In this blog I explore Resilience: “the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks” (Brian Walker).
Resilience shows the boundaries to sustainability. It proves that continuous changes in certain driving variables is inherently dangerous and warns that surviving the breach of a major tipping point,whether human induced or natural, will require unprecedented levels of investment, cooperation and other forms of institutional and societal adaptation.
Nassim Taleb defined Resilience as the opposite of Fragile “Antifragile“, “things that benefit from shocks“.
An obvious example of something that improves with stress is the human body which gets stronger, more fit, and less prone to disease with exercise. Stress, but not too much stress improves the performance of the body.
Humans are forward foragers with a bilateral circular brain. This brain creates paradoxes by uniting and not-uniting.
Humans need social structures to become resilient. In these structures they have to balance the paradox of selflessness and not-selflessnes (selfishness).
Humans have bodily mechanisms that keep them from growing boundlessly. Social structures tend to expand beyond the limit.
Nature uses positive (increase) and negative (decrease) feed-back to control growth. When too much growth is measured by the bodily sensors the not-growth system is activated.
The anthropologist Alan Fiske has created a model that classifies human relations. He explains his model with measurement theory and structure preserving mappings. We measure others the same way we measure objects and situations.
The most flexible structure preserving mapping, the symmetric groep (combinations), explains the most selfless human relation, Communal Sharing.
A sharing community looks like a living system and achieves resilience by repeating the same proven functionality in a different way.
The less flexible mapping is standardization. We are currently too much focused on efficiency. By reducing the complexity of our reality (analytics) we are preparing the way for the machines to take over.
Analytic structures are vulnerable when they are too efficient (not redundant). In this case the amount of escape routes out of a calamity is minimal.
Resilience has to do with Combinatorics, Fractals, Symmetry and Scaling. A combination of highly stable flexible structures is repeated on every level of scale.
Systems are a structure preserving mapping from physical space to mental space.
Systems have Potential (Components/Resources/Connections), Possibility (Mental State Space, Combinations), Plan (One Occurrence of a Possible Combination of Components), Practice (Physical World, Flow, Input, Process, Output) and Protection (Boundary).
The output of a System is the Input of another System.
Boundaries are not walls. They are semi-permeable filters. Just like the walls of a city they contain gates to let the good things in and throw the bad things (waste) out. When you destroy the boundary, the system falls apart.
Systems produce events. Events are reactions of other systems to events of other systems. The resilience of a system is dependent on the resilience of its parts and the whole, the ecology, it is part of.
After a destructive event a system can be repaired or restore itself in a certain timeframe. Pushed to the extreme, a system may also transform itself into a completely different structure because the components are put into another Order.
Another Order can be caused by a new shuffle of the cards or a new principle that defines why a component has more value than others.
Extreme stress kills a system but stimulates a new evolutionary path.
‘“In fact, the most interesting aspect of evolution is that it only works because of its antifragility; it is in love with stressors, randomness, uncertainty, and disorder — while individual organisms are relatively fragile, the gene pool takes advantage of shocks to enhance its fitness”. (Nassim N. Taleb)
Evolution is a combinatorial game that tries to improve the whole. Evolution reuses parts of the old structure and adds something new by creating new connections.
About the Dual Brain
In the beginning the chemical soup generated self-reproducing chemical factories. These factories combined into bigger factories by exchanging and combining their factory-designs (DNA-parts).
Every time when the factories fused they became more efficient, bigger, stronger, older and therefore more competitive. When the factories became more competitive they started to protect themselves against the other factories.
To protect themselves the multi-cellular systems began to sense in many directions and became better and better in predicting the future.
Humans are clusters of bacteria. In the first stage of our evolution, the Sponge, the cluster was static. In the next stage the cluster began to move in circels and developed a radial brain (a nerve net).
Humans are part of the Bilateria, organisms that forage forward. We make use of a radial connected dual brain in which one part is synthetic and the other part is analytic.
The dual brain is a paradox. It unites and not-unites.
Humans use a combination of three bilateral brains: the brain of the reptiles, the social brain of the mammals, and the neocortex, our own calculating talking mind.
This triple brain is a good example of an evolutionary process in which old structures were reused and new parts were added.
The social brain looks for a partner (to create children), friends, family and competitors to fight/flight or to freeze with (enemies). The enemy is something the social brain shares with the reptile brain.
