On The Reformation of Sociology

The field of variegated, tinkering inquiry into anything that can vaguely be deemed a “social” issue is called Sociology. In this article, I will wade briefly through the swamp of contemporary sociology, sifting through each element or “camp” in order to find the best elements. What I will eventually conclude, among other things, is that there is a large portion of contemporary sociology that is possessed by the demon of psychological reductionism, that is, the notion that all social process can be reduced to psychological motives or desires. This psychological reductionism, though claimed to have been addressed by contemporaries, has only been swept under the rug and risen again(though in slightly different form), such that there seems to be a trend of analyzing psychological questions and social question in tandem. Often, the psychological questions in mention have “social causes”, such that they are explained to be the result of something like “economic inequality” or “urban culture”. This approach is sadly mistaken and has fractured the so-called “discipline” of sociology beyond all recognition and coherence. And the main point to be made here is that the goal is not to gather sociology together again or to bind it into one coherent field. It may not even be the case that this much cannot be done, rather it is so that this shouldn’t be done. For if we are to salvage the redeemable “sociological qualities” of sociology, pulling them from the detritus and superfluousity, we must form a proper method of separating the discipline. Why? Let’s find out–

In the beginning–well at least one of the beginnings–there was a chap named Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes was initially a rather devout scholar of classical literature. He could quote his Aristotle. And until his early forties he was faithful to Aristotle’s philosophy. That is until he took a visit to France and had an encounter with Euclid. Euclid demonstrated to him the wonder and efficiency of geometric proof. Later, he visited Italy, attending a lecture given by the intellectual giant, Galileo. Hobbes assimilated the groundbreaking notion that statis is not the “natural” state of objects, and that, if left unmolested by external force, objects will “naturally” continue to move. (Visions of the Sociological Tradition, Levine) Conflating these new cornerstones of knowledge, Hobbes laid a cornerstone himself, that of the principle of societal change and dynamic direction. Yet Hobbes also opened up the door to psychological reductionism, or psychologism as we will use hereon. The conceptual leap dealt with by Galileo, from statics to dynamics, translated into a conceptual leap from the imposed, static configuration of men into an ideal, rigidly-hierarchical polis conceived of by Plato; to a chaotic society, fed by man’s psychological impulses and tempered by the state apparatus, a necessary force to keep the wretched citizens in line. And through the years, this psychological groundwork laid by Hobbes remained quite ingrained into social inquiry.

Both the brilliant social philosopher J.S. Mill and the man known as the founder of sociology, Augusta Comte, fell victim to the demon of psychologism. But there was one man of the times who knew better– Karl Marx. Marx knew that “It is not the consciousness of man that determines his existence–rather, it is his social existence that determines his consciousness.” (The Open Society and Its Enemies, Popper) But unfortunately, this astute assessment was diluted by his slew of specious reasoning. Namely, the vein of historicism running rampant through his works. That is, the notion that history moves according to different “stages” and that there are inexorable laws governing the transition between each stage. (The Poverty of Historicism, Popper) And the following sociological theories and “schools” built around Marx’s ideas, namely “Critical Theory”, exhibit(ed) much the same fallacy. And, sadly, the other German schools didn’t do much better. Phenomenology is flatly inadequate when it comes to analyzing the social realm; it amounts to nothing more than essentialist armchair psychology. This is not to dismiss the undoubted aesthetic pull of phenomenology. Admittedly, it has a certain artistic sensibility, as do many other fallacious notions. But in terms of building testable models and accurately explaining social phenomena, it amounts to nothing. And to be sure, it certainly isn’t only the Germans who have floundered. Overall, when it comes to “sociological theory”, something that proliferated wildly in France with Comte, to the other Frenchman Durkheim and then making its way to America with Parsons and Mills, nothing has amounted to much more than vague, mildly intellectually-pleasing social-musing. That is not to say of course that none of these theories were tested, rather, it is to say that something was and is fundamentally wrong, by and large, with the discipline known as sociology.

The problem begins with the vestiges of psychologism, is influenced by the Marxian relic of “adequate explainationism” and is magnified by the contemporary vein of social relativism.

The “vestiges of psychologism” noted above can best be described as lumping problems of psychology into sociological inquiry. It is the asking of “why?” questions for psychological human variables–a psychological “why?”, in place of a functional, sociological “why?”. For example, a sociologist may inquire into the causes of urban poverty. The sociologist may acquire information that leads her to believe that urban poverty causes increased rates of depression. Then she will ask “why?” Why does urban poverty lead people to become depressed? Is it the decreased opportunities for exercise? Could it be the poor diet of urban residents? Etc.. My assertion here is that these are not sociological inquiries but psychological inquiries, left to be studied by a new field of “Social Psychology”.

The Marxian adequate explanationism can be defined as the tendency to mistake interpretations of society for doctrines or theories. I use the term “Marxian” rather than Marxist to highlight the fact that the idea was never directly discussed by Marx, rather it is a fallacy, an intellectual blind spot of Marx. Marx, simply, was the first sociological “grand theorizer”, creating the first system of society. As Karl Popper states, “It is possible, for example, to interpret ‘history’ as the history of class struggle, or of the struggle of races for supremacy… But historicists do not present them as such; they do not see that there is necessarily a plurality of interpretations…”(The Poverty of Historicism). I will argue that all previously posited “sociological theories” have fallen under the umbrella of this adequate explanationism.

