Fixing Broken Robots Chapter Notes

The complete chapter notes running alongside Fixing Broken Robots' main text and graphics are posted below for readers' convenience.

Notes - Introduction

[a] Markley, Oliver (2011) Manifesting Upside Recovery Instead of Downside Fear: Five Ways Megacrisis Anticipation Can Proactively Improve Futures Research and Social Policy, Journal of Futures Studies, December 2011, 16(2): 123 - 134

[b] This generation came of age alongside the world wide web. It bridged the gap between prior generations and so called 'digital natives.' It beta tested postindustrial culture. We have been called all sorts of names. First, we were late genX, then it was early genY, now we are apparently 'millennials'. These labels are mostly employed to describe variables in a formula that demographically types us for marketing and other consumer identity related purposes. Whatever. I call us accidentally the generation, because our forbears probably didn't intentionally break the world.

I Accidentally is a catchphrase...that exploits the imagination of English speaking internet users. By constructing a complete sentence that begins with “I accidentally” and then removing the verb, one creates a very confusing sentence left to the imagination.(originated with a 4chan message on May 19th, 2008 according to

This generation inherited a far less prosperous country than its generational predecessor. Our arrival coincided with some big shifts in the ordering of society. As far back as the records go, for example, the number of people incarcerated in this country had been growing at approximately the same rate as our general population. Suddenly, we started putting far more people behind bars, and for far longer. Prior to this, the debt-to-earnings ratio for the average worker had decoupled from its previous trend-line; debt has skyrocketed throughout our lives, while real earnings have remained the same or declined for all but the most wealthy of our citizenry.

By the time accidentally showed up, the manufacturing base of this country had been mostly dismantled and outsourced. The agricultural base of this country was restructured to eliminate the jobs of small-scale, traditional farmers; the education system consolidated to eliminate small, community and neighborhood schools in favor of much larger institutions. The financial system was restructured to reflect and propagate these and other changes. 

Piece by piece, the political process was transformed into a tool of the financial elite, and the regulatory framework put in place to prevent the kinds of power abuses that led to the Great Depression was dismantled. New energy, communication, and information technology infrastructure was developed and installed, which both allowed for and promoted the elimination of logistical 'redundancies'. These eliminated 'redundancies' were often jobs that carried benefits, or safeguards against inevitable yet unforeseeable difficulties.

Coinciding with these and other fundamental changes in the ordering of our society, a new medical industry was born. Discoveries in many areas related to health and biology were translated into legislative, research, treatment, and marketing strategies with increasing rapidity. A few profoundly beneficial practices were put into place, but the massive restructuring of our societal underpinnings made it possible for other, extremely harmful practices to become standardized at the same time. 

These helpful and harmful practices were integrated into our society simultaneously, and differentiating between the two in any meaningful way became so complex as to be time and cost prohibitive for individuals, health care providers, educators, and lawmakers. Meanwhile, further elimination of the means by which to differentiate between helpful and harmful health care practices was made extremely profitable by the economic restructuring that had taken place, so that a powerful incentive existed for the financial elite to promote all new practices, regardless of their actual, long term health benefits. By the year 2000, iatrogenic deaths, produced by medical error, far outnumbered all crime and most disease deaths, yet came to be conspicuously omitted from most cause-of-death charts (Starfield, 2000).

These sorts of things incubated the production of our country at present, wherein more than one third of us will get cancer and one million suicide attempts take place every year. Wherein our economy is collapsing, our government is spying on us, and our medicine is killing us. Wherein our access to genuinely nutritious, whole food has been mostly eliminated, and the means by which to produce this food ourselves have been made largely unavailable to us by economic and legal circumstances.  

 Is US Health Really the Best in the World? Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH JAMA. 2000;284(4):483-485.

[c] Frey, C.B. and M. Osborne. 2013. The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization?_ Oxford Martin School, Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, University of Oxford.,

Notes - The Strange Future, Presently

[d] A World Futures Society publication illustrating popular perspectives on the global megacrisis can be found at:

One of the ways that global leaders approach this crisis is in terms of risk. Since 2006, the World Economic Forum has produced an annual Global Risk Report that tracks and organizes expert perceptions of risk. This accessible report is an excellent window into what the upper echelons of global power are viewing as problematic or immediately threatening. In 2014, economic inequality was treated as a significant risk. This makes sense, and is quite serious. It is also funny, because forum attendees tend to be the sorts of people that actively produce economic inequality. A ticket to attend this high profile international forum cost the equivalent of several tens of thousands of U.S. Dollars.

Beyond such irony, these reports describe how economic and environmental challenges have become problematic in an interrelated, all encompassing, and entirely unmanageable way. Also, the traditionally “liberal” answers to these challenges – namely legislative regulatory action and education reform – were described by WEF experts in 2014 as increasingly ineffective due to conditions in the global economic system. Here are a couple of quotes:

"The deleveraging of the regulated financial system, via higher capital requirements, might force increasing amounts of financial activity outside the regulatory parameter into the shadow banking system in the pursuit of higher returns." (p31)

[Plainspeak translation = Our system is unstable. It will not become more stable unless banks begin to do less gambling and more banking. But the banks want to do less banking and more gambling, because this allows them to take value from our lives directly, by diluting the value of money, without investing their financial assets into our value-producing activities. So the banks are doing what they want, and our system has become too weak and unstable to stop them from this.] 

"Higher education has traditionally been a way of reducing income disparities by enabling people to move up the social ladder, but it may now be starting to entrench income disparities instead, with potentially dire consequences for social cohesion." (p35)

[Plainspeak translation = the system is now rigged to (a) require people of average means to have far more schooling than was once necessary to qualify for jobs that pay adequate wages, and (b) guaranty that such wages will not actually prove adequate to repay the debt accrued by obtaining this schooling.]

