Posts Tagged ‘cybernetics’

About Autarky

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

The amount of local cooperative energy-companies in the Netherlands (in 2012) is increasing. It all has to do with the decrease of the price of solar-sells but there is more at stake.

Local energy-companies are part of a movement aimed at Autarky. Autarky is the quality of being self-sufficient.

The word Autarky comes from Greek αὐτάρκεια (autárkeia), itself from αὐτός (autós) = self and ἀρκέω (arkéo) which in its passive form means be satisfied, content or “Out of my own Power“.

Fractal Human Distribution Network

Fractal Human Energy Distribution Network

The need to become self-sufficient has certainly to do with the current economic-, ecological- and energy crisis. People are afraid that the supply of vital energy and food will suddenly stop or become priceless. This is not the only reason.

Some people think we are wasting our money, food and energy by producing nondurable throw-away goods in which the packaging is sometimes more important than the content. They want to create durable products and services. This is not the only reason.

Some people don’t trust the suppliers of their food and energy, their politicians and/or the caretakers of their savings, the banks, anymore. They believe that their food is intentionally manipulated, their savings are wasted, their country is sold out to the rich and their environment is polluted for just one simple reason, Greed, the opposite of “Being Satisfied”.

The people of the autarkic movement want to recreate the necessary functions (bank, energy, food, work, healthcare, government) themselves in a cooperative way in their own living context.

Atmospheric Energy Diagram

Atmospheric Energy Diagram

The local cooperatives  are now joining on a higher (mostly country) level and are  in need of a shared (real-time)infrastructure. The current infrastructure does not support flows that move between many participants (so called peer-to-peer-networks).

The current system is a Hierarchic Top Down System containing Huge Highways that are connected to Big Production-facilities. This makes it impossible to consolidate, share and distribute resources peer-to-peer on a local level.

The Electric Highway

The Top Down System has created Global Markets where the local production is sold  to the highest bidder.

The Global Markets are the playing field for advanced speculators that make a lot of money. After the deal is made the local production is transported to a far away destination. That is the reason why the Top Down Systems are integrated in world-wide Logistic Systems.

If we want to coordinate all the local initiatives we need advanced systems that Up- and download, control, predict, connect, share, balance and distribute vital local resources on the short and long term.

The Panarchy Cycle of an Ecology

The Panarchy Cycle of an Ecology

Examples of these systems can be found in “crowd funding“, “virtual power plants”  and “treasury management” (balancing many small amounts of Money at the short and long term).

In Nature we find comparable (Fractal) Distribution-Systems in the Lungs, the Arteries, Riverdelta, the Weather Cycle and Ecologies.

All of these fysical Flow Systems, that map 1 Resource-> on Many Resources or Many Resources->on 1 Resource,  are based on the third Law of Thermodynamics called Constructal Law.

Virtual Power Plant

Virtual Power Plant

In the philosophy of the Stoics and Cynics of Ancient Greece the perfect human was not only arete (“all-around excellent”) but also independent of every need. Arete was associated with a full life as a citizen of a city.

Later Spinoza (“On Human Freedom“), Rousseau and David Thoureau (Walden) have developed their own autarkic philosophy.

Autarky was the ideal of a complete man who needed no one and no organization. This ideal can also be found in Zen Buddhism, Taoist practise, Early Christians (Nazarites), the Catholic Order of the Franciscans and the Protestant Quakers.

In reality it is almost impossible to be completely self-sufficient as a lonely human being. We need others when we are young, sick and old and we need others because we are specialized (“Talented”). Autarky is a possible aim for a small community.

Resource Balancing in Nature (Lungs, RiverDelta)

Resource Balancing in Nature (Lungs, RiverDelta)

The religious, cultural and political movements at the left and the right aimed at living the “good life” (“Living Slow“) are converging in  the movement of the Cultural Creatives. The Cultural Creatives are the new Elite that is moving to the AND-state (Left AND Right).

They don’t believe in the old Competitive Ideologies (Socialist, Capitalist, Religious, Liberal, Nationalist, Conservative, Globalist, etc..) but want  to focus on the Shared Collaborative Values between all Humans. We all need Love, Food and Shelter.

The Stoic Zeno shows the Doors to Truth and False

The Stoic Zeno shows the Doors to Truth and False

Autarky has always been a major political aim of countries. Autarky is about the possibility to control your own future and to become independent of other powers that could use your dependency to tell you what to do to get what you desperately want.

At this moment the shortage of fossil fuels, especially oil and gaz, is used to influence the policy of other countries and is the cause of local conflicts in the Middle East.