The neo-cortex is the computer. It is able to reason about the causal chains that are sensed by the social and body brain.
The imagination (spirit) controls the whole of the brain and the body and is situated in the thalamus. The thalamus projects the calculations of the neocortex on our internal screen.
A Short History of Human Civilization
About Human Needs
Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs included five motivational needs divided into basic (or deficiency) needs (e.g. physiological, safety, love, and esteem) and growth needs (self-actualization).
A violation of a need motivates a human into action. When the violation is too big (a disaster) most humans get into violent action (fight), flight the disaster zone or freeze and don’t do anything. The fight/flight/freeze-respons is related to the reptile brain.
The needs can be divided into four independent categories: (1) The needs of the body, (2) The social needs, (3) The needs of the mind and (4) the needs of the spirit (growth, creativity, insight, idea, identity, whole).
The spirit is the power that stimulates us to reach the Top of the Pyramid of Maslow, to become a whole, realize our potential and find self-fulfillment. With the imagination humans get insight about the future and make plans to prevent calamities.
The mind expands to its ultimate potential by training. It needs to find patterns to control and predict its environment. This has to do with the so called “Illusion of Control“. Too much control (paranoid) generates the fear to lose control.
The body expands to its ultimate potential by physical exercise (but not too much exercise).
The spirit grows by exploring every thing and keeping the good.
The soul needs many others to praise him/her. To much praise creates the state of narcissism, the soul is in love with its self.
Human needs are constant through all human cultures and across historical time periods. What changes over time and between cultures is the way these needs are satisfied.
Human needs are interrelated and interactive. Some needs are conflicting. Others are synergic.
An attempt to satisfy one need can inhibit or destroy others. For example, an Arms Race satisfies the need for protection, while destroying the need for subsistence, freedom or participation.
Humans feel happy when the four conflicting and synergic needs are in balance. When their needs are in balance they are able to handle small and big, positive and negative events.
About Holmes Life Event Scale
In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe examined the medical records of over 5,000 medical patients as a way to determine whether stressful events might cause illnesses. He found that a disturbance of social needs has the highest impact in life.
About the Kubler Ross Transition Curve
The Kubler Ross Transition Curve shows how people react when a mostly social (loss of partner) life event becomes too big to handle.
In this case the resilience of the human fails. The first step in the transition is controlled by the Fight, Flight, Freeze Respons of the Sensory-Motor System.
About the Human Set-Point
Set Point Theory predicts that wellbeing tends to fluctuate around a level that generally remains uniform over time.
An event of which the pulse is bigger than the bandwidth of the fluctuation around the set-point triggers the FFF-respons of the reptile brain.
After sometimes a very long time of grieve eventually a human returns to his personal fluctuating path.
Set Point Theory shows that Life is a Cyclic Proces that always tries to restore it self. The stability of wellbeing can be ascribed to a dynamic equilibrium model, a homeostasis.
The tangible mechanisms that underpin homeostasis (resilience) are wealth (potential) and relationships (connectedness).
If individuals experience negative events, compromising their immediate wellbeing, they can utilize some of their wealth to purchase resources that can be utilized to defend these problems.
Similarly, they can utilize the support and intimacy of other people in their life, especially partners and children.
The other mechanisms are cognitive processes. For example, individuals can reconceptualize their goals to accommodate negative events.
If debilitated by age or disease, they can derive meaning from other pursuits. They can trivialize the importance of adversities.
People who respond rapidly to a threat with a surge of the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol and recover quickly cope better with stressful situations.
Resilient people are better at using the hormone dopamine to keep them positive. They have a healthily large hippocampus which as well as enabling the formation of new memories also helps regulate the release of the fight-or-flight hormone adrenalin and have a strongly active prefrontal cortex, the brain region dubbed ‘the seat of rational thinking’.
This inhibits the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes negative emotions such as fear and anger, allowing the prefrontal cortex to come up with a sensible plan to cope with a threat.
The Human Set-Point moves up when you are young & down when you are old and is highly influenced by extreme life-events.
Such an event triggers the Sensory Motor System and almost stops the other Systems (Emotions, Imagination, Rationality) until the Pulse has dampened.
About Human Resilience
Psychological resilience is defined as an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity.
Stress and adversity can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial stressors, among others.