From WEF Global Risk Report 2014

[e]  A well organized typology of complex open systems attributes and processes was developed by George Frances at the University of Waterloo, Ontario in:

Francis,G. “Models” for Sustainability Emerge in an Open Systems Context, The Integrated Assessment Journal Vol. 6, Iss. 4 (2006), Pp. 59–77. under cc 3.0)

Frances identifies several attributes and processes of complex open systems:

• Self-organization (morphogenesis through positive feedbacks dominate over negative feedbacks for extended periods of time)
• Emergent properties (the total system includes behaviors that can not be explained by reducing the system to its component parts)
• Driven by exergy dissipation (non-equilibrium thermodynamics transform the sun's energy into varietal systems that dissipate this energy in a structured manner)
• Multiple domains of stability (stable systems can reconfigure into new stable systems when conditions change, and sometimes do so very quickly)
• Hierarchical organization (discontinuities in the distribution of structures across scales — leading to nested hierarchies, pluralities, or ecologies of systems)
• Developmental trajectories (systems that are structured by relatively small set of processes operating across scales co-evolve)
• Strongly influenced by initial conditions of place - such as resources or  constraints (systems have individual histories)
• Phase cycles — including collapses and starting over (no rigid “periodicities”, but rather transformations from one phase into the next)
• Inherent indeterminancies within the systems (changes associated with contingencies and propensities)
• Large realms of uncertainty in knowledge alongside inherent indeterminacies (scenario development is possible, accurate predictions are not)

[f] For an example, see: Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels, M.K. Hubbert, Presented before the Spring Meeting of the Southern District, American Petroleum Institute, Plaza Hotel, San Antonio, Texas, March 7–8-9, 1956
[g] A Comparison of The Limits To Growth With Thirty Years of Reality, authored by Graham Turner and published by Australia-based CSIRO as part of their working paper series 2008-9.

See also: Turner, G. (2014) ‘Is Global Collapse Imminent?’, MSSI Research Paper No. 4, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, The University of Melbourne.
ISBN 978-0-7340-4940-7.

Hall, Charles A. S.; John W. Day (May–June 2009). "Revisiting the Limits to Growth After Peak Oil". American Scientist (Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society/State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry) 97: 230–237.

[h] Jonas Salk's Survival of the Wisest is an example of this. Salk, J. (1973) The Survival of the Wisest (Harper & Row, New York, New York)

For something less conventional see: R. Buckminster Fuller (1982), Critical Path, Macmillan, 1982

[i] Of note is the assumption scattered throughout CIM that human evolution is convergent ... an assumption I believe to be wholly erroneous and largely unsupportable. Evolutionary adaptations are necessarily adaptations to specific environmental contexts, so convergent evolution in humans-as-a-species would likely require an planetary environmental uniformity that does not, ought not, and probably physically can not exist.

It may also be of value to note that these 'images' are not context independent, and may change over time. For example, 'evolutionary transformationalism' as described in CIM is problematic with regard to sustainability. Oliver Markley, CIM's original project director, moved this problem towards resolution with the publication of Research and Action Towards the Upside of Down. In this paper, the evolutionary part of 'evolutionary transformationalism' is elaborated upon, and grounded in the concept of resilience.

The whole of this essay appears to address the necessity for future studies to adapt to our changing circumstances, and offers well-considered conceptual and methodological tools for doing so. The “wild-card” typology described therein may be of particular interest, as it begins to get at areas where properly formulated communicative intervention might serve to mitigate shocks associated with systemic disruptions that are highly probable, yet poorly understood and inaccurately perceived outside of narrowly specialized “expert” fields.

O. W. Markley, Research and Action towards the Upside of Down, The Journal of Future Studies (March 2011, 15(3): 145 – 174)

[j] Varietal circumstances resulting from our way of life have produced and installed into our collective psyche a widespread and arguably severe psychological turmoil. Though exceedingly profitable for pharmaceutical companies, this has obviously not led to any grand rebirth. Instead, it has merely produced an increasingly ubiquitous reliance on the very technological extrapolationism that authored this perpetual crisis.
[k] 'Mechanical solidarity' is the cohesive social order that comes about when a culture is homogenous and kinship-group-centered individuals all share assumptions, lifestyles, and basically believe the same things. As society becomes more complex, it becomes heterogenous, and labor becomes increasingly more specialized. 'Organic solidarity' then replaces the prior social cohesion with bonds of interlocking material dependencies. While Durkheim acknowledges that anomie and social pathologies arise from this upending of the social order, he believed these to be temporary problems in an otherwise perfect march towards progress from 'primitive' to 'advanced'. While this belief is unwarranted, I find his regard for social consciousness as an evolving phenomenon to be interesting and useful. The transition from 'mechanical solidarity' to 'organic solidarity' is described in: Durkheim, E. (1997). The Division of Labor in Society. New York, NY: Free Press.

The TIMN framework is described in: Ronfeldt, David. 1996. Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks: A Framework about Societal Evolution. RAND, Santa Monica, CA.

[l] Habermas' theory of communicative action, on which Costoya heavily draws,  describes the colonization of life (as in Husserl's life-world) by capitalism (which is to say The System). By this, everyday language and symbols are bent to the aims of money and bureaucratic power, which inevitably erodes institutional legitimacy and thus authority in the world as it is considered through the lens of everyday life. This "colonization" is not unlike the operations of “economic man” acting with a technocratic ideology, which is to say “technological extrapolationism” as described in CIM.

Habermas, Jürgen (1984) [1981]. Theory of Communicative Action Volume One: Reason and the Rationalization of Society. Translated by Thomas A. McCarthy. Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-1507-0.

Habermas, Jürgen (1987) [1981]. Theory of Communicative Action Volume Two: Liveworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason. Translated by Thomas A. McCarthy. Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-1401-X. 

