by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ December 11. 2019
Complexity is doing it again. We are hoist on our own petard. No, I’ve never been sure what that means, either, but it sounds both embarrassing and painful which makes it appropriate.
The petard on which we have been hoist is our timidity in the face of bald face lies, corruption, criminal actions, greed, and brazen self interest by those who have achieved positions of power, often, in suspicious circumstances. Both the causes and implications of this are complex but the reality created is just ugly, not to mention dangerous.
The ugly and dangerous part is allowing people in pubic positions to lie, steal, and scheme with impunity. The pretense is that somehow nothing can be done about this when the culprits are very rich and have insinuated themselves in very powerful positions. This is because some percentage of the population will believe anything that they are told and another, smaller, percentage will identify an opportunity to become wealthy and succeed in climbing on the gravy train.
Anglo-American culture seems to have collapsed to a third grade level. That can be summed up as “It’s not fair to be punished because everyone does it”. The logical end point of that is no one can be held accountable for anything because everyone is guilty of something. Even the national media, if not fully into lies and outrage, now makes no value judgments and simply repeats whatever they are told. That must end.
The complexity is because there are a great many variables and some range of valid positions that can be taken on those variables simultaneously with near daily readjustments based on feedback loops and recursion. But this requires active thought and application of constantly reviewed moral and ethical standards.
To attempt some simplification that means there are a lot of moving parts and any given position may change continuously while new positions may become available. This means horror for the portion of the population that are dyadic, black and white, thinkers. Nothing makes sense at the level that these people require so they are susceptible to lies that purport to place things in simple, hard edged categories. With nothing to hold as an agreed standard they are lost.
In a dynamic and complex information environment it becomes critically necessary to establish a base standard. This provides secure handles to hold onto as we navigate an increasingly violent passage through the storms of paradigmatic change. Those handles must have one end bolted to a personal standard of truth and the other to the current standard of scientific consensus. Loosening or allowing those standards to be degraded or ignored is fatal.
Without these handles we are in free fall in extreme air turbulence and are helpless. Allowing those with power to remove those handles or to deny their existence is a crime against humanity. Without these handles we are adrift and subject to lies, fears and magical spells. We have no leverage against crime, repression, or brutal exploitation.
Dealing with Lying Sacks of Shit
In the end a lying sack of shit is a lying sack of shit and should be identified as such and, if falsehoods continue, they must be removed from any authoritative position. This must be done with care and consideration but must be done. Knowingly speaking falsehoods from a position of authority cannot be condoned or, even, allowed.
The concept of ‘free speech’ must be protected for any subject but publicly purporting that a statement is true when it is verifiably false is much more than impolite in this emerging age. Opinions are free, statements of fact must be proven. In the realm of personal standards of truth we have an excellent and agreed existing document in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This must be the standard for the planet and all levels of decision and action.
The major change is that these standards must be universal and above all others. Traditional cultural standards, including religions, are not universal and cannot override the agreed planetary standard. This is the critical decision point that can no longer be dodged or kicked down the road.
Current scientific consensus is the standard for our measurable and physical reality. The scientific method is the peak of our intellectual paradigm because it is formally and dynamically self correcting. This is not a sacred book but consensu among the planet’s scientists in each field or interdisciplinary discipline. We have this clearly working in climate science with strong consensus but also recognized and respected outliers.
Very specific models of these standards must also be specifically applied to public media. Presentation of verifiable falsehood requires fast and forceful legal action. Information is the basis of value and the currency of 21st century civilization. This is the new reality that has not been understood. Legitimacy of an governmental entity must require active implementation of these standards.
Protecting Information as Value and Currency
Lies and information distortion is not simply a social evil but the equivalent of counterfeit currency in the 20th century. It attacks the institutional structure of our societies. It cannot be allowed. People who lie without regard are remnants of a bygone era that no longer exists. They are dangerous relics.
An important illustration of this change is the rise of cryptocurrencies as evolved from fiat currencies of the previous age. Cryptocurrencies are purely information agents that are worthless if corrupted and falsified. False information destroys the value at the foundation of our age. In the Information Age information is value. And everything is information.
In this age the most heinous crime is to willfully and intentionally lie. We must live with complex information patterns and system and that is difficult enough. Without a human commitment to truth and value we bankrupt our existence.