Arborescent Consciousness

Although we can properly say little about what consciousness is, we can begin like Kant by describing its modes of operation. We may hold thought as a strategic trait, then elucidate what it gains in practice. Machinic Agency sustains the tension between feeling free and observing determinism, feeling optimistic when surrounded by entropy. Just as quantum physics relies on the assumption of uncertainty to produce probability, the assumption of freedom within a system of rules itself produces liberty. In each case, the Observer plays an active role in framing and anchoring the system of values. Wherever there is observation, the combination of intelligence and consciousness, there is arborescence.

Arborescence is the branching of representations that occurs under the generalization and abstraction of semiotic analysis. Analysis splits perceptions repeatedly, creating dichotomies even where there is no perceptible opposite. This long series of breaks when drawn begin to look tree-like. The Observer creates many trees of knowledge. Philosophers are interested in cultivating these forests.

That which appears as power-law and arborescent when we focus on a trait of a population disappears into chaos and nonsense when we are not looking. That is not to say that there is no existence when we are not the Observer, but that our mind filters, prioritizes, and obscures experience like the lens of a camera, and it narrows perception through framing as well. We overlay representation in the act of analysis, and do so with increasing selfishness and optimism unless some other tree of knowledge competes for the light of the sun.

It should not surprise us that we find fractals and branches everywhere we focus, recording causality and determination along the plane of observation; these are the operative processes of the human recording of production. Moreover, we can fully expect that consciousness will succeed in making sense of what is under observation at the expense of what is not under observation. Patterns suddenly come into focus. Melodies suddenly fall into proper rhythm, shutting out contentious noises. Analysis gives us a normal distribution, spreading, branching upward from the trunk of paternalism. It is the stubbornness of the Observer to remain at the trunk once so many branches have spread that drives the role of paternalism and centralization.

It is metaphor to say that the conscious mind is arborescent, even more to speak of an unconscious at all. These are expressions. When we apply observation, gather data, select a plane of significance, truncate outliers, cancel noise, homogenize particles and investment vehicles, we as the Observer are generating the Fractal Ontology we find, creating but also projecting logic where we have no evidence of design. Just outside the peripheral vision of the mind is everything that does not need observation for The Moment. Concentration, consistency, coherency, abstraction, derivation – these are paternalistic controls over representation. The more we develop our semiotic system, the more repressive it becomes in the service of the Observer.

This implies two basic universes of thought become possible. First, we can imagine consciousness like an astronaut recording a video, floating, spiraling in space; if we keep turning we get a 360-degree image of what surrounds us (consciousness) but understand only derivations of the role or substance of the camera itself or the person recording the images. This places the intelligent observer at the center of a personal universe of representation. Second, we can imagine walking in a circle around a fixed center until we observe the entire 360-degrees available by looking at or beyond the central axis point. In this case unconscious remains in the feeling we can never attain full confidence that behind us, beyond the limits of our peripheral vision, there may not be something we are missing. In either case, Observation is the strategic outcome of the thought-drive, operating like the drive for hunger or sex. We continuously record, focus, frame, anchor, and bias our experiences (consciousness) until the moment our thought-drive must recuse itself and ask “What have I missed? What lurks in the shadows? What if there is something just behind me? What if I am dreaming and great danger awaits my body in the real world?” We can see the immediate value to the Observer of this continuous experimentation with uncertainty, lest he get so lost in his forests of knowledge as to be eaten by a cougar or bear!

The “trunk” of these two conceptions digs into something, remaining unseen but that our observable universe of thought convinces us must exist. It is the prerequisite for sense-making, this assumption that either the world “behind” our representations has substance or spirit, or that the world “within” has equivalent constituents or a ghost. We are never content, except with enormous discipline of practice, to believe that either there is no soul in our machine; or that there might be many forces working in concert, like a well-formed orchestra no longer in need of a conductor; or that this identity itself is the great lie, that we have no soul to lose or preserve at all.

This is the Rhizomatic Unconscious in which we never fully understand our own camera or relate it perfectly to the film, and can never fully incorporate into the image all the elements not captured in each shot. In this way, we observe logic and perfection in the universe not because it is there, though it might be the case. We only know that we observe an apparent logic, but wonder if we ourselves create it. We try to overcome the uncertainty principle, a mathematical solipsism of sorts, through combined will-to-power. We say, “If several observers stand in the center together, looking outward, while even more observers stand in a circle around them, looking at them and beyond them; then we can get a perfect and complete view! Then we can be sure there is not threat or uncertainty!” This very combined effort makes the feeling of liberated will at odds with the determinism of collective observation.

This has always been the goal of our institutions, from the nomadic tribe or primitive commune to our most advanced scientific laboratories and most complete mathematical models. If we work as individuals, we can take greater risks with potentially greater rewards, but if we work collectively we can attain more complete information regarding potential risks and opportunities. We tend to oscillate between extremes, both in single lifetimes and as a species.

In the meanwhile, wherever we focus, we axiomatize. The only method we have found as a collective to help the individual with their unconscious is to shout at them from across the circle, hoping they will believe us if we describe the bear behind them with enough intensity. Unfortunately, many never turn around in time. Death has already come for them in their ignorant distraction.