Habermas' discourse is apparently related to the second-order cybernetic approach to sociology pioneered largely by Niklas Luhmann. Though the social theories of Habermas and Luhmann have not been entirely reconciled, and their points of divergence are arguably nontrivial, these theories overlap significantly. Because I am an American painter and not a German sociologist, I am not clever enough to precisely measure the significance of this overlap. To be perfectly honest, my grasp of Luhmann is spotty, while Habermas feels impractical and makes my brain sound like clicking. In any case, my preference in thinking about this stuff is to loosely map the biocentric epistemology articulated by Humberto Maturana and Franscisco Varela to social systems ... but I will not bore you with a detailed explanation of why this is my preference, or start tossing around terms like autopoesis.

[m] In addition to the above, Costoya's reliance on Deleuze and Guattari's rhizome – plateau construct brings an entirely different school of thought to the table, one that might just as easily, and perhaps more appropriately, have been represented by Baudrillard's simulacra – simulation construct. What I mean by this is that Costoya appears to have forgotten about the parking lot when he attempts to characterize the Disneylands of complexified life world homologous to social movements, which get named plateaus. He describes only the organizational structure of these as theatrically presented, and misses the distinct infrastructure that supports, and signature dynamics of, the actual theater troupe that assembles this performance. I do not expect you to go out and read Simulations or anything - the point is that the part of civil society that Costoya attempts to describe does not accurately telegraph the way that it is organized when it is doing an action, because such actions are designed, in part, to mask the underlying (perhaps banal) socioeconomic affiliation structure of action participants.  

Also, a description of the 'mycelia metaphor' can be found in:

Conceptualising glocal organisation: from rhizomes to E=mc2 in becoming post-human, Sian Sullivan pp. 149-166 in Kornprobst, M., Pouliot, V., Shah, N. and Zaiotti, R. (eds.) 2008 Metaphors of Globalisation: Mirrors, Magicians and Mutinies, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Notes - The New Economies

[n] For an overview of the shadow banking system, see: Shadow Banking., Zoltan Pozsar, Tobias Adrian, Adam Ashcraft, and Hayley Boesky
Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports, no. 458, July 2010: revised February 2012

[o] 'the informal economy is defined as that component of the overall market in which enterprises, employers and self-employed individuals engage in legal but unregulated activities. While they do not comply with standard business practices, taxation regulations and/or other business reporting requirements, they are otherwise not engaged in overtly criminal activity. It includes both employed and self-employed workers; cash is the most common medium of exchange; and inferior work conditions are commonplace for workers'

Definition from: ELAINE L. EDGCOMB, TAMRA THETFORD, FEBRUARY 2004, The Informal Economy, Making it in Rural America, FIELD ISBN: 0-89843-401-7

[p] John Robb's book 'Brave New War' discusses the implications of this in a T+I+M+N world.

[q] 'Is Informal Normal? Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries', OECD, 2009

America’s Underground Economy: Measuring the Size, Growth and Determinants of Income Tax Evasion in the U.S., Richard Cebula and Edgar L. Feige

Robert Neuwirth, The shadow superpower, Foreign Policy, OCTOBER 28, 2011

Neuwirth, Robert (2011). Stealth of Nations:the Global Rise of the Informal Economy. New York: Pantheon. ISBN 978-0-375-42489-2.

[r] Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link, A Report from the Club of Rome – EU Chapter to Finance Watch and the World Business Academy By Bernard Lietaer, Christian Arnsperger, Sally Goerner and Stefan Brunnhuber, Triarchy Press, 2012

[s] The “cyber” prefix may have been hijacked by pop-culture to describe robot and computer related phenomena, but the field of cybernetics itself is somewhat more generalized, and is really just another means of abstract systematization and modeling of stuff for the purposes of understanding.

Cybernetics is the multidisciplinary study of the organizational principles and feedback-driven dynamics that govern the workings of complex systems. “First order” cybernetic systems are external to, and separate from, the system's observer or “modeler.” This is useful for looking at mechanical systems that consist of easily differentiated component parts. “Second order” cybernetic systems include the observer or modeler as part of the system being modeled.  In these systems, the observer is seen to actively participate in the formation, governance, modification, and reconfiguration of a system and its workings. Second order cybernetics is also called sociocybernetics, and attempts to reconcile the observational subjectivity inherent to our interactive relationship with the systems we participate in with the apparent overall workings of these systems. This is useful for looking at adaptive systems, particularly those involving biological organisms.

Over the years, specialized fields such as information theory, robotics, and genetics have “spun off” from cybernetics, while this central, generalized, transdisciplinary field has quietly proceeded to develop further in the fringes of academia, business, and governance. This further development has taken many divergent courses, as mathematical, philosophical, and other approaches have led practitioners in varietal, sometimes mutually exclusive directions. With the same feedback driven reflexivity that characterizes cybernetics in general, as well as the observer-actor adaptive responsiveness characteristic of sociocybernetics, these divergent courses have interacted indirectly to inform the development of a further “third order” cybernetics.

Third order cybernetics looks at how varietal observers relate in the context of a network. By virtue of this, a meta-systemic interactive space can be seen to emerge as a reconciliation of theoretical, methodological, and perhaps other “pluralisms” (such as ideological, etc.) that paints our own technologically-augmented evolution as convergent, perhaps, but only on a domain of profound multiplicity. As such, the constraints implied by existing as biological organisms on a finite planet beholden to physical laws combine with the binary mediation of information technologies in communications to allow for the theoretical universality of certain human qualities, traits, and processes, while the factually unique nature of every discrete person, place, creature, object, situation, etc. allows the observable panoramic diversity characterizing life and experience to hold an equally universal place in our individual, social, and environmental interactions. 

