Paradigms are Made for Shifting

Foundation of the #PlanetaryIndex.

Creative by Nature

“A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels~Albert Einstein, N.Y. Times, 1946

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Over the course of the last hundred years, Western scientists have given us a deeper view of the Universe, of Life & Nature as a creative and unified self-organizing process.Unfortunately, most modern societies are still operating with outdated ideas and assumptions, that do not reflect this new paradigm.

Albert Einstein understood this, as have many others. In order to survive as a species, it is essential that we shift paradigms, developing ways of thinking (and behaving) that are more aligned with how human life and Nature’s systems actually work.

Golden Ratio MonaEvery “thing” that exists in our Universe is a dynamic complex system, interdependently connected to other systems, constantly moving and changing, less a static “thing” than an evolving and transforming creative process.

We see galaxies and hurricanes spinning, continents moving…

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Why no concern, much less alarm?

Scientists: Human activity has pushed Earth beyond four of nine ‘planetary boundaries’

There is something supremely weird about the environmental crisis. The Washington Post publishes a story reporting essentially that the planet is likely to be uninhabitable within a few decades, and the next day the story is forgotten. It’s not front page news. There’s no follow-up story. There’s no collective warning from Nobel Peace Prize winners. The president doesn’t make an announcement. Nobody does anything other than watch the Al Gore movie while trying to figure out how to cash in on carbon credits. How could that be? No matter how you look at it, it is dysfunction of the highest order. We’re all going to die, but nobody cares? Or there are too many people who don’t believe the environmental crisis is real? If it’s not real, how could it be that we can’t come to agreement on this basic question of survival?

It also seems to me that there’s no middle ground here. Either there’s a crisis and we’re all going to die if we don’t revert to a pre-industrial age lifestyle or find innumerable technologies to resolve every contributor to the crisis, or there’s no crisis. Assuming the crisis is real, a simple reduction in modern lifestyle is not going to be enough. There has to be no more cars, no more factories, no more everything. Back to the 1700s. If carbon is destroying the planet, there has to be no more carbon, not just less carbon. If pesticides are killing the bees and the oceans, there has to be no more pesticides, not just less pesticides. Less pollution, rather than the absence of pollution, will only slightly delay doomsday. Or is the environment crisis like the Malthus population crisis? Something that will resolve itself?

Why is nobody asking these questions? Why is nobody posing the questions in the stark terms they deserve? Why are there no definitive answers and decisions? It’s sheer madness. Yes, we must take this problem out of human hands and place it in the hands of the algorithm.

The nonchalance concerning human survival is nothing new. In the time i was active in the environmental movement it was, and remains, difficult for the majority of people to give it any importance. What crisis? Those in power and at the top of the heap are concerned only with maintaining the status quo and fattening their already obese accounts. It was easy for them to dismiss environmentalists as doomsayers, tree-hugging hippies and commies. At the same time, even the most strident alarm sounders, from Al Gore to Richard Heinberg, Bill McKibben, etal, are themselves inextricably embedded and ensnared in the monetary system. It is the only world view available to them, no fault of their own really. So they say their piece, publish diligently their critiques and continue taking care of business ensuring that all-important income flow.

The middle class is tethered to the wage slavery treadmill, provisioned just enough to function in order to maintain the 70% share of GDP attributed to consumption. They are kept distracted and diverted by Kim Kardashian, NFL scandals, identity slights, conspiracy theories, yada yada, all fed by a compliant media, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue so as not to get the import of the existential predicament but to keep the growth wheels turning.

Those at the bottom suffering from the lack of tokens that allow participation in the game are too busy trying to keep fed, healthy, and sheltered to be concerned about our species’ demise that is not immediately evident. It is a remote and abstract notion that, even if real, is the government’s/somebody else’s responsibility. Not until there is no food in the market, no water in the tap, no lights when the switch is clicked, will they wake up. By then it will be too late.

It is social dysfunction in the extreme, the result of cognitive dissonance, mass hypnotism even. This underscores why it is impossible and unthinkable to proceed by way of public education, consultation and consent. The Enlightenment precedent of benevolent despotism, but of a technocratic elite to re-jigger the system is necessary, and in my view, the only way out. Let us put forward the highest and best of human intelligence and capabilities, not the demographic/democratic average. The effects of PI will be negligent at first, grow incrementally until critical mass is achieved, then explode exponentially until the monetary system is displaced along with the world view it supports.