Truth-Value in Pragmatic Epistenomics

“For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.” – Erwin Schrodinger

Pragmatist Epistemology, developed initially by American psychologist and philosopher William James, explores the value of an idea based on the difference it makes in practice. Two or more people can observe the same events with wildly different facts. Large groups can produce data that bias skews in favor of an incorrect conclusion. We might discuss truth as the extent to which a cohesive network of ideas related to verifiable facts, but philosophers have invested heavily in casting doubt. Perception can become distorted. Large groups appear to have believed intricate systems of ideas to which no one would now ascribe. Philosophers in epistemology took great please in showing how often additional information forces a paradigmatic shift.

Some conclusions regarding perceptible events continues to push the curtain of physicality further into generation by our own mind. Psychological dysfunction exacerbates this issue. Therefore, William James needed to help patients question what is “real” when validity may be impossible to confirm – opinions, feelings, superstitions, and so on. Our brains skew the interpretations of data in the production process of reproductive-survival information. Much of human history across segregated populations produced incommensurable ideological systems that only gain temporary resolution through war. If truth is a form of militarization then the validity of beliefs must play some darker role than we often hope.

We can see why James, working toward an understanding of human psychology, just after the birth of our nation, would have such a concern. When we carefully listen to people who have ideas that do not agree with our own, exploring their explanations, empathizing with their biases and the pains of their past, hopes for the future, we find that the distinctions of observable reality can be intricate. In quantum terms, the more look at one particle the less likely we feel it could be participating in a rational system of laws; in economic terms, the more we observe one person’s financial decisions the less we would feel anyone is acting rationally or in accordance with long-run self-interest.

When James developed the underpinnings of functional psychology, we see a nation of immigrants participating in an industrial revolution together. They came together in that proverbial melting pot of the American Dream. The hectic life, adventure, and opportunity made it clear that in an environment of constant change, crowded together as a population, needing to get along despite opposing views, placing truth-value outside humanity was dangerous. Entrusting reality to the alien dark matter of Kant’s metaphysics places it outside the moral responsibility of humanity. Any “truth” as aspired to by Hegel, who few could claim to understand, as the knowledge spirit gains about itself through associations justifies all forms of terrible actions to the extent they inspire their own antithesis.

In his treatment of patients, it must have been painfully clear that the ancient Greek challenge of the skeptics had little relevance to daily life. From then to know, we deny that any component of a rock possesses hardness itself, we only know our own painful experience in kicking it, as one network smashing against the resistance of another network. Something remained unanswered for James, the debates of the empiricists and rationalists of Europe helped little.

James made an argument based on what we may now call a functional system. As we explore Fractal Ontology while maintaining Metaphysical Agnosticism this functional resilience will be the measure of an idea’s value. Instead of Epistemology, we do better in calling this Epistenomics, the rules by which knowledge expands.

An idea is a commodity that valorizes only in continuous exchange. It is only through exchange that an idea becomes true. Rather than extensively defining truth-in-itself, we will methodologically apply three variations of truth-in-practice. First, Truth-Value is a semiotic system representation that intelligent beings exchange in accordance with axiomatized socioeconomic rules. Second, Information Dominance is the prevailing system of cohesive ideas regarding a topic that becomes “insured” by Political Economy; in other words, the truth-in-practice that is currently winning in each population. Third, we will update the old treatment of truth-in-itself as a goal that humanity has been willing to pursue great violence to attain, Hegemonic Truth. Although Information Dominance achieves its victory because the system of ideas aims to attain Hegemonic Truth, the final answer, the causa prima of all other valid ideas, we will treat each with suspicion, and prepare ourselves for moral and philosophical wars of our own.

Because we are taking this initial proposition to an extreme logical conclusion, we will supplant what James accomplished while ascribing much to his legacy. A discerning reader will see where we are applying theories that occur only after James’ pragmatism. We will apply quantum mechanics, postmodern critics, behavioral economics, and evolutionary biology to this “free market” of truth-value ideas. As a disclaimer, what follows has little to do with what James argued (or any other author we reference). As frequently happens in philosophy, we make arguments predicated entirely on the significance of originator’s legacy, typically with little regard for their words or intentions.

 Ethics of Flux-Agnostic Systems

“There is no such thing as an independently existing trajectory, but only a trajectory relative to a particular body of reference.” – Einstein, Relativity 1920

We awaken one day and realize we are mid-stream. “Stuck in the middle with you,” as the song goes. Stretching into the horizon ahead and behind in time, spread all around in space, a new bubble in a torrential movement, we are party to a ferocious stream. The most pertinent assessment when a system beholds itself as a stream for the first time become analysis of its political ethics. We ask what addition we will make to the flow of floating values. Some of us awaken in quiet pools of momentary certainty, surrounded by a crowd in full agreement. Others awaken amid violent rapids, where uncertainty, skepticism, and disagreement of all values has become forced violently to the surface. We must answer for and act upon what we believe is the correct sociopolitical current as participant in the stream.

Looking to the Cosmos and the Earth for signs and consistencies, inspiration for better questions we ought to ask, is often our approach to the ethics of sociopolitical flow. To take these perceptions at face value, to trust no fabric of reality hides unseen, this is naïve realism. From this universe of thought philosophers have moved reality further from the Observer on a continuum of over-coding. Berkeley says everything is a dream. Kant would lead us suspect that the 21+ senses do most of the work of painting reality for us out of some alien, dark matter we can never know. Schopenhauer replaces this alien thing-in-itself with the universal will, arguing against Hegel but continuing the line of flight – that every component may reveal the entire truth of the whole totality of the system. Then Nietzsche removes the privilege of one form-of-life over another as granted, weaponizing inequality of morals, believing in better philosophers and species to come, a dynamic interplay of forces. Camus finally says what many young students feel, “This is all absurd!” The absurd is the realm of speculative realism, the overlapping of authentic reality of one system of objects (humanity) attempting to know and survive in another system of objects (reality).

