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Complexity is killing us. We’re just no good at complexity. Our instinct is to slice any issue in half and call one half good and the other half bad. What actually happens is that we identify what appears good to us on a fast look and then extrapolate the exact opposite (bad) and assume that is the other half. If we can’t cut it in half we make a call based on which way we are facing and whether or not we are hungry. If you’re hungry, the whole damn thing is bad. Not hungry? Maybe it’s OK. And, no, I’m not just being funny as a study found that the severity of sentences given in courts depended on the decision was made. As I said we are just no good at this complexity stuff. Someone skipped breakfast and you get an extra five years in the slammer. No one ever said life was fair but, damn, that’s a rough one . . .

We know that nonlinear complexity is exactly the stuff that is really difficult for humans. We’re good enough to figure out what it is but not good enough to learn how to think that way. The best we can do is butterflies in Brazil and then there’s a long pause and we start talking about something else while everyone scrambles around mentally before giving up. I can’t help that but maybe there is a piece of this that can be helped.

In the increasingly bizarre world of 2017 on planet earth we have people going crazy in a variety of ways very publicly. In essence we have the majority of folks, at least in the post industrial countries, who are beginning to come to terms with social media and the whole process of accelerating technology make people into something very different from what they were before. There seems to be a majority consensus that we should really take a new look at what people need to live and see if we can make that some kind of standard for organizing society. Not quite sure exactly how that will work and how to divvy up the resources but the direction seem increasingly clear.

There is also a general feel that diversity is pretty good even if a bit stressful on the old folks. It certainly makes life more interesting. And somehow we are going to have to deal with this anyway because we can’t just go on exploiting resources, ignoring basic happiness, and polluting the environment because we’re already getting slapped pretty hard by mother nature for not cleaning up our mess. Plus we are in the process of automating ourselves out of many kinds of pretty boring work. All of these things are variables that we need to juggle to figure out how to reorganize our societies so we can handle this stuff. Damn, nonlinear complexity again just like werewolves of London.

At the same time we have something like 20–30% of the population, in those same post industrial countries, that have turned weird and are demanding a return to some kind of rule by stupid. And there’s a bunch of people who think they are stupid enough to qualify for that position. This year we’ve been trying one of these guys out in the US with his fellow stupids and it’s working out about as well as you would expect. But that’s not stopping that percentage that really want stupid and they’re not interested in happy and stupid, which I could live with, but they want angry, frightened and stupid. The problem is that if they keep this up they are going to demand that everyone be stupid and if you aren’t they will make you that way. The next stage after that is, if you’re not stupid enough, they will just make you dead. We’ve been through this before.

But there might be a way to make this a little easier to understand. The problem is that the people causing all of this craziness are caught in a time warp. We need to identify these time warpees and begin measuring the extent of their warp. I’ve begun thinking of this as a person’s time warp factor. So how do we measure this?

First we need to exclude people like Donald Trump. He is just an ignorant asshole who lives in a world totally unconnected to ours.We can’t do anything about pathological narcissism. He will go away pretty soon anyway. It’s the people that caused that level of stupid in government that we need to get identified and measured.

In order to determine a Time Warp Factor (TWF) we need to identify the year in which they are stuck. The difficulty is that some of them are stuck in different years on different topics. To simplify this we then need to set up an array of topic TWFs. This can be done by identifying Warp Factors for Politics, Religion, and Society. Some of these people have slipped all the way back to the 13th century exhibiting Flat Earth symptoms with a political Warp Factor tied to illiterate warlords. These are dangerous and may be Social Warp Factor carriers of the Black Death. Definitely not someone you want in close proximity. If we define the Warp Factor as a count of one for every decade to their time lock and then average across all topics we get a number. For these worst case examples they seem to carry a TWF of 70+. Scary.

It would appear that the problem for most is much less than this but seems to center around 1957 so not ‘flat earthers’ but per Sputnik. There world is based on religion and racism and anyone not perfectly white needs to “know their place”. And wherever their place is it isn’t where these people are. Religion is Billy Graham and Jesus was an Anglo Saxon lost in the Middle East. Social media is a form of television and it’s probably sinful. In other words these people are badly lost in a world of almost complete American isolation. Probably not salvageable but they could be made harmless by playing lots of Lawrence Welk music to keep them sedated. Jeff Sessions is definitely one of these. He has a whole range of sins that he needs to punish but he can’t remember quite why. Probably best to just keep him out of public places and let nature take its course.

The core of these Time Warp Factor folks seem to be caught in the Morning in America time with Ronnie Reagan. Things were simpler then but the whole next generation had gone off to San Francisco for a love in and had come back different. These folks are stuck in trying to recover Engelbert Humperdinck. The trouble is the smartest man they ever knew was John Wayne. Doesn't leave them much room for diversity as old John was a racist and took to believing his own bullshit later in life. And he liked guns. That pretty well sums up the American based Time Warp Factor that makes things so difficult to understand.

To work with these people you need to know where they stopped. It’s easier if you were around at that time (13th century is really hard) but if you remember Lawrence Welk’s Champagne Music Hour or, at least, Engelbert Humperdinck you can just place yourself in that time and these people might make sense. Trump, of course, doesn’t make sense anywhere you put him.

Hopefully the Time Warp Factor will help.

Written by

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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