The primary factor in resilience is having positive relationships inside or outside one’s family.
There are several other factors which develop and sustain a person`s resilience:
(1) The ability to make realistic plans and being capable of taking the steps necessary to follow through with them.
(2) A positive self-concept and confidence in one’s strengths and abilities.
(3) Communication and problem-solving skills.
(4) The ability to manage strong impulses and feelings.
Ultimately resilience is a process of connectedness, of linking to people, to interests, and ultimately to life itself.
The seven aspects of Resilience are:
- Access to material resources (Availability of financial, educational, medical and employment assistance and/or opportunities, as well as access to food, clothing and shelter).
- Access to supportive relationships (Relationships with significant others, peers and adults within one’s family and community).
- Development of a desirable personal identity (Desirable sense of one’s self as having a personal and collective sense of purpose, ability for self-appraisal of strengths and weaknesses, aspirations, beliefs and values, including spiritual and religious identification).
- Experiences of power and control (Experiences of caring for one’s self and others, the ability to effect change in one’s social and physical environment in order to access health resources).
- Adherence to cultural traditions (Adherence to, or knowledge of, one’s local and/or global cultural practices, values and beliefs).
- Experiences of social justice (Experiences related to finding a meaningful role in one’s community that brings with it acceptance and social equality)
- Experiences of a sense of cohesion with others (Balancing one’s personal interests with a sense of responsibility to the greater good; feeling a part of something larger than one’s self socially and spiritually).
About Resilience – Forces in Balance
Resilience is possible when the Sum of the four Forces of the Human: Mind (Up, Abstraction), Body (Right, Forwards to the Future, Cause/Effect), Spirit (Left, Back tho the Whole) and Soul (Down to Earth) is close to zero.
To handle a big Event there has to be enough space available between the used (Mental/Physical) space and the maximum (Mental/Physical) space the system can use to act.
The most important Support System for humans is their social network.
Humans Need Humans is a recursive (Fractal) statement.
About Paths of Change
Paths of Change (PoC) is a general theory about Change developed by Will McWhinney. PoC is used in this blog to compare all kinds of theories and find the best of all worlds.
PoC makes use of the concept of World Views. A World View is an independent way to look at the world.
The term View is perhaps confusing because some people don’t look at the world at all. They feel, imagine or think about the World.
There are four basic World Views that Will McWhinney named Unity (“I know there is only one Truth”), Sensory (“The World is a Network of Causal Chains”), Mythic (“I Imagine my own World”) and Social (“The World is what the Network of Others value”).
“Normal” people are able to play with two (or more) world views. Pathological People use only one Worldview.
The four World Views are described by two variables called Agency and Communion.
Agency emphasises the Self as a distinct unit; it focuses on the persons own individual Influence. Agency has two states (1) I am in Control or (2) Something (or Somebody) is Controlling me.
Communion is a motive for the Connection with an Other; it is a motive to participate in a larger Union. Communion has also two states (3) I am alone (4) I am connected.
Behind the two variables lies a 1D model, the model of the Bilateral Brain, Left-Expansion/Analytic (0->) and Righ-Compression/Synthetic (0<-).
Path of Change uses a 2D-model in which the two states are combined: 0->0->, <-o<-0, 0-><-0, <-00->.
The four combinations of PoC are:
(1,3) Mythic (Self, Identity, Whole, Individual, Imagination, Creativity, Culture, Innovation, Inventor, Ideas, Insight, Being, (->->0), Histrionic, Static Equilibrium),
(1,4) Social (We, Emotions, Choice, Classify, Priority, Values, Motivation, Group, Interacting, Conflict, (->0<-), Dependent, Egalitarian, Dynamic Equilibrium),
(2,3) Unity (It, Thinking, Patterns, Models. Laws, Rules, Control, Theory, Having, Compression, (0<-<-), Paranoid, Hierarchy, Polystable),
(2,4) Sensory (They, Sensory-Motor-System, Perceive, Act, Stimulus-Respons, Desire, Practice, Doing, Expansion, (0->->), Schizophrenic, Fatalism, Neutral Equilibrium).
There is a Fifth Worldview that is outside the 2×2-matrix in 3D. It represents the Observer/Consciousness. In 2D is shows itself in the Cross in the middle of the matrix.
