July 15, 2007
Wouldn’t it be cool to have furniture that always faced you? You could make swivel chairs that have radio detectors in them that could focus on an emitter you put on your key chain. Then a little stepper motor would turn the swivel chair till the seat faced the signal. And once you sat, it would turn off the tracking mechanism.
Now that I think of it, you would have to aim slightly to the left of the emitter, because it would be in your pocket, and you don’t want the seat to point at your pocket, but your butt as you are about to sit down.
I’m more happy than I should be that I got to say “but your butt” in a blog post. At this moment, hilarity has no other definition.
The chair would need to be solar, otherwise you’d have to plug it in.
July 10, 2007
In reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, The Post-Capitalist Society by Peter Drucker, and Critical Path by Buckminster Fuller, I have absorbed a sense of history encapsulated in the following summaries of power structures.
Societal Structure versus The Characteristics of Wealth
- Hunter Gatherer – Ability to find, kill, and pick food
- Peasant/Lord – Land and muscle to farm
- Worker/Industrialist – Machines and electricity
- Service Worker/Knowledge Worker/Venture Capitalist – Information and the people to manage it
What strikes me is the tipping of the scales of power. In the beginning, we have power concentrated in each individual. Then it tips sharply to the Lord who has God-like mastery of his people, as portrayed by the Egyptians. And then to the Industrialist, but as powerful as the captains of industry became, the Industrialist never had the power of feudal lords. Now power lies with the person who can configure knowledge either through the management of knowledge workers, or directly so.
So what does this mean about revolt? In the Hunter-Gatherer world, you could simply leave the tribe, take your direct family and start a new one. In the Feudal period, you had to rise up and kill the lords (and it had to be all of them or other lords would come for revenge) like in the French Revolution. For the Industrial example, there is the labor strike. But what about the knowledge worker? One problem of revolt is the blending of classes through increased mobility. But to think that leads to the annihilation of social discontent is naive. Perhaps the knowledge society’s revolt is passive resistance, such as tax revolts and civil disobedience.
This my be why civil liberty is on the decline in the United States. People are not aware of a new means of fighting injustice.
July 7, 2007
Operating along the lines of my generalized synthetics muse, a piece of software that combined words from a database to form novel combinations, I’ve thought of a Patent Muse. This software would search the US patent office and randomly select two inventions which when juxtaposed may form a novel combination. As with my Random Muse, if the Muse and its output is not worthy of utilitarian consideration, then it may at least result in amusement.
If anyone would be interested in developing this with me, or has found something equivalent, as always, do tell.
July 3, 2007
I often get paralyzed by thought. I find it very easy and acceptable to just think instead of acting, even when it becomes very important that I act. This even results in near-perpetual loops sometimes, as I go over covered ground, trying to find minutia I had skipped over. Needless, to say, this is really bad.
I did not understand the origins of this behavior well enough until I started going to talk therapy for depression. Here I realized a little bit about the different modes of thought I used, and misused. Talk therapy was very useful in regard to reacquainting myself with my own personal history/story. And through this self-viewing mechanism, understanding more about how I build my personal story and how I’d like to continue to do so in the future. The first thing I learned was about my two modes of thought, the synthetic and analytic (Mind you, these did not come from my therapists, but from a systems mode of understanding, applied to my own experience).
I have one mode of thought which is highly analytic, where I go about breaking things into sub-systems, trying to understand a model through its components. This is an inherently specialist activity because as I break the system into subsystems I am able to treat each subsystem as the new exclusive domain and pursue new subdivisioning.
The other mode is very synthetic, where I discard rules and inhibitions to put things together in new and interesting ways. This is the domain of creativity. Though I find synthesis more rewarding than analysis, I do if far less than I would like. I suppose one sensible explanation for this may be that breaking things down is a resource-cheap activity.
Progress is made through a balance between the two activities. However, I find that often I fall into an exclusively analytic mode when I’m trying to achieve something. This leads to paralysis because of two things.
The first problem is I try and take everything into account while making the task happen. Unless it is a virtual task that operates under high constraint, I will not be able to do the task while thinking analytically. This is probably why video games are so rewarding. I can maintain an analytic mindset while achieving a task.
The second problem is there are synergetic effects that occur while doing something. These are effects that are unpredictable from an analysis of parts. A line in isolation will never tell you that three of them form a triangle. An atom in isolation never tells you there is an attractive force between masses. Analysis breaks things into isolated systems and fails to reveal certain characteristics that are revealed through synthesis.
No amount of self-analysis is going to tell me how I’m going to interact with people, do in business, or create an artifact. What an analysis does do is optimize a story. By breaking things apart you can manipulate them in ways you could not as parts of a whole. From this point, you can reconfigure a personal story in such a way that the lens this story creates alters the way you look at things and therefore how you act. But you must always resynthesize and not bulk in perpetual analysis. Otherwise you get stuck with a stagnant system where nothing is discovered, only rediscovered.