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Document uploaded 07-04-2008 03:45 AM ET (US)

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Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
02:46 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 9
/m4 George, you make an excellent point in calling for an awareness (and for some a deep study) of the history of movements and organizations for change, including those currently emergent.

I have never set out a formal program for such a study, but reflecting on my many decades of both experiencing a considerable variety of organizations and movements for change and reading a diverse literature I realize that I am as well versed on the general history as anyone. Yet, my knowledge is not sufficient to know why movements succeed (for awhile) and others fail. I also acknowledge that others have studied specific movements and organization in depth and probably have written about them. A comprehensive listing of such movements and organizations for change (as well as significant persons, with references, would be great.

Seymour Sarason, community psychologist from Yale did a study of movements and organizations in the 1960s and came to some useful conclusions. His many books, published in the 1970s and beyond are a great resource.

I've been fascinated by the growth of Bellamy Societies in the late 1800s and early 1900s (ended during WWI) in response to his SciFi book Looking Backward. I am at this time reading, for the first time, Utopia by Sir Thomas More, published but 25 years after Columbus encountered the Americas. In that reports from the expeditions to the Americas were spotting and often inaccurate, many believed More's Utopias were descriptions of the new world. Utopia has had impact on each era since. I am sad to say that I, even as a "futurist", believed what I read about the book, Utopia, and chose not to "waste my time" reading it.

Although I have yet to read much of Utopia, a paragraph in the Preface by the translator and editor, Robert M. Davis, seems so contemporary that I will type it here.

"Though small in size and flippant in tone, it is in fact two very heavy books. The first part propounds a set of riddles which every sincere man who enters public life is bound to ask himself, whether he is living in early-capitalist England, late-capitalist America, or any other society dominated by the money-mad and the authority intoxicated. He must think, What do can I do as an honorable man in a society of power-hungry individuals? What evil will I have to condone as the price of the good I accomplish? And how can I tell when the harm I am doing, by acting as window-dressing for evil, outweighs my potential for good?"

"The second part of Utopia offers a set of no less disturbing questions. For example, Can a community be organized for the benefit of all, and not to satisfy the greed, lust, and appetite for domination of a few? How much repression is a good society justified in exercising in order to retain its goodness? And finally, When we give some persons power in our society (as we must), and appoint others to watch them (as we'd better), who is going to watch the watchers? Can we really stand a society in which everybody watches everybody?"

George, I will not attempt to list all I have read and experienced here, although it is a project I should undertake. I feel that most of us are oblivious to history and believe what they are facing is unique for our times and that their proposed solutions are new and have never been tried before.

It is my large view of historical attempts to oppose tyranny that has led me to consider that part of the responsibility for the continuation of dominator forms lies with the (understandable) ineptitude of activists (over history and today). It disturbs me to witness the movement today repeating what has failed so many times before -- and when for the first time failure will be global -- and when I envision an exciting and glorious future that is very achievable.

The "awakening" that is so much talked about, in my opinion, is quite simple: Acknowledging that our best today is inadequate to the tasks facing us, BUT we have awesome potentials to "learn what it takes to learn what we need to learn"; everyone eventually, but in particular those who are our contemporary best. Instead of telling us what we should be doing, they need to be on a crash course of learning (with LQE methods - where there are no experts) so they can be competent to lead.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
07:11 PM ET (US)
Regarding item 22

DAVID: I agree, that they start small - if you mean protected in the sense of "under the radar" then I disagree. We need many communities trying out many variations of potential forms and a planetary evaluation of the possibilities.

Every new movement starts small (is that universal?). The fledgling needs freedom to emerge without extraneous environmental influences until it achieves a level of viability to sustain live in a fluctuating if not turbulent environment. Environmental interaction may be in stages, with environments selected as "educational". Some of these educational environments may be called scaffolding. How long such protection need continue depends on the nature of the emergent organism and the full environment, and the intention of the organism/organization.

I agree, where a diversity of new forms are appropriate, the field should be open and transparent. But, when open the selection forces may include undesirable factors that the new forms hope to replace or eliminate as selection factors. This includes old, dormant mindsets among participants in the new forms.