Path of Change is a Fractal Theory
Worldviews can be connected. Controlling (Unity) a human who wants to commune (Social) is called Politics. It is also possible to apply a worldview to another worldview. Abstracting (Unity) Human Relations becomes a Social Network.
Path of Change is an Ancient Theory
Path of Change is an ancient theory. It was known and used all over the world with different names and implementations. The worldviews were translated into visible Star Systems (Zodiac), People (“Gods” (India, Egypt,..)), Animals (Medicine Wheel), Games (Chess, Cards (TARO-T)) or Regulations (Laws (China), Religions).
A good example is China. In China Paths of Change was called the Sheng Cycle. In the Sheng Cycle the Observer was projected in the 2D-matrix by introducing a fifth view.
The organs, the body, the community, the state and the universe were seen as Flow Systems of Energy (Chi) that get into trouble when the flow is disrupted.
This disruption can be caused by blockages or by an input (an event) that is too big or too small to handle. The solution to a problem is to open one channel without causing too much overflow at another point in the system. The diagnosis is done on a place in the system (the pulse) where all the systems get together.
Old Chinese Scientists have developed all kinds of correspondence-tables between worldviews and situations. This makes it possible to reuse a theory by changing the semantics.
About Path of Change and Life Events
Path of Change describes the Paths along people (or organizations, or societies) change.
This change is triggered by an external or internal Event. Events are handled by the Sensory-Motor-System.
From the Sensory-Motor-System, the Event can bounce back to the Sensory-Motor-System which reacts with the Fight, Flight, Freeze Respons (FFFR, “I am Afraid”).
The event can propagate further to the Emotions (I Feel what Matters in this Situation), The Imagination (I See What has happened) or the Pattern-Recognition State of Thinking (I know what happened).
The event moves further in the Network until the pulse of the Event comes back to the Sensory-Motor System that Reacts.
Paths of Change are Feed-Back-Systems that try to adapt the human Body (Sensory-Motor), Mind (Patterns, Memory), Emotions or Identity (Imagination) to the current situation.
The possible amount of steps and Time an event travels in the Internal Network cannot be calculated. There are sixteen (4×4) possible paths of length two and many more when the path rotates (with- or against the Clock) and loops through the network. It can take many years before the body acts upon an event.
The FFFR-respons offers a very fast-reaction mechanism which uses predefined scripts when the system evaluates that the Event will be fatal.
The way Events are handled is determinated by the combination of the Worldviews of the Person (his Personality) at stake and his experience (Memory). Almost fatal events are stored in memory.
About Resilience – Homeostasis
A Homeostatis is a System that determinates what action(s) will compensate an Event and keep the total System in balance.
Our Mind (Unity, Neocortex) is a Homeostasis that controls the Homeostasis of Our (Social, Limbic) Emotions that controls the Homeostasis of the Sensory Reptilian Brain. This part of the brain is concerned with survival.
The thinking Mind, the social Emotions (Soul), the active Sensory-Motor System (Body) and the creative Imagination (Spirit) are coordinated by the thalamus. The thalamus could be the fourth and most ancient brain.
The System (“the whole”, Mythic) has to react to an Event in the Environment but it also has to keep its state of Homeostasis (“Balance”) on all levels.
Last but not least the system has to replace every part that is not able to play its role in the system. This process is called autopoiesis.
Cells are killed (apoptosis) when they don’t fit in the overall picture. Between 50 and 70 billion cells die each day due to apoptosis in the average human adult. For an average child between the ages of 8 and 14, approximately 20 billion to 30 billion cells die a day.
The Four Worldview’s are (Fractal sub-)Systems that keep their own balance and act as sensors for the other sub-systems.
The sub-systems contain sub-sub-systems (Body, Organ, Cell, …) that all have to stay in balance (or die) and send their signals on their own level (electro-magnetic, chemical, ..) using their own communication-infrastructure to their own control center that is monitored by a higher level control center (etc. etc).
The systems are also part of super(-super-super-systems) (Family, Social Group, Organization, …Universe).
The System of Systems (of Systems, …) develops itself in the same pattern as the system itself. Mind (Unity) moves Up, Body/Matter mover Right (Causal), Social/Soul moves Down and Mythic (Imagination) moves Left (back to the Source).
If the four forces are in balance the total system expands and compresses in a Spiral Pattern. The same pattern as we see in the Ancient Cathedrals.