To abstractly model such “third order” cybernetic systems for the purposes of predictive analysis by traditional means may not be entirely possible. We concretely model these by virtue of existing as ourselves in the world, however, and can thus quite readily apply modeling techniques for reflective analysis processes that can appropriately inform decision-making towards adaptive readiness. This may be prudent to the extent that situations are uncertain, as adaptive readiness is more useful than anticipatory readiness when the degree of uncertainty is high. In other words, preparing ourselves to improvise is a better plan than attempting to plan with an inadequate understanding of what to plan for.
  Jon-Arild Johannessen and Arnulf Hauan, Communication—A systems theoretical point of view (third-order cybernetics) Systemic Practice and Action Research Volume 7, Number 1, 63-73, DOI: 10.1007/BF02169165

[t] To elaborate on this way of considering systems: Every complex system may be considered to possess static (what are its operational constants?), dynamic (what are its operational variables?), structural (how is it organized?), and genetic (how does it iterate?) characteristics. This way of looking at systems is loosely adapted from 'Tetrasociology' as introduced by Leo Semashko in:

 SEMASHKO, L.M., PhD.,(2002)  TETRASOCIOLOGY: RESPONSES TO CHALLENGES , Editors of the English edition: Professor J.Rex and Dr B.Scott, England. Published by Technical University,  St.Petersburg,  ISBN 5-7422-0263-4 )

[u] Wilkinson, R. G., & Pickett, K. E. (2006). Income Inequality and Population Health: a review and explanation of the evidence.  Social Science & Medicine, 62(7), 1768-1784.

[v] Xinyue Zhou,1 Kathleen D. Vohs,2 and Roy F. Baumeister, The Symbolic Power of Money, Psychological Science June 2009 vol. 20 no. 6 700-706

LeWitt PA, Kim S. The pharmacodynamics of placebo: Expectation effects of price as a proxy for efficacy. Neurology 2015;84:1-2.

Espay AJ, Norris MM, Eliassen JC, Dwivedi A, Smith MS, Banks C, et al. Placebo effect of medication cost in parkinson disease: A randomized double-blind study. Neurology 2015; 0: WNL.0000000000001282v1-101212000

[w] "Paine would have given everyone 15 pounds at age 21 and 10 pounds per year to everyone at least age 50 for life. 15 pounds in 1797 would be equivalent to approximately $17,500 today." in Bruce Bartlett, Rethinking the Idea of a Basic Income for All, New York Times, December 10, 2013

References Agrarian Justice in: Paine, T., (2004). Common Sense. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

[x] 1970s' Manitoba poverty experiment called a success, CBC News, Mar 25, 2010

Evelyn L. Forget (February 2011). "The Town with No Poverty—Using Health Administration Data to Revisit Outcomes of a Canadian Guaranteed Annual Income Field Experiment". University of Manitoba.

[y] Widerquist, K. and Lewis, M.A. (2006) ‘An efficiency argument for the Basic Income Guarantee’, Int. J. Environment, Workplace and Employment, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp.21–43.

Zwolinski, Matt, Classical Liberalism and the Basic Income (September 8, 2010). Basic Income Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Hughes, J. (2014) A Strategic Opening for a Basic Income Guarantee in the Global Crisis Being Created by AI, Robots, Desktop Manufacturing and BioMedicine, Journal of Evolution and Technology - Vol. 24 Issue 1 – February 2014 - pgs 45-61

[z] Although it is extremely popular to approach basic human needs and the satisfaction thereof in terms of a hierarchy along the lines of Abraham Maslow's theory, this approach does not easily provide the basis for an equitable system of economic exchange in a diverse human ecology. Maslow's theory, grounded in 1940's psychology, appears unable to adequately cope with subjectivity or with the possibility that there may be varietal degrees of priority placed on various needs according to a person's values in a heterogenous society. Max Neef, on the other hand, grounds his theory in economics, specifically addresses the subjective nature of needs-as-experienced, and yet maintains that satisfying subsistence and protection needs is universally prioritized.

Maslow, A.H. (1943), Psychological Review, 50, 370-396

A description of the 'fundamental human needs' matrix can be found in:
Real-Life Economics: Understanding Wealth Creation, ed. Paul
Ekins & Manfred Max-Neef, Routledge, London, 1992, pp. 197-213.

A systematic look at synergy types can be found in:
Corning, P. A. (1995), Synergy and self-organization in the evolution of complex systems. Syst. Res., 12: 89–121. doi: 10.1002/sres.3850120204

[A] A school of thought with roots in: Malthus T.R. 1826. An Essay on the Principle of Population, Sixth Edition, App.I.6.

Malthus used a trick of numbers to argue that England would soon run dangerously short of food because agricultural yields could not possibly keep up with how quickly poor people were reproducing. His work was predicated on flawed assumptions and faulty logics - the most egregious of which is the erroneous attribution of resource scarcity to environmental conditions, rather than to human misuse of land and labor - but this work nonetheless became extremely popular with the wealthy because it treated the poor poorly. It remains influential today for approximately the same reason, but this influence has become so diffuse that its actual arguments are typically lost on those that accept its conclusions.

Today, when people speak of Malthusian scarcity, they often mean, simply, 'scarcity' or 'overpopulation' - and utterly fail to grasp that Malthusian scarcity holds the power elite blameless for the wholesale misuse of resources that has resulted in nearly all of the present world's current and impending resource shortages. This important detail is best summed up in a quote:

 "Today’s debates about such issues as welfare, the minimum wage and immigration continue to be influenced by obscurantist Malthusian arguments which re-affirm the privileges of the few over the hopes of the many."

Quote from: Ross, Eric B. 1998. The Malthus factor: population, poverty, and politics in capitalist development. Zed Books, London, 1998.

[B] Bruno Latour's 'actor-network theory' speaks to our crossing of this threshold in general, holding that, "the very idea of individual and of society is simply an artifact of the rudimentary way data are accumulated. The sheer multiplication of digital data has rendered collective existence (I don’t use the adjective social anymore) traceable in an entirely different way than before. ... Instead of THE individual versus society Problem, we are now faced with the multiple and fully reversible combinations of highly complex individual constituents and multiple and fully reversible aggregates. The center stage is now occupied by the navigational tools."

From: Networks, Societies, Spheres – Reflections of an Actor-Network Theorist, Keynote Lecture, Annenberg School of Design, Seminar on Network Theories, February 2010, published in the International Journal of Communication special issue edited by Manuel Castells Vol 5, 2011, pp. 796-810.