The “vein of social relativism” noted above can best be described as a combination of the inconspicuous presence of the vestiges of psychologism discussed above and an undue emphasis on the fact that, in the social world, no culture, environment or experience is exactly the same. These two notions conflated form a lethal cocktail of contemporary sociological hyper-focus on culture and tradition, to the detriment of developing a sound framework of sociological analysis. It is true that no social situation can be identical to another; it is true that different cultures have different norms; and it is true that the environment has an effect on both the psychological state and the social life of the individual. But these facts do not warrant the sort of reaction that has ensued in sociology. These facts do not warrant such a hyper-focus on the personal, phenomenological(not in the sense of the school of thought) aspects of social structure.

My answer to these issues will be formulated by parsing the current “discipline” of sociology into a different structure altogether, removing some components and consolidating and supplementing others. First, a new manner of sociological thought will be presented. Then answers, in terms of the parsing of the discipline, will be presented in the form of statements and explanations of each statement.

Sociological Logic

Sociological theory, by and large, attempts explanation via a top-down approach. A general “theory of society” is formed and then phenomena are explained away via this theory.

Sociological Logic attempts a bottom-up approach, citing the “building blocks” of society as motivations, actions and “viewpoints”. Combining these we reach a structure of agreements, executions thereof, and fulfillments thereof. Then we can form certain “structures” of action, in tandem with the motivations and viewpoints that accompany them, with the help of modal logics, namely, deontic logic, doxastic logic and epistemic logic. Sociological Logic is founded on the principle of methodological individualism, transcending the often inadvertent, rampant practice of methodological psychologism. Sociological Logic may be tweaked, corroborated or contradicted via the use of empirical experiment and computational data.

Reshaping The Discipline

I) The portions of Sociology that examine the effects of culture and social environment upon the psychological aspects of the individual should be left to the fields of Anthropology and Psychology.

II) “Culture”, as the term is used in contemporary Sociology is quite vague. The portions of cultural that deal with issues of structure and formation of social groups and institutions shall be addressed with Sociological Logic. The other portions, dealing with tradition, holidays and aesthetic difference should be left to Anthropology.

III) Psychology, as it currently stands, is narrow in scope. I suggest that it may be helpful to expand Psychology into two portions, Social Psychology and Individual Psychology. This will allow Sociology to more effectively answer questions devoid of intense psychological influence, while still allowing Social Psychology and Sociology to collaborate.

IV) The nascent quasi-field of Computational Sociology should be expanded. Computational Sociology and Agent-Based-Modeling are perfect “environments” for Sociological Logic to operate within.

V) Quantitative Sociological analysis is vital to the proper operation of Sociological Logic. Quantitative social data will be used to guide and check Sociological Logic.

The New Structure

[Sociology]

•SL

•Agent Based Modeling

•Quantitative input

[Psychology]

•Social Psychology

•Individual Psychology

•Cultural

•Etc.

[Anthropology]

•Cultural

•Etc.

The New Metaphysics

Many have heard of the CTMU, but few seem to see it as much more than obscure nonsense. This is a massive shame. The Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe by Chris Langan is a profound assertion and perhaps the boldest leap forward in all of philosophical history. The most commonly stated criticism falls under two similar categories: [(1) Those who have attempted to understand it but have given up. (2) Those who glance at it once and gripe about the abundance of “made up words”.] I believe both parties could benefit from a sequential, logically-guided restatement of its main points. And that’s what I’ll attempt below. I will provide an overview of the CTMU’s conclusions that many people deem as “leaps of faith” or “sheer conjecture”. In terms of format, I will do a sort of Wittgensteinian list of facts and logical conclusions, presented by order of logical conclusion.

[1] If time is merely a result of a “tool” of perception, then it follows that, in the absence of perception, there need be no linearity or regularity of time.

[2] If there is no regularity of time then there need be no regularity of matter–at least not in the manner commonly conceived.

[3] Therefore, it can be said that perception brings a stable “external world” into existence.

[4] But this “external world” was not simply brought into existence as is normally conceived.

[5] Before this external world solidified, so to speak, there must have been a potential for its existence.

[6] Therefore, the “universe”–as opposed to an aggregate of all ‘actually existing things’–is simply: a sum of all potential “external worlds”, things currently existing, in addition to the method of bringing these things into existence.

[7] For a potential to be actualized or brought to the external world there must be some method of transmission between the potential and the actual.

[8] But as this transmission originates outside of linear time it is not composed of “matter”, as is traditionally conceived.

[9] If, as was stated above, perception brings a stable “external world” into existence, then there must “exist” within this sort of potential store something in common with perception, a sort of isomorphism or common ground.

[10] That which possesses an isomorphism to consciousness or “perception” is of a logical/linguistic nature, as there must be logical coherence between an object and a perceiver.

[11] There can be no form of reference or accessibility without a logical/linguistic structure.

[12] It is a logical contradiction for something to have potential yet not be referenceable or accessible.

[13] This potential–as with all else– can be accessible only through a logical/linguistic structure.

[14] Therefore, the sum of all potential “external worlds” must be of a logical/linguistic nature.

[15] Considering that this “store of potential” exists outside of time and space, traditional notions of causality do not apply.

[16] The only option left is self-causality or self-determinacy.

[17] If this self-determinacy is paired with the logical/linguistic nature of the “store of potential” then the universe must exist by logical necessity.