The nice thing is that on every level you look (or analyze, or evaluate, or sense, or see) the same structure comes back so you don’t have to create a new structure to get a better insight.
When you believe PoC is a self-referencing (“fractal”) system you can apply what you know if you are able to distinguish the right level/scale of the many scales there are. If you mix up scales the whole system looks like a big mess.
Just like the five elements in the generating (with-the-clock) Sheng Cycle (or the against-the clock destructing Wu Cycle) every Worldview is connected to the others views and compensates (is a Homeostasis for) another Worldview and vice-versa.
There are twelve connections possible between different views and four with the same view which brings the total amount of possible connection on 16 (4×4).
Unity (Control/Compression) compensates Sensory (Action/Expansion).
Mythic, the Interest of the Self compensates the Interest of the Group (Social).
Social (Emotions, Down, Earth) compensates Unity (Abstraction, Up, Sky, Mind).
Sensory (Sense & React, Forwards to the Outside) compensates Mythic (Imagination, Insight, Backwards to Inside).
The Consciousness (“the fifth worldview”) monitors the four Worldview’s and triggers a worldview that brings the system in another state that triggers a new worldview that brings the system in another state (etc etc).
Worldview’s trigger other Worldview’s directly or move to a higher state of abstraction (Mind) that is able to move to a higher abstraction until it has to move back to Earth (Soul/Social).
The system is constantly adapting its adaptions until it dies.
Adaption can only happen when the transport/communication-channels are not blocked and the system is able to remove the blockages in the channels.
About Flow Systems
The old Chinese scientists believed that every level of our universe is a Flow System that consists of five connected parts. Disturbances in the system are resolved by opening the channels between the parts that are disconnected.
The cosmic dance-cycle of Nataraja (Shiva) is controlled by a drum.
The Scientists of our time see an ecology (and a body and an organization and a city and…..) as a material transport network (an Infrastructure) which distributes energy, information and matter between big macroscopic reservoirs (f.i. Lungs/Air/UP) and small microscopic sites (f.i. Alveoli/Blood/Water/Flow) on many “rhythmic” levels.
The macroscopic reservoirs are filled by repeating macroscopic processes (“weather”, “breath”, ”market”) that are controlled by a macroscopic time-giver, the Drum of Shiva, a Clock, our Sun or our Heart.
When a flow system (Bloodvessels, Artery) is disturbed (Arteriosclerosis) it solves its problems by creating a “bypass”. Bypasses create bypasses (create bypasses, …) until it is impossible to change the physical environment (f.i. granite). Bypasses generate a repeating (fractal) structure.
This structure looks like a hierarchy when you look Top-Down and like a Flow-System when you look with an Input (From)/Output (To)-view. In essence it brings the Many (Sensory)-to-the One (Unity).
Nature solves its scaling problems by evolving fractal networks. The Law of Kleiber shows that big fractal flow-structures live longer (are more resilient) and are more efficient than small structures. Cities grow because of their shared fysical infrastructures.
Big Cities are also more creative than small cities because of the amount of possible contacts between creative minds. It is clear that the Internet is taking over this function.
About Human Networks
Humans networks are an abstraction (Unity) of human relations. They are the most important support structure for a human to become resilient.
Humans are two-sided. Human Networks are 12-sided. They are a combination of the 4-fold-Cycle X 4-Cycle without repetition (4**2-4).
That is why there are 12 Star-Systems in the Zodiac (12 + the Sun = 13), 12 Disciples of Jesus (12+the One = 13) and 12 Knights of the Round Table (12 + Arthur = 13).
The anthropologist Alan Fiske created a 4-fold model that describes how groups of people cooperate.
The four relational models correspond perfectly with the four World-Views of PoC.
The fact that you can use PoC to classify a part of PoC (Social) proves that PoC is a fractal theory.
Social Structures are just like PoC nested combinations of the elementary relationship models:
(1) Communal Sharing (Social, Soul, Share, Values, Egalitarianism, We, Emotions, Choice, Classify, Priority, Values, Motivation, Group, Interacting, Conflict, (->0<-), Dependent, Egalitarian, Dynamic Equilibrium):
People live together and share things. People are treated as equivalent and undifferentiated. ”What’s mine is thine; what’s thine is mine”.
Fairness is important in such groups and appealing to values may be the best way to persuade. Conflict may be dealt with through mediation and others methods that seek consensus.