Notes - There are No Unicorns in a +N World

[C] See: Northern white rhino put down at San Diego zoo leaving just three worldwide, November 23, 2015, The Guardian/Associated Press,

[D] Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are evolving in our human ecology as a result of selection pressure introduced by the widespread use of antibacterial soap, overuse of antibiotics in industrial medicine, and perhaps other factors. 'Superweeds' (along with 'super bugs', etc.) are evolving as a result of selection pressure introduced by the saturation of our environment with pesticide such as glyphosate - itself a consequence of companies like Monsanto bioengineering seeds to tolerate dramatically increased exposure to these poisons manufactured by these companies.

[E] Eighty, the original figure, was obtained from: Seery, Emma; Caistor Arendar, Ana (2014) Even it Up: Time to end extreme inequality, Oxfam International ISBN 978-1-78077-721-4
The revised figure of sixty-two came from OXFAM's 2016 follow up breifing titled, "An Economy for the 1%" , which can be found at:

[F] For an in-depth study on how abruptly a culture's psychosocial cohesion can disappear after the slow erosion of traditionally-held beliefs, see: Sorenson, Richard E. (1998), Preconquest Consciousness in Tribal Epistemologies: Essays in the Philosophy of Anthropology, Helmut Wautischer, ed.,Ashgate Pub Ltd 

Notes - Introduction to the Trancewar

[G] Here is a list of the sources that I recall consulting for this section, ordered by first listed author's last name:

Abelson, R., P., K., & P., A. (2004). Experiments with People. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Asch, S.E. (1955) Opinions and social pressure. Scientific American, November 1955 Vol. 193, No. 5 PP. 31-35

Ditto, P.H., & Lopez, D.F. (1992) Motivated Skepticism: Use of Differential decision criteria for preferred and nonpreferred conclusions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 568-584.

Janet Metcalfe Eich, A Composite Holographic Associative Recall Model, Psychological Review 1982, Vol 89, No. 6, 627-661

Russell H. Fazio, Mark P. Zanna and Joel Cooper, Dissonance and self-perception: An integrative view of each theory's proper domain of application Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Volume 13, Issue 5, September 1977, Pages 464-479.

Leon Festinger & James M. Carlsmith (1959) Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 203-210

Frey, D (1986) Recent Research on selective exposure to information. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 19, 1986, Pages 41-80

Galinsky, A. D. et al. (2006) Power and Perspectives Not Taken. Psychological Science December 2006 vol. 17 no. 12 1068-1074

T. Poggio, (1973) On Holographic Models of Memory Kybernetik 12,237-238

H.G. Pope et al.,(2006) Is Dissociative amnesia a culture-bound syndrome? Findings from a survey of historical literature, Psychological Medicine 2007 Feb;37(2):225-33. Epub 2006 Dec 7.

Roediger, H.L. & McDermott, K.B. (1995). Creating false memories: remembering words not presented in lists.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 21, No. 4. (1995), pp. 803-814.

Ross, L. (1977) The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortion in the Attribution Process.  Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 10 (1977)

Daniel L. Schacter Implicit Memory: History and Current Status, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 1987, Vol. 13, No. 3. 501-518

Daniel L. Sehacter, C.-Y. Peter Chiu, Kevin N. Ochsner (1993) Implicit Memory: A Selective Review Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 1993. /6:159-82

P. K. Smith et al, (2008) Lacking Power impairs executive function. Psychological Science May 1, 2008 vol. 19 no. 5 441-447

K.A. Wade et al., False Claims about False Memory Research, Consciousness and Cognition 16 (2007)18-28

[H] Sunstein successfully advised the executive branch of the US Federal government to escalate and modernize the trancewar by transforming a practice called 'cognitive infiltration' into public policy. Currently he writes for Bloomberg News.]

[I] See: Cass R. Sunstein & Adrian Vermeule, "Conspiracy Theories", University of Chicago Public Law & Legal Theory Working Paper No.199, 2008
In last quoted sentence, this paper cites: ROGER BROWN, SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: THE SECOND EDITION 202–26 (2003)

[J] This is funny because Sunstein and Vermule elaborate some SPIN mechanics - perhaps accidentally. These same mechanics produce a similar class of thinking errors throughout our psychosocial ecology, and without respect to aggregate norms or political legitimacy.

As to the claim of inceasing social atomization: "In 1985, the General Social Survey (GSS) collected the first nationally representative data on the confidants with whom Americans discuss important matters ... Discussion networks are smaller in 2004 than in 1985. The number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled."
From: McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Brashears, M. E.. (2006). Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades. American Sociological Review, 71(3), 353–375.

[K] Here is a list of references corresponding to the bracketed numbers:

[1] Ross, L. (1977) The intuitive psychologist and his shortcomings: Distortion in the Attribution Process. Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 10 (1977)

[2] Kohn, A. (1999) Punished By Rewards. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 125(6), Nov 1999, 627-668.

[3]Frey, D (1986) Recent Research on selective exposure to information. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 19, 1986, Pages 41-80

[4] Asch, S.E. (1955) Opinions and social pressure...Scientific American November 1955 VOL. 193, NO. 5 PP. 31-35

[5] Milgrim, S. & Sabini, J. (1978) On maintaining urban norms: a field experiment in the subway In A. Baum, J. E. Singer, & S. Valins (Eds.), Advances in environmental psychology, Vol. 1 (pp. 31-40). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

[6] Bassili, J.N., & Provencal, A. (1988) Perceiving minorities: a factor-analytic approach, Personality and  Social  Psychology Bulletin, March 1988 vol. 14 no. 1 5-15

[7] Bond, C.F.,Jr. & Titus, L.T. (1983) Social Facilitation: A Meta Analysis of 241 Studies. Review of General Psychology, Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2003, Pages 331-363

[8] Milgrim, S. (1963). The Behavioral Study of Obedience Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371–378.

