Between Eutopia and Dystopia

Is there a halfway point between utopia and dystopia?

[ 1/January/22 ]

Utopia and Dystopia are experiential models of whatever reality actually is.

It seems to me to be beyond reasonable doubt that they are simplistic models of a reality that is complex beyond the ability of any computational entity (human, AI or other) to compute.

There seems to be a very real sense in which reality simply is what it is, and the U or Dys are in our interpretations of it.

And there are certainly many ways in which the experiential reality of the vast majority of people can be improved – where they can get to experience far greater degrees of security, abundance and freedom – and there is no way of getting to that outcome that is the natural outgrowth of measuring value in markets, as all such values necessarily have a scarcity component, and anything truly abundant has zero value by definition.

So the system of money and markets has taken us about as far as it usefully can, without generating unreasonable levels of existential level risk.

We need to transition to new systems, based in abundance, respect and cooperation; empowered and enabled by advanced automation. And we need to maintain many aspects of the free market systems that have served us well, particularly those that support distributed decision making, diversity and redundancy. Any attempt at hegemony at any level is actually a major source of existential level risk.

Security is only really possible with cooperation between multiple levels and classes of diverse agents.

When one spends enough years looking deeply at the logic of the evolution of complexity, it is clear that all new levels of complexity are actually based upon new levels of cooperation, and that any level of all out competition is necessarily destructive of both freedom and complexity. And raw cooperation is always vulnerable to exploitation, and thus requires evolving ecosystems of cheat detection and mitigation systems (eternally). So anyone who thinks any of this is simple at any level is seriously deluded. And it is possible, and it needs to be done, if our species is to have any reasonable chance of surviving long term.

Individual security, and individual freedom are necessarily supreme values, and they can only work if they are accompanied by appropriate levels of responsibility that acknowledges that every level of complex systems has sets of boundary conditions that are required for its existence, and freedom must be exercised within those sets of constraints if it is to be survivable. And with the levels of fundamental uncertainty and unknowability that are evidently present in this reality, there must eternally be uncertainties on exactly where such boundaries actually exist, and how closely they may be approached in any specific context – so lots of room for discussion around the specifics of any particular proposed action.

We each need to be responsible for ourselves, our families, our communities, our environments; and we must all have the freedom to do that in whatever way we responsibly choose. There cannot be any “one size fits all” solutions.

And it seems beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that there are actually infinities available within those survivable boundaries, so that allows for eternal exploration, eternal novelty, and eternal creativity and self expression.

Any real expression of freedom must result in diversity, and any diversity that is not an unreasonable threat to life or liberty must be accepted and respected. And that will be hard for those who are operating from simple binary models where their subconscious brains classify things as right or wrong, good or bad, friend or foe. In such simple experiential models of complex realities there really is no room for real freedom or respect. And our neural networks are constructed in a fashion where we all, of necessity, revert to such simple binary models when under severe stress; this is so because they do have the attribute of allowing rapid decision making, and often speed trumps all else, as in our evolutionary past, the last one to move when a predator approached was normally the one that didn’t survive.

So there is nothing simple about being human.

We all have multiple levels of subconscious systems present, that we may never have experienced, but they are present none the less, that quite accurately fit the definition of demons; and they can possess us if they are triggered by some context. Becoming as aware as we can of them and learning how to mitigate them, is the only really stable solution. And such things can emerge at all levels of structure, including any form of social grouping; so work for us all to do, all levels, eternally (it is an infinitely dimensional strategic and systemic set of topologies).

There really doesn’t seem to be much that is simple about this reality we find ourselves to be part of, other than the interpretations we all necessarily make of it at some times in our lives.

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
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