Comfort Zone

Your Comfort Zone May Destroy The World

Sadly, staying in our ideological comfort zones has put us on a path to world destruction.

Your comment “Living in an echo chamber is not an evolutionarily stable strategy” is not necessarily true. If the echo chamber presents a stable environment, then evolutionary theory suggest that life forms will evolve to live there.

“Death of Truth” – the idea of “Truth” hasn’t died yet – it needs to.

It is now clear, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that none of us have “Truth”. Reality is so complex, that all anyone can have is some reasonable approximation to something that is usually fit for current purpose. Nothing more than that is even logically possible once one comes to terms with the shear numeric scale of reality, with Heisenberg uncertainty, with chaos theory, with maximal computational complexity, with complexity theory, with games theory leading to generalised spaces of algorithms and strategies which both appear infinite, with an infinite set of infinities, …..

Agreed that comfort zones are dangerous, in the bigger picture, and they are also, by definition comfortable. They represent a low point in the particular topology that is the multiple stable state equilibria defined by the particular sets of genetics and experiences and probabilities to action that defines the many levels of systems that are any particular individual.

Completely agree that “The best way to get the world back on track is to do our best to understand each other.”

That is a really complex thing.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last 12 years in one particular community consensus decision making project developing a coastal management strategy (within which I hold the treasurer role amongst others). I chair one charitable trust, one recreational interest group, one national body, and a district body charged with developing a water management strategy through a consensus community process. I’m also active in the AI community, several economics communities, several political groups, several conservation groups and in several existential risk communities internationally. And as my day job I run a software company.

I have been actively working for over 40 years to disinvent the concept of money, which is clearly, to me, a construct based in scarcity, which was arguably of benefit when our environment was characterised by real scarcity, but in our current age of exponential advances in automation, a scarcity based value set (based in markets and exchange values) actively works against the long term interests of everyone. It is now, clearly, to me, with the particular sets of conceptual understandings I have, the single greatest existential risk facing humanity. We need to transcend it. And doing so is not simple. Doing so requires persistence.

So yes – in a sense your thesis does accurately model aspects of our current reality, and it completely misses a much more important, and much deeper reality.

There is a very real sense in which everything you describe is actually the natural systemic outcome of a scarcity based set of values operating in minds that evolution has, through the deep time of our ancestral past, tuned to preferentially focus attention on threats rather than opportunities. That fact has been exploited by many levels of our current scarcity based economic system and past based political systems.

Using the past as a predictor in times of exponential paradigm change is not a stable strategy, however much it may be comfortable to our monkey brains.

Once one takes the time and effort to develop a probability based understanding of understanding itself; to build a model of ourselves that sees our experience as being of a subconsciously created (and slightly predictive) model of reality, rather than of reality itself; then that level of abstraction – of modelling models within models – builds a very different sort of understanding from that one gets from accepting the Platonic notion of Truth (and living in that particular echo chamber).

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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