Freedom and limits

How can I set my mind free of the boundaries and limitation the society has set within thyself? I’m beginning to see how flawed the society really is, within its core, within its religions, within its enslavement of the mind that we call the norm.

[ 20/9/20 ]

An overly simplistic answer to this question could be very dangerous, to you and everyone else.

First one must be able to distinguish (with reasonable reliability) between 3 different classes of boundaries, one class of which is required, one is advisable in most circumstances, and one needs to be seen for what it is.

All form requires boundary.

Without boundary, all is diffuse chaos.

Boundaries are essential.

Every level of complexity has a minimum set of boundaries required for its continued existence.

As human beings, we are the most complex things we yet know of in this universe.

We are composed of at least 15 levels of complex adaptive systems, and every level has sets of boundary conditions required for existence.

Freedom is not freedom from those necessary sets of constraints.

Any freedom that is survivable must respect those constraints/boundaries. Thus all levels of freedom come with necessary sets of responsibilities.

We do not get born with knowledge of the mathematics of quantum mechanics or the evolution of complex adaptive systems (which is deeply complex and deeply context dependent).

What we get born into is some culture, and every culture is some approximation to a set of constraints that was necessary for the survival of those within it in the contexts of the past.

Thus each of us is necessarily dealing with uncertainty, the more certain we are about anything, the more likely it is that we are making major errors, in failing to acknowledge the uncertainty that is necessarily present.

A level of humility is required, and levels of creativity and heroism – all need to be present in mixes appropriate to context.

One of the realities of the evolution of complexity is that all new levels of complexity are based upon new levels of cooperation, and all levels of cooperation require sets of cheat detection and mitigation strategies if they are to survive (and those rapidly develop into ecosystems at every level). If you want a “simple” introduction to that in practice, then spend a few months coming up to speed with the biochemistry of our immune systems, and you will start to become familiar with the first 3 levels of sets of boundaries required for our continued existence.

By the time we get to “post cultural” sapient individuals, then the necessary sets of boundaries present are expressed as some sets of morality at some levels.

All out competition between technologically competent entities is not survivable, not with the levels of biological, chemical, physical, and logical weapon systems and delivery systems we currently have available.

One level that is important to grasp is the idea that what we experience as reality isn’t, and cannot possibly be what reality actually is.

When you spend enough time becoming familiar with how our sensory and neurochemical and cultural systems actually work, then it becomes clear that what makes it through to consciousness is a only a very tiny fraction of the information actually reaching our sensory systems, and it is highly filtered and conditioned by the many levels of systems present.

When one becomes familiar with the mathematics of quantum mechanics, and general relativity in Hilbert space; then one starts to appreciate the levels of interconnectedness necessarily present, and the simplifications of it that we have to make to be able to make any sense at all of it.

Thus we all live in our own personal virtual realities in a perceptual sense, even as we seem to have a physical existence in a shared reality (whatever that actually is).

For each and every one of us, the reality of our experience is one deeply conditioned by our biochemistry and our culture and our experience.

The trick is working out how much of that conditioning is actually necessary and relevant to the current context, and how much is no longer a useful approximation to whatever the real required limits actually are.

Conservatives tend to put more weight on the past, liberals more weight on what the models in use indicate is more probable in the future. In reality, both aspects are required by all of us, and the conservative/liberal divide is one of many examples of an overly simplistic model leading to problems. Nobody is all conservative or all liberal – we are all somewhere on the necessary spectrum between those extremes, and exactly where on the spectrum we each are will vary with context, often in ways we are consciously blind to.

Part of accepting freedom is accepting and acknowledging the diversity that must necessarily result from any real expression of freedom (both within us and in the world beyond).

So what is present that most are blind to?

One piece of false dogma is the idea that competitive markets are the friend of liberty. In reality, competitive systems always lead to a reduction in liberty.

Competition forces systems to some set of minima on the available complexity landscape.

Real freedom is the ability of a system to explore safe regions of the complexity landscape (not be forced into the valleys).

Real freedom can only exist in environments that are based in cooperation.

If there is a cooperative base, then we can build limited competitive systems upon that base that can be a lot of fun. The game of golf is a good example. It has a very cooperative base. If you actually attack a competitor in any way then you are banned from the game for life. That is a very cooperative base.

Our social systems do not currently have such a cooperative base that does in practice guarantee security to all members. That is something that must change, if we are to have a reasonable probability of surviving as a species, with anything that resembles reasonable degrees of freedom.

Cooperation needs to be universal, global and beyond planet earth, between all sapient entities, human and non-human, biological and non-biological. There is no real security for any unless that is so. The math and logic of that is beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt.

Another idea that is common and false is the idea that evolution is all about competition.

Sure, competition can be important in some evolutionary contexts, but if you look at the evolution of complexity, it requires cooperation at every new level in order to survive.

When you actually look closely at how complex ecosystems work, then that is abundantly clear.

So yes certainly, there are many cultural myths that need to be seen as being no longer useful, or to be seen as the overly simplistic and exploitative and controlling strategies that they are; and that has to be done responsibly, acknowledging the values of individual life and individual liberty at all levels of sapience, and the many levels of necessary constraints on what some in their ignorance of the complexity actually present might consider unnecessary constraints on liberty.

Sometimes there are hard won lessons encoded in the myths of our past that we discard too easily by taking a simple literal reading of those myths.

Consider that there does seem to be at least five levels of complexity present that are beyond the level of culture that one first encounters as such. Each of those levels has necessary sets of constraints that are important to their survival. So if we cannot see those, then perhaps some of what appears unnecessary is not as unnecessary as it seems.

And there is no doubt there are many levels of cheating strategy present, and cooperation is required to mitigate them.

We must all accept that we are first and foremost dependent on the biophysical world in ways that few have any real appreciation for.

Respect for biology and culture are necessary for survival.

Welcome to the complexity and responsibility of liberty in a modern context.

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 www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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