Archive for the ‘Behaviour’ Category

The motivation space: Between debilitation and satiation

October 11, 2018

It is an empirical observation that the same person can perform the same action with different degrees of effectiveness depending upon his motivation. The difference between a person being motivated or not for a particular action is a difference, not in his capability or his knowledge or his skill, but must be in the cognitive state of that person when performing that particular action.

In common usage, “manipulation” has a negative connotation but “motivation” is generally regarded as being something positive. This usage reflects the mixing up of what elicits human behaviour on the one hand, with value judgements about the objectives or purpose of causing such behaviour on the other. The means of eliciting behaviour is merely a tool. Manipulating or motivating the behaviour of others is central to being human. Most social interaction involves the influencing of the behaviour of others. I take “motivation” – and particularly “motivation in the work place” – then to be just a particular subset of manipulation to elicit desired human behaviour. By empirical observation, I note that when a person is “motivated” he is not

  • more competent, or
  • more knowledgeable, or
  • more intelligent, or
  • more skillful, or
  • stronger or taller or smarter,

but he is

  • More effective
  • More focused
  • More cooperative
  • More “driven”
  • More dynamic
  • More result-oriented
  • More diligent …….

Thus I take the level of motivation to be a measure of the level of engagement of an individual in the actions he is performing (his behaviour). The more motivated he is the more “effective” his performance is, within the constraints set by his abilities. An unmotivated or demotivated person performs the actions in hand well below the limit of his capabilities. Motivation does not affect capability but it does affect performance.

My basic assumption in my “Engagement” theory of motivation (in preparation) invokes an analogy from the physical world. It is entirely qualitative and only very small parts are subject to quantification. I assume that all human actions (which we call behaviour) are analagous to motion in physics. Further, I take a change to be only in response to a “force of behaviour”. The challenge lies in describing and defining this force. Building on Maslow (Motivation and Personality – 1954) I assume that any human, at any given time, exhibits a “state of human condition” which is a composite of

  1. the levels to which his various needs are satisfied, and
  2. the levels of his various dissatisfactions from deficiencies that are not met

I take “satisfaction of needs” and “dissatisfactions due to deficiencies” as two separate scales, neither of which can be negative and which are not diametrically opposed. Of course there are many needs and many deficiencies and there is a level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with each of them,

I use the analogy of motivation as a force of human behaviour.  In physics

In physics, a force is any interaction that, when unopposed, will change the motion of an object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (which includes to begin moving from a state of rest), i.e., to accelerate. A force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. – Wikipedia

The analogous definition of motivation then becomes

With human behaviour, motivation is any interaction that, when unopposed, will change the behaviour of a person. Motivation can cause a person having free will to change behaviour (which includes the initiation of behaviour from a state of rest). Motivation has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. 

Human behaviour is only visible as human actions. For an object to be susceptible to a force it must have mass. The quantity analogous to mass is the freedom of the human to act rationally, i.e. his free will. The force acting on an object must be greater than the sum of all opposing forces in the direction of the acting force, to cause the object to respond. Just as a constrained object may not react to a force, so a constrained human may not react to a motivational force.

For every deficiency there is a tolerable level of dissatisfaction. If this level is exceeded then rational behaviour is no longer possible and an individual can and will only act to reduce the dissatisfaction to the exclusion of everything else. When a deficiency is in the intolerable region the person is debilitated and not amenable to any motivational force. It is the tolerable level of dissatisfactions which defines the behavioural space where manipulation and motivation can be brought into play to influence behaviour.

From Pillai “Engagement theory of motivation”

But it is not only deficiencies and intolerable levels of dissatisfaction which constrain the behavioural space. Rational behavior is also “ignored” when a particular course of behavior only brings more “satisfaction” of a need which has already been satiated. The “satiation boundary” is reached at relatively low levels of satisfaction with Malsow’s lower-order needs and increase sharply as higher-order needs are considered – “mentally satiated” line. At the highest orders of self-actualisation, needs can never be satiated.

(I use“sated” and “satiated” as being identical in meaning).

from Pillai “Engagement theory of motivation”

Intentional motivation can only function within the rational behavioural space and that space lies in the region where deficiencies are not debilitating and needs are not satiated.