[9] Galinsky, A. D. et al. (2006) Power and Perspectives Not Taken. Psychological Science December 2006 vol. 17 no. 12 1068-1074

[10] P. K. Smith et al, (2008) Lacking Power impairs executive function. Psychological Science May 1, 2008 vol. 19 no. 5 441-447

[11] Galinsky, A. D. et al (2008) Desire to Acquire: Powerlessness and compensatory consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, October 2008

[12] Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1981) The Framing of Decisions and the Rationality of Choice.  Science, New Series, Vol. 211, No. 4481. (Jan. 30, 1981), pp. 453-458

[13] Roediger, H.L. & McDermott, K.B. (1995). Creating false memories: remembering words not presented in lists.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol. 21, No. 4. (1995), pp. 803-814.

[14] Janet Metcalfe Eich, A Composite Holographic Associative Recall Model, Psychological Review 1982, Vol 89, No. 6, 627-661

[15] Ditto, P.H., & Lopez, D.F. (1992) Motivated Skepticism: Use of Differential decision criteria for preferred and nonpreferred conclusions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 568-584.

[16] Leon Festinger & James M. Carlsmith (1959) Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 203-210


[18] Russell H. Fazio, Mark P. Zanna and Joel Cooper, Dissonance and self-perception: An integrative view of each theory's proper domain of application Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Volume 13, Issue 5, September 1977, Pages 464-479.

[19] Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1999, Vol. 77, No. 6. ] 121-1134

[20] Xinyue Zhou,1 Kathleen D. Vohs,2 and Roy F. Baumeister, The Symbolic Power of Money, Psychological Science June 2009 vol. 20 no. 6 700-706

[L] By the mid 1950's, Wilhelm Reich had settled in the US, where his attempts to promote the healing power of sexual energy did not go over too well with the psychosocial control regime. To say his work was censored is putting it mildly. For example, Wikipedia mentions that: "On August 23 (1956) six tons of Reich's books, journals and papers were burned in New York, in the Gansevoort incinerator, the public incinerator on 25th Street. The material included copies of several of his books, including The Sexual Revolution, Character Analysis and The Mass Psychology of Fascism." Wilhelm Reich died shortly thereafter in a US prison.

[M] Obviously, one of the most effective and thoroughly employed means of repression by a control regime is the artificial isolation and removal of opportunities to access necessary resources. Organized control over resource access is part of the basis for what we have come to call civilization. Debates over political strategies for organizing this access are ongoing, and are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

Notes - Our Information Ecology

[N] At this point,there is no such thing as disconnecting from the internet, either, because everybody casts digital shadows somewhere in the datascape. Even those that have never heard of the internet.

[O] Marsh, L., & Onof, C. Stigmergic epistemology, stigmergic cognition, Cognitive Systems Research (2007), doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2007.06.009

[P] Dator, James A., Sweeney, John A., Yee, Aubrey M (2014) Mutative media: Communications and power relations in the past, present, and futures, Springer, ISBN 978-3-319-07809-0

[Q] Kropotkin, P., Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (2009 paperback ed.). London: Freedom Press. ISBN 1-90449-110-3

[R] The term 'progress' is often used in such a way as to imply - falsely - that movement along a given pathway of societal development is and has been an inevitable thing, as in ,"The March of Progress." For a variety of reasons that I will not bore you with here, I think this is hogwash. 

[S] Jonah Lehrer, The Truth Wears Off, The New Yorker, December 13, 2010

[T] Quote from: Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2005). "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False". PLoS Medicine 2 (8): e124. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

See also: Schooler, J., Unpublished results hide the decline effect; Nature Feb 24;470(7335):437 (2011) | doi:10.1038/470437a

Tellingly, fields such as mathematics and physics do not appear to exhibit the decline effect. Physics experiments, for example, tend to be extremely accurate, robust, and replicable. Their results do not change over time. One million people could perform one million quantum erasure experiments all over the world - or even up in space - and get the same result every time. And the results of the quantum erasure experiment will make it clear, one million out of one million times, that the future can and does act upon the past according to how the past is presently observed to have occurred. So, without even getting into funny stuff like entanglement, it may be reasonable to speculate that physics readily accommodates the way that observational biases influence our test results when we use the instruments of physics to poke at reality.

That cold hard physics may accommodate these biases by at least some identifiable mechanisms introduces the possibility that fields related to the mind or body simply accommodate the influence of these biases by other mechanisms; that our unconscious influence over how we find the world to be is somewhat responsible for how we consciously find the world to be, and can not be entirely filtered out of the ways that we look at the world. This is not at all a radical concept. Its elements have been elaborated and debated, and form - for example - some of the basis for the field of second order cybernetics.

[U] There are lots of examples in the literature that suggest unconscious thinking can and does sometimes give rise to complex actions unbeknownst to the person carrying these actions out. Here are a couple:

Marien, H., Custers, R., Hassin, R. R., & Aarts, H. (2012, June 11). Unconscious Goal Activation and the Hijacking of the Executive Function. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0028955

Ruud Custers, et al. The Unconscious Will: How the Pursuit of Goals Operates Outside of Conscious Awareness; Science 329, 47 (2010);DOI: 10.1126/science.1188595

[V] This reconsideration concerns several pressing issues. One of these is the largely academic problem of reconciling the biases of increasingly diverse, specialized scientific disciplines with each other and emerging areas of research. The philosophical basis for solving this problem has been well elaborated in 'A revolutionary kind of science' by Adam Kisby.

See: Kisby, Adam (2013) A Revolutionary Kind of Science, Woven Strings Publishing.

This book concerns 'anomalistics' (the study of scientific anomalies) as elaborated by Roger Wescott - and focuses on critiquing the current standard methods for conducting research into anomalous phenomena (which is typically done according to four principals - 'Testability', 'Parsimony', 'Burden of Proof', and 'Proportionality of Evidence' - as articulated by Marcello Truzzi).

