ContextualBubble


Page Created: 8/29/2014   Last Modified: 3/11/2016   Last Generated: 12/11/2017

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
- Rumi

War can end. Conflict can end.

They are the attempts of entropy to destroy us and turn us into nothingness.

Humanity is so full of wonderful people, cultures, and creations, but war and conflict just serve to destroy all of this. It is so much easier to destroy than to create, but we are Human, and we don't have to take the easy way out. Our animal friends on this planet don't have this capability, to impart immense levels of order into the world. They haven't grown, like we have, and have remained essentially the same for thousands, or even millions, of years. Like the coelacanth or the jellyfish↗, they are simply caught in the flow.

But we are an eddy, the beautiful storm that spins and spins and resists the flow, like the Great Red Spot↗ on Jupiter that was first observed in the 1600's.

I cracked the code a long time ago on this Evil. We cannot remove war and conflict completely throughout all of Time, as it is inherent into the design of the dualistic Universe, inherent to its fractal nature and free will, but we can postpone the worst of it. We can create a pocket of peace that can last for hundreds or thousands of years, if we do it right...

In 1988, I used to employ logic in philosophical arguments with my college roommate, and we disagreed on many things, and that shocked me. For how could we disagree? It was a sound logical argument, and he also believed his logical argument was sound... So I kept at it, again and again, trying to get to the root of our disagreements, examining the premises and conclusions hour after hour...

I had these kinds of arguments with other colleagues as well. Some people would battle me for hours, but some refused to continue the process, refused to allow me to pursue the rhetoric to see where it would lead and where our differences actually were. Some people said that we just would never agree no matter what I said. Other people said that we have to "agree to disagree" and were actually offended when I tried to explain to them that we really didn't disagree. Some people said that I always had to "win" the argument by proving that we were in agreement, and this upset me greatly, for winning was meaningless in this context, as I was trying to get to the solution, the answer to all things.

Wow, I thought. Some people actually wanted to remain in disagreement and remain indecipherable. They were scared of being defined. They wanted to enshrine and memorialize conflict. They were afraid that seeing the similarities between us would remove their uniqueness, their special differences.

You see, my naive theory at that time was that human beings do not actually disagree on anything, that we all agree and that our disagreements are an illusion caused by miscommunication, differences in language. My life of trying to decipher my father gave me many tools for doing this. For when I tried to isolate the fault in the argument, tried to find that faulty gear, it was usually that we disagreed on a definition of a word, or the context of a word or idea... How trivial, I thought! It is simply an error in translation. You are actually my friend but you don't see it yet... there is a veil over your eyes.

Today, 26 years later, I haven't had cause to dismiss this theory. Perhaps I am still naive. But I haven't seen any cases where this doesn't hold.

However, when I started examining fractal cosmology and overlaying it onto social science, I discovered something new.

In some belief systems, there is a concept called original sin↗, where people are at fault for whatever they do; they are trapped in this world as being always wrong, always to blame. This disturbed me personally, for if I have the power of choice, can I not choose to make the right one? If I am truly Good, can I not express this? Am I to be robbed of my very mission and reason for existing at all?

But the fractal shows us something interesting. There is a famous phrase from the fictional Mr. Spock of Star Trek, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." The answer is locked inside this enigmatic statement.

This statement bothered me. Why does quantity equate to quality? Something quantitative does not logically equate to qualitative. What is wrong with you, Spock? Have you forgotten your logic? It sounds nice, but it is disturbing to weigh human life as a quantity. I do not believe it can be measured as such.

In a fractal, the "many" and the "one" are meaningless, as there is no such thing as a "one", as every "one" is a collection of "many". We are single individual persons, yes, but we are made up of arms and legs, organs and cells, organelles and chromosomes, molecules and DNA, atoms and quarks.

What we perceive as "one" is the "many" focusing on the infinitesimal, it's what turns a collection of random information into an object that our human fractal brain labels and categorizes, like the mathematical concept of a "set" used in database theory.

Imagine if you went somewhere and walked across a grassy field. You would not kill the grass since it would survive the brief pressure of your footsteps. But if thousands of other people also walked across the field that same day (to a faire or assembly of some type), the grassy field would turn to dust.

Who is responsible for killing the grass? As an individual, you are not responsible, but as a collective (collective guilt), you are undeniably responsible...