Wholesale death or reversion to a pre-industrial age is a false dichotomy typical of linear/binary thinking. Not all will die; nor will we revert to a pre-industrial age. Consciousness, awareness, knowledge cannot be undone, reversed or lost, but accumulates in one direction following the arrow of time in layering complexity and higher orders of coherence. Rather, it will be a post-industrial age in which we re-align with the impetus of evolution for the first time since we graduated from hunting-gathering. The invention of mono-agriculture on a wide scale accompanied by forest clearance was the beginning of environmental decline. We now have all those lessons to draw from.

In fact, this is the most exciting time to be alive, present at a crucial moment when we are at a pivot point of whether to continue on our blind descent into extinction (just another of millions of species to disappear, the earth will carry on regardless), or make the critical turn toward ecological integration and wholeness. The few specimens that survive may evolve into our replacement species, just as the Neanderthals and Denisovans were replaced by Homo sapiens. Of course, their DNA would have selected to cope with the toxicity and radiation levels we leave them.

A New Dawn. As the World Turns. (Pity we won’t be here to see it.)

New indicator needed

Just came across the work of Eric Zencey. In a 2009 NYT article he calls for

… a new measurement, one that more accurately signals changes in the level of economic well-being we enjoy … an indicator that will tell us if we are really and truly gaining ground in the perennial struggle to improve the material conditions of our lives.

He’s at Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont  compiling an updated Genuine Progress Indicator for Vermont for implementation as an alternative policy and budgeting instrument in the state.

New economic system. Why?


Q: You’ve developed a new economic system. Why?
As far as the economic system and sustainability, the whole system, is skewed against it, so while you can tinker around the edges, you can’t really resolve the lack of accountability to the ecosystem.

A: That’s right. So, to give you some examples of different approaches that I’ve examined along the way, for instance, there’s a whole movement centered around the idea of what they call the gift economy. Everybody just shares what they have. I think it’s a wonderful sentiment, but I don’t think that will go anywhere, that it will remain a sentiment, an idea. It requires people to display certain levels of altruistic behavior. How do we institutionalize that? Without some centralized communistic type structure I don’t see that people would voluntarily do that in large enough numbers that it would make any impact. So, nice idea, but it’s totally impractical. I’ve also looked at the Zeitgeist movement and their vision of the future, their systems and architecture. Again, very exciting and appealing, but again I don’t see that that can be applied anytime soon. I see it as impractical.

– from interview

Complexity, An Emotional Processing

from Brian Atkins,


Your pet died.

Your dad died around Christmas the previous year.

Mortality says hello, and goodbye.

Yellowstone-the-Super-Volcano could blow at any time, climate change threatens mass instability across numerous domains, eco, econ, political, and what we do so well in the West, eating. 

You know that longer bouts of systemic instability sometimes release stored, pretty automatic DNA-vehicle responses to crisis. Talking about those time-tested-and-selected apps-on-file, apps like: murder, war, rape, genocide, plunderous anarchy . . . all that wholesale social-contract breakdown stuff where there are no Tony Hayward yacht races because everyone’s a pirate.

Your superficial understanding of physics and neural physiology has revealed a probable lack of free will, that you’re largely bacteria, some amalgamated bi-pedal ecosystem toiling in a parallel universe in some obscure fork in one river of time. Regardless, your life’s events will be swallowed whole by death, and promptly forgotten. So, if you miss your third child’s fourth school-play . . .

The reaction to all of this, when you’re not busy running yellow lights, builds, spreads. This reaction can be metaphorically summarized as an increasingly demanding voice that, depending on the day and your anti-depressant dose, whispers or screams: WTF.

Friends, and enemies, allow me to offer you this interview as an evo-balm for your enervated complexity-navigation systems. Verily, you can learn here. Verily, big truth is pretty. And this new economic system called Net Planetary Value (NPV) appears most aesthetic. Hope in the holarchy, bioootch. Death will still swallow us, but now, all that cruel DNA tyranny of past domination struggles can mean something.

Oh my dudes and dudettes, verily, more ubermensch light can be generated for our overcoming. Further from the caves of our often sad and horrific evolutionary permutations we can run. . . . all those people broken on the wheel, burned at the stake, impaled on a shaft from their anus through their mouth and left in the sun . . . all those people bombed, gassed, starved, stoned, knifed in lung and heart, shot, whipped, overcome in their own feces in the dungeon, on the slave boat, eaten alive by lions or ants, and yes, all those parking tickets too, all that shit, can now, most gloriously, by way of NPV, mean something . . . help tame that WTF feeling . . . if only for a moment . . . (longer if you grasp the concept.)