In one of his least precise statement, Nietzsche gives a momentary “smell” of what he hopes but cannot describe. Like many of his words, they become easily misappropriated in the hands of moral prejudice. He begins elucidating a distinction between passive skepticism, a doubt that grows soft; contrasted with hardened skepticism, a doubt that takes a warrior’s attitude toward the dissatisfaction of uncertainty:

“That new kind of harder and more dangerous skepticism [of] daring manliness, which is closely related to the genius for war and conquest […] This skepticism despises and nevertheless grasps; it undermines and takes possession; it does not believe, but it does not thereby lose itself; it gives the spirit a dangerous liberty, but it keeps strict guard over the heart.”

– Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Thus, there is the stoicism that recognizes the stream in its violence and recuses itself to whatever tossing-about it must endure. Then there is the overcomer, who takes hold of Schopenhauer’s inversion of positivism – pain, confusion, and death – and focuses this into laser-like discipline. Camus referred to this as the “authentic” life, but we now run aground! Nietzsche becomes accused of racism and fascism, Camus becomes accused of hedonism and wasted time. Now we at least see what we may add to this exploration – questioning in better forms this stream’s agnostic ethics, in a suspicion that never loses its paternal resolve. Understanding the dangers of pleasant equality, we must find what regimen may we prescribe in guidance of our methodological naturalism. We look for what pain the scientist and philosopher ought to feel, for what death and dismemberment of legacy might sharpen our discipline. As William James, the old mentor in this hero’s journey, called it: we need a moral equivalent of war.

We have already strayed far from the civilized citadels of collective norms. Too close to reality, but not close enough – that is the absurd. The principles that emerge in our absurd desert, the “vegetation” as Camus called it, speculative and inferential, deserves analysis. Through the complexity of systems thinking and the intellectual rigor of quantum and statistical calculi, machinic operability elucidates patterns of intention. This desert too subsists within the stream of simultaneous observation and participation, particles viewing particles. We recognize we are both system and component. It is a complex adaptive system of systems, countless nodes in a distributed network. We find our subjectivity is always in the middle of a participatory universe of thought, though we feel convinced we observe it as an intelligent outsider. In the stream, we wonder if there are a few fundamental imperatives that arise.

The great shortcoming of Kant’s philosophy was its excessive focus on individual morality in the context of logical positivism. He worked toward an ethics of system participation that he never accomplished. His prolegomena argue toward the possibility of Categorical Imperatives, but failed to provide sufficient evidence that any necessary categorical imperative exists through subjective judgment. Moreover, if it were so logically necessary, it falls into a familiar trap – surely everyone already abides by such imperatives, making it an empty prescription. This too has been the trap of “rational self-interest.” What an ethical system may trust either as normative or necessary at the level of components may in fact become the source of its opposite at the level of the system. Such morals are collective in cognitive abstraction but individual choices determine their significance.

Our methods look for predictive imperatives. Quantum Agnostic systems are the realm of behavioral economics and pattern recognition. As Baudrillard showed, constants and consistencies that explain consequences of actions likewise reveal an oscillation of reaction and counter-reaction. The simulation suffers an odd Mobius strip, in which the consequences of work serve the opposition more than our own party. The morality of rebellious components may inflict damage to other components, but they may do so to the benefit of the system they reject. Each action, for or against the system or its components, is an investment in the consistent ethics of the system. We can only add to the stream, in more quiet or loud ways, and cannot guarantee where subsequent generations will carry our legacy in the centuries after our death.

Nietzsche describes our judgement of this continuous revolution as anti-moralist. Moral judgement based on short-run consequences, purity of intentions, utilitarianism, or virtues are all insufficient. Even the modern justice system, as shown by Foucault, takes a hyper-morality approach – past actions and intentions reveal the criminal’s behavior, death or incarceration become justified through prediction in such punitive systems; not based on the crime committed, but based on the crimes the accused is likely to commit in the future. Anti-moralist judgement, rather than looking at intentions, intentional consequences, or character, demands we shoulder with courage and strength the full moral responsibility for unintended consequences. We may call the aggressive skepticism above, in the context of systems theory, leadership. Leadership reveals the valuation and signification of long-run machinic agency.

Judged by the standards of a detective rather than a prophet, can say Kant had a good hunch. However, by looking to his Protestant sociopolitical context for categorical imperatives, perhaps in their monetary pocket, he failed to consider that it was the categories of mind that produce the consistency of cohesive systems of values. He ascribed to the mind an enormous amount of power to create reality out of an alien dark matter, only to deny the mind the power to produce new categories of creation, new signs of significance. He first ascribes morality to the logical universalization of personal values, but requires it apply consistently across all intelligent agents. He denies us, in short, of social engineering and critical leadership.

