Why is the world still suffering from covid-19?

Why the world still suffering from covid-19?

[ 2/September/21 ]

The real answer is really complex, and probably the biggest single contributor to the mix is that the interests of money do not place a high value on self aware life. And the reasons for that are complex.

Objective reality (OR) seems to be sufficiently complex and contain sufficient classes of fundamental uncertainties and unknowables, that all computational entities have to make simplified models of it to make any sense of it at all. For human beings, most of that simplification happens subconsciously, before the information gets presented to consciousness as experience. So we all, necessarily, get to experience our own personal Virtual Reality (VR) versions, of whatever Objective Reality (OR) actually is. No escape from that, even in theory. Most of the time, for all of our ancestors, it worked at least well enough to allow them to survive long enough to have offspring. This seems to apply at every level of perception, culture, story, ethics and beliefs.

So we all have many levels of more or less simple systems and ideas that worked well enough for our ancestors in their contexts, but might not be quite as reliable for us in our rapidly changing technological present.

That seems to apply to quite a few ideas.

1/ The idea that the value generated and measured in markets is a reasonable proxy for human value more generally. This was arguably a reasonable assumption when most goods and services were in fact genuinely scarce, but as automation has allowed us to make ever larger classes of goods and services potentially available in universal abundance, market measures of value start producing ever greater levels of perverse incentives and failure modalities. This is because anything universally abundant has zero value in a market (like oxygen in the air, vitally important to all of us, but of no market value due to universal abundance). Modern automated systems allow us to produce all the essentials of human life in such universal abundance, but there is no market incentive possible to actually deliver them to all people, because doing so drives the value of such things to zero. Thus the incentives of markets, profit and capital are now directly in opposition to the needs of the vast majority of humanity (and actually to everyone, if one is prepared to look deeply enough into the mathematics of survival strategies in fundamentally uncertain contexts).

So the idea that market value (money) is a reasonable proxy for human value more generally, is no longer valid, hasn’t been for several decades, but the ideas generally in circulation are yet to catch up with this reality.

2/ The idea that freedom can survive without responsibility.

This is clearly, logically, a nonsense. Any and all complex systems (and we as yet know of nothing more complex than human beings) have necessary sets of constraints required to give them form. Anything that breaks those constraints leads to destruction. Freedom without responsibility necessarily does that. Freedom without responsibility is necessarily destructive.

So what does responsibility look like? It has to have due regard for the reasonable consequences of actions, and has to respect the lives and liberty of all other levels and classes of agents. Nothing less than that has any reasonable long term probability of survival.

3/ The idea that evolution is all about competition. That is a vast over simplification of some very complex systems that actually allow for the evolution of complexity. When talking about the evolution of new levels of complexity, it is much more accurate to say that evolution is mostly about cooperation; as cooperation is required for the emergence and survival of every new level of complexity; and every level of cooperation is vulnerable to exploitation by “cheating” strategies, and thus requires levels of cheat detection and mitigation systems (and they must eternally evolve to meet new levels of cheating). Nothing simple in that, except that the old ideas that evolution is all about competition, and that competition is good for society and for freedom generally – are demonstrably false.

Our modern society is fundamentally built on cooperation, and cooperation requires of us each that we make the effort to identify and remove cheating strategies (all levels, both within us and around us).

So all of these things (and many more) contribute to the levels of deception and deceit present in the world today, leading to a failure to adequately deal with covid-19.

There is only one effective strategy for novel pathogens such as this – isolation. Starve it of victims, send it to extinction.

Most countries refused to acknowledge this reality, for various levels of mostly financial interests of various minorities; and so the virus has continued to flourish.

Vaccines can be useful when dealing with a well established pathogen, but they are not an effective strategy for a novel and dangerous pathogen – they are too slow to develop, and have too many dangers of their own.

And there are real difficulties in deciding when a particular organism is sufficiently dangerous to require such a response.

The New Zealand case has proven that it is relatively simple to support everyone to isolate, and to drive this virus to extinction. But it keeps coming back through the border because other countries have not taken similar measures to exterminate it.

There is far too much cheating and deceit in most levels of governance structure on the planet.

If we are going to survive as a species, we need to eliminate that. We need to have reliable sense-making systems, at all levels. The economic and political incentives to cheat are simply too strong at present. Cheating has become institutionalised.

We need people generally to accept the reality that any real expression of freedom results in diversity. That is a logical necessity.

If one respects freedom, one must accept diversity, even when it is uncomfortable to do so.

Freedom and hegemony are polar opposites.

If you have hegemony (the leadership of one anything over all others), then you no longer have freedom – by definition.

If anyone wants any reasonable degrees of freedom, then it means accepting both diversity and responsibility. Nothing less than this is survivable.

We still have covid because too many people think that they can have freedom without responsibility, and that any level of cheating is OK provided that they can get away with it, and provided it is profitable.

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) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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