Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jiminy Cricket!

They say that one out of a hundred people is a psychopath.

They say that one out of every hundred people is a sociopath.

So one in fifty people is potentially very dangerous...

Personally, I think the number is a lot higher. More like nine out of ten people are dangerous. Perhaps not to the serial killer level -- but just their biases, their prejudices, can be very very dangerous. Take the statistics above. They seem reasonable. We assume they are vetted by reasonable people without agenda. But are one fiftieth of the population as dangerous as the charged words 'psychopath' and 'sociopath' imply? Seems like there should be a lot more murders than there are.

How about this stat: Women hold 65% of the total wealth in the USA [Fortune Magazine]
Now, I know women earn less than men. Or I've seen a statistic. So one assumes the 65% is partly on account of men dying seven years earlier. Is the transfer of 50% of a couples' assets to the survivor considered income? No. What about divorce settlements, are they included? No.

So what is with the Fortune Magazine statistic? Or the other one about income? What is the whole picture? Am I to infer that women earn less money while they are young and then end up with more assets when they are older? Is that the real picture? We also have heard that the top 20% of society has 84% of the wealth. Does that mean that generally working women are even worse off than the stats imply, while at the top there are a disproportionate number of superwealthy women?

The problem is that when we get fed these statistics in this way, piecemeal, we can cite statistics for our own purpose. They seem to imply so much and yet really mean so little. And if I may suggest, that is the agenda. To allow us fragments of truth that without support, entice us into our own prejudices. For and against. Do we know lots of statistics that prove our point of view but can't think of any that disprove it?
Forty-nine out of fifty people (excluding psychopaths and sociopaths) believe their own stories. Who needs a conscience when you have the facts?

Stats are the methamphetamine of prejudice. You seem so much smarter with them, so much more. Pretty soon you use them all the time. Can't you see how right I am? Just look at the damn statistics!

Lies! Lies, damned lies, and statistics!

Mr. Kingfisher

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Steampunk Effect

The eventual co-option of steampunk into psuedopunk, tailored to mass media consumer-frenzy tastes, will miss the point entirely. It will be assumed that steampunk is just anachronistic cosplay. Trekkies with brass goggles. Nonfunctional gears becoming aesthetic jewelry (and probably ruining many functional watches). And for many that is what it is: fashion, but it is more than that.

The 'steampunk' label is already outdated, but the movement doesn't bother to rename itself because:
1) it would have to just change that name in a few years after further co-option, and
2) it has an ironic sense of humour for passé pop-IDs and self-identification, for example: Gentleman's Emporium (who sell old-fashion clothing), and the The Royal Ladies’ & Gentle-mens’ Experimental Madness Society (who make ghost hunting equipment). But it is more than a cheeky ironising of industrial / commercial society. Real steampunk will never be seen by consumers, in the same way that a graffiti style tag on a manufactured t-shirt will never be about street art.

At its truest heart, steampunk is part of maker culture. Why steampunk is important is because of the implications behind what is being made. A friend, who was just dipping her toe into the idea of steampunk pointed like a two-year-old to a stripped down Terminator doll, all of its pistons and cables showing and said with the glow of labeling: 'steampunk.' Not so, I replied. The mechanical man was too slick, he was the product of an industrialised process. Steampunk objects are one-offs. There is only one Nautilus, one Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory, one Tesla. Even in the case where objects are made in factories there is an element of customisation. Huge electrical generators were made to order, not for Walmart. Mass culture, mass production, mass media are for a by-gone age: the later twentieth century. Steampunk is about customisation. Whether modification, accessorisation, or ground up machining, we desire to give our creations life. I won't bore you with pointing out that this is Toffler's third wave, nor that it correlates to the ikea effect. Suffice to say: diy good, me too bad.

But it is not just an ego-trip about being 'special.' External forms of dress, and decoration are not the key to specialness, they never were. They simply are a calling card telling others that we are in the same pursuit for a personal life. It is ironic to say there is movement towards choosing one's own values. But this is the key to steampunk and why blunderbuss marketing will only delineate the wanna-bes from the true believers. Steampunk is a multivalent movement. It isn't just about one thing, but everything.

Steampunk is about being conscious of not only our personal but societal facticity, what we have been, and looks at what we wish to become, and how that our personal choices effect the group choice. A flexible and creative commons will never arise from complacent consumers. The tragedy of the commons has to do with marketisation, which can be understood as a monovalue, tit for tat, this for that, purely functional, relationless, zero-sum, cost-benefit analysis. Any individual who is operating on a monovalue system is an addict. And as Ariely notes, it negates the multivalent social system of give and give back, gift and reciprocation, by leveraging a single value (often money).

The more values a system can cohesively contain, the more robust the system. The fewer values it can contain the weaker it is. Cohesion is the by-word here. A value 'system' is not just a bunch of values thrown in together, but a systemic outgrowth of a central idea, (which can begin as a more nebulous feeling). Steampunk is still in the feeling stage, but is, excuse the pun, gathering steam. The external forms are telegraphing the internal structures that are being assembled. They aren't just for fun, they constitute the visible outer shell of a deep cultural transformation.