[18] If something determines its own existence and must exist out of logical necessity, then does the universe not resemble some notion of God?

These are the main cruxes of Langan’s CTMU, and (most)everything else contained within is a logical corollary of these cruxes. Simply, there are no leaps of faith or illogical stretches of thought.

Moving Beyond the Graph: Ideas For an Economic Remodeling

Everybody has taken an economics course at some point or another, and everyone has likely seen something a lot like this: IMG_0876

It’s a simple enough heuristic to teach beginners how aspects of “the economy” interrelate. But unfortunately, it is often the same tool that is used by seasoned economists to “predict” how the economy will respond to various interventions and scenarios. Proponents of this tool (virtually everyone) could make such a metaphor as “it’s no different than using a two-dimensional playbook to model three-dimensional football plays. It works like a charm, for the most part!” And when the model does fail to match up with more empirical data gathered from the “real world” it’s chalked up to the immense complexity of the economy. “The economy is so complex, so it’s natural that our methods of modeling it will fail in some cases”, cry the economists. But, deep down, they know that there must be a better way. Many of them believe this better way is a form of strict empiricism, in the sense that surveys and raw data are the only tools that we can use to more accurately assess the economy. “Right now we currently don’t have enough processing power to gather enough data, but we will! And when we will then we will finally understand the economy fully” they say. But computing power without a proper method is no better than a shiny, top-of-the-line typewriter perched in front of a primate; and economics needs and deserves a better method. Some economists, still dissatisfied with the strict economic empiricism, turn towards sociology, perhaps analyzing the social situations and influences upon economic factors. But the methods in this domain are severely lacking and the economic empiricists are unwilling to consider such “relative” and “subjective” forms of economic analysis as sociologically-influenced economic research. So what’s the answer?

It’s certainly not simple, but I believe I have a rough starting point. We must first ditch the notion that, in terms of economic and sociological analysis, that emotions and motivations are “far too subjective and relative” to even be considered. By and large, in terms of economic and societal analysis, we need not know exactly what a person feels like to asses the impacts of his motivations and the way his actions effect society at large. The questions of why? are up to psychology. And, regardless, sociology cannot be reduced to any sort of “human nature” or psychology. The virulent spread of the false notion of sociological “relativism” has done nothing but harm to the social sciences, namely economics and sociology. And there are ways in which to economically model that include motivations, agreements and other such notions that are currently sequestered into the hermetic box of “messy social issues”. Let’s take a look…

As I’ve presented in my previous blogs, sociology can be presented, at base-level, as a web of agreement-execution-fulfillment interplay. And there is a form of “logic” (of modal nature)–that I’ve been developing–that can present the nature of both the motivations of individuals, households, groups, businesses and governments; the structures of their interrelations and even their personal views of various agreements. Now here’s the crucial point: agreements, executions and fulfillments represent the foundation for economic activity, in addition to sociological activity. For what is economics but the–often socially covert–layer on top of society? Agreements in many instances are created by an abstract “money motivation”, the execution of these agreements is financed through money and the fulfillment often depends on the quality of the resources that were financed in the execution stage. If we can develop a system of analysis that maps these different stages to their different constituent groups, while accounting for the monetary exchange that occurs, then we’ll be well on our way. Let’s look at a few possibilities…

So these first two diagrams show the first part of the process–agreement. With a little bit of tinkering one can find a number of different sociological agreement structures such as that represented in the lower picture. These “needs”, not arising from psychology per se, exist to serve societal norms and functions. And–in reference to the top picture–each agreement between two entities has four characteristics, and when we add the specific entities’ “motivations” into the mix, there are six characteristics. This is important as most times when the word “agreement” is used, in terms of sociology, only two characteristics are considered, with perhaps the “influence” of a third party. This form of agreement and sociological need modeling can also be combined with a form of modal logic. We can also formalize this model, creating statements that resemble something like:

Now for the macroscopic scale, we can introduce a network of different industry types (primary, secondary, etc), different companies, different households, spending/revenue flows, all this in addition to the aforementioned agreement-need modeling.

With such a model we can better model the various interconnections of industry and household. Certain groups of households are more likely to work in certain industries; yet these same households are unable to purchase from all industries, whether by functional or monetary constraint. This much is common knowledge, but within the vast expanse of macroeconomic modeling these details are often obscured. Now, the model seen above is just a two-dimensional sketch of what’s likely optimal. It’s possible that this sort of model may even work better as a kind of of three-dimensional matrix, plotting different entities and their interconnections in that manner. But all this is rather abstract and I’m still working on the best way to format this idea. But intuitively I feel that I’m moving in the right direction.

Another thing to mention is the possible compatibility of these models with agent-based simulations. In terms of current agent-based sim methods, I believe that these models could provide a bit more of a framework than is currently in place. Agent-based modeling can only go so far with its current methods of analysis, namely it’s extremely simple motivation-agreement structures. I’m definitely interested to see how my models can help ABMs.

So unfortunately that’s all for today guys, and as usual, there’s much more to come!