His failure paves the way for the ideas that supplants him. Machinic systems are all self-similar material, but equilibrium power-laws emerge in management of “gradations of rank and distance.” Only will-to-power drives the emergence of the entire system. As every moral system is a justification of expansion of privilege, of taking power from other orders of magnitude, critical leadership must look at this with a great burden of moral responsibility. Likewise, the collection of actions, rather than individual decisions, produce the emergent ethics of multi-agent systems. Therefore, a categorical imperative does not imply, “Act only as could be a law for all men,” but should aim to transform the resilience of managed engineering, by disrupting the ethics of the system. We can say instead, as both clay and potter: “Exploit laws that encourage the action of all humanity to expand the long-run viability of the system.” In this stream of material lives we must work with the flow or the torrential currents work against us, in the short-run, long-run, microscopic, and cosmic.

Ethics must maintain operational flow as an open system of continuous experimentation. To halt the stream invites stagnation. Applying methodological uncertainty, moral values function wavelike in principle. Many events are possible for any component of any system. If there are enough components and sufficient opportunities for the system to produce an event, the long-run probability of any binary event is 50/50 – a fair coin toss. Built into this Uncertainty Principle are three axiomatics: homogeneity of particles under consideration, continuous repetition of opportunities, and binary alignment of outcomes (the on/off appearance of the sign). While we may have reasons to gather in brief periods a larger share of the stream, we do well to ensure this not at the expense of the stream itself, or our legacy dies with the stream. More likely, the stream drops us as foolish sediment. While we must exploit power-laws against one another to generate our sociopolitical product, we must also preserve the flow of the production process to ensure future opportunities. The precession of morals evolves through semiotic systems that recognize the freedom of their own relativity.

Because stochastic modelling valorizes comparison of populations and samples, we should aggregate opportunities to reach conclusions. Thereby we can predict population densities that are morally actionable in isolated particles. However, it is an immense breach of critical leadership – one that invites our own collapse – to allow optimism bias, confirmation-bias, blind-faith fundamentalism, or stereotyping to backpropagate emergent power-laws onto the opportunities of particles. Accidental social engineering unveils little more than mismanagement of value creation. Even if there were a consistently identifiable trend for a given particle behavior (including species, gender, race, nation, orientation, genomes), active skepticism never miraculates correlation into causality. In other words, we maintain the discipline of agnosticism continuously, because complex adaptive systems often correct their flow, painfully and violently, at the expense of those who had dogmatic faith in their certainty of causes.

When we find it necessary, for survival, to mitigate risk to our Information Dominance against the flow of the stream, we will succeed best if we follow the principles of flow rather than insisting on Hegemonic Truth. Flow is primary axiom of agnostic systems; this provides our methods of machinic operability. If we assume uncertainty has an emergent 50/50 randomness, methodological chaos, system responsiveness to anything upstream requires that we orient against the flux twice as often as opportunities to harm us, on average, arise. Anything downstream may rebel if we starve or overwhelm component-systems. We must provide ourselves a limit of twice the average input and twice the average output. Together, these two principles ensure that any component, despite its freedom within the flow, will create stochastic liberty for the stream as a whole.

Whatever socioeconomic construct we develop, no matter what sociopolitical product it takes as a teleonomic aim, we must recognize that anti-entropy and its self-managed information systems only survive because they are able to reproduce. Complexity grows and adapts from there, while entropy breaks it down. Nothingness cannot win, so long as the capitalism of will-to-power—representation, expansion, and acceleration—favors payoff asymmetry for information-gatherers over the diffusion of entropy.

Sublime Simplicity

O sancta simplicitiatas! In what strange simplification and falsification man lives! One can never cease wondering when once one has got eyes for beholding this marvel! How we have made everything around us clear and free and easy and simple! how we have been able to give our senses a passport to everything superficial, our thoughts a godlike desire for wanton pranks and wrong inferences!–how from the beginning, we have contrived to retain our ignorance in order to enjoy an almost inconceivable freedom, thoughtlessness, imprudence, heartiness, and gaiety–in order to enjoy life! And only on this solidified, granitelike foundation of ignorance could knowledge rear itself hitherto, the will to knowledge on the foundation of a far more powerful will, the will to ignorance, to the uncertain, to the untrue! Not as its opposite, but–as its refinement! – Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Methodical First-Observer Atheism

                “In that the NEW psychologist is about to put an end to the superstitions which have hitherto flourished with almost tropical luxuriance around the idea of the soul, he is really, as it were, thrusting himself into a new desert and a new distrust–it is possible that the older psychologists had a merrier and more comfortable time of it; eventually, however, he finds that precisely thereby he is also condemned to INVENT–and, who knows? perhaps to DISCOVER the new.” – Nietzsche, BGE

There has never been and will never be a logically necessary first-observer. Within the enquiries of intelligent consciousness, Schopenhauer and Russell easily expose the fallacies of Bishop Berkeley’s watchful deity – the overuse of one sign for many significations. The “mind” and its “idea” – representing too many problems with too little nuance. As an English-speaking population, appropriating, sampling, and remixing any word of any era we so choose, we see readily the corruption of discoveries inherent in translating all thought to Latin. The Germans of the modern era found this readily after Kant. A dead language is a closed system. While closed systems provide control for a centralizing power, open systems with semi-permeable boundaries and decentralized redundancies adapt and evolve.