A science-friendly, fallibilistic, humanistic, aesthetic, community oriented (manners and such), gender neutral but not neutralising, polarity embracing, art-embracing, mystery and philosophy positive, literary, personally empowering, decentralising, anti-bureaucratic, guerilla movement means it is a new age and we are ready for something wonderful.

It is time to write a new constitution.

Mr. Kingfisher

Friday, March 5, 2010

Long Time- short time

Long time - since I've written.

Short time - another friend is gone.
Passed away from cancer, everywhere. We travel by sea tomorrow to go to his service.

Still the cherry blossoms are out, and life is beautiful. This moment is beautiful, and we are... our feet and legs and hands and arms and butt and liver and fingernails, all beautiful. If you've never held a baby you have no idea what I mean.

Ms. Sparrow has taken up painting and is quite good. This is not a shock. Ours is not the problem of lack of talent but rather discipline and organisation. We soon will have to organise a new location as our lease is up. C'est dommage. 

May all beings be free from suffering.

Mr. Kingfisher.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Humble and Limited

Honest truth is by necessity humble and limited.
    As beautiful and terrifying life is, death is still more terrifying -- and maybe more beautiful:
both are mysteries...

False truth is absolute, omniscient and certain.
    Don't think about your life, or about your dissipation:
shop -- and march!

Mr. Kingfisher

Tuesday, January 5, 2010



the father energy
and the mother noticing

the power insurgency
the enveloping regression

the singularity pressure
the infinity evacuating

the skinny fingers dance
but the hallelujah escapes the ego's grasp

The Kingfisher Dictionary

Adult: An agent of the moment whose actions precipitate from the collection of years and the forecasts of opportunity.

Clarity: The ability to let go of what you think.

History: A kind of lie that omits so much.

Living: The moment you do not own but which owns you.

Magic: The enveloping of talent into the most finite of spaces to effect the greatest of objects in transition.

Remembering: A kind of selective forgetting.

The Spiral: The energy it takes for one moment to become another - time itself.

Waiting: The moment you realise you are not living.

Mr. Kingfisher

No Cheaters Here

Cheaters will continue to cheat so long as they feel it will benefit them to do so.
Non-cheaters will also continue to not cheat so long as they feel it will benefit them to do so.

Are there rules being broken? I think not. The system is the de-facto law. If a system allows something to be done then it will be. Setting up rules afterword to ameliorate the poor design is like mediaeval geocentric astronomers adding extra Ptolemaic epicycles to explain planetary retrogrades. Fiddley bits.

Systems that contain lots of fiddley bits, the subsequent rules, may also be set up on purpose for those in the know to use and those who don't in which to flounder. While making a rule that says "I always get to win," is deemed blatantly unfair, creating a system in which those who can utilise the system to advantage while in the letter of the law, is merely irksomely unfair. For the cheater, to live by rules means you are a chump. And they are right. Both because you are not smart enough to not follow the self-serving rules of others, and also because you are not wise enough to leave that game entirely for a mutualistic one.

The so called cheater lives by the application of the meta-rules of the game. The possibilities of the system, and not what is it 'supposed' to be. In nature, every niche is filled.

a) if I won't get caught
b) if the gain is great enough and the punishment unlikely
c) if any punishment is less than the potential gain
d) if I can weasel out legally or with plausible denial
e) if there is a time advantage before giving it back

The real truth about cheaters and non-cheaters is that they are playing inside different systems. In the Crocodile and Chicken systems, self-serving means at the cost of others. In the Monkey and Buddha systems, you can't 'cheat' and self-serving means mutualistic benefit to others.

There are no cheaters, only systems which allow exploitation.

Mr. Kingfisher

Must Not

Must means that despite what is, it has to be. It must be that I get what I want. My wants must exist. A must is a desire for this want to supersede all other wants. I want this want. The wanting of the wanted.

By definition, a want is something you don't have. A must is a desire bent in on itself. Not just wanting to dance, but wanting to want to dance. So why not wanting to want to want to dance? It is an entanglement of preconditions before the action. Expectations of existence made with insistence lead to resistance.

Wanting distances you from your way. To be in want is to be in disassociation. From this state we tell the universe what it must do and be.

In having, we see that it is always to an extent. Just as there is no want, there is no have-not. We have everything, even if only infinitesimally, even if only in our minds.

As everything is one, and it is our conventions that make distinctions, do not forget that disassociation is when you believe that two interconnected 'things' are actually two things. Differentiation is a convenience.

Mr. Kingfisher

One, Two, Three, Ten Thousand

One can experience the divine
Two can talk of truth
Three can argue the facts
The ten thousand follow slogans

Hierarchy Without Tears

Buddha Monkey Chicken Crocodile

Our spirit-life exists in timelessness - our core values, purpose, truth, and leadership.

