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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If You Don’t Like the Speed, Get Off the Ride

We have lived in “exponential times” since the big bang (if there was one)

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Beyond the Singularity

I have been doing some work on a new greater-than-social networking concept and was struggling with singularities and the term “religion”. Instead of abiding by the conventional definitions of the term I decided to look into the roots of the word itself.

Broken down, religion means repeatedly binding oneself to what you rely upon. But what is it upon which we rely?

Religion when taken in its 13th century context was synonymous with “conscientiousness”. But what did conscientiousness mean? I decided to dig deeper.

Conscientiousness means living according to conscience meticulously. Now we had the word conscience.

Science, as most of us understand, means “knowledge”. But what does the prefix “con-” mean?

“Con-” as a prefix means “combined”.

Therefore, in its unadulterated form “religion” means “repeatedly binding oneself to one’s combined knowledge meticulously”. Or in otherwords, “Observing all I know”.

This is the true failure of most religions. They limit what they know to a few texts and deny any further expansion of knowledge. Judaism stops at the Old Testament. Christianity stops at the New Testament (No one comes to the Father except through me). Islam stops at the Koran (There will be no prophets after me).

In reality, all the wise men that have existed despite all their conviction were, are and will be wrong. There will always be more knowledge. And what each of us knows is unique to us because every human experience is unique. And no person’s combined knowledge is the same as any other person’s.

To homogenize ourselves by standardizing our conscience, standardizing our organization, standardizing our professions, standardizing our education, standardizing our climate and standardizing our terrain will ultimately lead to a singularity. And we have had countless singularities throughout history. We’ve just used other terms for them.

Facility was a series of singularities produced by the standardization of land from hunting ground, to farm, to storehouse, to factory, to palace, to temple. Chronology was a series of singularities produced by the standardization of time from herd migration, to growing season, to supply levels, to production cycle, to communication cycle, to cognition. Commodity was a series of singularities produced by standardization from sources, to seasons, to measures, to trades, to connections, to conscience. Industry was a series of singularities produced by the standardization of hunting practice, agricultural practice and accounting practice, trades practice, organizational practice and religious practice. Community was a series of singularities produced by the standardization of tribe, village, colony, city, state, empire. Conscience was a chain of singularities produced by the standardization of geographic worship, climactic worship, possession worship, trades worship, organization worship, combined knowledge worship.

We have always been in an age of exponentials. We have always been experiencing singularities. The outcome of any singularity is predictable: A new media is created and moves from Macro (Mainframe), to Meso (Mini), to Micro (Personal), to Nano (Portable). Literacy went through this evolution. The Gutenberg press went through this evolution. Telecom is going through this evolution. Transportation went through this evolution. Computers went through this evolution. The internet will go through this evolution. Artificial Intelligence will go through this evolution.

Looking at a singularity from this perspective it becomes obvious that for every black hole of standardization there is a white hole of diversity beyond. It could be also said that Ray Kurzweil’s singularity is actually Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point–a transition from scarcity to ubiquity. Kurzweil’s mistake is the same or similar to Zeno’s Paradox.

Imagine a series of professional AI’s giving way to an explosion of amateur AI’s.

Simply put, a tipping point is the transition point where benefit finally comes to exceed cost.

Related Post:

Jared Diamond: Societal Collapse

Servitas and Libertas