                That is not to say that a theoretical first-observer lacks usefulness, likewise with a universal transcendent observing itself, or manifold object-oriented observations, aggregated in generalized observation. Our issue is methodical. Invasive Ideology builds up closed systems that refuse any hint of disposability in their first-observer constructs. There are those in the Jesuit or Vedic traditions, and more recently in the quantum sciences, that relish the Mystery itself. Mystery as an absurd realm where each of these first-observers are simultaneously the same argument.

Invasive Ideology is not content with relevance. Closed systems fight all disposability, despite all the after-market additions that accrete upon their dogma over time. Such symbols have been the source of immense harm, bigotry, and despotism. The fallacy of the anthropic argument, that an intelligent observer implies that some metaphysical entity must likewise exist, something intelligent capable of producing intelligent observers, lies precisely in the first half of the argument – if an intelligent observer is looking for an observer, they are the observer. The anthropic fallacy attempts to obscure the presence of the narrator, a tradition as old as story-telling itself.

When we watch these anthropic narrator-observers seek evidence through existential instantiation, particularized examples for the confirmation bias of their echo chamber, we find the anthropic fallacy axiomatizes the particles under one Prime Axiom. The denial of death gives rise to many closed systems of bigotry. They bring all specific examples of truth-value exchanged for strategic purposes in our species, then regard each one as an idea that lies some standard deviation from their Hegemonic Truth. Meanwhile, the actual observer, creating the narrative, pretends they were not at the scene of the crime – a sad cover-up. They deny their moral agency for all the truncating and noise canceling required, their responsibility for selecting variables and samples, their agency in establishing the level of observation and the orientation of the coordinate system.

While science willingly bears responsibility for their own distortions, doing so with great transparency, maintaining transaction histories, methodical doubt of selection parameters, external audits with peer review, in context of a liberated and intense competition of ideas, the opposite of this lies in prophecy. To many philosophers have been nothing more than hyper-vigilant prophets. In their pedantry and precision, they hide that they have merely written a long poem. The theologian writes a poem about their feelings toward human life and society, while the maxims, edicts, and constructs are axiomatized. “We hold these truths self-evident.” No matter how unreal, self-contradictory, or unhealthy those axioms become in the absence of observers that will bear full moral responsibility for the consequences of their contributions to the ideological system.

Moreover, once the system is no longer in the traceable control of moral agents but becomes independently continuous, the effects become taught as the first-causes of the closed system. Therein lies our need for suspicion, because a continuous closed system of values that requires no believers is implicitly amoral. Every effort to keep it afloat reveals an exploitation, domination, and enslavement for political economy. Thus, while nowhere in the Bible do we find judgment against suicide, the horrors of the feudal system made it necessary to keep exploited laborer alive, even against their will. Preach the sin of suicide, else the workers unable to flee political economy will flee through death instead!

The abstraction of a metaphysical construct is not merely generalization of empirical reality, it is backpropogation that elevates its place in its semiotic closed loop. As a wave function of truth-value, metaphysical effects become miraculated into a causal hegemonic category: truth-in-itself, god-in-itself, libido-in-itself, spirit-in-itself, and capital-in-itself. Each have been miraculated into a position of first-observer for their own moral and political purposes. When an effect becomes swapped for its cause, when a systemic result becomes treated as the uncaused cause, the actual observer conceals all agency. “In the beginning…” The author, meanwhile hides, with or without leaving a record of authorship! Herein lies an important discovery: transformation is the art of convincing everyone that something new is something old. The Magician-King arises with this revolutionary goal, to prepare for the future by convincing the masses of something eternal that must come to fruition.

Plato hides behind the prophecy of Socrates to tell us that we are witnessing mere shadows of truth-in-itself. Some hidden author hides behind the three major Christ narratives, wherein this philosophical messiah, strangely endowed with Buddhist stories and Stoic egalitarianism, claims his purpose is to testify Truth. The “Nature” of stoicism synthesized with the jealous god of monotheism. The hidden author axiomatizes the metaphysical construct, then miraculated it into the narrative so that Pilate can ask “What is Truth?”

One man as an honest testimony: a claim that, if treated as a sociopolitical insurgent caught between the ideological systems of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, we might agree. Joshua of Nazareth (Jesus) as social critic, supporting the rhizomes and nomads rather than the arborescence creating systemic dysfunction. Yet this did not serve the political economy of the Popes after Roman centralization crumbled. When the market forces of freely-exchanged ideas fail to establish hegemony, the ideological production systems must go to war!

This is the ultimate political victory of the Zoroastrian ideological production process, continuously developed in the factories of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic military-industrial complex of faith: only one god, only one truth, one-in-the-same; one light, one authority, one messiah-prophet. Everything else is darkness, evil, sin. Either faithful and true, or worthy not merely of eradication, but eternal torture. Imagine any contemporary individual presenting these symptoms – bipolarity of morals, lost in the mania of creation followed by the depression-rage of annihilation, borderline in the totalitarian separation of perfect-me, unworthy-them, narcissistic in the determinism of value, and sociopathic in the application of fascist conformity. Imagine this person purchasing the largest global consumer goods corporation, the largest global mercenary and security corporation and amassing an overwhelming inventory of nuclear armaments.

More rational, albeit violent if necessary, sociopolitical constructs deal swiftly with such psychosis. The Zoroastrian traditions lie in a propensity of death-denial that arises exclusively from our diurnal instincts. They allow “THE” god-in-itself to be miraculated as first-cause and we allow its ideological systems to axiomatize every depravity of bigotry and injustice with impunity. How foolish to allow tolerance of intolerance!

