Rights and responsibilities

Facebook post by Diana Paulikas

[ 7/10/20 Facebook post by Diana Paulikas (#workprocastination) on “The American experiment”]

The last time I was in Washington DC I literally wept as I read the inscriptions on the buildings and sidewalks that held such promise, but the actual experience is one of lies and distortions and deceit at so many levels. DC is the most profound example of Newspeak currently embodied in the world.

Rights only work if accompanied by responsibilities.

Truth no longer applies to the system if there are market interests (they are specifically excluded in law).

The system has been doomed by taking three overly simplistic (and essentially wrong) positions:

1 – equating liberty with competitive markets, when in reality liberty is much more closely related to cooperation and diversity at all levels;

2 – equating evolution with competition, when in reality all new levels of complexity in evolved systems are based upon new levels of cooperation, and all levels of cooperation require evolving sets of cheat detection and removal strategies if they are to survive (and in this sense, it is the cheating strategies that need to be removed, not the agents exhibiting those strategies; the agents must pay a penalty and that penalty must be within quite narrow bounds if the system is to actually survive);

3 – assuming that all levels of complexity can be reduced to simple binaries. That is not so. Sure, when faced with severe constraints binaries can be useful to provide rapid responses, and most of the complexity that actually exists most of the time requires far greater depths of uncertainty and diversity than can be accommodated with simple binaries. A two party political system guarantees political failure in today’s world of multiple levels of extremely complex systems. A world based on simple ideas of True and False cannot deal effectively with uncertainty and novelty; and today’s complex world demands of all of us a respect for and acceptance of complexity, uncertainty and novelty. And sure, under the stress of immediate threat falling back to simple binaries has real utility, but how often is such stress real, and how often is it manufactured by some level of agents for the control of other levels of agents?

The American experiment needs to survive, and it needs to survive in a way that allows all levels of agent to express their best approximation to what seems most likely to be real; and it needs to appropriately punish the generation and distribution of deliberate misinformation at any and all levels; and that must be balanced against the absolute right of all to speak their best approximation to truth. Free speech in the sense of the freedom to speak that is intended to improve the accuracy of the models and understandings in use must be allowed and protected; where as speech designed to degrade or impede the development of such must be discouraged. And that will be difficult for many who believe dogmas that have actually been disproven beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt.

There will eternally be uncertain boundaries at multiple levels in any such system. That is essential to any real embodiment of the notion of freedom. Accepting that logically inescapable fact will be difficult for many who prefer the simplistic certainty of one “Truth” at some level.

And boundaries are essential for the survival of structure, at all levels.

So there will eternally be difficult conversations as those boundaries are approached (any level).

We seem to be far too close to (or beyond) many levels of such boundaries right now.

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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