(2) Equality Matching (Mythic, Spirit, Altruism, Long-Term, Balance, Reciprocity, Self, Identity, Whole, Individual, Imagination, Creativity, Culture, Innovation, Inventor, Ideas, Insight, Being, (->->0), Histrionic, Static Equilibrium):
In equality relationships there is no authority between people nor is there the deeper responsibility towards one another as in the communal sharing model. Social relationships are long-term and monitored for balance.
Equality matched relationships generally collaborate around shared goals and help one another. Relationships are reciprocal and have equal value. People treat fairly those who treat them fairly.(3) Authority Ranking (Unity, Mind, Order, Rank, Command, Hierarchism, It, Thinking, Patterns, Models. Laws, Rules, Control, Theory, Having, Compression, (0<-<-), Paranoid, Hierarchy, Polystable):
Social groups are arranged with a hierarchy of power. The top of the pyramid protects the lower layers. It starts with parent and child and then progresses to schools, workplaces and other groupings.
Whilst communal sharing groups are based on trust and fair play, authority relationships are based on command and control where the inferior person has little option but to obey the superior person.
(4) Market Pricing (Sensory, Individualism, Trans-Action, Direct, Exchange, Egoism, They, Sensory-Motor-System, Perceive, Act, Stimulus-Respons, Desire, Practice, Doing, Expansion, (0->->), Schizophrenic, Fatalism, Neutral Equilibrium):
Relationships are structured by proportions. In the market pricing model, the relationship is based around a transaction, where the parties exchange substantive items, often with money being a part of the transaction. Such relationships may be shorter than others and more formal, even with an explicit or implied contract to formalize the exchange.
Measurement starts in de Sensory-mode. Measurement captures information about a system. A system consists of objects, processes, and phenomenon. The system is measured through the attributes of the system also known as characteristics, features, or properties.
Measurement does not directly represent the system. It only addresses the attributes selected to represent it.
All measurement is carried out within a context. This context is shaped by a purpose, existing knowledge, capabilities, and resources; all of which influence the measurement process.
Measurements can be made through the human senses or made through use of a measurement instrument, which is an apparatus or construct used for measurement.
Measurement is the assignment of numerals to a system according to a set of rules. These rules are called a theory.
Our senses or the instruments that are used to measure the system also represent a theory. This theory has a sometimes unknown impact on our measurement.
A theory has to be a structure preserving mapping, a homomorphism. The structure of the system has to stay the same when the rules are applied.
If the theory does not preserve structure the theory introduces its own theory and we are not measuring the original system.
Not only the primary theory has to be a homomorphism. The complete chain of theories we use has to preserve the structure (The Uniqueness Axioma) of the original system.
If a system has to be a resilient system its transformations have to be structure-preserving.
(1) Communal Sharing (Social, Soul, Mammal Brain) resembles a Nominal Scale.
A nominal scale distinguishes Sets. Sets contain Points. Every point is the same as the other points. Points that are the same can be connected by a line.
Sets are split by a distinction made by the filters of the senses. A distinction puts things into non-overlapping categories such as smokers versus non-smokers. There are zero smokers in the class of non-smokers and zero non-smokers in the class of smokers. You can count the amount of points in a class. The zero point of the class is the not-class.
A nominal scale classifies things into categories. The classes are equal. The process of division starts with a whole (One) and divides the whole in parts (Many) after which the parts become a new Whole. Repeated application of a distinction generates a Set of Sets.
A nominal scale defines Sets. Sets contain the same elements. When we want to preserve this structure we have to satisfy the constraint If s1 = s2 ⇔ f(s1) = f(s2) (“the Same stays the Same”). This is called the Symmetric group, the group of all permutations of the objects in the Set.
Living systems achieve resilience by repeating (redundancy) the same functionality in a different way (diversity) and on a different location (distribution). This all is an example of symmetry. Humans are bilateral symmetric. We have two eyes, legs, arms, kidneys, lungs and brain-halves.
Communal Sharing (Social) is the most resilient/symmetric group there is. Every new order (a permutation) of the objects has the same value. New combinations are created all the time and time will tell what their value will be.
If combinations are valued we as a human are creative enough to imagine a reason (“a new selection-mechanism, a distinction”) why the new combination is important.