Freud, at least, although gaining more mass popularity than the equally inventive constructs of Nietzsche, signs his name to theories, argues with peers and students – the First Observer in the case of psychodynamic theory, as a counter-movement to the dysfunctions of religious indoctrination, recorded and known in an autograph. Whatever fiction he created, however unreal it was, he used these anti-historical myths to achieve a purpose – helping his patients. He did not, however, remove his Agency or Intent from his narrative, ensuring (at least) that the mythology could not be miraculated into prophecy – some fiction with god-in-itself as the origin.

More importantly, we can thank Freud for modeling a new behavior for scientists and philosophers. His mythologies prove the utility, when necessary, of building a metaphysical construct that is plausible enough to keep the inquiry moving forward, but unreal enough to receive significant criticism. This forces the ideological system to remain open and adapt as additional information becomes available. Even though the libido gets abstracted beyond the existential instantiation of any individual human’s complex thoughts, emotions, and behaviors regarding their own sexuality and gender, as well as the sexuality and gender of others; even though psychodynamic theory places the handy metaphysical construct in a First Observer role. It is a cosmos of sex, of desire, and a tradition worth continuing in its various fantasies precisely because sexuality is a ubiquitously significant construct. The difference lies in maintaining strict atheism toward the miraculated libido-in-itself. Sex-in-itself is not the First Observer of the cosmos causing all other supply and demand. If we hold it (or some variation) constant in our metaphysical constructs, some law of attraction we echo as well, we know this is a mental construct instead.

The facticity of human existence includes the capitalistic exchange of genetic capital, an obsession about sexual reproduction and its “standard deviations” easily explained by evolutionary emergence. Mutation, selection, and endless becoming. Those with consciousness see sexuality everywhere. We may forgive this penchant as a strategy orders of magnitude more probable to succeed in reproduction. Our generations of descent did not remove us so far from our earliest mammalian ancestors that we should ignore the existence of rodent species for which the males completely lose all personal survival instinct in favor of a relentless spread of their genetic material, at the expense of sleep, food, and safety; sex, sex, sex. The same phallic obsession drove industrial revolutions and neoliberal economic policies: supply, supply, supply!

“Where there is nothing more to see or to grasp, there is also nothing more for men to do”–that is certainly an imperative different from the Platonic one, but it may notwithstanding be the right imperative for a hardy, laborious race of machinists and bridge- builders of the future, who have nothing but ROUGH work to perform. – Nietzsche, BGE

Marx enters the arena to analyze this self-similar inherent flaw of Classical Capitalism, the propensity of the system to miraculate capital-in-itself; money as the First Observer preceding society, economic, relationships, family. Marx elucidates a psychotic causal vector of capital-in-itself as causa prima of labor, causing supply, causing demand. We will return to this problem extensively, because we burn the brand of capitalism into every theoretical construct. We see it everywhere once we tell ourselves to look for it; all these floating values of valuation and signification are so relational and exchange-driven. We can spread this as our market-based view of sex, the trickle-down economics of anti-entropy, some exchange value of god-in-itself.

To the extent this phallic-capitalistic mindset could be entirely cultural, a long-shrouded instinct, or even a category of mind, we must take care to explore each point and its counter-point. If capitalism is a projection of mind, we should pursue and test additional theoretical possibilities along its fractal ontology, but we must also, with extreme diligence, pursue every anti-construct to the best of our ability or find competitors who will. If capitalism is an underlying constant of physicality, we must likewise pursue its implications in areas that claim this as a moral justification, holding it implicitly with domineering potential bias.

The Complex Agnosticism Function

“What happened in old times with the Stoics still happens today, as soon as ever a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise; philosophy is this tyrannical impulse itself, the most spiritual Will to Power, the will to ‘creation of the world,’ the will to the causa prima.”

– Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

The observer recognizes and prioritizes in accordance with expansion of its Information Dominance. In observing this, we are prudent to maintain healthy skepticism toward any popular theory that starts by anchoring the Observer. For instance, perhaps the infamous division of Man and Nature is propaganda for the war between mitochondria and photosynthesis. We should likewise be wary of the “laws” that go unquestioned within each system of objects and representations. We fill our lives and equations with these constants. We trust them as immutable laws, though they are repeatedly unmasked as emergent power-laws instead. Indeed, they are reliable to the extent the agents of their system continue to obey the axioms. The categories of the mind and the constants of physics may be one in the same re-valuation.

Does this mean you should stop “believing in” gravity? No. Does this mean you should assume the entire world is in your solipsistic head, and that you can gain mystical control over its illusions? No. Likewise, one should not shy from conceptualizing such foolishness, searching for what lies beneath it. Metaphysics means little more than a long-running “To Do” list of semiotic intelligent observation. Rather than a platform, a partisan statement, we will claim metaphysical agnosticism as a complex function, a tool in our toolkit, one that suspends our disbelief, our desperation to delude ourselves with fantastic answers, long enough to evolve as scientists and philosophers our available information.