Related: https://ktwop.com/2014/07/28/between-debilitation-and-satiation-the-behavioural-space/


 

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Swedish voting procedure – An illusion of secrecy

September 11, 2018

Sweden has a population of just under 10 million and 7.49 million were registered to vote in the general election last Sunday. There were 6005 polling stations so each polling station would deal, on average, with less than 1300 voters. As a comparison, an Indian General Election has 814 million voters and 930,000 polling stations giving an average of less than 900 voters per polling station.

On average a Swedish polling station has 50% more voters than an average Indian polling station. Yet the Swedish voting procedure is almost entirely manual with very little use of electronic devices. Surprisingly, it is also prone to human error in the recording of who has voted.

The voting process has five key steps.

  1. Select a ballot paper from the party of your choice (NOT IN SECRET)
  2. Mark your preference for a particular person on the party list. (IN SECRET).
  3. Put your ballot paper in an envelope. (IN SECRET).
  4. Identify yourself to polling official who crosses you off the electoral list and
  5. places your envelope in the ballot box (NOT IN SECRET).

The voters choice of party is made in Step 1 but there is no pretense of secrecy around this step. The secrecy surrounding Step 3 adds no value. In Step 4 there is no cross check that the name being crossed of the electoral roll is actually the person who has voted.

Considering the voting process as a whole, it is remarkably old-fashioned but steps 1 and 4 are not fit for purpose for even an old-fashioned process.

 

This year the Swedish election has had international observers. I would be surprised if they did not comment on Steps 1 and 4.


 

No higher purpose

July 16, 2018

(Of course the ultimate purpose of life, the universe and everything is balance – which is indistinguishable from stasis. The imbalance at the core of time, the universe and everything.

If any change – including the state of change we call life – can be said to have a purpose, it is to eliminate the imbalance which caused the change or life in the first place. It would seem then that the ultimate purpose of all change must be to return to a state of complete equilibrium where even time does not have to flow. A state of stasis.

But let us suppose that there is such a thing as purpose).

Consider the characteristics of purpose.

  1. Purpose is not confined only to conscious minds or only to all living things. Purpose, as an objective or a direction, can be attributed to anything. But the attribution and its articulation seems confined to the existence of a conscious mind.
  2. Having (or being attributed with) purpose implies the flow of time. It implies a current state and actions to reach some other desired state at a later time. A purpose can not and does not address a past state.
  3. A purpose as an objective may describe a future state outside the space of perceived causality (and therefore of an imaginary state). But observe that even an imaginary future state can provide a real direction for current actions.
  4. A consciousness does not need to have a purpose and all its actions may be merely reactive. It also follows that if a conscious mind perceives no desired direction (no purpose), then its actions are reactive and merely respond to the prevailing imbalances it experiences.
  5. When more than one conscious mind is involved, individual purposes and the actions they engender, are additive and combine as vectors giving a “net” purpose.

The purpose of purposes is to give direction to actions. If an individual perceives no “higher” group purpose, that individual’s actions are then directed by that individual’s own purposes (or lack of purpose). Even where a group purpose is discernible, it can only be effected by the actions of individuals who subordinate their own purposes to that of the group. “Higher” purpose is irrelevant unless – and until – it is adopted by the entity carrying out the action. A “higher” purpose is ineffective except as disseminated and adopted by the actors.

Ultimately there is no higher purpose than that set or adopted by an individual for himself or herself.


 

 

 

 

When “democracy” becomes a religion, excellence has no value

June 16, 2018

Though no country is truly “democratic”, I am afraid that “democracy” is becoming a religion. It is being forgotten that “democracy” is merely a tool to enable a society to function well smoothly. But the goodness of any system depends upon minorities getting along with majorities.

As practised most “democracies” all exhibit limitations on who gets to vote, on who gets elected and on how far majorities are allowed to suppress minorities. They are all autocratic to a greater or lesser degree. Politicians represent parties rather than their constituencies. Even where they try to represent their voters, that advocacy is limited by their party allegiances. Heads of government are granted varying levels of autocratic freedoms. Some Presidents and Prime Ministers and Chancellors effectively are Kings – for a time. The test of goodness lies in whether it allows society to function, not in achieving a state of sanctity.