"Under the radar", although having many negative features, may become a "necessity" when an environment becomes too oppressive.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
06:56 PM ET (US)
Regarding item 22
/m9 This item #22 needs considerable clarification.

It suddenly just struck me: Is it possible "to evolve a new organism". As "emergence" is becoming a concept distinct from "evolution", and the term "origination" is peeking its head up -- we may be moving to view "evolution" as limited to the model of random variation and environmentally deterministic selection. There are many highly competent scientists who believe that this model of variation/selection is not sufficient to account for the observed history of live on planet Earth.

Incidentally, once waiting in a library I was scanning a book that claimed that the term "evolution" in Darwin's time had a meaning of a fully deterministic unfolding, such as was the early view of Ontogeny. It was debated whether Darwin actually used the term "evolution" for his variation/selection model. How "evolution" became the label for the model is an interesting query. If the connotation of strict deterministic unfolding transferred from Ontogeny to Natural Selection, it may have contributed to the religious opposition to Darwinism. Unfortunately, I have never been able track down that book.

Once an organization originates then it may be subject to evolution. Niches may open up in an ecosystem, but is an open niche an attractor to stimulate origination? I expect in some cases. But I also expect that other factors are necessary for novel organizations to originate and move into vacant niches. As you point out, many niches may never have been occupied before. And, this is where human imagination, creativity, and enterprise play an important role.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
06:38 PM ET (US)
Regarding item 22
/m8 I agree, that the final image of the butterfly as a system that doesn't grow or develop is NOT a proper image for Planetary Humanity. However, metaphors need not be taken totally. The process of metamorphosis, with a new form, the butterfly, emerging from within a decaying other form; the new form not resulting from a transformation of the old form, could be very useful today. Most people limit their vision of change to transformation.

I feel that the emergence of a viable and sustainable Planetary Humanity will move towards a state of relative stability, as in your spiral model. Yet, what will be developments after the temporary stability may be at play during the stability era. As a semi-organism/semi-ecology, Planetary Humanity may go through cycles of metamorphosis concurrent with a surge in productivity and diversity.

Speculations into the multi-millennial futures should not be conducted as if we were to chose one at this time - our primary focus must be on survival/thrival in these critical times. Yet, speculation on distant futures can lead to insights that might be applied to Here&Now situations.

Is there a point where diversity can be too great and there is "clutter" that slows "progress". Many years ago I heard a lecture at the UofArizona where a biologist presented the idea that living systems are especially prolific in producing new species -- and that an occasionally weeding of species contributes to a healthier ecosystem.

Finally, all of our models taken from "nature" don't include the very important fact that we, as individuals, are creative, have agency, and act within constructed symbolic worlds.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
06:08 PM ET (US)
Regarding item 16
/m7 I briefly address the need for many complementary models in the last paragraph, item 28.

The ecological model is a good one for D1. Individuals and groups can migrate to and develop unused resource domains.

For D2 and higher, I believe the Ontogeny model is essential; but it need not be the only model applied. Not mentioned in this doc is the role helper systems (catalysts and enzymes) play in making biological systems viable by speeding up processes. In analogy, the SEAFing Network I propose would improve the functioning of all organizations.

I also have concerns in using the multi-celled organism as the model for Planetary Humanity. But, I am also not comfortable with the ecology model (as we currently comprehend it to be). The roles of competition, mutual aide, symbiosis, and the merger of organisms in ecosystems is poorly known today.

Even the body model for ourselves is deficient. We are just beginning to comprehend the role of our microbial environment that flows through and lives within us. It is claimed that we host 10 times more microbial cells that we have "our own cells, with our DNA". The termite is a nested system of 4 organisms: hive, bug, little bug in gut, bacteria in little bug in gut.

We have fluid organs, which could be viewed as ecosystems. Social insects are as organisms with mobile parts. We can analyze and model different flows in subsystems within a multi-celled organism. The meridians and acupuncture points indicate some alternative subsystems functional within our bodies. Indeed, "BODY" is a model we project on ourselves; we are much more than bodies.