In nature, all things we observe are nominal. It is we who choose to order (i.e., count) them, in some way according to some theory we propose.
A further step is to transform these orderings into linear measures which are more useful to us. If we construct a theory with a useful “zero” location (as opposed to zero difference), then we can measure away from that zero point.
The members of a class are ordered from the One to Many by a rule that defines what greater (or less) means. It permits the measurement of degrees of difference, but not the specific amount of difference.
The step Sensory -> Social is called Evaluate. Evaluation is putting members of a Set in a favorite (like) or non-favorite (don’t like) permutation. In the Unity-mode like and don’t like are mapped to high and low (or important & not-important).
This is only possible when we are able to find a difference that we can count. Smoking can be defined by the amount of cigarettes a person smokes or the amount of nicotine he inhales.
Sometimes it is impossible to find an amount (what is the amount of “Love”?) and we have to change the distinction and the attribute we want to measure or stop measuring and accept what we observe the way it is.
The ordinal scale is part of the nominal scale. The relational structure preserved during the measurement process preserves equality and order. The set of admissible transformations are relations that satisfy the constraint If s1 < or >s2 ⇔ f(s1) < or >f(s2).
This is called the Order-Preserving Group and is the group of monotonic increasing functions. A monotonic function does not contain Ups AND Downs. It contains Ups or Downs (= not-Ups).
The step Social (Many) -> Unity ((One) is called Seeking Consensus about a Rule. Because this mapping has to be a monotonic function Social (Down (to Earth)) has to be lower than Unity (Up).
In this scale we can Count (Y) the people that smoke an amount of cigarettes (X) and can produce a bar-graph.
(3) Equality Matching (Mythic, Spirit, Whole) is called an Interval Scale. This scale is used when we want to measure a distance between pairs of items.
The step Unity -> Mythic is called Insight. We move from the Outside World of the Rules of Unity to the Inside World of the View on the Whole of Mythic and find Insight. In this case we balance the One of the outside with the One of the Inside. We compare our Whole with the Whole we find outside.
When we define an Interval Scale we look for the resonance of the Outside World with our own Inside World. We look for our own Image outside and can find peace and balance in looking at our child or partner, a sleeping cat, a wood in autumn, mountains or a sailing ship.
With this scale people can create balance and specify who owes what to whom but also how much they owe. It is a relationship in which people keep track of differences, with reference to an even balance.
The set of admissible transformations has to preserve equality (nominal), the equality of order (ordinal) and the equality of difference/distance and has to satisfy the constraint If s1−s2 = s3−s4 ⇔ f(s1)−f(s2)=f(s3)−f(s4).
This is called the General Linear Group (or Affine Group). Differences can only be preserved when the transformation is a linear transformation Ax + B where A is a rotation and B is translation.
When you take the difference between two points you create the concepts More/Less and Mean/Middle. More/Less can be associate with Better/Worse.
In our example of the smokers we can subtract the lowest count of cigarettes of all the other counts. In this case the lowest count becomes an arbitrary zero. We can also calculate the Mean of the amount of cigarettes smoked and define this as a Middle.
(4) Market Pricing (Sensory, Action, Reptile Brain) resembles a Ratio Scale.
A ratio scale preserves the equality of equality, order, difference and ratio. Most measurement in the physical sciences and engineering is done on ratio scales. Mass, length, time, plane angle, energy and electric charge are examples.
A Ratio Scale relates a measurement to a standardized unit (of time (Sec), distance (Meters), weight (Kg), …). This unit is a physical object.
The set of admissible transformations has to satisfy the constraint If s1/s2 = s3/s4 ⇔ f(s1)/f(s2) = f(s3)/f(s4). This is called the Linear Group.
The only transformation that satisfies this constraint is the functions f(x) = Ax. This scale supports Multiplication (and its opposite Division).
In this scale we are able to relate a Part to the Whole.
The amount of people who smoke an amount of cigarettes can be divided by the total amount of smokers. This produces a percentage (and a chance).
About Scales, Brains and Social Networks
The scales are Equal and Ordered in a Hierarchy in which the Nominal Scale (Social) has the highest symmetry (“All Points are Equal”) and therefore has the highest potential and is the most resilient. The Ratio Scale is the most restricted and less flexibel.