–JM

Sociological Logic: Weighted Agreements and Legality

So on my last post I introduced my system of sociological modeling, dubbed “sociological logic”. I said that all of “sociological” interaction comes down to two things at base-level, motivations and actions. And I introduced a system of operators and operations thereof, in order to better model the dynamic between motivations and actions on different levels.
In this post I’m gonna go more into depth about the AGREEMENT and FULFILLMENT FUNCTIONS that I talked about in the last post, and I’m also gonna add another function, the PERSONAL TERMS FUNCTION.
So here’s an intro to the ideas:
AGREEMENT [Α(sub)a | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l] ⇔ [A(sub)b | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l]*
* where A = a sociological entity of class A (individual level) • R = ASKING FOR operator• x—x = WHAT FOR function • t = an ABSTRACT FORM representing “time” • l = an ABSTRACT FORM representing “love” • ⇔ represents the “agreement” or implied contract between both entities
FULFILLMENT A | ♣R } x—x } M } A*
* where ♣ = the FULFILLMENT STANDING of any entity, or more specifically, in the agreement-execution-fulfillment cycle, fulfillment is the quantity and quality to which the execution was “fulfilled” or is “viewed to be” fulfilled
So it became immediately clear to me that these “agreements” and “fulfillments” could be used to model a variety of different dynamics and relationships and viewpoints therein, if I introduced one more, “gap-bridging” function.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
So let’s say that we have two entities, A(sub)a • A(sub)b. And these entities have a certain agreement between themselves, AGRx:
AGRx {[A(sub)a | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l] ⇔ [A(sub)b | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l]}
Now, we have a system of modeling each entity’s motivations but we don’t have a way to model an entity’s view of its motivation-agreement interplay or any way to weight or compare against one another different agreements. But now we do:
PERSONAL TERMS V {[A(sub)a | AGRx] CF(sub)m|s}*
*where V = the PERSON TERMS operator • CF = CERTAINTY OF FULFILLMENT • m | s = “middle and stable”, to elaborate, each CF can have 9 different combinations and there are 2 “classes”, with 3 in each, where class 1(progression) = s, stable • d, declining • g, growing • class 2(degree) = h, high • l, low • m, middle. And as a note, yes, these “classes” are quite “arbitrary” but that is the nature of subjective, motivation-based areas. These classes can be considered in a more “objective” light if we examine them within their entity’s motivation-agreement interplay and agreement-execution-fulfillment framework.
So now we have:
AGRx {[A(sub)a | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l] ⇔ [A(sub)b | R } x—x } M } A(sub)t,l]}
V {[A(sub)a | AGRx] CF(sub)h|s}
V {[A(sub)b | AGRx] CF(sub)m|d}*
*as an aside, from here on all WHAT FOR functions will be implied, with the “x—x” omitted
And to simplify, a plain English translation would be something along the lines of:
Two people, person A and person B, are in a relationship. This relationship can be viewed as an agreement between the two people. Person A wants “time” and “love” out of the agreement, and person B wants “time” and “love” too. However, the two are not on the same page when it comes to how they view their relationship. Person A feels very confident about the strength of the agreement that he has with his partner. Person B, however, feels less than confident, and in person B’s opinion, it is becoming less likely that the agreement will continue to be fulfilled.
So we’ve successfully modeled a very typical, “love dance”, all by using operations modeled around two simple base operators, based on the two, base-level components of sociological analysis, motivation and action. Now let’s get deeper…
So it’s clear that in “real life” that people don’t just have one agreement; they have many, each one with varying demands and intensities. Let’s go ahead and model a more complex agreement structure, using the same basic outline as above:
AGRx {[A(sub)a | R } M } A(sub)t,l] ⇔ [A(sub)b | R } M } A(sub)t,l]}
V {[A(sub)a | AGRx] CF(sub)h|s}
V {[A(sub)b | AGRx] CF(sub)m|d}
AGRy {[A(sub)a | R } M(sub)$ } A(sub)f,s]} ⇔ {[Δ(sub)a | R } M(sub)w,pc } A(sub)s]}
AGRz {[AGRx] ⇔ [AGRy]}
The above simply signifies that AGRz is a representation of a relation between agreements x and y, an agreement based on two agreements. And where AGRz is defined as:
AGRz [R } TS ω AGRy ⇒ AGRx ∼ γ]*
*where TS= the EXECUTION operator • ω = the IS SUCH THAT/IS connective, in the sense that the following statement is considered an EXECUTION RELATION • ∼ = the NOT operator • where ⇒ = the UPON connective, in that the following is the AGR being compared to, in a “secondary” sense • γ = the INTERFERENCE variable, such that various aspects of the agreement interplay lead to sizeable differences in CF variables
Now even deeper… Let’s assume for a second that A(sub)a is falling short on his end of AGRz; let’s assume that he’s spending too much time at work, engaging in AGRy, and the INTERFERENCE level begins to rise to such a level that A(sub)b gets worried. Let’s take a look at (sub)a’s views on AGRz in that case:
V[A(sub)a | AGRy } AGRx } c ⊃ ♣AGRz]
∴ V[A(sub)a | Wc AGRy > AGRx]*
*where c = a factor denoting the maintaining of a certain agreement or state of agreement dynamic, also denoting the “current” state • ♣ = FULFILLMENT of the agreement-execution-fulfillment cycle • ⊃ = IF THEN symbol from traditional formal logic • ∴ = “because”, as a personal reason, more so than a logical conclusion • W = PERSONAL WEIGHT, meaning the personal emphasis, in this case, emphasis on one agreement over another • > = “greater than”, in this case something like “possessing greater personal emphasis than”
And once more, to simplify, a plain English translation would look something like this:
Person A and person B not only have their “primary” agreement, where both of them request time and love, but they’ve got another agreement between each other. This agreement is a pledge that person A balance his agreement with his employer, company A. If person A begins spending too much time with company A, at the expense of person B or devoting other resources to company A, at the expense of person B, then this agreement will begin to crumble. Currently, person A, for unknown reasons, places a higher personal emphasis on his agreement with company A, than he does on his agreement with person B. His reasoning is that, at the current time, if he places a higher emphasis on his agreement with company B, this will actually help him to better fulfill his agreement with person B. He simply believes that, at this time, his agreement with his company is more important.
So that’s all I’ve got time for today. But next addition will be an intro to the legal viewpoint of “sociological logic” and maybe some more in depth analysis of some of the currently rather vague sounding terms and variables I’ve thrown in. Hope you guys (or the one person who actually read this lol) enjoyed!
Still much more to come,