Do you see what is going on here? No matter what you try to do as an individual, you are in tiny part responsible for the actions of the group, even if there was no causal relation between you and the actions of the group. The group may have arrived 10 minutes later without your knowledge, and you may have had nothing to do with that group. You have been "grouped" simply by your context in the fractal, by your existence. You are trapped in a no-win scenario. There are other types of these scenarios, such as multiple people putting multiple responsibilities on a single individual if those responsibilities cannot logically or logistically coexist, leading to cognitive dissonance for the individual.

The no-win scenario is disturbing to me, but yet I cannot deny it. The duality of the Universe mandates this, although I have tried my best to find an escape route.

So even if we had perfect communication with each other, there is still a battleground of the many versus the individual. The needs of the many will forever hurt the needs of the individual, and vice-versa, because the many and the one are trapped in a closed system, in conflict with time, space and energy with one another.

But Communication is the passing of information, and information is magic. Information trumps time and space, it trumps matter, it trumps energy. Communication transfers this magic, and magic can sometimes stop War.

In a healthy democracy, the many create laws that both protect the individual from other individuals and the many, and protect the many from the individual, while allowing as much freedom within these bounds. It tries to create a balance between these entities. The many cannot destroy an individual at their whim; the many is subject to law as well. If this was not the case, we would have Mob Rule, which most people view as a violation of human and civil rights.

An Autocracy is the rule of one Man. An Ochlocracy is the mob rule of many Men. A Nomocracy is the rule of Law.

This balance, like the rule of law, between the needs of the many and the needs of the few or the one is not necessarily tipped to the side of the many, as Mr. Spock's famous phrase suggests. While the many create the law, the individual, through communication, information, and freedom of speech, can influence the many.

When one individual speaks to many, this is the voice of the individual (one-to-many).
When one individual speaks to another individual, this is the voice of the individual (one-to-one).

But when one individual is part of a small group, their individual voice gets hijacked by the group (many-to-many or many-to-one). This is what I call the "mob mentality".

I have always despised small group communication↗ as it is, to me, a type of cult, feeding energy into an Egregore, allowing it to grow and control its members. You can't speak freely, you can't speak for long. It's trivial chitter-chatter with people trying to control and bully each other.

This is why, in many countries, the "secret ballot" exists. When it comes time to make that all-important choice, the individual must be shielded from the influence of the many.

There is a tiny spark inside of all of us, the one thing that gives us our existence, our choice. Cults are parasites or viruses that feed on that spark and try to subvert it. If there is anything that could be defined as evil, it would be something that tries to snuff out or subvert this unique and singular human spirit.

As we move farther into the fractal, like the limbs or roots of a tree branching and becoming more complex, we expect that these branches grow in a way that maximizes energy and increases entropy. A beautiful tree is one that fully expresses itself as it reaches skyward to the sun.

But in the natural world, there are occasional cases where the tree grows in such a way that it destroys itself.

Similarly, in computing, there are many ways a program can crash (infinite loop, infinite recursion, memory leak, etc).

In a healthy organism or computer program, the energy is optimized and these kinds of failures (corruption) do not occur, but in an unhealthy organism, the organism or program comes to an abrupt end before it reaches this point.

There is a relatively recent technology that many people today value that is worrying me: the social network or social media↗. It seems to be a form of diseased tree. It uses Web 2.0 technologies, which are tremendously beneficial, but it traps them and controls them.

A social network magnifies gossip. It feeds vanity. It creates a tree of cults.

For thousands of years, Mankind has been aware of the dangers of gossip, rumors, and hearsay. In many fields of study, these are dangerous things and can lead to witch-hunts, harming the innocent, and all kinds of irrational ideologies. A lot of us learned the telephone game↗ as children which helped us to be aware of some of these dangers.

Web 2.0 technologies made the World Wide Web easier to use, they connected everything at a higher layer of abstraction. Wikis, blogs, and tags are wonderful things. They allow the voice of the individual to be quickly heard. They allow the "votes" of the individual to be counted and added to the collective.

But a social network, in its current incarnation as of 2014, is a layer built upon these technologies that restricts and hides some of the critical information underneath, information necessary for healthy communication between the one and the one and the one and the many.

Many of us have seen a film of a sick or weak king who has somebody he trusts telling him what is going on outside of his castle. In those movies, the king has been tricked by a liar who has his own agenda.

A social network is that liar. It gets in-between you and reality and then magnifies your delusion. And you're just one of the people, not even a king at all, but a social network treats everyone like a king.