The Hierarchy follows the Path Sensory/Measure ->Evaluate-> Social (Equality) -> Consensus -> Unity (Ordering) -> Insight-> Mythic (Difference) -> Invent-> Sensory (Proportion). We call this the Path of Measurement.
The Path of Measurement is the same path our Bilateral Brain is moving through.
During Evolution the Triple Brain developed itself according to the same pattern: (1) Reptile Brain (Sensory) , Measure, Survival Brain, Body, Ratio Scale, (2) Limbic Brain (Social), Soul, Social Brain, Nominal Scale (3) Neo Cortex (Unity), Mind, Thinking Brain, Ordinal Scale (4) Whole (Mythic), Thalamus, Spirit, Interval Scale -> Sensory.
If this correlation is true Market Pricing is the Social Structure of the Reptiles, Communal Sharing of the Mammals, Authority Ranking of the Humans and Equality Matching the social Structure of the Creators.
Currently we are highly focused on Market Pricing which is the structure with the lowest flexibility/resilience.
Because of our focus on numbers, measurement and standardization we are creating reptile structures that are highly vulnerable to external events.
About Resilience – Viable Systems
The word “government” comes from the Greek “kybernan” which means ”to steer a ship”. The word “kyberman” is used to name the science of “cybernetics“.
A system is a black-box, an Input/Output-relation. Systems become (Value)Chains/Networks when we connect the output to the input of another system.
Stafford Beer developed a cybernetic model of the Human called the Stafford Beer Viable System Model (VSM). VSM can be used to model an organization.
Viability means the survival or preservation of identity in a changing environment. A viable system is a resilient system. The Identity is the Whole (Mythic/Imagination) of a System.
For a system to remain viable, it has to maintain its existence within a changing environment. Systems are not perfect and may experience internal defects and deficiencies. Change can happen slowly or suddenly.
Therefore the internal parts of the system must provide both a mutually supportive internal environment and achieve the desired external effects.
The system has to detect and react to threads (survive), be and keep in balance (homeostatis), be maintained, keep up with its environment (innovation, evolution) and be tolerant to damage (redundant).
VSM uses four nested systems to “steer a ship”: (1) the Boundary of the Whole (Mythic) (2) the Environment of the Ship (Social) which contains (3) the ship itself (Object/Body/Action/Operation/Sensory) which contains (4) the Steering System, the Meta-System (Brain/Unity).
The model can be applied to itself by looking again at four “parts” related to Mythic (Whole, Identity), Unity (Models, Research), Materials (Sensory) and Resources (Social).
About Resilience – Panarchy
According to the theory of Panarchy the Resilience of an Ecology is dependent on the Potential (Communion) and the Connectedness of a System (Agency). Potential shows what is possible in an ecology. Connectedness shows the control an ecology has over its own future.
In the Exploitation/Conservation phase of the Cycle the ecology becomes more efficient (producing more Potential) and Connected.
The amount of possible paths (the Redundancy) is reduced and the system becomes highly efficient and vulnerable to outside changes.
A stable, resilient system can cope with shocks and disturbances and keep its identity.
In an unstable system, a small disturbance can push the ball over a threshold.
Environmental and social changes can make a system less resilient.
At the state of maximum production and maximum connection (conservation) the system is spending all its potential at self-reproduction. At a certain moment the system collapses (release).
The Adaptive Cycle is the same cycle our Bilateral Brain is moving through.
It moves on many levels with a different cycle time. The levels are connected in two ways. A big calamity can destroy a lot of lower level ecologies or a small calamity (a wildfire) can start a major calamity (revolt).
Panarchy Theory is by far the most interesting theory about resilience. It shows that resilience is the result of a cyclic proces. Resilience is low when the components of the system have a high level of connectedness. There is only one way to reach the goal.
When a system is highly efficient it is also highly vulnerable.
Redundant systems are able to resist a calamity if and only if one of the possible paths of the system is not affected.
If we don’t know what will happen we need an unknown path to save us. This path is part of an unknown phase space that we are able to calculate if we know more about predictability in general. This issue is covered by Combinatorics a part of mathematics.
Nature has generated a highly redundant system in which it is possible that one of the lines of evolution is able to resist a worldwide calamity.
If we want to destroy resilience we have to destroy the diversity of life-forms on earth.
An interesting line of investigation is Structure Preserving Mappings. I will write my next blog about this subject.
One suggestion: Have a look at Category Theory.