Einstein revolutionized physics with special and then general relativity; Planck, Bohr, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, and others built quantum reality “below” their perception; by unlocking mathematical considerations, this complex agnosticism function has become supercomputers in our pockets. We have networked the world. We have begun collecting data that separates pattern from chaos. We may embed artificial superintelligence within our human bodies. Certainty was always the greatest enemy of discovery. We should “play with” each metaphysical option, compare where they lead us, and question what we are missing.

In practice, continuing the example of gravity, maintaining metaphysical agnosticism permits pursuit of paths that may appear to compete. Like music, superficial contradictions in one measure may harmonize with impressive strength later. If all reality is cybernetic, binary bits that interpreted as space-time, light, matter, and gravity, even if one believed it a game or a dream, we can maneuver against each law, leveraging another law against it. Emergent power-laws are economic. If all reality is substantial physicality, we should keep looking for a physical source that produces gravitational force. Representation is political. In the end, there will be no difference between a cosmos that is many or one, mental or natural, wave or particle – each false dichotomy belies two vectors of the same superposition. We should play little games with our truth-ideas. We should enjoy our serious games, taking these ideas, smashing them, freezing them, shooting them with lasers; whether philosophically, mathematically, or physically.

Velocity, Acceleration, and “The Jolt”

Lean-Agile owes a great deal to quantum physics, behavioral economics, and the Toyota Production System. It should not be surprising when our language about teams, programs, and value streams find themselves caught between the science of lean-agile and the metaphors of organic systems.

The metaphor side is crucial, because spoken language is processed by the emotional “side” of brain, while critical thinking and logic is processed by the cognitive “side” of the brain. Especially in a context of uncertainty and optimism toward innovation, the ability to inspire critical thinking through appeals to emotion and narrative becomes essential.

Lean-Agile Art & Science

The metaphors are easy to spot: release trains, delivery pipelines, product portfolios, architectural runways, branches, and streams. These are highly useful for an emotional connection of highly complex cognitive issues, because it is easier to imagine a tree, an airport, or a morning commute than it is to imagine vectors, superposition, and wave functions. The poetry of lean-agile is crucial to learning.

Simply: The art of transformation is the science of The Jolt.

The scientific language of lean-agile is also easy to find, because the burden of proof in any transformation effort is placed fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the system builder who wants to move from periodic marginal utility to long-run economic optimization.

The science begins rather simply. We move from Newtonian laws (hours, dollars, dates, and ROI) to Einstein and Quantum Physics (relative size, value creation, continuous delivery, and probability). Along the way we begin discussing velocity, process control, production systems, and acceleration.

There is a small problem, however. While the science of lean-agile relies on cognition and learning, one scientific construct lies in the realm of emotion and personality:

The Jolt.

The physics are not hard to summarize, but they tend to work for us only in hindsight, in a retrospective moment of privilege. Treated like a particle, a system with position and without momentum is a point. With momentum (mass that is in motion), it becomes a vector. We call the change in position over time velocity. When we want to guide the velocity to an improved velocity, we must act upon it from the outside to cause acceleration. Velocity is the derivative of position (a line). Acceleration is the derivative of velocity (a curve). The Jolt is the derivative of Acceleration, when an external force accelerates acceleration. Lean-Agile transformation is the art of causing The Jolt.

Transformation is the art of causing The Jolt.

While the science of Lean-Agile deals with velocity and acceleration, average completion and standard deviations, plotted on charts and easily analyzed using the Nelson Rules, probability theory, and behavioral economics, the art of transformation lies in cultivating a simultaneous Jolt for the enterprise as an engineered complex adaptive system of systems.

Like any of the great story-tellers of history, our Scrum Masters, Agile Coaches, Program Consultants, and Solution Train Engineers play an essential role in crafting the narrative that inspires changes in acceleration. Such narratives must restore the humanity of our workers, because the postmodern era has decentralized the alienation of labor – today more than ever, we alienate ourselves from our essence and its labor in ways no system ever could.

So the Art of The Jolt can take many strange forms, counter-intuitive to the development of a culture of innovation prior to its existence precisely because the naïve organization sees optimism, hope, and effort as simultaneously extrinsically and intrinsically rewarding. As philosopher Alain de Botton emphasizes, such optimism is the source of all rage in society. It should be no wonder that lean-agile efforts predicated upon optimism often die on the vine due to the rage of its sponsors.

Crisis, tragedy, alienation, loss, and pain are common among all of us. Confusion, separation, fear, and anxiety are integral to the human experience. Is it any wonder that the tendency of firms toward homogeneity (Oliver 1997) is simultaneously the alienation of all heterogeneous sentiment? Thus, to advance as a manager requires suppression of such feelings except as political economy, but to advance the transformation as a system of adaptive systems builder requires existential psychoanalysis, enough tragic story-telling, vulnerability, and authentic emotion to finally Jolt the rigidity of the system toward a new valence and equilibrium narrative (Hoff & Stiglitz).

How does The Jolt happen?

We visualize work based on totems, cards, and digital boxes meant to represent relative size. The weight of ideas we have not tested must be felt or we never develop the discipline to conclude. Information capital requires we shift the view of information inventory – there is immense cost to holding onto knowledge without market validation, even though traditional cost accounting cannot see or audit it. Again, metaphor prevails, because sticky notes are a totem for pain previously suppressed out of optimism – we may use imagery like rusting mechanical assembly parts and pieces in a warehouse due to overproduction and bullwhip effect. The critical Jolt is artistic and emotional, and it force the system to recognize how much cost and pain is being hidden on hard drives and cloud servers.