Ahierarchial - is based in truths that are real. Each individual in the hierarchy recognises them as true and goes about their actions accordingly. There is no law. There are options and considerations. Those who can do, those who can't let those who can do - they learn how, or they do something else.

Our natural-life exists in natural cycles - our rhythms, learning style, action, pleasures, and personality.

Role based and flexible. Feelings motivate toward exploration of the world and each other. Play is emphasised and seen as crucial to productivity.

Our social-life exists in clock time - our tribe, favour, alliance, duty, position consciousness, self-consciousness, and worry.

The hierarchical being is a worried being.
Everything they touch, no matter how benign, they apply the Illich principle and make it a counterproductive institution. They weaponise it. Their basic point of view is paranoid.

Our economic-life exists in the now - our provisioning, sustainability, survival.

Everyman for himself. Anarchist in the worst sense. Capitalist in the worst sense. All about ourselves and devil take the hindmost. It is the absence of civilisation. Crocodilic mentality's presence in a civilisation is a cancer. It lives off the structures that can only be held in place by higher forms of consciousness, while maintaining that it has a right to pursue its agenda of freedom. This freedom is undermined by its actions.

Mr. Kingfisher

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mutualist Economics

Just what you thought I'd be writing about come the new year. A big title for a simple thought with interesting implications. Symbiosis means living together, and I believe that we must first be able to live with ourselves as a basis for our interconnections with others.

Consider all your desires, they need to live together. No amount of your not wanting a desire will make it not exist. Sure you can hide it. That's called repression. It leads to neurosis. If that's what you want. You can cannibalise your heart to push through your brain's agenda. That's called uptight WASP values. You can do that too if you want.

The great thing about symbiotic systems is they can at their best be mutualist, meaning you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. It is the classic win/win scenario. So instead of our differences being something to be tolerated, or succeeded despite, they are the keys to mutual strength. The best couples are made of people with complementary strengths; their weaknesses give them appreciation for the mate's ability. It is also true of our interior selves.

Now on to the economic part: these systems, whether intrapsychic or social or ecological or possession oriented are feedback loops. It is to the advantage of one in a mutualist relation to add value to the process from which one receives, for higher value's sake. Put another way: if you bring champagne yeast to the loop, you eventually get to drink champagne. It needs to be understood that you don't have what it takes to make it all for yourself. Your supply line doesn't contain enough of what it takes to make a superior product. So like on Sesame Street, you learn to 'cooperate.'

"Ahhh... this is one of those, 'be nice to everyone and we'll all get along,' speeches," you say. Not exactly. A mutualist system is still based in the demand/supply=effort equation. If you have a great need for something and small supply, you will have to exert great effort (cost). Lots of need, but with an even greater supply leads to low effort. What is important about mutualist economics is that they are self enhancing feedback systems - they grow, they increase their supply through their use. Which means that the effort necessary for a mutualist system decreases over time. The supply becomes larger and larger.

This, you might think leads to decrease in effort, and it can, if one is content. Funny thing about humans is their not being very content. So as supply increases so does demand. Like the way the blindingly fast computer bought a few months ago is now an accursed and sluggish behemoth. It is unwise to stop up the supply, this can cause a backward feedback loop called 'sour grapes.' People want to feel relief, adn happiness. Make it so the supply doesn't advance quickly enough and they will frustrate, which leads to the playing of board games, and learning to knit. So called 'slackers' are customers who could not be satisfied, and so leave the economic loop to seek their desires. They are not 'low desire' individuals; they are frustrated. For everyone else who likes the products of this civilisation, let the supply roll full tilt and acclimatization will pull the demand forward.

Ahhh... this is one of those, 'just let the free market do whatever it feels like, damned the environment,' speeches, you say. Not exactly. In the practicing of mutualist psychology, relationships, and economics, it begins to dawn on people that the ecological welfare of the planet is also part of this. Increasing the soil's fertility is to our advantage. Preta terra, a self regenerating soil, has added to it charcoal, made from the leftover bio mass we don't eat. Plant the corn, pick the corn, char the stalks, stir it in, better soil for better corn. It wins, we win. And as we pursue more mutualist systems things get easier and easier, it is like the improvements earn compound interest. As to those who say we need to conserve, I disagree: we need to expand. Years ago I wrote a piece called ecocracy, I now see it is a word. Nature is not conservative, nature is expansive and proliferates in every imaginable way. The question is about how.

So it is with our lives. The Pareto 80-20 rule, that 80% of the value comes from 20% of the work, is not a formula to slack, or for second rate products. It is instead the result of mutualist systems that already exist and are being utilised, often without realising they are, and most often without adding anything to the system (parasitic businesses). Rather the 80-20 rule expressed the best feedback state: one in which our efforts of 20% will yield an 80% return. Mutualism is good for the soul, good for each other, good for the planet, and good business.

It is my new years resolution to engage, to the best of my ability, in only mutualist systems.

Mr. Kingfisher