Kisby finds that these principals "preclude from scientific consideration whole classes of bona fide phenomena: The unverifiable, the unmeasurable, the undetectable, the unfalsifiable, the irreducibly complex, the chaotic, the nonlinear, the unexpected, the unwanted, the unexplainable, the uncommon, the unusual, and the unique."

A Revolutionary Kind of Science then proceeds to introduce four principals that may be a better fit for 'anomalistics' (which I read as alt science research) than the current paradigm:
1.) Mappability (the territory of the data should dictate the map of the theory),
2.) Plentitude (the map of theory should be complex enough to accommodate the territory of data),
3.) Suspended Judgement (data should be accepted - neither believed nor disbelieved per se - regardless of their relative degrees of certainty,
4.) Truly Proportional Evidence (phenomena that occur less frequently should be expected to produce fewer data; phenomena that occur irregularly should be expected to produce irregular data)

While 'A Revolutionary Kind of Science' does not turn out to be all that revolutionary, it does very neatly describe some problems common to interdisciplinary research. Importantly, it presents solutions to these problems just as neatly - and articulates a set of methodological standards that may be applied to interdisciplinary research (including paranormal research) to (a) make this work more fruitful and (b) possibly make this work appear more legitimate to the scientific mainstream.

[W] Milgrim, S. (1963). The Behavioral Study of Obedience Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371–378.

[X] Distributed surveillance technologies such as 'smart phones' work together with more centrally controlled societal monitoring-and-response to effect a broad and diffuse new form of rigid psychosocial control. Programs that combine networks of cameras and other sensing devices (such as comprise the 'internet of things') with machine learning are increasingly used to make judgements about things such as security threats. 

[Y] Puthoff, H. and Targ, R. (1974) "Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding," Nature, Vol. 252, pp. 602-607.

[Z] J. E. Kennedy, Journal of Parapsychology, 2005, Volume 69, pp.263-292

Notes - Multi-Polar Holy War

[aa] See: More plastics than fish by 2050 - World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company, The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics 2016,

[bb] From: Bodenheimer, T., Chen, E., & Bennett, H. D. (2009). Confronting the growing burden of chronic disease: can the US health care workforce do the job?. Health Affairs, 28(1), 64-74. Although the increase of chronic illnesses is often framed in terms of demographic changes resulting from an ageing population - perhaps combined with pats-on-the-back all around for having done a good job of diminishing the impacts of many infectious diseases - such framing of the issue fails to capture influences related to the deterioration of food quality, environmental toxicity, new psychosocial stresses to which we are exposed, and so forth. 

[cc] 2014 numbers from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and CDC data. In part, these numbers may seem high due to the tendency of the 'biomedical model' to regard all deviations from an imaginary norm - along with many reasonable responses to unreasonable circumstances or authorities - as signs of illness. By this, patterns of thinking and behavior that are inconvenient to the aims of the psychosocial control regime - regardless of whether or not they are harmful - are pathologized into labels that are broadly stigmatized in our society. But there is more to the story.

Industrial medicine itself - being the marriage of a reductive materialist ideology to a for-profit healthcare system - appears to be a big part of the problem. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that treating human beings like mechanical devices regardless of their social and psychological dimensions is a piss-poor way to foster psychological wellness. In broad strokes, Industrial medicine is bad at addressing mental health due to its persistent:
- Failure to elucidate the biological basis of mental disorder
- Promotion of unsubstantiated chemical imbalance claims
- Failure to reduce stigma
- Lack of innovation and poor long-term outcomes associated with psychotropic medications
From: Deacon BJ. (2013) The biomedical model of mental disorder: a critical analysis of its validity, utility, and effects on psychotherapy research.Clin Psychol Rev. 2013 Nov;33(7):846-61. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.09.007.

[dd] My generalizations understate the issue: "By age 23, 49 percent of black males, 44 percent of Hispanic males and 38 percent of white males have been arrested." From: "Nearly Half Of Black Males, 40 Percent Of White Males Are Arrested By Age 23: Study", Simon McCormack, Huffington Post, January 6, 2014. Retrieved 3/10/16

The above article relies on a study with a large sample size (that excludes arrest for minor traffic infractions) which states that, "by age 23 about 49% of Black males have been arrested (vs. about 38% for White males)." 
Brame, R., Bushway, S. D., Paternoster, R., & Turner, M. G. (2014). Demographic patterns of cumulative arrest prevalence by ages 18 and 23. Crime & Delinquency, 60(3), 471-486.

[ee] For starters, from my perspective, the idea that the contest between capitalism and communism remains any kind of 'Great Struggle' is wrong. Historically, this political divide has amounted to little more than an argument over which preferred segment of the population controls a socially-supported monopoly on money creation and violence. Also, the distinction between capital and labor is routinely mis-characterized. Labor is simply a form of capital. Money is a form of capital that relies upon a strategy of information-sharing to facilitate the production of synergy in interactions amongst other forms of capitol such as labor. Both forms of capital, as well as 'contests' between them, are often misused - which is to say employed in such a way as to destroy value.

The current embodiment of 'capitalism' - being the widespread embrace of neo-liberalism and neo-colonialism in international trade and relations around which our economy is organized - punctuated the transition from a T+I world to a T+I+M world that slowly unfolded after the Second World War and became the global standard in the 1990's. While this was probably just an overreaction to the problems of Fordist economics based on the nation-state model and underwritten by Keynesian ideology, it normalized friendly fascism. This provides both the protections of socialism and the freedoms of capitalism to a stateless global elite, and organizes everybody else according to this elite group's preferences. In transitioning to a +N world, beyond a localized scale, the only political choice that presently appears evident is between contemporary embodiments of feudalism and fascism. Neither choice appears acceptable to me. Luckily, we can probably come up with something better. 