-JM

Sociological Logic: An Intro

So for the past few months, this novel idea has been germinating in my head. It started when I began thinking about the world and its history as a sort of vast, computational process; a sort of extremely intricate, more dazzling game of John Conway’s Life. And now, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m convinced that all of sociology’s processes can be modeled and assessed with some basic, yet deeply interconnected and “layered” operators and operations thereof.

Here’s what I mean by operators:

All of sociological process, at its most fundamental level, comes down to motivations and actions. And surprisingly, there’s really not much else to it, at base-level of course. Everything else, such as finance, business operations and development of ideology and worldview is simply a function of the interconnections between various actions and their structures and various motivations and their structures. A lot of current sociology, I feel, is too concerned with isolated certain groups or phenomena and holding steadfastly to this idea that: “before we can even attempt to model society on its broader level, we must first figure out the exact motivations of this group and why this and how that of this group.” Sure, occasionally they throw in analysis of “this group/phenomenon” in terms of “another group/phenomenon” but this analysis, in all cases that I’ve seen, is barren in terms of motivational-functional interplay. They simply use a few hypothesized motivations and chalk up the dynamic of the groups to those motivations, such as “displacement” or “differing worldviews”. This is sooo inadequate. So inadequate in fact that it wouldn’t be too completely out there to say that sociology is still stuck in the “dark ages”. It’s not quite caught up with the all-consuming, all-figuring-out march of scientific analysis, instead it still goes for throwing a couple of likely motivations of certain groups out there and hoping they stick.

Anyways… Here’s what I’m thinking:

So we can start out with two basic “operators”, the first for motivation and the second for action,

x—x    the WHAT FOR operator And    TS|X    the DOING FUNCTION operator.

On top of this, we need a framework to handle the motivations at a more in-depth level. So now we’ll add,

}    the IN TERMS OF operator,    M    the MATERIAL variable And    A    the ABSTRACT variable.

So for instance, if we have,    x—x } M } A    then we’ve got the form of a basic RELATIONAL CONSTRUCT.

Now we’ll add some depth to our variables, M and A. Each variable can have a type, such that M(sub)a shows that M has a VARIABLE TYPE, a that specifies the MATERIAL aspect of the RELALTIONAL CONTRUCT that it appears in¹. Here’s an example of a full, specific relational construct:    x—x} M(sub)a } A(sub)b

But all of this is no use without having a set of sociological entities onto which these operators and functions can couple. So here’s the rundown:

There are 5 base-level CLASSES of sociological entities and 1 “emergent level”, seen separated from the others at the bottom,

Α    Individuals

Β    Households

Γ    “Groups”

Δ    Businesses

Ε    Governments

—————————-

Ζ    Ideologies

So now, we can model a few entities. Here we have an individual, Α,  and business, Δ,

                         A | x—x } M(sub)$ } A(sub)s

                            Δ | x—x } M(sub)$,w } A(sub)s

where $ = profit, monetary gain • s = success/acheivement • w = work, labor

Fine and dandy. But now we need a way of modeling the two classes’ interaction amongst one another. So I’ve developed something that I call an AGREEMENT FUNCTION, such that,

Α | x—x } M(sub)$ } A(sub)s    AND    Δ | x—x } M(sub)$,w } A(sub)s

represent an AGREEMENT FUNCTION that can be expressed as:

[A | R } x–x } M(sub)$ } A(sub)s] ⇔ [Δ | R } x—x } M(sub)$,w } A(sub)s]

where R represents an ASKING FOR statement • ⇔ represents the agreement/ implied contract that stands between both parties, connected through their coinciding aspects of their relational constructs. Now we can move to the next step that follows–in an abstract sense–agreement: execution. I call the following an EXECUTION FUNCTION,

TS | X ◊ X⊕x, X⊗x

where ⊕ = a CLASS ACCOUTREMENT • ⊗ = a CLASS ACCOUTREMENT ENABLER • where ◊ = the WITH HELP OF operator

So basically, all this “class acoutrement” stuff is what allows the sociological entity to perform its duty and fulfill its agreement function. So a class accoutrement could be transportation, assets, investments, property, items of production or purchase, etc.. And a class accoutrement enabler could be fuels, resources, raw goods, that either enable that entity to possess the CAs or come before the CAs if the entity is in the Δ (business) class.

Now let’s move on to the third stage in the agreement-execution-fulfillment process, fulfillment. The following is what I call a FULFILLMENT FUNCTION,

A | ♣R } x—x } M(sub)$ } A(sub)s

where ♣ = “FULFILLMENT”, which is a consesus-based standing involving the interplay between the entities involved.