I call for some serious effort be give to consider an Ontogeny Model as ONE guide for our future strategies. It should not exclude the use of other models - and alternative models should be viewed as complementary, as a set of tools and not as competitive ideologies.
David Braden
10:57 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 22
If we are looking to evolve new forms of organization - I agree, that they start small - if you mean protected in the sense of "under the radar" then I disagree. We need many communities trying out many variations of potential forms and a planetary evaluation of the possibilities:

David Braden
10:52 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 22
The emergence of the butterfly imagery derives from the body version of the biological metaphor - and implies that our goal is a future perfect and static state.

If we apply the ecosystem version of the biological metaphor, we can think in terms of upward spirals of diversity -> complexity -> stability -> productivity -> diversity. A continuous evolution of new elements:

David Braden
10:34 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 16
There is another way to apply the biological metaphor. Rather than view the process as the development of a single creature, we can view the process as the development of an eco-system - or, more precisely, the socio-economic-eco-system - including energetic systems, gravitational systems, living systems and conscious systems.

In this model unused resources represent an unfilled niche - for which we can evolve a new species to fill the niche - the analogy of species in conscious systems is the different forms of human organizations:

Every community has unused human potential and unused biological potential. We call them poverty and environmental degradation and treat them like a problem instead of a resource.
David Braden
10:26 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 10
Larry, Your explanation of the complementarity of structure and process has been important to the way I have conceptualized three dimensional networking - a set of bridges directing a flow of value.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
06:34 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 9
/m4 George, quick response! THANKS.

I conclude from the lack of developing synergy among those elements in myriad forms emerging, that more speculation as to the whole and where we may be going is essential. I witness what you witness and I, sadly, am not impressed. I clearly grok what I expect to witness happening and am grossly disappointed. There is a greater and greater diversification and compartmentalization but very little coming together. Any group of N persons that I may attract always have N divergent positions. I see the same in the endless debates in Cyberspace.

Am I deluded? I would like to see the Aquarian Conspiracy begin to breathe; but as I suggest in my doc, there seems to be a resistance of humans to use human competencies to face our challenges and rather depend on pre-human competencies (also possessed by humans), to come to our rescue. If we just let "nature" take its course. For example, the interest in swarming and smart mobs - a very interesting phenomenon, but hardly one I would count on.

George, I am encouraged by the great many networks and organizations emerging. I learn of about 10 new exciting ones daily. At best a few dozen are but listed in each - with the exception of Wiser, but their listing is but a list, nothing more, the last time I looked.

Are you expecting that when the numbers of groups and the number of activists reach a critical mass we will spontaneously witness the emergence of meaningful collaboration? How will this manifest?

Is it safe to assume that all essential parts will spontaneously emerge? Might it be that a few critical parts will be missing, which could have been easily forecast if there had been a bit more speculation as to how the many parts might come together.

I'm not calling for activists to give up what they are doing and all get on the speculating wagon. Many of them have no time for synergy, let alone speculation. But, I believe that if we don't do some more serious speculating - and evaluating our own current competencies relative to our challenge - we may well fall short.

My deep sense is that the "best of the best" are yet inadequate to our task. Our assumptions may be as faulty (in a different way) as those who have led us into this mess. Can we arrogantly assume that we really know what to do? I don't, the stakes are too great.

George Por
05:18 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 9
It seems to me too much speculation. Engaging in a historical analysis of the myriad forms, in which the new world is emerging in front of our eyes (the sustainability movement, gift economy, peer learning and production, youth empowerment movement, unconferences and other temporary autonomous zones, communities of practice, etc.) is where I'd focus my attention.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
03:55 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 4


Tom (and friends), this has been a fun exercise. I don't know whether I have contributed to anyone's comprehension of the topics referred to below. What ARE we really talking about? What are we attempting to accomplish? I am beginning to sense the fiction of boundaries and categories. Everything is IN Context. This was composed with my outliner NoteMap (designed for lawyers and legal work), which has some difficulty pasting and making readable as email. I have NOT edited this for typos and confusion. I hope this can be of some use to you.

The most significant learning for me, was again, the realization that all that we face IS NOT NEW!
We have a very poor historical (temporal) sense.
We somehow acknowledge the past, but then ignore it.
My query is what would C. Wright Mills say if alive today.