My fear is that the new religion of the twentieth century is some glorified, sanctimonious vision of a “democracy”. Holy crusades are being conducted in the name of this religion where heretical nations are subject to regime change – by force if necessary. This religion is now one where the mediocre is exalted, where the pursuit of excellence is castigated as non-democratic and elitism, where majority opinion replaces being correct. Right and wrong are replaced by majority view and minority view. To “follow” the mediocrity of the majority has become more important than to “lead” towards aspirations.

Democracy as a religion is, in fact – opposed to excellence or the search for excellence.

 


 

Trumpophobia or “Dump-on-Trump Syndrome” (DTS)

June 13, 2018

The establishment and the establishment media have been reviling Donald Trump for almost 4 years now. Initially it was to try and ensure that Hillary Clinton was elected President. Now Trump has been President for 18 months and the automatic, instant reviling of Trump on any subject and any issue continues. The fervour  is getting feverish and reflects more on the revilers than on the “revilee”.

But what the media missed before the election – and is still missing – is that Trump revels in the headlines. Any publicity is good publicity for him. There has not been a single day in his 500 days in office when he has not been in the headlines. The instant and largely reflex – but thoughtless – opposition is manifested as a global phobia among the liberal/left (where a phobia is “an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something”).

In years to come, Trumpophobia or the “Dump on Trump” syndrome will be studied as a classic example of mass irrationality or a mass political psychosis. Just his name seems to cause brain freeze among those afflicted with the phobia. But the affliction is debilitating. It causes otherwise rational people to sound and act like imbeciles.

But the reality is that no matter how much Trump is held in contempt or reviled or hated, his cavalier approach to government and to diplomacy has shaken the world out of its complacent, self-adulatory comfort zone.

Whatever his popularity or otherwise, history will show that Trump caused a much-needed correction to the self-admiring, self-righteous, sanctimony that was – and still is – suffocating the world.


 

Pareto’s 80/20 rule is ubiquitous

June 11, 2018

I first came across and learned to use the Pareto principle in the 70s as a young engineer. It was the starting point for fault analysis of any kind.  Root cause analysis always started with a “Pareto diagram”. It was an extremely powerful tool not only for fault analysis but also then in all quality improvement actions.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causesWikipedia

Pareto showed in 1896 that 80% of land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population and thus was born the 80/20 rule. It has now become almost a cliche in all business processes and in financial and economic analysis to describe the relationship where a minority of causes lead to a majority of the result.

The 80-20 rule is a business rule of thumb that states that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of all causes for a given event. In business, the 80-20 rule is often used to point out that 80% of a company’s revenue is generated by 20% of its total customers. Therefore, the rule is used to help managers identify and determine which operating factors are most important and should receive the most attention based on an efficient use of resources.Investopedia

The 80/20 rule seems to apply in almost all fields. It applies in wealth distribution, in personal and public finance, in all kinds of manufacturing, in quality control, in experimentation and in disease control.

It is not perhaps so surprising.

Wherever a phenomenon is subject to a power-law probability distribution, the 80/20 rule will apply, and a power-law probability distribution is perhaps the most common form of probability distribution that occurs in nature and in man-made processes. Put differently it is not at all surprising.

Of all the possible causes of an observed effect, a minority of the possible causes are usually responsible for a majority of the observed effect.

Perhaps we should be surprised only if the 80/20 “rule” does not apply. The “20%” and the “80%” should be taken as symbols for a “minority” and a “majority” respectively and then the 80/20 rule is ubiquitous.


 

Murderous numbers

June 10, 2018

Globally the annual homicide rate is between 6 and 7 per 100,000 of population and this varies from less than 1/100,000 in many countries but up to 80/100,000 in El Salvador. In the US it is 4-5/100,000 and over 12 in Russia and around 20 in Mexico. There are therefore around 450,000 intentional homicides committed every year. To put this into some perspective, road fatalities globally are around 18/100,000 (1.26 million deaths). Around 56 million people die every year so as a cause of death, murders make up less than 1% of all deaths (and traffic related deaths are about 2%).

Assuming conservatively that each murderer commits less than 1.1 homicides, the world produces around 410,000 “new” murderers every year. While murderers come in all shapes and sizes and genders and ages, it is not unreasonable to assume that every murderer lives, on for around 35 years after committing his/her murder(s).

