They Failed, But They Were Not Afraid

gwb

When we think of physicists, the majority of us think of them as geniuses who understand the universe.  But the truth is, they do not.  Physicists, make models to explain and predict phenomena.  They are called “hypotheses”.  If a hypothesis stands up after many experiments it is called a “theory”, but it just a model.

Einstein was not a success.  He had some victories along the way, but he never achieved his goal.  Neither have the quantum physicists over the last eighty years.  They have corroborated many hypothesis that led to their ideas being called theories, but their theories are not proven.  That is because they do not predict all of the phenomena that are observed.  There are exceptions that cannot be explained.  From the first living thing that reacted to reality organisms have been trying to model their universe.  And every model is incomplete up to the physicists we have today.

Religion has become the word for the denial that a theory is incomplete.  Every religion on earth is guilty of it.  Scientists are guilty of it as well.  I am right every time I say that a model is wrong.  Goedel would agree with me.  The only constant appears to be that no theory is constant.  In fact, science requires us to speak in absolutes to leave room for falsifiability.  We have to leave no room for exceptions in order to discover the exception and change our worldview.

That is what a singularity is all about.  We refine our theory until it is cornered and then it realizes its transition into a new reality.  If we succeed in cornering out theory there is a climax.  If we fail in cornering our theory, there is an anti-climax.

Hiroshima was the singularity of the Second World War.  Nagasaki was the follow through to the exhaustion of Imperial Japan.

But Einstein’s life as a whole ended with an anti-climax as have the lives of every physicist who followed him.

Death is the ultimate anti-climax.  But do not be afraid.  No success nor failure is the complete measure of a person.  Accepting, changing strategy and trying again fearlessly is.

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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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Systematic Innovation

The thing that set’s Peter F. Drucker’s legacy apart from all the pop management books is one thing: Empiricism. Peter concentrated on observable, reproducible, systematic methodology. And he took the same attitude in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The secret to successful innovation and entrepreneurship for a private enterprise, a public enterprise or a fledgling enterprise involved pre-planning before any attempt to realize the idea took place. The success stories in Peter’s book took an idea that was not even necessarily their own and took the time to foresee the requirements for possibility, compatibility, reliability, affordability, distributability and ubiquity before they entered the life cycle of the product or service. They built a management team to achieve each of these milestones before they entered the life cycle as well. Only then did they execute, because there was no turning back.

It is just like a volley in tennis. The ball (opportunity) approaches and the tennis player observes that ball, positions herself, assesses her capabilities, decides where the return will land and only then makes her power curve lead into the ball, singularity contact, and power curve follow through, all the time never letting her eye off the ball until that volley’s life cycle ends.

Like I said to Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, you don’t make your decisions mid-stroke. It is not empirical and it is bad physics. Peter would say the same thing. He would say it is bad management as well.

Sorry, Seth, There Ain’t No “Dip”

Seth Godin in his book, The Dip, gives good advice about quitting and sticking. However, unintentionally he creates a myth that there is a deviation in the power curve toward the cost benefit singularity. Bluntly, there ain’t. Once you commit yourself to the swing you will have to follow through whether you hit the ball or do not. The question to be asked before you start: once you pass through the singularity, will you have enough resources to push you all the way to pluralarity (call it ubiquity or commoditization). If you cannot make a successful projection to that accomplishment, you are going to take a dive not a dip.

A cost-benefit singularity (that’s the cost benefit to the customer) is a black hole, either you enter it or you don’t. As in baseball, you need a smooth power curve as you lead in, contact and a smooth power curve as you follow through. And don’t forget a smooth power curve as you lead into your run to the base, contact and a smooth power curve as you follow through.

A complete life cycle.

No Dip. If you take one, its bad physics and you’ll hurt yourself.

More about the physics here.

Servitas and Libertas

In writing about the abundance of singularities (tipping points) in my previous post (here) it became apparent to me that in literature both great faction (my word for non-fiction) and great fiction document either slavery, servitas, or freedom, libertas.

What is significant here is my education in literature never described it this way. Simply put, the difference is between the two is whether you follow through or not. Do you make the transition from the old order to the new order or do you fall back into the old order. And the libertas plot reveals you can fall back not only before the libra point (the breakthrough), but before the dilibra point (the finish) where you achieve dominance.

The libertas plot illustrates the transition from old plurality to singularity to new pluralarity.

We have all sorts of terms for the old pluralarity: black hole, bar, barricade, bound, boundary, chain, confines, dam, defense, door, drawback, fence, fortress, gate, handicap, hedge, hindrance, hurdle, impediment, limit, line, moat, obstacle, obstruction, palisades, parapet, rail, railing, restraint, roadblock, screen, stockade, trench, wall, oblivion, boundlessness, immeasurability, immeasurableness, inexhaustibility, inexhaustibleness, infiniteness, limitlessness, measurelessness, unboundedness, unlimitedness, affliction, dullness, extortion, hardship, injustice, lassitude, misery, persecution, severity, suffering, tyranny

We also have all sorts of terms for the sigularity: avoid, bolt, breakout, decamp, desertion, disappear, diversion, dodge, duck, elope, elude, emerge, eschew, evade, evasion, flee, fly the coop, getaway, lam, leak, liberation, miss, outflow, outlet, rescue, shake, shun, sidestepping, skip, slip, spill, tone, vamoose, vent, break, breakout, decampment, escapement, flight, getaway, avoidance, bypass, circumvention, evasion, advance, boost, development, discovery, find, improvement, leap, progress, bloodshed, circuit, cycle, gyration, gyre, insurrection, outbreak, overthrow, rebellion, revolt, rotation, turn, unrest, uprising

But the most important word is the new pluralarity: accomplish, achieve, cease, close, coating, complete, completion, conclusion, culminate, defeat, deplete, destroy, devour, die, dispatch, dispose, elaborate, end, execute, finalize, finis, fulfill, glaze, kill, lacquer, limit, mop up, perfect, perfection, stain, stop, surface, terminate, windup

As John F. Kennedy illustrated in his “We choose to go to the Moon” speech, reaching the Moon was the breakthrough, returning safely was the finish.

In the same way we must choose to not only cross the singularity of creating artificial intelligence, but also include the plan to shut it down safely.

When we look at history, winning a war is a breakthrough, restoring order (lasting peace) is the real finish.

The Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan was a crucial anti-climax in world history that exhausted the Soviet Military, Soviet Imperial aspirations and ultimately averted a third world war in the 20th century.

Related Posts:

Jared Diamond: Societal Collapse

Beyond the Singularity

Links:

We choose to go to the Moon Part 1

We choose to go to the Moon Part 2