China is buying all kinds of vital materials to make sure their economy will not become dependent on others. If they will succeed and nobody doubts about that, they will become the economic controlling power of the world.

Reaching a state of local autarky, being satisfied with what your environment provides you, has become the aim of the wordwide sustainability movement.

Total autarky is possible when you want to live as a stoic or a survivalist. Most people accept a more simple living, move off-the-grid and build autonomous buildings that make use of  renewable energy.

Allotment Garden

Allotment Garden

Others start to farm in their own backyard, join an allotment garden or move back-to-the-land and practice sustainable agriculture.  To handle their surpluses and shortages independent  local markets are created that make use of  alternative currencies.

A strive for (regional) Autarky pushes the need to innovate to a higher level because not all regions contain the right materials, knowledge or experience to realize everything everybody needs. To become fully Autarkic the Production and Consumption Systems in the Region have to be based on simple concepts and parts that are available everywhere. Simple concepts are concepts that are easely copied.

The only way to combine Simple and Complex concepts is to use the Concept of Self-Reference (Fractals). The only way to make use of parts that are available everywhere is to make use of the Simple Building Blocks of Nature. A good example is the use of algea in food processing.

The concept of Autonomy not only plays an important role on the many levels of human (personal, organization, country) and animal society (Competitive vs Collaborative (Ants)). It is also a major subject in the research of (Second-OrderCybernetics (Control Theory).

Self Reproducing Systems

Self Reproducing Fractal Systems

Second Order Cybernetics is concerned with the Control of the System of Systems (the Meta-System). Hierarchy is not the solution to this problem because it leads to the logical problem of Infinite Regress (“Turtles on turtles on … all the way down”).

The Meta-System is controlling, reproducing and balancing itself by a Fractal Feedback-Cycle that moves Backwards (Consumption) and Forwards (Production).

The concept of Self-Reproduction is called Autopoiesis or Autocatalysis. The Design Philosophy of Cradle to Cradle is a good example of Autopoiesis.

A System is an Autarky if all its Levels are capable of Self-Reproduction.

If a human wants to become self-sufficient he has to accept and develop his own talent and find complementary people so he is able to create a Self-Reproducing Unit.

The smallest Self-Reproducing Unit in Human Society is the Family living in one House. This House has to produce more than enough Energy and the Garden has to produce more than enough food to support the Family.

Garden City (Culemborg, the Netherlands)

Garden City (Culemborg, the Netherlands)

If we cluster all these Self-Reproducing Families/Houses & Gardens in a small City the chances are high that the combined talents of the families will be able to supply every profession needed if the people of the city want to Live a Simple Life.

It is also possible that the surplusses and shortages of the families can be compensated by creating a Market on the level of the small City or one level higher, the Region.

An Autarkic Movement becomes an Aggressive Competitive Nationalistic Movement when the Citizens of the Country feel that their Country is plundered by outsiders and their Leaders promise to get it all back by expanding the Space to Live (“Lebensraum“) to facilitate everything that is needed.

This happened when Germany was preparing for War after the enormous reparation payments of 132 billion gold marks to the Winners of World War I.

The Autarkic Movement could also become a Peaceful Cooperative Social Movement like the Movement of Gandhi in India when the people accept the Good Life they already live and want to share the surpluses with others who are in a worse state.

LINKS

Dutch Report about Local Energy Companies (in Dutch)

About the house that produces his own energy (Passive House)

The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency

About Close-Loops Systems

About Smart Grids

About Fractal Distribution Systems

Jerry Rifkin: About the Distributed Economy

The John Seymour School for Self Sufficiency

About Entrainment

About the EU Policy of Smart Specialization of Regions

About Darwin and Collaboration 

About Artificial Life

About Smart Technology

About the Thermodynamics of Living Systems

About Worldviews (How to find Complementary People)

A City is an Organism

About the Viable Systems Model of Stafford Beer

About Garden City

Gandhi’s view on Capitalism

The Autarkic Dreams of Germany

 

About the Cooperative

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

erup-laki-vulcanoOn 8 June 1783 the Laki Volcano in Iceland erupted. During 9 months the volcano produced an estimated 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide.

This amount was ten-times more than the amount that now comes from all of western European industrial sources in a year.

The Explosion of the Laki Vulcano triggered the Explosion of the French Revolution.

The cloud of sulfur dioxide in combination with a very strong El-Niño Cycle brought Extreme Weather Conditions for several years all over Europe. A huge amount of cattle and crops were destroyed causing extreme faminine and poverty.

french_revolutionThe great French revolution of 1789-1799 involved the most massive popular struggles that had yet been seen in history.