The Higher Immorality excerpts from the book, The Power Elite by C.Wright Mills Oxford Press, 1956

Zimbardo and Higher Immorality
    I conjecture that the concepts Mills was struggling with, but could only weave a cloth of specifics, Philip Zimbardo in his triad of disposition, situation, and system captures the abstract structure of what Mills calls a "Higher Immorality". Mills documents the actions of persons within institutions that enable them to behave immorally (according to certain criteria), yet often unaware of what they are really doing, the consequences of their actions, and the alternatives they may have. It is as if the explicit structure of institutions (which constrain/enable processes) molds role players to perform what others view as immoral acts. The basic "cause" of the immoral acts is the "downward causation" from the institution. Is an institution only the sum of its human components? I say no, there are both physical and social structures to constrain some actions and to enable others. Some of these institutional structures may never have been designed or approved by persons - they emerged from short-term interactivity by members in the past and continued today. Institutions may be viewed as alien invaders of humankind -- like an infection that influences individual thoughts and actions. Humans become mechanical components - and their collective actions are a real as if they were Metal Monsters from the UnderWorld.

Hardin and Higher Immorality
    Garrett Hardin in his seminal Tragedy of the Commons illustrates that what may be moral at one holon level in a holarchy can collectively lead to immorality at other holon levels. The issue is that Immorality at any holon level in a holarchy can infect other holon levels and eventually the whole holarchy. For example, oppressive societal practices can drive persons to escape by using drugs. The drugs are addictive and produce an economic market attracting players from all economic levels, and this pushes the flux of molecules into the population. At lower body holon levels these molecules disturb biological balances resulting in personal behavior often viewed as immoral. The great wealth generated by this sick practice is used for black ops in spreading control and dominance - which in turn increases personal suffering, the need to escape using drugs, and the low level economic system for street distribution. From Hardin's perspective, the natural and moral actions of persons to have a good life, using the easiest means available, slowly slide into actions that require the exploitation of (invisible) others. As these means of gaining a good life become institutionalized, the become downwardly causal forces as explored by Mills and Zimbardo.

Ellul and Higher Immorality
    Jacques Ellul in his study of technological society also viewed "higher" systems conditioning persons to be mechanical components of systems that, for Ellul, made a god of maximizing efficiency. His book Propaganda presented the means by which technological societies molded and informed their populations to do as the institutions desired. The most powerful propaganda was that to influence conformity and not the minor influences of those who rebel against authorities. The third book in his trilogy, The Political Delusion illustrates how the processes of politics further enables the whole of technological society to pursue the god of efficiency. Again, and Ellul came from religious foundations, the Technological Society is viewed as having a "Higher Immorality".


.As I read the excerpts of Mills chapter on Higher Immorality certain terms "flashed" a signal of ambiguity. I was confused as to what Mills "really meant" by those terms. Rather than speculate on Mills' Meanings, I propose that neither Mills nor I HAVE (what does "have" mean?) concise definitions of our usage of terms. If asked, we may (with some reluctance) produce string of words that we offer as our definition. But, don't hold us to any real correspondence between an interpretation of one reading the string-as-definition and the inferred meanings from their usage in Mills' texts and my commentaries. This is a lot of gobbligook, but also - sometimes - necessary. At least we can have fun with it!

    As I read I noted such "hot" terms, which I list below. I will TRY to comment on SOME of them. Time is PRECIOUS!!! {GoLeM).

            This term was added to my list of terms very late, but then elevated to top position. I am most confused about implications of its usage.
            Is "higher" a reference to levels in a nested hierarchy, or holarchy? This would correspond to Hardin's perspective.
            Does "higher" refer to socio-economic ranking in a given culture/society? Sometimes.

            Higher Circles - again in reference to socio-economic ranking. Mills contrasts the "higher circles" of early America with "higher circles" of contemporary American and finds a sharp contrasts - and this is for the early 1950s.

