Archive for June, 2011
For at least a hundred or so years, we’ve had a kind of science in the West that was very rigid and binary. Theories were almost written in stone. People spent decades studying things in private, mostly, before they ever were able to muster up the courage to share it with the world, and if it didn’t “pass the test” of the academic/political leaders of the scientific community, it wasn’t even allowed to be “published”. And if it was deemed agreeable enough to be published, it was published in a fairly private place, where only wealthy specialists were likely to read it (and maybe your mother). This privatization of science worked ok for some folks, and allowed people’s memetic children to get very well developed before being set free in the world. But it meant a lot of highly valuable information, ideas, and corrections got missed and dismissed. And it meant that scientists were pretty a lonely bunch.
Now, with the new media of rapid fire global interconnection, feedback, and diversity we have the opportunity to catch up with all that missing information, and let scientists feel like they are very much a part of the world.
The new kind of science will be an open discussion where all interested parties will be welcome to add their opinions, observations, and questions, at all levels of complexity, combining old ideas into entirely new and more brilliant ones. The new science will be a more feminine process, nurturing memetic children collaboratively, letting them be free to grow into whatever they need to grow into, and dramatically exceeding our wildest dreams of them!
The more masculine, private type science will still exist, as it’s obviously still valuable for some things, but the more public science will become mainstream, and will be where the most innovation emerges and flourishes.
Some people are naturally inclined to favor the democratic process in choosing what to personally believe. The more individual votes they get for a given idea, the more they believe it. These are the people who almost always look to their friends and family (second person) and/or “experts” (third person) to help them make decisions. Kids and younger adults are especially likely to prefer to learn this way.
Other people are naturally inclined to favor first hand knowledge in choosing what to personally believe. The more they have personally experienced something, the more they believe it. These are the people who almost always have to actively test things out for themselves (first person) and/or sit and think by themselves (fourth person) when making a decision (often coming to a conclusion that those around them think is bizarre). Babies and older adults are especially likely to want to learn this way.
A third set of people have a fairly balanced combination of the two approaches. They will consistently make decisions that waver dramatically depending on who they are with at the time.
The problem is that each set has very good reasons for thinking that the other sets are totally crazy and missing major information. For example, we all know that the democratic process can easily lead to cult-like brainwashing situations and fascist states, where people simply do are they are told, and don’t ever test ideas out for themselves. Both personal experience and social norms now confirm that the world isn’t flat, no matter how many people “voted” yes on the idea. On the other hand, optical illusions give us personal experience and social agreement that we also can easily be fooled by our own senses, so personal, first hand experience and intuition aren’t always totally reliable either. And the folks in the middle think that everyone else is crazy because they are so obsessed with one approach or the other, while everyone else sees these middle types as “waffling” all over the place. Which all means that it will take some extra effort to avoid conflict, and keep relationships going relatively smoothly, when you are organizing a group that includes all three different sets.
That extra effort might only need to be letting the different groups know that diversity is normal, and is generally even necessary for gathering all the most important data. Then you can help them be more aware of these three different kinds of “learning” processes that other people have. And finally, working with everyone, you can gather and present a collective pot of basic information about different personal experiences and social norms related to the group’s specific goal will help keep the group working well together, because then everyone can appreciate things from their own natural inclination of evidence gathering style.
Feel free to test this idea out for yourself, or check with others to see which of these categories they tend to work from and what approaches they’ve found useful for working with other people with diverse learning styles to see how true it is. :-)
When things get too large and complex they eventually come tumbling down. Governments all over the Western part of the planet are starting to fall as we speak. And when things fall apart, that means it’s an exceptional time to start from scratch, using all the things we’ve previously learned about how the world works. Iceland is right now rewriting it’s constitution, using the collective wisdom of the networked planet (And Time Magazine’s 2006 “Person of the Year”, YOU!), which has been scientifically shown to be the most effective problem solver known to humankind!
In light of this, I suggest a new constitution for government based on helping everyone meet Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ very bottom (“deficiency”) cagegories…
I sometimes call this the Human Prime Directive. I’ve used it as the basis for my educational program Binikou, and I think of it as the the most effective and clear set of laws that any exceptionally healthy government or organization would choose to define for itself:
1. Ensure that all individuals have access to the basic input needs for physical health. Specifically, whole food, clean water, fresh air, comforting warmth, and healing light. (Maslow’s “physiological needs” category)
2. Ensure that all individuals have the option to choose from a variety of different kinds of outlets for the free expression of their physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual output needs. (Maslow’s “safety needs” category)
3. Provide the option of conflict mediation to all individuals, with the goal of mutually agreed upon win-win solutions. (a combination of Maslow’s “belongingess” and “esteem” categories, giving people the sense that their needs are important, and giving them ways to solve their problems)
No other laws allowed! Everything the government does must fit within these three categories, and everything that is within these categories the government must try to provide, without causing conflict (no force allowed, including no mandatory taxes, no non-voluntary prisons, and no mandatory “education”, etc.).
The idea is that once you remove synthetic, authoritarian control, and focus on providing individuals with the basics of what they need to be at their best (healthiest, mentally and physically), a healthy government will emerge, naturally, because everyone will be able to grow into a healthy “self-actualized” individual.
Our current government system is so very, very authoritarian, confused, and totally out of touch with nature/reality of what humans need that we have utter chaos and people operating well below their potential as they constantly struggle just to “make ends meet”. Simplifying government, and bringing it’s attention back to a scientific basis for serving human needs seems to the be way to go.