Saturday, September 17, 2022

The Recent History of "at will" MASS DELUSION events

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson.)

What are Mass Delusion events?  They are simply the institutional momentum of freedback waves traveling through a communicating network, and they can appear in diverse forms. They are the sum of communicability, shared relevance, emotional appeal, and underlying conditions, e.g., stress & propensity to panic.  The phenomenon is not new.  Transiently attractive rumors are as old as human culture.

However, the remarkable 20th Century resurgence of the use of Mass Delusion events as tools of Politics and Empire, can be significantly attributed to 3 little books that launched an industry dependent upon unprecedented breadth and speed of feedback methods, all of which, unfortunately, produced conditions where accelerating communication methods could initially be misused as often or more often than they were adaptively used.

Walter Lippman's 1921 book, Public Opinion

Edward Bernays 1923 book, Crystallizing Public Opinion

Edward Bernays 1927/1928 book, Propaganda

(hat tip to Derryl Hermanutz)

Propaganda, of course, started with the first human tribal grouping.

Propaganda and "civilization" (organized mass society) go hand in glove, as Lippman pointed out. Recruitment to at least some like-minded narratives is necessary for organization.  Like anything, consensus is only as valuable as we make it.  Natural selection still proceeds, at cultural as well as individual levels.

Any useful tool can also be misused. Group recruitment becomes mal-adaptive the moment it is separated from full aggregate feedback, thorough discussion and Deliberative rather than rushed decision-making.

The history of biology, business & warfighting all prove this conclusion.

Biology involves constant selection among multi-factorial combinations.

Business involves rushed decisions based upon insufficient data, but neither too rushed nor too slow.  The survivable balance between immediate/local revenue & results (ILR) and delayed/distributed costs & consequences (DDC) produces the mythologized "Market Forces" - titrated as a dynamic ILR/DDC ratio.

Warfighting?  Another version of the same topic.

1) Group success "follows the quality [including tempo] of distributed decision-making." [Note: the USMC changes this link periodically. If broken, google "USMC Warfighting pdf"]

2) Groups "generate tempo by decentralizing decision-making."
    [Note: the USMC changes this link too. If broken, google "USMC Campaigning pdf"]

3) Groups decentralize decision-making by distributing resources well enough to allow distributed exploration of dynamic options.
(It's called liquidity or recombination. We teach one another, distribute resources where useful, & give time for study & practice  - all to generate more innovation.  Species innovate by exploring the unpredictable value generated by sexual recombination.  Cultures innovate by exploring options-recombination, which requires unrestricted liquidity, NOT hoarding of liquidity units.)

4) Groups continually re-prioritize decentralized decision patterns, by distributing feedback well enough and soon enough to continuously re-align all actions with net benefit.

Those 4 points, and you could argue the Theory of Evolution, are recognizably a re-statement of the US Declaration of Independence & the US Constitution.  Systems modeling.

This ain't rocket science. Ancestors of every surviving species figured this out operationally, over 1 million years ago. All homo sapiens should know this by 5th grade, not just members of sports, music, dance or drama teams.

So WHY is it that we repeatedly allow unworkably small cabals to try to rule increasingly larger and more complex populations via diverse versions of Central Planning? What's the difference between a Central Committee run by Royalty, Oligarchs, Fascists or Bolsheviks?   A dead end, by any other name, still stinks as badly.

If none of us are as smart as all of us, there's an obligatory corollary.

  All of us are never as ignorant as a tiny few of us.

No matter how impressive a new discovery or invention, it's importance pales in comparison to the task of INTEGRATING into 4.5 Billion years of highly conserved, evolutionary history.  No matter what ingredient you may consider adding to the bathwater ... don't get so distracted that you throw out the recombinant baby!

So.  What do we DO about seemingly rampant occurrence of Mass Delusions among electorates that seem to be increasingly easy to manipulate?

Same thing we've always done.
  Plan, Do, Study, Act (i.e., actively re-tune EVERYTHING, within tolerance limits)
   As originally formalized by Walter Shewhart.
   Or some renamed version of the same, e.g., OODA Loop.

Just keep in mind that the act of re-tuning requires an adequate Deliberative Process, one that can't be left to a few squeaky wheels.

We'll come through this, one way or another, and then inevitably reproduce Social Parasites on an even larger scale.  Parasites, whether other biological species or social variants, are the frictions that prompt further active re-tuning of evolving processes.

People will do anything in their power to avoid thinking, until absolutely necessary.  After all, it burns a LOT of calories to think.  Yet when absolutely necessary, we can do it easily enough, no matter how much we initially resent having to do so.  We're currently waiting for an adequate proportion of our own and other electorates to tire of panicking and start deliberating.

Good luck, and be patient, but not too patient.


rge said...

Ironically, Aldous Huxley ended his 1958 interview with Mike Wallace with the idea that one of the few ways we can combat narrow, elitist, globalist agendas is through de-centralization.

Huxley's extended family were so steeped in eugenics & the "duty" of the UK Upper Class to establish a World Government that it's downright comical. Aldous seemed simultaneously jealous, resentful & unsure of his family's views.

see his brother Julian Huxley's founding document for UNESCO, esp p.13 & p.27

What strikes me is just how deeply upper class Brits drank their own Kool-Aid. They're steeped in "upper" vs lower class distinctions, to the extent that they forgot the full spectrum of continuous distributions.

Julian Huxley sounds alternatively like Tolkien's Saruman & like the very fascists he decried. Maybe just because they weren't British.

Peter Pan said...

Let mother nature do the culling, and call her a eugenicist. Or more likely, the survivors will once again worship her.

Centralized authority and imbecilic cabals are part of what we call 'civilization'. Can't have pros (longer lifespan, labour saving devices) without some cons (Quid Pro Quo Joe).

Unknown said...

Roger wrote, "People will do anything in their power to avoid thinking, until absolutely necessary."

Western philosophers for 2500 years have been claiming man is a rational animal. This is visibly not the case - except for the small percentage of the population who are intellectuals.

The reality of most people is that they are moralizing and rationalizing animals. They interpret information emotionally and evaluate it for its moral content, not for its empirical or objective truth content. People are driven to behave by their emotional urges and moral passions. Then they think up rational sounding reasons why they did what they did. Then they remember this made-up fiction as "the reason I did that".

It is more accurate to say they didn't actually do anything. Their bodily and emotional urges drove their actions. The conscious person was more or less along for the ride. Their "I" was not the director of the actions. "I" did not do the thing. My body-brain did the thing. Then "I" rationalized the action so I could believe I "chose" to do it for my imaginary "reasons".

I think humanity is in the process of evolving from being emotionally-morally driven creatures to being self-directed thinking beings. As people become aware of the emotionally manipulative propaganda that goads and draws them along their masters' paths, they begin to be aware of their own inner urges and mechanism that drive them internally. When people see how they are driven creatures, not capable of directing their own course by their own free will, they become more seeing, thinking and analytical. They become thinking beings, "rational animals", finally, after 2500 years of being told they were when they actually were not.

Matt Franko said...

OPEC+ are parasites ..

According to Darwin we should just kill them all that are in that and just take the oil…

Peter Pan said...

Strike, Strike, Strike

Mass delusion strategy?

Peter Pan said...

Western philosophers for 2500 years have been claiming man is a rational animal. This is visibly not the case - except for the small percentage of the population who are intellectuals.

Until those intellectuals become academics, and enter an asylum of their own making.

Matt Franko said...

“ Western philosophers”

This is the problem..,