Thoughts that I thought when I read these readings, vol. 28 no. 4

Wherein I consume so much information as to become physically illsetting aside only the interesting parts, of course—so that you don’t have to.

With that, here’s the latest in what cannot be unseen, loosely grouped into 3 clusters or something…and also, something called Betrayer’s Banquet (which does the impossible and sounds even cooler than Liar’s Poker).

Jennifer Lawrence. Not quite gratuitous, even. Keep reading to see why not.

Jennifer Lawrence. Not quite gratuitous, even. Keep reading to see why not.

1. The continuing inscrutability of the future as predicated on the nature of innovation—and its evil twin, disruption—today.

If we forecast based on past performance and needs, or evolutionary refinement to present creations, or emergence from observable trends; or limit ourselves to the near term in considering our approaches to upcoming necessity, we’ve downsized the question enough to easily grasp it. But the far future, as far as I’m concerned, is to be investigated in the paradoxical expansion of both micro/granular and macro/extended-time frames.

Most people suppose that game-changing adoption of innovations (for which innovation as a single word now functions as a shorthand) needs to be pursued passively and pervasively in order to maximize the chances of ideas converging around one implementation or paradigm that has adequate positive externalities. Of course, if this is true, we are to be skewered on the horns of a dilemma between What and How, suffering alongside the torn loyalties, of Who, When, and Where, to say nothing of Why. Let’s even set aside skepticism towards this model for now; I only want to consider the vastness of a global system of individual/corporate-bodycells” whose unitary (at some level, right?) experiences as derived from their several cognitive aggregate contexts—because we know what everyone is reading, obviously—must be sublimated into outcomes that create represent epistemologies, axioms and principles, concepts or ideas, implementation strategies, and the presence or lack of adoption. Oh, and then the “products” (so to speak) must also adapt to each other to create emergence.

In other words, the modern world is now being affected in real time by an arbitrarily large number of very smart people acting on an information set that is irretrievably asymmetrical between actors because literally no one can know everything. The accuracy of these predictions is going to go downhill FAST as their timeline extends. Not that we can give up, of course. To parse it all even the smallest piece with any rigor, all I can suggest is starting with a very, very small “endstate vertical“—a part of the human experience that is adequately summaristic without being too large to unpack—and, having identified its correlates in the present and target timeframe, begin judiciously bridging the gap. I am very much open to your suggestions on how to do better.

2. The real tragedy of the commons continues to be the liberal progressive communitarian apocalypse, as it always has been.

It’s not a pleasant time to be watching government or the people in it. Even the people (professional, knowledge/service, and design/engineering workers) who experience the highest ontological rigors of a scarcity-based economy—those who should be working the hardest to develop and preserve the differentiation of their skills and achievements, for the (capital and personal) market rewards that it earns—seem to think that today’s government (or its post-Constitutional, more streamlined successor), is in a position to absorb both surpluses of success and deficits of failure.

Obviously, America is fundamentally transforming into a place where, in stark contrast to just about every other corporate body in history, failure will be subsidized out of existence in zero-sum balance to the regime over success so that everyone can realize their dreams at an acceptable standard of individual living. (What?) Productivity and value creation will continue without moral hazard or adverse selection by any of the complexly bounded rationalists that *ahem* comprise the public, nor abuse by the influence-literate bureaucracy. This oligarchy system will be instituted from the top down with minimal resistance, without creating any deadly technical faults in the system. This cabal system will brook no fiscal or monetary inaccuracy, friction, or pressure against a community nonetheless trying to survive optimize its returns against the byzantine regulations, and by no means will there be an eventual macroeconomic catastrophe.

That could be. Or maybe it’s just that the recurring nightmares are getting more vivid.

3. Silver Linings Playbook (not the movie)

At least a few people have better ideas than the chaos we’ve covered so far. With a little help from opportunism in government, (and there’s no lack of that), there is a chance that advocacy of good old hard work and building of competency towards future rewards will help return those ideals to the fore. Flight to quality applies even in the face of government or other market inefficiencies—but you have to build and prove the quality. Just look at the example set by the lead actress of this item’s title namesake: Jennifer Lawrence finds herself in a commanding position among Hollywood’s leading ladies at the tender age of 23, because she can act (and isn’t trashing her beauty or career window in the usual ways).

Such great reassurance, I know: all you have to do is “Be so good they can’t ignore you”. But honestly, that was always the rule. We’re just running out of ways to be lenient with it.


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