Rooted in popular hatred of an oppressive monarchy, the revolution rose on the backs of the masses of poor people in Paris who united under the banner of ‘liberty, equality and community’.

Liberty is no more than an empty shell when one class of men is allowed to condemn another to starvation without any measures being taken against them. And Equality is also an empty shell when the rich, by exercising their economic monopolies, have the power of life or death over other members of the Community” (The Red Priest, Jaques Roux).

The term “socialism” appeared in print in England in 1827. Five years later, the term was used for the first time in a French publication.

Socialism is a product of the Industrial revolution in England and the French Revolution.

One of the creations of the Socialistic Movement is the Cooperative. A Cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit. A Cooperative is the embodiment of the primary goals of the Revolution Liberty, Equality and Community.

rochdale_pioneersIn 1844 a group of 28 artisans working in the cotton mills in the town of Rochdale, in the north of England established the first modern co-operative business, the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society.

The weavers faced miserable working conditions and low wages, and they could not afford the high prices of food and household goods. They decided that by pooling their scarce resources and working together they could access basic goods at a lower price. Initially, there were only four items for sale: flour, oatmeal, sugar and butter.

The Pioneers decided it was time shoppers were treated with honesty, openness and respect, that they should be able to share in the profits that their custom contributed to and that they should have a democratic right to have a say in the business.

Every customer of the shop became a member and so had a true stake in the business. At first the co-op was open for only two nights a week, but within three months, business had grown so much that it was open five days a week. Within ten years there were over 1,000 co-operative societies in the United Kingdom.

RaiffeisenWilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first cooperative lending bank, a credit union, in 1864.

In 1867 Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch, a German liberal politician, obtained passage of a Prussian Law protecting Cooperative Associations. The Credit Unions evolved into a system of Cooperative Banking and Cooperative Insurance.

What Happened?

The explosion of the Laki Vulcano triggered the French Revolution. The slogan of this revolution, liberty, equality and community, has inspired many other revolutions all over the world until today.

The French Revolution was a revolution of the Underclass. It failed in the sense that the Calvinistic Bourgeoisie, the Middle Class, the owners of the Small and Medium sized Companies, took over the power from the Aristocracy.

The Bourgeoisie took advantage of the poor, mostly unemployed, Underclass to create a new system of Dominance, the Capitalistic system. In this system the poor slaves were forced to do productive work in the factories. The capitalistic elite invented new (The Consumer, Mass Media) systems to prohibit a new revolution.

russian revolutionIn the other countries (China, Russia, Cuba …) the revolutions of the underclass also failed. The old pattern of mass manipulation by a small elite always returns.

At this moment we see a new System of Dominance emerging. It is the fusion of Capitalism and Fascism, The Big Brother State.

The Big Brother State is using Mass Manipulation strategies in combination with Computer Technology (Pattern Recognition) and Mind Control.

The only successful Social and Socialistic System that emerged out of the French Revolution is the Cooperation.

This system has improved itself by introducing new structures based on Second Order Cybernetics (The Spiraling Organization) and new ways to create shared collaborative decisions (The Consent Principle, Sociocracy).

When Cooperations are too big the burocrats take over control. The Active members of the cooperative change into Voters. The old pattern of mass manipulation by a small elite always returns. Succesfull cooperations have to be based on a Human and a Local Scale.

What to Do?

The big burocratic corporations are unable to sustain in a huge crisis. The cooperative banks were never able to start highly risky financial gambling games. The principles of Rochdale prevent this.

At this moment the cooperative (now called a community) is on its return. Internet technology is created to support the cooperative. Cooperatives on a human scale (!) can be connected into big powerfull global networks.

I believe the French Revolution has finally reached its goal.

Arise, wretched of the earth
Arise, convicts of hunger
Reason thunders in its volcano
This is the eruption of the end
Of the past let us wipe the slate clean
Masses, slaves, arise, arise
The world is about to change its foundation
We are nothing, let us be all
This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race

(The Internationale)

LINKS

The history of Socialism by Friedrich Engels

About Third Order Cybernetics

About Calvinism

About Sociocracy and the Consent Principle

About the Invisible Fascist State

About Neo-Capitalism and Fascism

About Sociocracy

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Kees Boeke was the teacher of the children of Queen Juliana. In 1945 just after the end of the Second World he wrote a document in Dutch with the title “What have we learned and where to go“?