So… I figure that’s a pretty decent intro to my ideas. I have much more developed but don’t want to muddy the intro by introducing fifty, crazy-ass concepts. But, with this system, I’ve been able to model class A (individual-level) personal agreements, agreements within these agreements, how these agreements are viewed and weighted by both indivuals and how these agreements combine with each individuals varying other agreements. And this is just the beginning!

Much more to come,

-JM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasm

Here’s a little poem I wrote recently. It’s kind of a lose sketch of the general feeling that looms in protests and rallies, whether the people notice it or not…

 

To dangle, a thread

A twitch, a stirring

To envy, a coupling

So seamless

So stunning

No

Not in the slightest

My apathy has left

And my words have grown feet

A sewing of ends

That may just never meet

My Intellectual Paradigm Shift

I figure everyone goes through periods when their beliefs are shaken and reshaped. And I figure that this is an awesome thing, most of the time. A few months ago I experienced a “reshaping” of sorts, and it was pretty damn awesome.

So it all comes down to something called historicism. I guess I’ve always been aware of the term but I never really probed it or investigated the crux or first principles of it. It was always more of a personal aesthetic leaning for me. I was drawn to that romantic, prophetic idea of having the awesome power of being able to not only see history but to see into and behind it, being able to predict its impending action. I was lured in by the idealistic prophesizing of Marx. I was tantalized by his feat of penetrating societal prediction. How beautiful it was that a man could place his sociological stethoscope on the heart of history and diagnose and predict its coming  “birth pangs”. I was hooked. That is, until I stumbled across a pdf of “The Open Society and Its Enemies” by the badass philosopher Karl Popper.

Wow. How wrong was I… Popper starts out with a view of Plato’s political philosophy and how it, in every instance, supports and proposes a totalitarian system. So apparently Plato had it all figured out. No wonder the democracy that was burgeoning at the time of his political writings was so “wretched”. Society was moving away from its Ideal Form. Everything in the “natural” world, you see, is a diluted, imperfect version of its Form. Form is something that exists independent of our realm, something that is untainted by the dirty progression of the natural world, something that is Ideal. And to change, to progress, is a furthering away from this Ideal. Progress!  Then, a guy named Aristotle, one of Plato’s students, took the reins. He liked the basic concept of his prof’s work. Ideals, sure, let’s keep ’em. But he wasn’t so keen on the idea that change was a sliding away from those Ideals. He decided that instead, Ideals are present inside each object, as it changes. No longer was the Ideal confined to the ethereal. As Socrates saw it, with each change, each object came closer to its ideal, “Final Cause”. So on the cover, since change is no longer demonized, this philosophy, at its base level, no longer advocates totalitarianism, right? Ehh… not really.

All is still fucked with the Forms. As it happens, Forms and Ideals aren’t that great of ways to look at the social world–or really any world for that matter. Let’s suppose you ask, “what is the “essential nature” of mankind?”. What would this entail? An infinite–nonsensical–regress. Because to discover an “essential nature” this nature must be defined. But how much better is that definition, as it is still only a basic lexical definition, lacking scientific specificity. An infinite regress like this isn’t so helpful when it comes to scientific, analytical thought. And such thought is extremely important when looking at near infinitely complex matters as society and history. You can’t just slap a term and a lexical definition on it, no matter how pretty and aesthetically awesome it sounds.

So, when we look at someone like Marx, it becomes brutally obvious how scientifically, analytically lacking his historical prophecies are. Society’s progression through time is an extremely intricate, multi-layered process that cannot be “read” and predicted with a few simple maxims directed at a strangely–and unduly supported through reasoning and evidence– specific bourgeois-proletariat dynamic. Such an idea is akin to isolating a few processes that are central to a cell in an organism and extrapolating those processes to produce a 50-year-long “prophecy” of that organism’s health and function. It simply does not work like this.

With that said, I’m damn happy I stumbled across Karl Popper’s ideas and I really hope other people can experience the same sort of “awakening” that I have.

Until later,

-JM


 

Rethinking the state: The Synergistic System

Community cannot continue to be “side-lined”, that is, in the current system community is an afterthought; it comes second behind the omnipotent industry. People go to work, they come home, they tend to chores and loved ones and engage in “leisure”. But this is leisure in an extremely narrow sense. This is leisure shaved from the sides of the bulky block of industry.

As populations grow and as wealth increases it is becoming especially clear that there are some problems within our current system and the industry within it. These problems, for the most part, are nothing new. Karl Marx foresaw them (in a way) and many late “comrades” and anarchists have attempted to do away with them once and for all, either by directing their attention to class struggle and dynamics or by seeking to overthrow the infamous “state”. But all of these well-intentioned individuals were mis-oriented in a sense. To isolate the state and to view all aspects of our system in terms of it is fundamentally dangerous. Let’s elaborate.

