[extropy-chat] Name that system

Thomas Thomas at thomasoliver.net
Thu Dec 21 20:41:36 UTC 2006

Jef Allbright wrote:

>Thomas wrote:
>>This sounds very encouraging to me.  Now if, as
>>PJ Manney said, "Hierarchical power is out,"
>>then what is the unmuddled concept of the
>>organizational scheme for this complex ecosystem?
>It's an ecosystem, so the organizational scheme is dynamic, where
>conflict at one level leads to reorganization and cooperation at a
>higher level of complexity and effectiveness.
Still hierarchical?  What mitigates forceful conflict -- a balance of 
Class I and Class II residues? [1]

> This is not Social Darwinism [...]
>"enlightened self-interest".
>>Does it supercede democracy or is it a new form?
>The closest (possibly) workable variant of democracy I've seen is
>sometimes referred to as "deliberative democracy" [3] but I think that
>in practice the process could be greatly enhanced in two ways:
>(1) Increasing awareness of our fine-grained values
>A database for collection and visualization of fine grained values,
>probably most effectively extracted in the form of short
>scenarios--stories expressing preferences within context--then processed
>using feature extraction and vector analysis to identify principle
>components, clusters, similarity rankings, interdependencies, etc.  I
>suspect this would best be done in the form of games (collaborative
>story-telling?) to get enough people to participate (to provide
>sufficient independent samples.
>(2) Rational modeling of actions and probable outcomes
>Given an increasingly effective fine-grained awareness of our shared
>values (#1 above), an increasingly accurate model of our environment
>(accumulating factual data), and increasing knowledge of how things work
>(scientific understanding of principles extracted from regularities in
>our environment), we can expect increasingly accurate modeling of
>actions and probable outcomes and apply them to social decision-making
>in the Rawlsian mode [4] such that there are no artificial pockets of
>narrow self-interest.
I'll try a name: Non coercive high resolution discursive open source 
techno meritocracy.  Sheesh!  That needs  condensing and isn't it still 

Regarding Rawls' principle: "Economic inequalities are only permitted 
insofar as they are to the greatest benefit of the least well off 
members of society."[2] -- It sounds too much like "From each according 
to his ability to each according to his need." [3]  Rawlsian mode looks 

>Do any of us think we would not tend to make better decisions if we
>applied increasing awareness of our values and of what works over
>increasing scope? If so, then by induction can we agree that this is
>generally true of others as well?  If so, shouldn't we cooperate to
>create such a framework?
Your "If so," seems not to refer to your "would not tend." Anyway, sure, 
lets cooperate without the coercion.

>But given the facts of human narrow self-interest and discounting the
>future [5], cognitive dissonance [6] and self-deception [7], again I
>suspect that this process would have to be in the form of a game or
>other form of entertainment in order to entice people into intentionally
>using it for decision-making operating at a higher level of morality
>than their own. Perhaps trends in collaborative music selection, book
>and movie recommendations, etc., will point to the way forward.
We play the language-game. [4]  Moral choices that supplant one's own 
represent only the supplanter.  

>On the other hand there's already a strong and dangerous innate human
>tendency to subordinate one's moral agency to a higher authority [8, 9,
>10] along with a strong popular belief that morality must necessarily
>descend from an ultimate god [11] or godlike power rather than ascend
>from a natural process of increasingly effective selection of what
>works. These powerful innate tendencies exist because they worked well
>within a long process of biological and cultural evolutionary selection.
>But as we on this list well know, there's much more rapid change in our
>environment than in our instincts.
 Authority implies heirarchy.  "Hierarchical power is out" may mean self 
importance is in.

>Therein lies the rub; how to sell people on the importance of
>broader-context decision-making (that deflates one's self-importance),
>broader-scope consideration of consequences (when human lifespan is so
>brief one can't expect direct personal benefit), and acting to benefit
>the group (when it's obvious that one's own individual efforts can't
>really make much difference [12].)
I'd say enhance the self by expanding it, identifying with being larger 
than what's under the skin.

>Over our evolutionary past, the individual always focused on its
>individual needs, and cooperation emerged unintentionally and
>sporadically, but persisted due to synergetic advantage. It's about time
>for us to step up to the next level and *intentionally* exploit this
>principle of positive-sum interactions to our maximum benefit.  To do
>less would be immoral.
I'd question your "always," but even so, marching over free will defeats 
rationality.  That "next level" step puts its foot down on the the beast 
in human nature and bans the initiation of coercion.  If hierachical 
power is out I think that may  indicate a will to non coercion and that 
the positive sum game supplants mean territoriality. -- Thomas

1.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilfredo_Pareto 29th paragraph under "More Biography, etc."


3.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_each_according_to_his_ability,_to_each_according_to_his_need <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_each_according_to_his_ability,_to_each_according_to_his_needhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_each_according_to_his_ability,_to_each_according_to_his_need>


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