Archive for the ‘Behaviour’ Category

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.


 

 

 

 

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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


 

Arnaultgate: The Swedish Academy is revelling in its own excrement

April 12, 2018

Not that a body which awards a Literature Nobel to Dylan has any credibility left, but they are currently excelling in covering themselves with excrement.

Alfred Nobel would be spinning in his grave.

The Nobel brand is being soiled by a bunch of privileged, self-admiring brats.


Of Interest.

How Sohlman and 3 white Russian stallions ensured the establishment of the Nobel prizes


 

Without Hitler, Israel would probably not exist

April 8, 2018

History is causal.

Above all, it is existential.

“What would have been if …..?” can never be more than a thought experiment. Wishing away horrific events in the past is not just pointless, it is a form of denial of “what is”.  Being proud of past generations or apologising for their actions are both equally inane.

  • Without prophets, gods would not exist
  • Without the rise of the Roman Empire, we wouldn’t have highways
  • Without the fall of the Roman Empire, we wouldn’t have Ferraris today
  • Without the European colonisation of the Americas, native Americans would still be primitive hunter gatherers
  • Without the European colonisation of the Americas, Asian cuisine (horror of horrors) would not include chillies
  • Without the colonisation of Australia, the aborigines would be either extinct or speaking Chinese,
  • Without British colonisation, the Indian sub-continent would be a mishmash of little warring kingdoms,
  • Without Hitler, Israel would probably not exist today.

Apologising for what previous generations or your ancestors may have done makes no sense.

If you must apologise, apologise for what your children and your descendants may do.


 


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