It can be said that under the blanket of the “state”, both industry and community fall. Industry, by nature of the intrinsic forces and historical development of capitalism, currently plays the larger role. Industry provides the momentum of the “masses”, so to speak. Therefore, industry with lack of community is tolerable; society is kept moving along, however miserably. And community with lack of industry in the “modern” day is decidedly tragic. But few it seems, have stopped and considered the exact nature of both industry’s and community’s relationship to the state. Our late comrades (Karl Marx included) viewed capitalism, at its base level, as a system in which private ownership of industry eroded the community as a whole and the well-being of the proletariat. The only way to detach this leech of private ownership and to restore the health of the overall community was to endow the state with special industrial and communal dominion (the result of the abolition of private ownership). Yet, however “free” the community seemed to be after this endowment of the state, it still remained imprisoned by industry. To elaborate, let’s take a look at the historical relation between industry and community. For the majority of civilization’s history, industry and community were essentially intertwined. In the Feudal system for instance, community was very isolated and static. The “web” of trade was instead a single strand, running from the Fiefs on one end to the Lords on the other. An important point to be made is that industry in these times, however closely coupled with community it was, was not at a state yet capable of “imprisoning” community. Community and industry in this age were simply one and the same, not yet of sufficient structure and complexity to give rise to any direct animosity or erosion among one another. Later, as humans progressed into capitalistic form, the newly formed “industry”, essentially as it it conceived of and functions today, began constructing a wall around its newly discovered territory, community. Due to industry’s intrinsic societal “momentum”, its creation of wealth and many forms commonly conceived of as “progress”, it quickly and persuasively staked its claim on community. Yet that isn’t to say that community was or is in any way entirely non-functional or “dead”, rather it had been warped and caged, “fetishized”, as Marx would have said and fashioned into a commoditized cell of the state. But the blame for this imprisonment oddly enough falls neither on the inmate, community, nor on its ultimate “law”, the state. Rather it falls solely on the shoulders of the great beast of industry. To carry the metaphor a bit further, it could be said that one (our late comrades) can change the law (the state) but the “beast” of industry, or in this case, its psychopathic, raging, almost demonic possession of the prisoner (community) cannot be quelled. It seems the case that industry, not intrinsically a force of coercion, has bound community and repeatedly threatened to take its life. And though we may still be uncertain of industry’s true intent to “shoot”, the threat is enough to press charges.

So now comes the question of “how?”. If, as it has been seen with the failures of the communist movement, we cannot change or endow the state with greater or different powers, then what can we do and how can we do it? Must we alter industry or is it something deeper? Anarchists advocate abolition of the state, and the “organic” restructuring of industry, but this is fundamentally flawed and would be disastrous. Society would devolve into disparate factions, each vying for the establishment of their own worldview, ultimately crashing into chaos and “mob-rule”. So now what? It seems we have exhausted all our options… doesn’t it? But let’s revisit the nature of what a “state” really is. A state, at its base level, is a system that regulates and controls (and of course gives rise to) both industry and community. Clearly both industry and community have their own respective qualities and benefits, and it’s also just as clear that they must have some some of framework within which to fully operate and complement one another. But we must be conscientious of how this framework is formed; the proper framework must preserve their synergism. Industry helps propel community forward, keeping it “modern” and “prosperous”. And community helps lend a sense of belonging and purpose to the workers in industry. In Marx’s worldview, there was a sort of worker-industry-community casual chain. He believed that the freedom of the individual directly correlated with the nature of that individual’s work, and vice versa. And this is true to a certain extent. But I propose that it is more helpful to think not in terms of such a casual chain of freedom but instead in terms of a synergistic system of freedom.

It can be said that each person has two identities, at base level. Each person is a worker and each person is a member of a community. In the communist system these identities were made to “overlap” in a sense, in that man’s “worker identity” derived its sense of community (or it was supposed to) from the nature of the industry in which it was in. But this is an extremely impoverished version of community. Community is not merely a derivative of labor, rather it is a collage of communal interaction and enjoyment and of creative expression. But how is it possible to separate, or if not to separate, “distance” community from industry? Through the “cyclicalization” of our societal system. I propose that instead of having people’s lives revolve around their work, we shall have work revolve around community and strengthen the industry-community synergy. To be clear, industry shall remain intact, its powerful momentum conserved. But it shall be displaced in a sense, no longer able to envelop its poor victim, community.

Instead of having people work throughout the year, I propose that we instead adopt a system that consists of alternating between periods of “industry” and “community”. So, for example, one may work his “industry” job for four months per year and then spend another four months engaged in “community council” affair and another four enjoying time with his family and traveling, if capable. The system will effectively preserve the synergistic relationship between industry and community, while allowing citizens to walk free of the shackles of industrial enslavement. Now to address the aspect of regulation and control of this system. Instead of a centralized, communal-industrial governing state, I propose two separate bodies of supervision. The first, “The Committee of Industry” or something of the sort will supervise, “safe-guard” and regulate industry. The “safe-guarding” process will entail forms of income regulation, viz. taking care to insure that extreme wealth is not accumulated and that the “capitalistic core” does not overheat. The second body of supervision, “The Community Consulate” and its constituents, “The Community Counsels” or something of the sort, will communicate economic information with The Committee of Industry and determine their respective community delegation and everyday affair.

As a crucial aside, it must be noted that this is not a call for immediate implementation. First and foremost, an acceptance and adoptance of a form of basic income needs to occur. This will help ease the transition into a new society built around increasing free time and community affair. And just as early socialists and Marxists adopted a political strategy of “revolutionary waiting”, that is, waiting for the economic forces to ripen and then rearrange them, we must also employ this strategy. The prime reason for this being the concurrence of an ever rising population and the imminence of automation and the following massive job displacement. Though in Marx’s day automation was a pipe dream and the population was manageable, we are at a point at which our new societal system must take these things into consideration. As anarchist theorists Murray Bookchin wrote, “If man had to acquire the conditions of survival in order to live (as Marx emphasized), now we must acquire the conditions of life in order to survive.” My friends, our time to acquire is nearly here!