                Would Mills see a strong difference between the "Higher Circles" of 1956 and 2008? He might not! It is "we" who were blinded by the propaganda in the last half of the 20th Century. The public image of power may have changed, but possibly not the core realities. Yet, contemporary technology has significantly amplified the power of elites. But, it has also pushed them to the precipice. Their actions to preserve their station will ultimately destroy their station. But, the critical issue is what will be the consequences on humankind and GAIA.

            Higher Culture - the semiotic forms deemed superior by the elite. In that those of greatest talents will be attracted to support by elites to enable them to express their creativity, such "higher culture" will often be "objectively" of high quality. But, not necessarily ranked (objectively) above the creations of the multitudes.

Morality and Immorality, Ethics, Manners
            Mills does not use the terms "ethics" and "manners".
            As I read and re-read Mills I became more and more disturbed. Is there an objective "morality:?
            I reflect back on quotes from anthropologists in Fromm's THE ANATOMY OF DESTRUCTIVENESS

    This citation has stayed with me for decades; my copy, unfortunately, is in storage. From my very poor memory: an island culture had elevated to highest virtue: the ability to con your best friend, and even invite him to a celebration in his honor, and then kill him. This tale shocked me into the realization that morality is fully relative to Situation and System. This view enables us to comprehend the moral support given to "monsters" such as Hitler, Stalin, and Bush; and how they are "monsters" only to our criteria, but not to the criteria of their supporters.

.I reflect on the single most aggressive super-genocide in our planet's history. Our ancestors creatively invented/discovered a new process of respiration. They learned how to combine water and carbon dioxide to produce sugar molecules (energy storage for hard times) and oxygen (a waste product, outputted into the environment). This was the greatest pollution tragedy in Earth's History. Oxygen is one of the most aggressive atoms, it seeks combination with a multitude of other atoms and molecules. It is a dangerous predator in the molecular jungle. Living organisms have developed means to literally "cage" this ferocious beast in a molecular structure including iron called hemoglobin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemoglobin

    * .The VAST majority of contemporary life on Planet Earth evolved from the ancestors of the top polluters of that time. Most of those organisms that were not protected from oxygen in their atmospheric environment perished - which was the majority of the life forms on Earth at this time. What if they had protested as to the "higher immorality" of the new, HiTech & Advanced process to insure survival during "droughts" of the rain of organic food? Where would LIFE be today on Earth?

    * .The human dominant tendency is to reform EARTH to the narrow needs of elites of humankind. What if we exterminate most natural species and genetically engineer a new system of designed species to meet the needs of space exploration and colonization. This appears as "immoral" to those not committed to the agenda of galactic colonization explicated elegantly in the SciFi literature of the past decades. I (and WE) envision a radically different future - an emergent/transformational change that (for this era) focuses on happenings on Earth (although concerned with our long term survival given the instability of Earth-in-Cosmos).
    * .I could cite other examples. Would, if they could, the early forms of live on Earth protest the "higher immorality" of Oxygen Polluters, and call for their extermination so that the biosphere would remain at a Balance (of Nature)? If humans asphalt most of the planet and promote extinction to the vast majority of native species, who is to say that a "Higher Morality" is not active in preparing Earth for the next explosion of diversity - all from genetically modified species, including humans. Who can convincingly debate that what "WE" (how should we characterize ourselves?) want is "better" than what "they" want? I, personally FEEL that my vision is SUPERIOR. But----

Corruption & Conspiracy
            What is "corruption"? and related " What is "conspiracy"? Mills talks a lot about "corruption", but does not mention "conspiracy". I believe that the practice of corruption implies the practice of conspiracy. Mills plays with a distinction between "personal corruption" and "institutional corruption", although I am not sure he uses these explicit terms. Corruption involves acting counter to established rule and protocols, so as to achieve personal gain unavailable through normal channels. The conspiracy that envelopes corruption does not require explicit, collective agreement among conspirators. What the structures of a higher immorality support are activities of corruption and conspiracy.

Success & Standards
            I now have difficulty remembering what this note means. Success in moving upward in society depends on standards or criteria for evaluating achievement. When elites set the standards and criteria they channel success. The Higher Immorality of contemporary societal structures and practices often works through setting standards and criterial for evaluation. Like numbers, when a process becomes quantitative (even by implication) there is often a bland submission. AUTHORITY COMMANDS!

