Jared Diamond: Societal Collapse

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If you listen carefully to what Jared Diamond is saying in the TED video above, he is describing not a five part, but a six part power curve into a systemic singularity. This has been one of the core themes of discussion of this blog.  We all seem to be too close to our problems to see the commonality.  The interrogatives come into play here:

  1. Goals
  2. People
  3. Functions
  4. Forms
  5. Times
  6. Distances

Times and Distances being the basis on which the higher orders are built.

When we look at the recent economic “crisis” we see 300 trillion in currency circulating and roughly 1 trillion to 2 trillion shifting suddenly and unexpectedly.  We witnessed a systemic collapse, a singularity, a tipping point, a power curve, an exponential change, a phase transition or whatever label you want to call it.  These have been happening everywhere since Time and Distance began in different contexts and orders both in human and non-human systems.

What Jared Diamond and other alarmists are implying is that human society is now a system approaching its final singularity in this century on this planet.  We are implying that today we are experiencing a less than one percent crisis on a power curve into a singularity.  How many more iterations will the global system withstand?  Will humanity make the step into space successfully before we experience a global dark age?  How will the six or more factors in the power curve play out?

The truth to me appears to be that power curves whether they play out or not result in either a systemic climax or anti-climax followed by a systemic collapse.  Would it not be better if we experienced a systemic climax that led to us expanding into the solar system?

Systemic collapse seems to be the fashion of this generation.  Every generation looks with fascination at its own youth, maturition, reproduction and acceleration into mortality.  Some die early, some die late, but all die.  It is an irrevocable law of nature.  It is not about self-interest.  It is about what self-interest is defined as.

Related Posts:

Beyond the Singularity

Servitas and Libertas

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Physics: Observer as a State

At Home In The Universe is a landmark piece of thinking by Stuart Kauffman from the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics at the University of Calgary, Canada.  Stuart through the application of Boolean networks, chaos theory, biology and biochemistry makes a profound hypothesis:  Life is a higher level of order achieved though a natural phase change.  In otherwords, the “observer” that Einstein kept out of his equations belongs there as every living thing exists as another state in the equation.  The observer is part of the cosmic system.

There were two things that I considered a crucial flaw in Stuarts work.  First, he talked about a three state system:

  1. The chaotic state
  2. The edge of chaotic state
  3. The ordered state

but he always looked at it as a two state system with the edge of chaotic state balancing on the singularity of the phase change between chaos and order.

This slavishness to a Boolean networks keeps him from seeing another, what I consider, obvious possibility.  Stuart’s light bulb metaphor should have trinary bulbs not binary bulbs–a trinary network.  Like a gas, liquid and solid–the three states of matter– there is a chaotic, ordered and inert state with life residing in the ordered state between two phase transitions (I wonder about how chaos theory would explain the plasma state).

I don’t know if his use of Boolean rules ever provided for this possibility.  It would have resolved many of the challenges he faced and documented in his book.

The second thing I wondered about is he regarded a tightly coupled system as chaotic and a loosely coupled system as ordered.  The logic seems backwards to me.  Is not a solid tightly coupled and orderly and a gaseous system loosely coupled and chaotic?  I will have to delve more deeply into the concepts of chaos theory before I agree.

As a final thought, we could take the six interrogatives and turn them into a new equation:

L * E = O * M * c ^ 2

Where L is Logic, E is Energy, O is Observer, M is Mass and c is the distance (d) light travels over time (t).

Logic would be defined as the rules that correctly describe the cosmic system.  Einstein referred to this logic as “The Old One”.  My hypothesis is our understanding of these rules, the logic of the observer, is a state as well.