"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Aug 21, 2012


Expectation does not alter function.

The expectation of an outcome will not change the function of the tools used to achieve it.

The desire for an outcome bears little resemblance, upon close scrutiny, to the expectation for that same outcome. Training and memory produce expectations. An expectation premises that certain behaviors, plus a given number of tools and techniques, will result in a set of conditions which share overlaps and similarities with prior ends and conclusions, as promised by memory.

Organic memory lacks the reliability often associated with it. Cultural and exosomatic memory do not exist in a separate plane or protected bubble, untainted by organic memory. It takes organic memory, conditioning and perspective to interpret those memories stored outside of the body.

In every personal history, desire predates awareness, training and memory. Desire does not even presuppose awareness, though awareness would not likely develop without the recording of the memories of the satisfaction or thwarting of desire.

Awareness maps environment, but it does not take the same form in every person, or across every region or age. In order to identify awareness, memory must function, and feedback to and upon itself in a loop. No memory, no self awareness.

But, memory lacks reliability. Memory has no built in reward for enduring accuracy. Memory does not demand perfection. Memory rewards success, which definition itself does not remain stable over days and months, never mind years and ages. Memory, like desire, exists for outcomes which do not obligate truth, and which patently award error, so long as error results in the satisfaction of needs and desires.

Desire functions with memory, retaining its effect through memory's mapping of success and failure, strengthening and waning according to expectation - but memory will not record perfect facts separate from the feelings of reward, pain, pleasure or other strong emotions.

Desire reminds of need or want, but does not itself satisfy either.

The desire for an outcome will rely on memory to promise its satisfaction, or warn against failure, but memory - especially untrained memory which stumbles about unconditioned by an alternate and uncommon set of skills associated not with self-preservation and gross satisfaction but instead with self-regard and even vanity - will not reliably predict the conclusion of behaviors and choices if the satisfaction of desire or need forms the greater part of the feedback loop of awareness.

No person escapes desire. Not one.

And this adheres especially to the desire for outcomes associated with the use of tools, techniques and human memories.

Social communities function as tools, in part, for their members. They exchange persons as organisms into persons as resources. Every form of society or community, however enduring or temporary, obligates the use of unreliable memory, in order to map out relations of power, skill sets, persona, likeability, adversity, enmity and fealty. These memories lack both stability and permanence, as well perfectibility.

These memories form the basis of all hierarchies. A hierarchy functions as a trainable, and learned, set of responses to others by way of the repeated and reinforced forging of memories - establishing dominance not as a natural or supernatural condition* of existence, but as damage to memories already susceptible to error.

A person may expect the satisfaction of desires which that person cannot achieve as a repeatable outcome precisely because that person's memories produce patterns of errors which reinforce the likelihood of programmed blind spot, bias or self-betraying behavior.

A person raised within a hierarchy will very predictably and regularly reproduce these errors from the exercise of desires continuously thwarted by abused memory. Only those persons in the power positions of a hierarchy retain successful behaviors, because their skill sets allow them to train memory to preserve the hierarchy while still allowing them to see how it functions to reproduce in its support layers - and victims - the behaviors that keep them from seeing what those in power see. They learn to maintain a system which they must also actively conceal.

Most people in the power positions of a hierarchy will receive the correct training which allows them to duplicate its existence into future generations. By accident or by the seemingly random development of necessary character traits, some will climb, lie, flatter or claw into better positions. These types often present an initial danger to that hierarchy, unless its training allows for their easy assimilation, or expulsion.

A hierarchy functions as a social tool.

The use of a tool obligates the experience of an outcome of its use. Tool use will result in an outcome in every imaginable circumstance, because tool use alters environments - but that outcome will not necessarily match expectations or memories of the tool's user or users.

A person should not perhaps expect that the use of a hierarchy will result in outcomes for which that hierarchy does not function.

A good way to illustrate this, maybe, would involve brushing one's teeth with a chainsaw. The desire for clean teeth exists. The expectation of the outcome, also. But not every tool will produce the outcome expected and desired.

A person can apply a chainsaw to his teeth.

We might all find it rather surprising if this decision to so actually cleaned them.

Perhaps equally surprising, all the same, is the very persistent conviction that hierarchies which function to preserve the power and wealth of their members, by subsuming others into them as less-than-human instruments, will somehow magically produce fairness, universal prosperity, rights, accord, peace, liberty and justice for all...

* - despite the claims of perennialists or their liberal adversaries, the meritocrats...


Unknown said...

Jack, I recently wrote an article tangentially related to these points that I should dig up for discussion...

I don't think that's the one, but its sort of related. Somewhere... oh well.

The main point was that I believe we remember intent retroactively. Details become important later. Another facet of memory is that the lessons we learn from experience are often left un-revised. As we mature, the lessons we would learn from the experiences of a younger age stick with us even when those are no longer the lessons we'd impart if we experienced those same circumstances now. We often revise memories and intentions, not so often the lessons we've learned once they become decoupled from those memories.

Anyway, another angle is that intention does not follow awareness and vice versa. That is, we can ascribe intent to behavior that a person may not be aware of. Disfunctional people often set themselves up for failure repeatedly without knowing they are doing so, in fact, they may believe that their intent is to avoid the circumstances they are actively creating. Their intent can more realistically be described based on observable behavior than what they claim it is to be. Perception of intent is one point of view, it may not be valid. To put a political spin on it, Obama intends to spread freedom and democracy at the level of his own awareness. (Accept that premise as plausible for the sake of argument) His actions can be ascribed a different intent altogether, his intent should be described based on what can be observed, not what he says it is.

The real power of this is applying it to emergent behavior.

The United States intends to create a frantic, wage slave environment in which people are exploited and turned into debt peons. It intends to create a cultural stew of meaningless distraction, celebrity worship, commodify every social transaction, and a vacuum of social or interpersonal meaning. Whether any one individual is aware of this intent, even those working most actively to further them, is beside the point. A person can only be said to attempt to describe their intent.

This is actionable in one limited sense, as a way to ask outside of yourself what your intentions are. Am I intending to communicate with you right now, support the internet and related industries through personal use, or waste a few minutes of my time whistling past the graveyard on American culture? Its all of the above and then some, though most of the time I choose to be aware of 1 or 2.

d.mantis said...

This is a common theme in Silber's work.

I am partial to this statement:
"A person may expect the satisfaction of desires which that person cannot achieve as a repeatable outcome precisely because that person's memories produce patterns of errors which reinforce the likelihood of programmed blind spot, bias or self-betraying behavior."

And Justin, you mention:
"We often revise memories and intentions, not so often the lessons we've learned once they become decoupled from those memories."

When speaking to other's in my career peer group (professional, advanced degrees etc.) I am amazed how many of them insist on telling stories as precursers to a learned lesson. I find myself playing a game to try to guess the lesson learned before the punchline. I am almost always wrong.

We are a social species that enjoys telling stories or at the very least, prides itself on experience. I think the learned blind-spot is a manifestation of the stories we tell eachother and the subsequent 'lessons learned'. We create the story that informs the lesson we know we should internalize, even if it is self-destructive or against our own interests.

Great post and response.

davidly said...

Great post and response.
I reckon the neural path least taken remains so by default, for one ventures least often in the direction of the most unfamiliar. A fool does not get fooled again so much as simply remains a fool.

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