At the end of his analysis he comes to the conclusion that the main problem was Democracy. Before the Second World War the Democratic System was unable to solve the problems in Society. Members of Parliament were constantly discussing and blocking each others proposals snnothing really happened.

In this document he evaluates the period 1930-1945. It is impossible to translate the whole document in English. His analysis is impressive and sad to say very applicable to our current situation.

Kees Boeke proposed a new system called Sociocracy. Sociocracy is based on the practices of the Quakers. Just like the Quakers Kees Boeke believed that when people are inspired by the Holy Ghost or The Inner Light they will be guided to a state of “consent”.

His idea is to create “circles” of about 150 people and to close these circles in higher order circles when a decision has a big impact. Every circle has to take into account the higher good of the whole of all circles.

Kees Boeke formulated the basic Rules of Sociocracy.

1. The interests of all members must be considered, the individual bowing to the interests of the whole.

2. No action can be taken if there are no solutions found that everyone can accept.

3. All members must be ready to act according to these unanimous decisions.

Later the ideas of Kees Boeke were taken over by one of his pupils Gerard Endenburg. He applied sociocracy in his factories. Endenburg combined cybernetics and sociocracy.

He formulated new rules:

1. Consent governs policy decision-making. Consent means there are no argued and paramount objections to a proposed decision.

2. Circles are the primary governance unit. Circles are semi-autonomous and self-organizing. Within their domain, they make policy decisions; set aims; delegate the functions of leading, doing, and measuring to their own members; and maintain their own memory system and program of ongoing development.

3. Circles are connected by a double-link consisting of the functional leader elected by the next higher circle, and two or more representatives elected by the circle, all of whom participate fully in both circles.

4. People are elected to functions and tasks by consent after open discussion.

Sociocracy became a big success and has spread all over the world. It is, in my opinion, the best approach to solve the immense problems of our current time.

LINKS

About Autarky

About Cooperation

About the Cooperative

About Cybernetics

About Resonance

About Third Order Cybernetics

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

escher-heaven-hell-1The Cybernetics Movement has gathered a spectacular amount of Knowledge and Wisdom. The most important Scientists in the World came out of Cybernetics. The basic theory behind Cybernetics is very easy to understand. Every System is controlled by a Feed-Back Cycle.

Cybernetics was defined by Norbert Wiener as the study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.

When the control engineering and computer science disciplines had become fully independent, the remaining cyberneticists focused on Autonomy, Self-organization and the Role of the Observer in modeling a system.

This movement became known as Second-Order Cybernetics.

At this moment Cybernetics has moved to the Third Order. To define the third order the Cybernetic Movement had to find out what a new order was about. It was easy to see that the Observer of the Observer was still an Observer. This path ended soon.

One solution is to analyze observers and systems co-evolve across different social systems but many other perspectives are possible.

When I read this website I found one Perspective that related to my own research. It states that the higher orders of self-reflexivity may be related to Beauty. I cite “The organism is a self-song“, “Gaia (Earth) is not a big compound individual, nor a song sung by an individual, but a song sung by a chorus or choir of all sentient beings. That choral song, alas, is being sung off key, it is out of harmony, due to one species singing off-key loudly“.

The path of Beauty refers to another article (Cultivating the Songlines of the Noosphere: from presentations by representatives to embodying presence in transformation, 1996).

I cite again “”Language grounded in music is grounded thereby on context dependency; any tone can have any possible relation to other tones, and the shift from one tone to another, which alone makes melody possible, is a shift in perspective which the singer himself embodies. Any perspective (tone) must be “sacrificed” for a new one to come into being; the song is a radical activity which requires innovation while maintaining continuity and the “world” is the creation of the singer, who shares its dimensions with the song.”

My advice:

When you want to Control everything use First Order Cybernetics. It is focused on Software and Machines. Building Software is an Art. If you don’t have aquired this Talent do something else that is related to Your Talent.

If you want to move into Flow start to use Second Order Cybernetics. It teaches you how to Observe and accept Self-Organization.

If you want to find Rest move to the Third Level. This is the Level of Harmony.

Start to sing in a Choir. You will learn a lot about your Voice, your Body, Resonance and Cooperation. Singing helps you to Relax and have FUN.

If you have learned enough start to sing with Eight Different Voices. This teaches you How to Listen to the Other and to Start and Maintain a Dialogue.

The last step is Chanting or Toning.

Find out how people that are not controlled by a Director and a Script are able to produce Beautiful Patterns by becoming ONE VOICE.

LINKS

About Beauty and Harmony

About Third Order Cybernetics

About Resonance

About Synchronization of Crowds