There was no sole beneficiary from the incident besides those who sold TITAN on its all-time-high price.

      And ... who were they.

    2. However, it failed during the second sell-off due to a design flaw: there were no incentive for arbitrageurs when TITAN token price was falling rapidly. I’d like to emphasize this: it wasn’t a code bug, it was a design flaw. The stabilization mechanism based on arbitraging they described on their website and implemented in smart contracts has failed because it couldn’t handle rapid price dropping of TITAN.

      A pretty serious design flaw and one, importantly, that drove the initial massive appreciation in IRON (which no doubt created a lot of excitement and payouts ...).

      It's hard to create market and financial systems - we've iterated for decades to get where we are.

    1. -from competition and scarcity-based fear to cooperation and abundance-based trust and sharing

      Yes ... and how.

      Also what is the underlying diagnosis: Why is their competition and scarcity-based behaviour? How do people experience that sense of abunnance?

    2. -from ownership and possession to access, use, and relation

      But isn't ownership just a way of bundling this rights together especially residual rights that aren't explicitly allocated. cf property rights theory of the firm etc.

    1. Our elders, sages, indigenous, shaman, and anyone who has seriously practiced have come to see that there is only now. So, maybe we should re-orientate around this perspective and live, act, and do in a positive way from here, now, and allow through thoughtful and purposeful experimentation and innovation, the new to emerge through our heart-felt and heart-driven participation.

      Be careful: they also realised there was a relative dimension. In the ultimate there is only now ... and in the relative we have to wash up the dishes. Of course we need to act in the now ... and with awareness of the (relative) future.

    2. The German idealist philosophers had a name for this spiral: Bildung. 

      I thought Bildung was more the process of enculturation - the capacity beyond formal education. The formation of a character. This vision is about a cultural level process to shift paradigm (?).

    3. Developing individual transformative capacities through inner growth and societal structures which support and nourish inner exploration.   …makes possible…The adaptation of a more holistic worldview. …makes possible…The collective co-creation of a new collective imaginary capable of solving our meta-crises.…which in turn supports even deeper development of individual transformative capacities.

      Yes and all the devil here is in the detail. Can you give some real examples of how. And why not just cite wilber and the spiral folks.

    4. A third example cold be experiments with new organisational forms like ‘TEAL' or self-organising organisations. More and more organisations are finding that the old hierarchical way of organising are just to slow in the fast-moving world of today. Through experiencing with different structures of decentralised decision making, organisations can increase their adaptability and their capacity to transform in rapidly changing markets. 

      And how does this relate to the primacy of being stuff we mentioned below. This is all structure stuff.

    5. Another example could be experiments with different forms of crypto currencies. One example of such smart money could be SEEDS, a payment platform and financial ecosystem designed to empower humanity and heal the planet. 

      Hmmm. I'm very dubious that SEEDS is going to go anywhere and represent this bizarre "let's sprinkle it in crypto dust phenomenon".

    6. One example of experimenting and prototyping could be UBI: universal basic income.

      Really??? I see this all the time from idealistic types and ... I don't see any solid proposals that have actually done the math. It sounds great ... and if it so great let's demonstrate it in our own progressive micro-communities.

    7. The growth that matters in twenty years will be our inner growth.

      +10. Primacy of being.

    8. It has nearly become cliché to say

      Amongst whom? I hope this has become a cliche but only within a narrow group (?). Would be great to see examples as it would be powerful in demonstrating to others.

    9. The important thing to remember is to not repeat the mistake after financial crises of 2008 where most help and rescue packages just went into just propping up the old, sick system.

      The reason that happened is not because we didn't want that but because the majority of people are still in orange or earlier hence there is no popular support for this kind of radical change and in the west we live mostly in democracy.

      It will take something special e.g. a new political movement and/or a highly effective vanguard and/or a cultural majority in a given country to make something happen and then others copy.

      Also cf https://possibilitynow.lifeitself.us

    10. A bit like everyone now becoming familiar with epidemiology and its language and models, we need all to become more familiar with anthropology and sociology and their languages to understand how deep this shift is going to be. 


    11. We need all to become more familiar with anthropology and sociology and their languages to understand how deep this shift is going to be. 

      I would say the two disciplines are ontology (encompassing spirituality, psychology, cognitive science etc) and culturology which encompasses a lot of anthropology, sociology, economics, social psychology etc.

      IMO Wilber still represents the most ambitious synthesis on the first. On the latter we have very little.

    12. This change is deeper that anything we have seen the last 100 years.

      The obvious analogy is the last great socio-techno-cultural transition from pre-modernity to modernity. (From amber to orange in wilber/spiral terms).

