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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Systema: Six Coats visits InWobble

I have just come from the site InWobble.com . I visited section two, “Learn the Model” and came away thinking, “There is a seed idea there.” What I also concluded was that the concept was simple, but too simple.

I decided to look at it from a Six Coats perspective:


Three key areas that can be grouped:

  1. Cause and Observer – Moral Law and Command
  2. Energy and Matter – Training and Discipline
  3. Space and Time – Terrain and Climate

All six of these personal characteristics have to be in balance for you to live in the present. I decided to allude to Sun Tzu’s military perspective, but let’s hearken back to InWobble for a minute. If you look at the Six Coats and then the InWobble model, you quickly discover the InWobble model definition of “Space” is a catch all and the breadth of emotions: choice, clarity and focus is pretty limited. Why do we have two chronological emotions and only one spatial emotion?

The Six Coats model would recommend six needs and twelve emotions and twelve emotion+thoughts. The needs would be shifting constantly as you tried to remain within your continually changing personal boundaries over the course of time. Who we are changes as we change contexts.

Let’s not fool ourselves, there is not one self in the manner we might think. We have a set of compartmentalized personas psychologically, social-psychologically and sociologically and we open a specific compartment depending on each context. Each of our personas has its own suitable Moral Law, Command, Training, Discipline, Terrain and Climate for a context. An “identity crisis” occurs when no identity/persona meets the requirements of the context and the outcome of attempting to adapt is the lifeblood of our priests, our politicians, our professionals, our students, our families and our own hearts.

Perhaps the achievement of Zen or understanding the Tao is achieving an identity/persona suitable to all contexts.

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Thinking the Hexads Through

Working with the hexads and the Six Hats, Six Coats model has raised some interesting conceptual questions. This post is an incomplete attempt to address them.



We have many personas within each of us. This is evidenced by our ExtraPersonal behaviour. Depending on the environment we interact within we present different behavior. ExtraPersonal thought manages our personas. This meets our safety need.
To satisfy our physiological needs our InterPersonal behavior is exhibited. Our personas communicate with each other. This is true internal dialog.

To engage with other systems we depend on IntraPersonal behavior. These are the sensory-motor functions as guided by a single persona.

I’m trying to think about how this hexad affects the Moffett Universe of Discourse.

Here’s the Universe before:



Here’s the Universe after:


I’m working on developing a data model to represent this new hexad structure as well:


I have been working on creating a new vocabulary to describe the associations in the hexads. I apologize for any terms I have had to invent, but a new concept requires new terms. The first three terms (ie. ExtraNetwork, InterNetwork, IntraNetwork) are external to the entity. The second three terms (ie. ExtraSpatia, InterSpatia, IntraSpatia) are internal to the entity.







The gist of all these terms is that there are systems and associations without us and within us. For every level of granularity we establish there are levels of granularity above and below what is essentially an arbitrary “zero point”.


My thoughts on the hexad structure are gradually establishing themselves. There are still some incongruities that I am attempting to work out. One of them is individual and group phenomenology.  Another is how to represent the relationships above and below the person-group horizon in the person focus as well as with the other focuses.

Zachman Tetrads

R. Buckminster Fuller’s books reveal a characteristic of his thinking. He would always return to his simplest system, the tetrahedron, and travel on ever new tangents. I decided to look at Zachman again with a different orientation and apply tetrads.


It is important to note that each of the columns is a design perpective. The one to one column is not the real entity but a physical design perspective of the entity.

Deeper Than McLuhan

I have read all of McLuhan’s books over the span of a few months. One thing to point out is that McLuhan did not say “The Medium is the Message”. McLuhan said, “The Medium is the Massage”. The medium was the cause of change, reformation and revolution not the message.

Another thing that stands out is that the scope of McLuhan’s system had only two dimensions where one could be the other. That is fine, but it is extensible to a six dimensional framework.


What I mean by this is that any of Zachman’s six focuses (who, what, when, where, why, how) can be the message contained within the medium. This agrees with McLuhan’s four laws of Media Theory. More simply put, each of Zachman’s focuses can be a system its own right and any system can be the container for another lesser system. The system is the massage. Or the message.

I will look further at how McLuhan’s four laws apply to Zachman in later posts.

Atoms and Associations

Having defined our atomic entities and having intersected them into a system state, we can now look at the associations that each atomic entity has. The one to one, recursive, one to many and many to many relationships for the atomic entities can each be resolved into an associative relationship. We now see what an atom and a group of atoms are called.

Binding the Dimensions

Now that we have defined each of the dimensions we can begin building a dimensional model.

In the above representation we only have the independent entities and the intersection entity. To take it one step further we have to introduce the association entities. I’ll discuss that in my next post.

The Universe of Systems

Okay, so in the last two posts I talked about Moffett’s Universe of Discourse. We saw that the Universe has two facets: Process and Audience. I’m going to change the term “Audience” to “Persona”, a term that Alan Cooper likes to use and which I also prefer.

Systems can have many dimensions. Earlier in this blog I pointed out that the most generic dimensional models had four, six or twelve facets. Let’s first look at the six dimensional model called “the basic interrogatives” used by John Zachman in his framework.

Zachman’s dimensions–which he calls “focuses”–are as follows:

  1. Persona
  2. Instance
  3. Step
  4. Node
  5. Event
  6. Goal

Persona is the people who employ the system whether they are internal or external to the business. Instance is the value that the system uses for structure or content. Step is the action performed by the system. Node is the location a system occupies. Event is an occurrence used to meter time. Goal is the motive of the system.

Each of these discrete entities has a pluralarity of instances that are associated to one another in three possible ways. Let’s look at that next.

Persona’s belong to groups. A single persona may be a supertype to several persona subtypes. Each of these are one to one relationships. A persona may associate with members of its own group which is a recursive relationship. A persona may associate with members of another group which is a one to many relationship. Finally, a persona may be part of an “ExtraGroup” that resolves the association in a many to many relationship.


The next facet which is discussed by Moffett in his Universe of Discourse is function. But it really isn’t function. He is actually talking about the deliverable of the function. Therefore, we will talk about an instance. Each instance is not a single measure. An instance is a collection of measures which are related one to one. When Moffett talks about recording, he is talking about capturing one unique instance for each of the human senses. When Moffett talks about reporting he is talking about an instance that is associated recursively. When Moffett talks about generalizing he is talking about comparing one instance in one table to instances in another table. When talking about Theorizing Moffett is resolving a many to many relationship between two tables of instances.

Now that we’ve dealt with both of the dimensions dealt with by Moffett. Let’s look at the remaining four dimensions.

The third dimension of the basic interrogatives is step. We like to think of step and process as  repeatable, however each iteration of a process is a unique three dimensional navigation through a three dimensional network of steps. We are accustomed to programming with steps, decisions and loops, however, the relational model presents us with a whole new way to think about programming if we are willing to do so. SQL can be used in place of procedural language and you do not flowchart it in the same fashion as a procedural language.

Fourth is the dimension of nodes. Nodes belong to networks and networks can relate to nodes within their “family”, nodes outside their family and nodes from families that have complex many to many associations.


The fifth of the dimensions this model provides us with is event. If we look at the event dimension carefully in any complex system, we can see that time is not linear. Time navigates a three dimensional network of events.


The final dimension of our model is goal. When we look at a recursive association between goals we are talking about operations. When we associate one goal to many goals in a different table we are using tactics. When we resolve a many to many association between goals we are employing strategy.

Now, having our six dimensions we see that we have six three dimensional networks which intersect for each “transaction” or “observation”. We’ll look at this further in the next post.