Your internal dialog can now transition like this:

The Voice: WTF; You module: Something.

The Voice: WTF; You module: Shut up, I’m thinking.

The Voice: WTF; You module: NPV!, NPV! In your face, extinction troll! 

Net Planetary Value is a new, still emerging structure in cultural evolution. While it can’t cure Yellowstone of its bubbling, gonna-blow heat, I sincerely think it could be a huge evolutionary leap for how our species interfaces with reality. NPV appears to be evolutionarily compatible, at least to this psyche’s limited processing engines.

Like the evolutionary process, NPV solves problems, lots of them. Like the evolutionary arc, NPV processes more information, faster. It also increases the speed of feedback between components in the holarchy. NPV can help us grapple with the exponentially accelerating complexity by standardizing, and hopefully, optimizing, relationship interaction information. Relationships? Remember what the good polio Dr. said. “The most fundamental phenomenon of the universe is relationship.” He said this, too: “Evolution has proceeded along the course of optimizing relationships.”  Jonas Salk

NPV is an evolved relationship weight matrix, a postgenetic code for better navigation of complex cultural relationships, with one another, rivers, soil, Mars, animals, technology, education, etc., much like the genetic code was a relationship weight matrix seeking to optimize complex bio/geo relationships, enzymes for rice, meat, and milk, toenail thickness, offspring gestation protocols, etc.

It’s like natural selection is this huge computer, this huge mind processing info, selecting; this works, that doesn’t. Everyday, hell, every moment is judgment moment in the complex systems’ constant corrections, adjustments, in the ceaseless holonic ordering . . .

Info processing . . . you’re processing this code, these letters. Natural selection processes the code that generated the blue feather or gray fin. Does it work, does it fit, does that G code (condensed information set), and concomitant feather or fin, work in conjunction with all the other holons?

Relationship processing. All the holons be doing it. Verily, See Jane Process Dick, do that sexual selection thing.

Net Planetary Value frothed forth from an artist, an outsider, a culture particle on the fringes. Naturally. Memetic-speciation happens faster with an isolating mechanism.

Larry Chang grew up in Jamaica, a gay Asian. I’m all like: “Larry, so you’re a gay Asian in Jamaica coming of age in the early 1960s? Dude, could you put a few more outgroup rocks in your way?” Larry Chang laughed. He navigated all them rocks most adroitly, and, as he had to, went to art. Studied fractals. Sustainability, too. Read David Bohm, Capra, Wilber, Buddhist wisdom, published anthologies, and . . . Net Planetary Value emerged. It’s brilliant. Can’t stop your death, but it does provide hope on the group selection, Tragedy-of-the-Commons level, and far beyond. That’s something. That counts.

So, to help our species move beyond this painful teenagers-in-evolution stage, and in honor of all the people, plants and animals who have suffered, or whatever might motivate you, please spend some quality time with the artist Larry Chang. See how he fits pieces of the complexity together in new forms that can augment our survival and well-being.

Yeah, we probably don’t have free will. But we can learn. There’s been selection for the ability to review the past and do things differently the next time (Robert Trivers told me so). We have the capacity to load the brain-box with new information-structures, ruffle them cranial modules’ neural pathways by learning, learning that generates creative behaviors that solve problems. Behaviors that include Larry Chang’s Net Planetary Value? We’ll see. Process on fellow holons . . .

“… sweeping implications for political governance in both theoretical and practical terms. It could transform the role of the State by empowering citizens to devise new forms of self-actualized institutions. These institutions would likely provide greater social legitimacy, efficacy and adaptability than conventional government.

“… The system architecture uses nested tiers of “trusted compute cells” starting at the “private” level and moving up to portal and group levels. The idea is to enable trusted social relationships and collaboration that can scale.”

How the nature of governance will be transformed. Bollier could be describing the effects of implementing Net Planetary value (NPV).

Indiegogo campaign kickoff


Indiegogo campaign kickoff

Digital composition “Commodity: Sugar”

Finally launched campaign for funds to complete painting series, publish book and create traveling exhibit around PANACEA. The series and exhibition will be entitled “Basket Case Study: Jamaica”, the country with which i am most familiar, demonstrating the colonial, exploitive, hierarchical structure made possible by money, and cause of environmental degradation and the plight of the 99%.

Monetarily, Jamaica is a basket case, along with Greece, Spain, Ireland and other countries. The title alludes to the Jamaican expression, “given basket to carry water,” an inherently impossible undertaking. The untenable and inequitable relationships can be replicated in all countries and situations, your own included, where your labor is the declining and expendable commodity.

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