[ff] Money is useful in a complex society, while the manner in which money is created and distributed in our complex society is extremely problematic. Returning to the 'gold standard' would solve some of the problems associated with our fiat-currency-based monetary system, but would not solve the fundamental problem of power built into this system. Neither would nationalizing banks and making governments entirely responsible for creating and distributing money. Both approaches give power over money to a much smaller number of people than are responsible for creating the value exchanged in society that money ostensibly represents, which tends to result in money and power being concentrated into fewer and fewer hands over time.

This is an old problem. (For example, although Luke 8:18 speaks to the importance of epistemological soundness rather than to the nature of money per se, this passage may be taken out of context and re-interpreted to suggest that the rich have naturally gotten richer since biblical times: "Be careful therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he thinks he has.")

Fortunately, the monetary system is an information technology, and our embrace of this class of technologies has led to their becoming extremely advanced and widely accessible. The technical limitations that shaped previous thinking about and implementations of monetary systems no longer stand in the way of solving this old problem. In a practical sense, money is a measure of impersonal power over others; power which is inherently coercive to the extent that money is (a) required to live, (b) artificially scarce, (c) inequitably distributed, and (d) obtainable only by serving the interests of those already in possession of it. The system of money keeps track of who has how much impersonal power over others at what point in time. Technically speaking, it is possible to create a monetary system that keeps track of these things, but creates money as value is created and stimulates economic exchange by decomposing the value of money created in this way over time. There are legal, psychological, and social barriers to establishing and sustaining such a system in any kind of widespread manner.

In theory, of course, any group of people can voluntarily issue their own debt to each other interest-free. In its most simple and egalitarian form, people do this without thinking, no one keeps track of 'debts' because people trust each other, and everything works out. Often called a 'gift economy,' this tends not to work when people act selfishly and treat each other poorly. There are 'community currencies' that introduce extrinsic accountability to ensure fairness by keeping track of such interest-free debt issuance. To varying degrees of success, community currencies augment the artificially limited supply of national currency in local areas by serving as a medium of exchange for goods and services that are permitted by our regulatory framework to be denominated in other-than-national-currency terms. Because taxes are only denominated in national currency, and non-payment of taxes results in the loss of property, such community currencies are naturally limited in scope. Also, as our tax base continues contracting while the demand for government services continues to increase, recording transactional information involving such community currencies in any centralized,  remotely accessible manner may disproportionately expose users of such currencies to excessive future tax burdens.

Because banks issue money, however, it is theoretically possible that the right manner of negotiating tactics could be developed to persuade some of these to issue money for generalized remedying of distribution disparities to specialized non-profit business or other groups at zero or negative interest in exchange for tax, public relations, or other incentives. It may also be possible to carefully shift money out of parasitic investments and into activities that produce real value over time by developing value production systems which are actually holistically sustainable and not dependent on neo-feudal pay-to-play rent seeking or neocolonial consumerism expansion schemes.

[gg] The standard model of drug addiction is an excellent example of such a superstition. Bruce Alexander's 'rat park' experiments started highlighting some of the standard model's fundamentally wrong assumptions about addiction in the 1970's. (See his website for more: But by then the superstitious belief in the magical power of pharmaceutical determinism in 'balancing brain chemistry' was becoming increasingly profitable, and combined with the distinctly American glorification of puritanism-in-all-things to make drug prohibition politically expedient for a corrupt federal government.

A 1994 interview with Watergate co-conspirator John Ehrlichman clarifies that: “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Published in: Legalize It All: How to win the war on drugs, Dan Baum, Harper's Magazine, April 2016 issue (

The scientific community is beginning to admit their mistake and explicitly state that drug prohibition policies were founded on faulty science and have done far more harm than good to societal health. For an example of this, see: Public health and international drug policy, Csete, Joanne et al., The Lancet (forthcoming - released online March 24, 2016),

But such policies have become entrenched in many institutions, and the superstitions underneath them persist in thinking throughout our society.   

[hh] Dollars can be used to temporarily purchase protection from intolerable systemic conditions. It is easy to protect a poor person from the psychosocial conditions that systematically screw over the poor by giving this person a sufficient number of dollars to avoid these conditions. Dollars can also be used to directly purchase and modify systems or system components and therefore facilitate improvements to the conditions these systems produce. And investments can be tailored to cultivate social and environmental value alongside financial returns in an increasing number of ways. But 'voting with dollars' has very little impact on systemic conditions when narrowly defined in terms of individual consumer preferences. And voting with votes has no immediate effect on systemic conditions except in exceedingly rare circumstances.

[ii] My use of the term 'soldiers' to refer to police is observably accurate but legally inaccurate. Despite systematic and centrally-directed militarization of police forces (such as has occurred through the Pentagon's 1033 program and by various other mechanisms), our country's approximately one million sworn officers are not currently regarded as soldiers constituting a standing army by our court system as per: Mitchell v. City of Henderson, No. 2:13–cv–01154–APG–CWH, 2015 WL 427835 (D. Nev. Feb. 2, 2015) - which was a recent ruling on 3rd amendment protections (ref. "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law"). Incidentally, this ruling would also seem to imply that when organized, militarized groups steal from people (such as through 'civil asset forfeiture') to fund their extremely inflated budgets in cooperation with federal authorities (by a procedure currently termed 'equitable sharing'), and then use the proceeds to pay these not-technically-soldiers the wages by which they procure lodging, it is not considered a violation of 3rd amendment rights.

[jj] Importantly, the ideas presented herein can be used to rationalize various procedures for obtaining information from non-ordinary states of consciousness, and provide language that makes it easier to translate such information into everyday understandings. Oliver Markley, Ph.D. describes a methodology for bringing such information into conscious awareness in:

Markley, O. (2012). Imaginal visioning for prophetic foresight. Journal of Futures Studies, 17(1), 5-24. (an expanded version of this is available at

He also considers the role of such information in helping us to navigate the shifts into which our society has proceeded in:

Markley, O. (2015). Aspirational guidance for wiser futures: toward open-sourced ascension from ego-centric to eco-centric human communities. Foresight, 17(1), 1-34. (an expanded version of this is available at

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