Self-Made Man
            I fully enjoyed the analysis of self-made by Mills. It is quite a ridiculous concept, yet so easily accepted. There IS a duality (or complementarity) between "WILL POWER" (to Make the Man) and our roles in the web of socially conditioned behavior. In many ways, this is a very PERSONAL issue. What influence do I have in my own life? Free Will Power is in Bohr's complementarity with Determinism. But, to come down totally on one side or another courts disaster.

            I can't remember the context of Mills's use of this term. Yet, I sense it was related to the relative aspect of "morality". We have a mutual friend who has elevated "VIRTUE" to a sacred position in his hierarchy of values. I return to the relativity of values and virtues.
            Is it a virtue to survive? Many cells in our bodies undergo programmed death [apoptosis] and re-absorption into the web of life that is our biology. To move on is as important as survival. To fight for survival may be contrary to the "higher morality" of the holarchy and ecology.
            What are the VIRTUES of chimps, dogs and cats, reptiles & birds, bacteria? What are OUR virtues in relations to them?

Knowledge and Power not united
            This was a brief but significant issue, for Mills. I have used an old article from The Nation, titled: Knowledge is Power. Mills, I believe misses the point. Those who gain power are very knowledgeable about what is needed to gain and sustain power. These people have special competencies, both dispositional and learned, that enable them to move up the ladder of power. According to Mills they are dumbheads as to the "essential" knowledge of humankind - but WHO has the authority to declare what is "essential" and what is "true"?

            Yet, in some "objective" sense, lack of knowledge of relevant (to success and survival) facts and theories may be essential for the viability and sustainability of those who champion a narrow and inclusive worldview.

Other Topic Headings (not commented on)

    * Money and Higher Immorality
    * Post-Modern Morality
    * Downward Causation and Higher Immorality
    * Survival and Higher Immorality
    * Higher Ignorance ?
    * Is C. Wright Mills alive today? ......In The Power Elite he was talking about the early 1950s, but his characterizations are even more valid today.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
03:50 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 4


Three dimensional networking is a way to understand the behavior of humans in organizations.
All organization derives from first dimensional networking - getting individuals to participate by fulfilling one or more of their needs:


Once an organization is formed, the people who rely on the organization to provide for their needs will do what is necessary to ensure the organization survives. This is second dimensional networking - meeting institutional imperatives - and where we find conflict between groups over the control of scarce resources. But, I would suggest, that in most cases, the activity of the people making decisions for the organization is a "higher immorality" only if you are a part of the group that loses in that transaction.

See : http://www.aboutus.org/3DN_Business_as_Bridges

When you refer to the "elite", you sound as if you are talking about a different species. In fact, this all a matter of degree. Some people have more and better bridges than other people. People with more wealth than I, have better bridges than I do, and if I look on their bridges with envy or fear then I create conflict in the system. If we seek to take away someone else's bridges, we reduce the flow of value through the system, and it is a lose-lose situation for everyone. It is much better if I focus on creating new bridges for myself and others with deficient bridges - because more bridges increase the flow of value through the system - which is a win-win for all of us.

Networking in the third dimension involves identifying the additional bridges we need and going out and building them. We need enough value flowing through the system to end poverty and heal nature. The resource to do that is the human and biological potential that goes unused by the "market" . . .

. . . follow the flow of value through the system . . . it flows over the bridges each of us chooses to maintain . . . civilization is the cumulative result of all of those choices . . . we can choose conflict and fewer bridges . . . or we can build bridges for more and more people, plants and creatures to contribute value to the system . . .

David Braden
"What can WE do to make OUR community a better place to live?"

Larry Victor wrote:
> Tom (and friends), this has been a fun exercise. I don't know whether I have contributed to anyone's comprehension of the topics referred to below. What ARE we really talking about? What are we attempting to accomplish? I am beginning to sense the fiction of boundaries and categories. Everything is IN Context.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
03:45 AM ET (US)
General comment
This discussion space is for comments on the document "THE ONTOGENY OF EMERGENT PLANETARY HUMANITY".

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