What Milo Yiannopoulos and “DisruptJ20” Have in Common

Revolution. Its mention conjures visions of patriotic heroism; of radical protests and wigged white men in knickers. But today, the beginnings of revolution are far less romantic, paling in comparison to the awe-inspiring descriptions of past revolt. No, today it’s not quite patriotic heroism, more like disorderly conduct. And though the protests are radical, they are seen by many as foolish acts, devoid of sense and reason. But, one thing is certain: we are entering an age where cultural identity and growing inequality feed off of one another. It is a powerful synergistic effect that, making appearances in the Bolshevik Revolution and in 18th century France, can topple governments and upend societies. And though it’s not yet knocking on America’s back door, it is walking down her driveway, eyeing its target. We are in an age of widespread  cultural disenfranchisement. Economic disenfranchisement that has left America’s working class down-trodden. Political disenfranchisement that has left a large majority of citizens, regardless of creed, leery of their representation in government. Cultural disenfranchisement that has led to the LGBT, Women’s Rights and Black Lives Matter movements. Extremes on both ends are emerging from their intellectual enclaves, from think tanks and internet chat-rooms. From the alt-right to anarchist protestors, America is in the midst of a cultural revolution. And the prime mover of it all: the heated interplay between cultural identity and disenfranchisement.


First off, let me explain what is meant by the term “disenfranchisement”. In everyday language it indicates that a group has lost suffrage or another legal right. In this article however, it will be defined as “a group that has lost trust and/or motivation”. So it can be seen that the “culturally disenfranchised” have lost trust that their culture is appreciated or represented fairly, likewise those who are “politically disenfranchised” have lost trust in the American political system’s ability to represent them adequately.


In the past, cultural identity has been, for the most part, separate from mainstream political affair. And when cultural issues did come into play, as they did during the Civil War era, Women’s Rights and Civil Rights movements, they existed in fundamentally different environments than the one we are in today. In the Civil War era, there were two groups who felt culturally disenfranchised, the slave owners/southerners and the freed slaves. The freed slaves, who had been introduced to the nascent concept of cultural identity, collaborated with abolitionists and envisioned a society in which all men could become culturally enfranchised. While the southerners, not only confronted with the prospect of possible economic disaster but feeling that their own culture was under attack, ironically felt the same pain of cultural disenfranchisement that they had inflicted. Both cultures, seeing no other way of resolution, revolted against the other’s injustice. But although there was cultural strife, and there was revolution, there was simply little economic inequality and certainly no “forgotten class” like there is today. In both the Women’s Rights movement and Civil Rights movements, there was only one main culturally disenfranchised group, women and African Americans respectively. But although there was considerable opposition to these movements, the opposing groups felt sufficiently economically, culturally and politically enfranchised to render large-scale revolt unnecessary.


Enter present day America. There are two culturally disenfranchised groups, one large economically disenfranchised group and a pervasive, virulently spreading specter of political disenfranchisement. Amongst the culturally disenfranchised, the far-right exhibits the likes of the emerging alt-right movement and the raconteur Breitbart senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos. The far-left hosts those behind the DisruptJ20 movement and various anarchist groups, also including those taking part in the Berkley protests. On the far-left end of the spectrum, members are deeply attuned to the voiced cultural disenfranchisement of the LGBT, Women’s Rights and Black Lives Matter movements, many of them members of these movements themselves. On the far-right end, members are either indifferent to this aforementioned disenfranchisement or against it, feeling that it takes away from their own cultural enfranchisement. It is this reciprocal feeling of disenfranchisement that pits the two against one another.


Available in both the extreme (alt-right, DisruptJ20) and the garden variety (working class), Economic disenfranchisement is partisan-blind. It is a wide-spread sentiment and something that conflates with cultural disenfranchisement to form many an extreme ideology.


There exists another force however, so dynamic and pervasive that it links both the culturally and economically disenfranchised groups, connecting them all to the same life-line of sorts–political disenfranchisement. Political disenfranchisement is the reason that, however miraculously, Milo Yiannopoulos and a DisruptJ20 protester, assuming they had no prior knowledge of each other, could sit down peacefully and have a coffee, chatting about their disdain for bureaucrats and dislike of the Electoral College. This form of disenfranchisement is so pervasive that it is intertwined with each disenfranchised group, both cultural and economic. When paired with cultural disenfranchisement, it proves to be a catalyst of extremism, resulting in radical, polarized groups, including DisruptJ20 and the alt-right. When paired with economic disenfranchisement, it gives rise to groups and concepts such as the “forgotten class”, and there is no doubt this duo elected Donald J. Trump to office. Political disenfranchisement is both the catalyst of extreme, fringe ideologies and the glue that is holding America’s current, pre-revolution state together. Without it, there would be no alt-right or Berkley protests. Though of course, some degree of this political disenfranchisement is needed, to ensure our Democracy serves us and to keep questioning and improving our government.


Today America is caught in a web of dissatisfied citizens and emergent fringe movements, all vying to right the same visceral wrongs (disenfranchisement) and institute new cultural views, a more equal economic system, a new political party or some combination of the aforementioned. And though it may seem that the various movements have no common core or thread, all are tremendously intertwined.