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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:52 pm 
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I thought this was an interesting, insightful take on the Trump phenomenon. I think it fits in with explorations of the psychodynamics of culture/society, although the language used suggests the author's training in chaos theory, game theory and/or military strategy.

Situational Assessment 2017: Trump Edition

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In 2015, I took a swing at assessing the shape and state of our global challenges. Looking back, that essay is still well worth a read, but it is high time for an update.

While many things have changed in the world in the past two years, 2016 saw what looks like a phase transition in the political domain. While the overall phenomenon is global in scale and includes Brexit and other movements throughout Europe, I want to focus specifically on the victory of the “Trump Insurgency” and drill down into detail on how this state change will play out.

I use John Robb’s term “Trump Insurgency” here to highlight the fact that the election of 2016 was not an example of “ordinary politics”. Anyone who fails to understand this is going to be making significant errors. For example, the 2016 election is not comparable to the 2000 election (e.g., merely a “close” election) nor to the 1980 election (e.g., an “ideological transition” election). While it is tempting to compare it to 1860, I’m not sure that is a good match either.

In fact, as I go back and try to do pattern matching, the only real pattern I can find is the 1776 “election” (AKA the American Revolution). In other words, while 2016 still formally looked like politics, what is really going on here is a revolutionary war. For now this is war using memes rather than bullets, but war is much more than a metaphor.

This war is about much more than ideology, money or power. Even the participants likely do not fully understand the stakes. At a deep level, we are right in the middle of an existential conflict between two entirely different and incompatible ways of forming “collective intelligence”. This is a deep point and will likely be confusing. So I’m going to take it slow and below will walk through a series of “fronts” of the war that I see playing out over the next several years. This is a pretty tactical assessment and should make sense and be useful to anyone. I’ll get to the deep point last — and will be going way out there in an effort to grasp “what is really going on”. I’ll definitely miss wildly, but with any luck, the total journey will be worth the time.

Front One: Communications Infrastructure [...]

Front Two: The Deep State [...]

Front Three: Globalism [...]

Front Four: The New Culture War [...]

The War for Collective Intelligence

If you’ve made it this far (or chose to skip directly here), take a breath and settle in. This is the interesting part. For that precious few who prioritize understanding over brevity, what follows will make much more sense if you have read my Foundational Assumptions, The Coming Great Transition, Introducing Generation Omega and The Future of Organization.

For those who want the tldr, it is this: we live in a non-linear world, stop thinking linearly.

Once you have accepted this as the task, you will eventually come to an important conclusion: you can’t. By yourself, you can’t think non-linearly. This isn’t your fault. Individual human beings can’t think non-linearly. Only “collective intelligences,” those agents of “inter-subjective consciousness” can. To put it more simply, we implement and do things as individuals. We innovate as tribes. And the world we live in today — the world of the 21st Century — is a world of continuous innovation.

In this environment, for the first time ever in history, the ability to innovate is decisively superior to the ability to deploy power. Prior to today, the rule of “the battle goes to whoever gets there the first with the most” was a decent rule of thumb. Of course, this has never been strictly the case. Most of the great stories of history are built around moments of innovation where the smarter but less powerful group was able to outwit and undermine their opponent with superior technique, technology and strategy. Over time the balance has slowly but consistently moved in the direction of innovation. Ask Turing and Oppenheimer about the accelerating pace of innovation as it relates to war.

The conflict of the 21st Century is about forming a Collective Intelligence that can outwit and out innovate all of its competitors. The central challenge is to innovate a way of collaborating and cohering individuals that maximally deploys their individual perspectives, capabilities, understandings and insights with each-other. Right now, the Insurgency has the edge. It has discovered some key ways to tap into the power of decentralized collective intelligence and this is its principal advantage. While it is definitely not a mature version of a decentralized collective intelligence, it is substantially more so than any collective intelligence with which it is competing and unless and until a more effective decentralized collective intelligence enters the field, this advantage is enough.

Like all wars, the shape of this particular conflict will be highly dependent on path, timing and surprise. Right now, for example, the relative difference in power between the Establishment and the Insurgency is large, and while it continues to lose it’s impact, power still matters. At the same time, while the Insurgency has a meaningful advantage in “collective intelligence” this advantage is not overwhelming. Thus the details of the situation that I describe above.

So, for example, if the Deep State uses its power advantage as a way to stall until until it can innovate a collective intelligence advantage, it has a decent chance. (Of course, becoming a decentralized collective intelligence is going to be really hard for the actual individuals who make up the Deep State to understand and accept.)