    13. And, third, we see belief and trust, two of the corner stones for healthy functional societies; transform from the command and control leadership style which we’ve had for centuries and morph into something vastly flatter, decentralised/distributed, and perhaps even autonomously self-organising. Perhaps this is a reason for the ‘Disinformation Age' we find ourselves in. The distribution of information has become democratised in the sense that anyone with internet access can create and upload written, audio, or visual content with a click of a button. The problem though is that not all content is equal. Anyone with a YouTube account and a smart phone can suddenly appear as a subject matter expert on just about any topic in ten minutes or less. We have now entered a time of post-experts and post-trusted informers; we find ourselves awash in a war of contradicting narratives vying for the support of the masses as justification of their validity. And many of the new voices are driven by motives other than sense-making.

      +1 on the basic thrust ... and why did that breakdown happen ... and what can we do about it. Accurate diagnosis leads to good prognosis.

    14. Second, as we saw above, systemic shifts have emergent properties. Even if we could predict tech - which we can’t - from systems science we understand that these large systemic shifts have emergent properties that cannot by definition be predicted in advance.

      Need to impact this in a bit of detail. We can have chaotic systems yet have broadly predictive properties e.g. the dynamical system stays within this basic of attraction even if path within it is not predictable.

      Emergence is waved around a lot in complexity without a lot of precision.

    15. The technology that will have the largest impact on our societies in twenty years, is not AI or nano-tech; it is going to be a technological field that has most likely not been invented yet. 

      Really? I'm not so sure. Change isn't yet that fast. Most of the things that impacted the last 20 years existed before that time.

    1. What we perceive to have the greatest value has no tangible value, only abstract representational value. And all things of tangible value are seen as purchasable and replaceable commodities, which decreases their perceived value. So we will harm things of real value to accumulate more tokens of abstract value.

      I'm not sure this logic fully follows from the abstraction of money (tho' not sure that is exactly the thesis):

      So we will harm things of real value to accumulate tokens of abstract value.

      • What is harm? Is cutting down the tree harm? Is using some of its bark? Is harvesting fruit harm etc? Clearly destroying an ecosystem is harmful (though animals also do that by accident ...)
    2. In the modern developed world’s economy where goods and services are always readily available and storage of physical surplus is an unnecessary difficulty, currency is a proxy for all things of value and thus, for choice itself.

      First part makes sense. Not sure how it is a proxy for choice itself though?

    3. Profit is another word for extraction. It is the value taken out of the system minus the value put into the system (revenue minus expenses).

      It could also be another word for surplus generation. Think of a cook: they take ingredients and make a delicious soup. They have added something beyond the raw ingredients and that is the surplus they collect as "profit".

    1. Niles Niami, the mansion developer who built The One, and described his aesthetic, simply, as “badass”, had floated increasingly desperate plans to avoid auctioning it off, the Los Angeles Times reported, including turning it into an events space for boxing matches and holographic appearances of dead celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, and making a cryptocurrency called “The One Coin” backed by the value of the property.
  24. Feb 2022
    1. It aims to build a decentralized, scalable cloud-like platform that can store data, perform computation, and support community-driven governance. It’s addressing the issues plaguing traditional internet, such as relatively low data security and an oligopoly consisting of big tech companies.
    1. Don't get me wrong. I am not a fan of centralization. I started building a decentralized, permissionless system almost a quarter-century ago. It would be wonderful if we could figure out how to build a Web that would resist centralization. But all the technical and financial cleverness that's been poured into cryptocurrencies hasn't succeeded in doing that. Why? It is because It Isn't About The Technology.

      Exactly ... (hey you technosolutionists out there). It either does not have solutions or if it does they are likely a) structural and, even more likely b) ontological in nature ...

    1. In June, discussing Permacoin, I returned to the issue of economies of scale: increasing returns to scale (economies of scale) pose a fundamental problem for peer-to-peer networks that do gain significant participation. One necessary design goal for networks such as Bitcoin is that the protocol be incentive-compatible, or as Ittay Eyal and Emin Gun Sirer (ES) express it: the best strategy of a rational minority pool is to be honest, and a minority of colluding miners cannot earn disproportionate benefits by deviating from the protocol They show that the Bitcoin protocol was, and still is, not incentive-compatible. Even if the protocol were incentive-compatible, the implementation of each miner would, like almost all technologies, be subject to increasing returns to scale. Since then I've become convinced that this problem is indeed fundamental. The simplistic version of the problem is this: The income to a participant in a P2P network of this kind should be linear in their contribution of resources to the network. The costs a participant incurs by contributing resources to the network will be less than linear in their resource contribution, because of the economies of scale. Thus the proportional profit margin a participant obtains will increase with increasing resource contribution. Thus the effects described in Brian Arthur's Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in the Economy will apply, and the network will be dominated by a few, perhaps just one, large participant. The advantages of P2P networks arise from a diverse network of small, roughly equal resource contributors. Thus it seems that P2P networks which have the characteristics needed to succeed (by being widely adopted) also inevitably carry the seeds of their own failure (by becoming effectively centralized).