We can then trace lines of completion and progress, burn down charts and cumulative flow diagrams, to show that no matter how much pain we find in the world, our sanity is predicated on the rate at which we heal, not the rage with which we retaliate. We put on display our average rate of forgiveness, altruism, and cooperation, because the best way to alleviate individual selfishness is to treat family-system anxiety.

Next we fight for continuous funding, because learning is impossible in a state of anxiety. Well-formed teams create a support network for experimentation, the freedom to fail together, express our fears, take the time to understand and forgive the shortcomings of compatriots, and mourn our losses. The team must be large enough to make it clear that we are not alone in our pain and anxiety, but small enough that our relative exposure to new experiences can be felt personally despite the support of the group. So Retrospectives start as outward-blaming complaint sessions and do so with good reason – the supply-side person in pain has onto their rage at disappointed optimism and betrayal of promises with no demand-side action to listen systematically.

Retrospectives then mature over time, and the Scrum Master (or corollary role) must shift between therapist to the individual and therapist to the team. First is the need to convince each person’s pain and anxiety should not be alienating, but that it is human to feel lost and hopeless. Next is the process breaking apart intrinsic worth from external valuation – without anyone being responsible, the system and the individual arrive presenting symptoms of co-dependency. Then, the group is taught in isolation from their system how to forgive, relate, and reach out to others who are equally scared, anxious, and in need of help.

Only then can healthier mental schemas be taught – external forces that appear outside of our control can and should be mitigated and accounted for, every rule has exceptions and those processes are worked through to ensure adaptive behavior, functional “family”-system interaction, and long-run inter-personal resilience.

Finally, the team can harness the energy of the market, understanding that innovation is a process of solving for pains in better ways than before (Svare 2014). The discipline of stoicism and scientific method finally keeps optimism focused on learning to ask more intelligent questions rather than feeding the enterprise’s prototypical, pervasive, and ongoing gambling addiction, betting big on technical hype rather than sustainable growth.

Essential to all of this is the ability to tell personal stories of disappointed hope, fortune wiped away by mere chance, fear of loss, anxiety toward being good, strong, and brilliant enough not only for ourselves but for our network, families, and legacy. If we run out of stories of our own, of course, fiction has always been the best place to find the stories of tragedy we need in our times of greatest optimism and reciprocal anxiety – Oedipus, Socrates, Othello, Madame Bovary, and The Jungle, along with a slew of tragic film stories should give us more than enough stories when our failed products, projects, relationships, and companies leave our audience wanting more.


The art of transformation lies in The Jolt, one that must reverberate through every level of the system in the form of tragedy and emotional re-connection. It is only in such somber moments we can let down our walls enough to reflect, exposed to our own alienation and disappointment, about what we are part of, how little we have changed, and how slowly our hopes are achieved. Only then can the system as a whole take the decisive shift into a new stage of transformation economics.

Do not wait to tell your story – someone, somewhere, less strong, less courageous, or less willing to risk humiliation is out there, and they desperately need you to let them know that none of us are alone.

Sources Cited

Hoff, K., & Stiglitz, J. (2016, 6). Striving for balance in economics: Towards a theory of the social determination of behavior. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 126, 25-57.

Johnson, B., & Hernandez, A. (2016). Exploring Engineered Complex Adaptive Systems of Systems. Procedia Computer Science, 95, 58-65.

Oliver, C. (1997). Sustainable competitive advantage: combining institutional and resource-based views. Strategic Management Journal, 18(9), 697-713.

Svare, H. (2016, 6). User-Producer Dialogue, Workplace Innovation, and Knowledge in a Regional Innovation System. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 7(2), 565-586.

Measuring Success

I don’t measure my days
In hours I work
In songs that I stream
In tweets or likes or characters
Or words I’ve put to paper
I measure my days
By the gardening dirt
Washed off in the shower
And the bugs I catch
With my kids at dusk
For science lessons at bedtime
And how sore my muscles are
The morning after
I measure my days
In the flowers I’ve met
And sandcastle refuges built
And Lego towers
I measure the day in love
With smiles of hope and joy
And the number of dresses
My daughter twirls, singing
Between tickle-monster giggles

I don’t measure the steps I take
Or the miles I drives
I measure my warmth and stillness
In much-requested snuggles
Sheltering a child from morning
On peaceful weekends

I don’t measure my weeks
In billable time
Or proscriptive pages
And decisions made
I share and give and hope
Alongside dreamers
Who need to see their spark
I don’t worry about
Being taken seriously
Or the advice that I’ve provided
Ignored or followed as I try to help
No, I measure my weeks
In twinkling eyes
As I walk in the door each evening
In bonfires lit for marshmallows
And Summer’s splashing water
I measure my weeks in hiking trips
And Autumn leaves we crunch
In snowball fights and lightning bugs
Spring showers danced in
Early summer sunburns
And ice cream headache kisses
I measure my weeks in smiles
In water sloshed out the tub
In sand tracked onto hardwood
And the drowsy bedtime tales
In nights I look up at my sky
And track the conversion rate
Of sunsets I find peace in

I don’t measure my years
In money I’ve made
Or parties I’ve thrown
And destinations I’ve seen
I measure my years
In the people I’ve served
By the callouses on my hands
The art hung on the fridge
And my joy in the moment