But watch out as the conflict evolves. As the Insurgency cuts down and unplugs legacy power structures (e.g, the media, the intelligence agencies) and replaces them with more fluid and innovative approaches (e.g., gab.ai and Palantir) the balance will begin to tip quickly. If the Establishment cannot stave off the Insurgency in the next 4–5 years, that phase of the war will be over.

Then the real question. Does the Insurgency and the Red Religion represent a stable attractor in the 21st Century. Can it form a collective intelligence that is able to select-against and out-compete all comers. If so, what does this look like? My sense is that this is ultimately a highly unstable state. While tribalism (nationalism) can be very potent in the short term, it is ultimately a deeply unstable ship to navigate the oceans of the future.

Or is there a different timeline where one of the “children of Blue” discovers an approach that is more intelligent still — one that is more fit to ride the wave of exponential technology and global scale crisis? One that is more fully in line with the true nature of inter-subjective consciousness? One that can scale without losing its coherence? One that is adequate to the whole set of existential challenges of the 21st Century?

Such an eventuality is certainly possible — although the most robust collective intelligence is likely to be more purple than red or blue. How likely? Well, right now I think we have a decent chance but really do believe that the die will be cast in the next 3–5 years.

For those who want to take action, I have three recommendations:

1. The Blue Church, the Deep State, the Old Media and all the other aspects of the Establishment are holding you back. Free your mind. This is going to be much harder than it sounds. For most people, if you are under 40, your entire development has taken place within the context of the Blue Church. Many of your deepest assumptions and unconscious values are going to have to be examined with brutal honesty and courage.

2. All Collective Intelligence is gated by Sensemaking. Right now, our collective sensemaking systems are in complete disarray. We don’t know who or what to trust. We barely even know how. Find ways to improve your individual sensemaker and collaborate on collective sensemaking systems. This should get easier as the old media and the Blue Church collapse.

3. Both #1 and #2 require other people. And, since all of our old ways of collaborating with other people are either suspect or obsolete, you are going to have to learn how to build real faithful relationships the old fashioned way. Get much better at making friends. I don’t mean casual acquaintances. And I definitely don’t mean social network contacts. I mean the kinds of people who ready willing and able to actually care for you — even at risk to themselves. Not because of shared ideology or even shared mission, but because of the deep stuff of human commitment.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:25 pm 
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yevaud wrote:
And, since all of our old ways of collaborating with other people are either suspect or obsolete, you are going to have to learn how to build real faithful relationships the old fashioned way. Get much better at making friends. I don’t mean casual acquaintances. And I definitely don’t mean social network contacts. I mean the kinds of people who ready willing and able to actually care for you — even at risk to themselves. Not because of shared ideology or even shared mission, but because of the deep stuff of human commitment.

Solid proposition. Best example I've seen of a "solution to insoluble problems" that doesnt seem totally bogus.

_________________
The only thing new in this world is the history you don't know.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:31 pm 
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Agreed. That last paragraph really resonated with me. I've chosen to abandon the social media platforms and found myself much more at ease. The draw to check Facebook or Instagram became compulsive. Scrolling became this purgatorial loop that never went anywhere. For me, it was almost always a passive engagement. I hardly ever posted. I "liked" things. It only served to distract me in the end. This forum has been a welcoming alternative. I feel there is genuine concern and honesty here. I live in a tiny town in a frigid, bleak winter and hardly have something here I could call a community, save for my sister, nephew, and brother-in-law (whom I love and care for very much). Maybe that's enough? But I do feel this urge to meet and engage with new people in different ways, and this kind of interaction is validating to say the least.

Call me stupid, but what's the Blue Church?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:45 pm 
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The Reddit comment the author links to in the article coined the term "blue church". Basically, its the blue-state/SJW memeplex. The idea that it is a "church" is that it represents more than just a political orientation, it is almost a spiritual orientation in that it defines ones basic perceptions of reality. In more right-leaning blogs, I've seen the term "cathedral" used to represent the same idea.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:50 pm 
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FB is a weird place. A few people post constantly, over-sharing minutiae of the day. I guess it's a form of journaling, but it's irritating because it seems like an obvious call for attention. Some of the shit people post, I would not want to post about my own life.

I noticed that when I posted something with meaty content, it got only a handful of "likes" - from my partner, a couple of my good friends, maybe a couple close family members, that's it. Many more likes if I'm tagged in a picture taken at a restaurant, or some stupid meme. I guess it's the online equivalent of small-talk, which maybe has it's place. But it isn't a way to forge authentic relationships.

Also, there are "celebrities" who get all kinds of attention merely because people want something from them. Kind of disgusting in some ways, but I guess it's just human behavior.

I started tuning out when FB was on fire with anti-Trump stuff. It's not that I love Trump (far from it), but it just felt really desperate.


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