There are therefore over 14 million murderers living among the world’s 7 billion people. 

 


 

 

Behaviour, not form, defines a person

May 18, 2018

Within a decade or two we will need criteria to determine if an artificial intelligence has achieved consciousness. (I take consciousness without consciousness of self to be impossible). The criteria will have to be consistent and applicable both to life forms and to non-living entities. Within a few more decades, and certainly within one hundred years I think, we will need to be able to determine if an autonomous, intelligent, conscious entity meets the requirements for person-hood. At the same time it will become necessary to create criteria for judging what constitutes a person and what is meant by “mankind” (or person-kind).

Our use of the concept of “mankind” or “humanity”  or “humankind” is both concrete and abstract. It is used variously to mean:

  1. the 7+billion people alive today,
  2. the 110 billion modern humans who have ever lived (starting arbitrarily from about 200,000 years ago),
  3. all the people who have ever lived and all their works and all their dreams,
  4. an abstract vision of those who exhibit some ideal behaviour.

My own view is that it is behaviour which determines. To look like a human or to have the physical form of a human is not enough. It is the exhibition of “human behaviour” which determines who qualifies to be a human. “Mankind” or “humanity” or “personkind” then consists of those who exhibit or have exhibited and met some standard of human behaviour.  It also follows that any intelligent, autonomous, conscious creature or entity which exhibits these qualifying standards of behaviour is then a member of “mankind” (or of person-kind if language needs a new word). Genetics would then be involved only insofar as genetics determines behaviour.

“Human rights” as used today is a false concept precisely because it is divorced from behaviour. It is ethically and logically unsupportable. It is focused on the physical form of “being human” and not on the behaviour which makes a human. As used today, “human rights” is about form rather than substance, and about sanctimony rather than reality. When being a person is defined in terms of behaviour it then follows, naturally, logically and inevitably, that privileges for a person are also determined by behaviour.


It would then be perfectly logical to consider the privileges of personhood to be enjoyed by every entity qualifying as a person. And then it would not be necessary to consider privileges for members of IS or MS13 or Anders Behring Breivik or for an Adolf Hitler when he next appears.


 

 

Swedish Academy is wallowing in the gutter – of its own volition

April 28, 2018

It would be a travesty if a Literature Nobel was awarded this year. It would a greater travesty if any of the present members of the Swedish Academy are allowed to remain in their posts. The Nobel brand is being tarnished by the Academy. It is time for the Nobel Foundation to put its foot down – and very heavily.

Svenska Dagbladet writes (with spelling errors corrected):

The man at the centre of the Nobel scandal is being accused of having harrassed Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Three people have told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that they witnessed Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure, touching the Crown Princess on her behind at an event in Stockholm.

The Swedish Academy, which has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901, is embroiled in the worst scandal since it was founded more than two centuries ago.

At the centre of the scandal is 71-year-old Jean-Claude Arnault – a French native who has close ties to the academy since he’s married to one of its lifelong members, and a close friend of the man who used to head the academy.

Inspired by the #metoo movement eighteen women last year accused Mr. Arnault of having sexually assaulted and harassed them. Some of the events allegedly took place at properties owned by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm and in Paris.

Other incidents allegedly happened at a prestigious private cultural club that Mr. Arnault ran together with his wife, Katarina Frostenson, who is one of Sweden’s most famous poets.

Mr. Arnault has also been accused of leaking the names of Noble prize winners. He and his wife have also been criticized for receiving money from the academy for their club’s activities.

Svenska Dagbladet can now reveal that three people within or with close ties to the academy have witnessed how Mr. Arnault sexually harassed Crown Princess Victoria by putting his hand on her behind. The incident allegedly took place at a gathering at the academy’s villa Bergsgården on the picturesque island of Djurgården in central Stockholm.

Additionally, according to two independent sources, the former head of the academy, Horace Engdahl, was told to “take measures” to make sure that the Crown Princess and Mr. Arnault did not end up “alone together” at the reception following a formal gathering of the academy in late 2006.

Horace Engdahl who seems to have been one of the staunchest protectors of Arnault has much to answer for.


 

Swedish Academy is proving to be a bunch of skunks

April 17, 2018


 


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