There are analogies in the real world: cults, pyramid schemes, etc. These are systems that civilization has identified and defended itself against for hundreds of years. Such systems are unique in that they cut out or hide critical information about the outside world from their members, and then magnify the false world with a hidden agenda and use techniques to force conformity.

A lot of people today are aware of the limitations and issues with this technology. In fact, I wouldn't even call it a new technology, but a restriction of an old technology. Web 2.0 will eventually give rise to Web 3.0, the Semantic Web↗, or some form of it, and it will be built on open standards, but social networks are like a Web 1.5, as they block critical aspects of Web 2.0.

Whenever a new technology arrives and is made available to the masses, the early adopters are the first to benefit from it, but they are also the first to get trapped within it.

Many people are supplanting traditional informational channels with social media but not realizing that this is a virtual world that does not necessarily align with information in the physical world. This type of thing happened with all kinds of mass media technologies (the printing press, radio, television, WWW, etc) at some point in their evolution.

When a combination of the WWW and the big corporation buyout of American news media destroyed traditional journalism as we know it, most Americans suddenly found themselves trapped inside a virtual world of corporate-fed media. It took some time for the general public to become aware of this transition and seek alternative news outlets.

A similar thing has happened with Web 2.0 and social media. Web 2.0 finally gave us those new alternative media outlets, but soon after people started using them it suddenly morphed into social media, and new corporations resumed the manipulation, as they now own the largest of the social media networks.

Social media is kind of like smashing and twisting up both Marshall McLuhan's "hot" and "cool" media on a gigantic scale. It exploits the relationships between friends or "followers", and much of it uses secret algorithms that let those corporations get in-between these relationships and manipulate them for their means.

Civilized society has spent hundreds of years putting open processes in place to combat much of these problems, such as legal systems, voting systems, the scientific method, critical thinking, impartiality, journalistic ethics, logic, etc.

But social networks are electronic systems that want to throw this all away to create, feed, and magnify the desire to be more popular. Reality television competition shows have a similar purpose--to convince people that popularity is the most important thing there is to get higher ratings and sell more advertising.

To me, this is worse than watching Ow My Balls!.

So... what you get when you convince people that popularity and making them conform to the same ideas is the most important thing, you get a mob mentality. And the virality that some social networks amplify can turn this mob into a gigantic monster.

Virality is not necessarily a bad thing--it is mostly an amplifier. But when applied to bad things, it amplifies them.

Many social networkers want to tear down traditional systems and create a revolution. Many post micro, video and photo blogs of their feudal victories in the revolution to show off to their followers, their mini fiefdom.

The social network is designed so that groups of people live in an illusion. People see harmony in their own cults... and they fail to see that other people have their own cults... and these cults are different than their cults, and they don't necessarily see the differences. It creates what I call a "contextual bubble", a type of filter bubble↗, a confirmation bias like the just-world hypothesis.

The fractal, as I mentioned earlier, showed me that we are all the same at the root, but each of us is just a different, unique expression. So we have to treat each other with the understanding that we are the same (fairness, equality), while simultaneously respecting the fact that we are all different (freedom).

It's easy to think a group can all live in harmony if everyone is like-minded and homogeneous. But outside of such cults, the world is full of different people. Open, democratic societies try to shape themselves in a way that respects the differences of everyone. If these societies are torn down, those kings may indeed get the feudalism they want, along with anarchy and warlords too...

One cannot form a kingdom of people like themselves and expect it to work, since people are not homogeneous. It must be designed in a way to respect difference.

I think many people get Web 2.0 technologies such as tags and blogs confused with social networks. Tags and blogs and their various forms (hashtags, microblogs, photoblogs) are wonderful technologies and are not social networks.

What turns these technologies into social networks is the specific and peculiar ways that information is hidden and manipulated.

Many social networks are designed to manipulate people's perspectives for monetary gain, similar to advertising. But in many countries, advertising is regulated to protect individuals from exploitation (false or deceptive advertising, subliminal advertising, etc) as they are trying to protect the individual's right to exercise his or her own thoughts, that tiny spark I mentioned earlier.

The many must protect the tiny spark of the one, just like we must protect the health of the cells in our own body.

If we can communicate openly with each other, maintain systems that respect everyone's differences, protect the individual's right to think freely, and use our communication to maximize resources across the wonderful organism that we, the many, have created through our collective, then we can avoid War and conflict.

But to do that, we must stop watching Ow My Balls! and pull our heads out of those contextual bubbles.

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