Ming the Mechanic:
Emergence and democracy

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Emergence and democracy2007-07-12 22:53
105 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Emergence is one of my most favorite subjects. The one I'd maybe most like to figure out. What makes things emerge? Good stuff. Seemingly out of nothing. Here's a definition by Jeffrey Goldstein, from Wikipedia. It is:
the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems.
And some common characteristics:
(1) radical novelty (features not previously observed in systems);
(2) coherence or correlation (meaning integrated wholes that maintain themselves over some period of time);
(3) A global or macro "level" (i.e. there is some property of "wholeness");
(4) it is the product of a dynamical process (it evolves); and
(5) it is "ostensive" - it can be perceived.
Excelleeent! More of that, please.

Monday I was taking part in an online discussion organized by Extreme Democracy, around emergence in relation to politics. Sort of poking around in the thought of whether a better and more direct democracy possibly might emerge from the bottom and up. I can't seem to locate a transcript, so I can't quote all the good points.

One of the starting points was Two ways to emerge, and how to tell the difference between them (pdf) by Steven Johnson.

The two types he's talking about, he calls "Clustering" and "Coping". Those aren't very good choices of words, but it is a good observation that there are different kinds.

Clustering would be where a bunch of somethings get together and do the same thing. Like slime mold. Or a flash mob, or other group phenomena where large numbers of people suddenly get excited about one thing or another, and they all show up at the same time, or they do the same thing.

Coping would be where a bunch of individuals get together, and they don't just do one simple thing, but they form a more complex organization. Like an ant hill. The ants specialize, they take on different roles, they solve problems, they change their behavior if necessary, etc. Without anybody handing out the orders.

It is a lot easier to simply get a large number of people together, or to get them together for one well-defined purpose, than it is to get large numbers of people to self-organize towards solving unknown problems.

Somebody suggested the Howard Dean presidential campaign as an example of a bottom-up emergence of the clustering kind. It was a successful attempt of getting a lot of people together in being excited about one thing, organizing their own local meetings to futher it, etc. But it only worked as long as the main point was being excited about Dean being a leading candidate, and as long as things went well. The moment people started being dissatisfied about something, or they wanted to change direction, there was no vehicle for that, and it fell apart rather quickly. It wasn't the Coping kind of emergence. I don't think it really was emergence at all. That a political candidate gets a lot of grass-roots support might be interesting, but it isn't something that emerged from the grass-roots, or it would have been the assembled crowds that told him what to say, rather than him telling them what to be excited about.

A lot of things that might be given as examples of bottom-up self-organization and emergence probably aren't. Or they're very weak examples. If the date and time of the Superbowl broadcast is announced, and millions of people organize parties around it in front of bigscreen TVs, is that self-organization? Sure, it inspires some self-organization, but it is based on something you're provided from the top down. If some big movie or music star is very popular, and their fans organize fan clubs and websites and online forums, is that self-organization? Yes, it is, on a local level, but it isn't a whole lot of emergence. It is a clustering effect based on stimuli provided from a central source, a movie, an album, a TV show, etc.

If a political candidate hears that through the internet one can easily launch thousands of self-replicating self-organizing local support groups, and forums and meetings, etc, he'll say "great!" Saves a lot of advertising dollars. He'll love it exactly until the point where that network of people starts disagreeing with him, wanting him to do something different from what he had in mind. Which is what would happen if it really were some kind of emerging self-organizing democracy. Candidates with a program don't go well together with real bottom-up democracy. Nobody's really seen such a democracy, so that probably isn't entirely obvious.

Anyway, it of course isn't enough to get a whole lot of people together. That's the clustering thing. If one promotes and organizes it well, and one hits the right nerve, one might get 100s of thousands of angry people to show up at the same time and express themselves. But that doesn't necessarily add up to doing something in any organized fashion. For large numbers of people to do something complex together requires a complex organization. The traditional way of doing that is the top-down way. Somebody's in charge, somebody sets the tone, inspires everybody, sets goals, hands out jobs. They delegate some of their power to others, and so forth. It works, but it creates dumb, inflexible, slow organizations.

We sense that something better is becoming available. The networked world. We're all more and more connected, and the world is moving faster and faster, and obviously it is better if decision making is distributed to those who're most involved with whatever decisions need to be made about. So, many organizations are busy trying to develop more flat structures, more networks, more communities, more self-organization. But if we're talking business or government, there's still somebody in charge who largely decides what one should self-organize around.

The very hard problem is how stuff can actually emerge from the bottom and up, how one can self-organize around what emerges, and how that can scale to a bigger size.

Self-organization amongst people can work great in small groups. If your family is going to have a picnic, you'll probably all figure out how to contribute, without anybody having to be in charge. A few dozen people can maybe do that. But can thousands? Or millions?

Could the world possibly work without anybody being in charge? It is sort of a ridiculous idea to expect that a few people can be in charge of governing the world. Sooner or later it will be not just a little ridiculous, but it will become impossible, as the world moves faster and becomes more complex. Sooner or later the answer has to be that it is some kind of emergent self-organizing direct democracy. It isn't just some idealist notion. The alternatives will stop working sooner or later.

But nobody seems to know how, yet. Hopefully the answer will somehow emerge, and be a delightful surprise.

A couple of other excellent papers on the subject are: Emergent Democracy by Joi Ito, and The Second Superpower Rears Its Beautiful Head by James Moore. Both PDFs.


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105 comments

13 Jul 2007 @ 00:25 by FreedomBuilder @72.208.129.225 : Ironically...
It seems to me that, ironically, there won't be anybody "in charge" and "the world" *already* works without anyone, or a few, being "in charge".

A worldwide "Synocracy" has been and already is "emerging" without anyone being in charge -- other than me being in charge of my own life, of course.  



13 Jul 2007 @ 00:42 by Chris Corrigan @154.20.237.88 : Who is really in charge
Great post Flemming, and one of my great passions too. I am actually trying to design some emergent policy making structures at the, and thi sis tied deeply to emergent democracy, so this helps nicely.

As for who is in charge, really I think no one is. The world IS a complex adaptive system. Sure there are people in charge of big parts of the world, but most of what passes for control is actually the people lending their consent to ruling structures. There are often good reasons for doing this, hence, nation-states emgere, but watch out if people withdraw their consent. The illusion of power and control really falls away at that point.

The important thing to remember is that we are all in this. Together.  



13 Jul 2007 @ 14:02 by istvan : Emerging democracy?
No matter how I try to like and consequently support the ideas of democracy I keep
coming back to tis description of it, as someone described it: democracy in practice is not unlike that of two wolfs and a sheep in the forest trying to decide what to have for dinner legally. You can guess what the democratic outcome might entail.
There is a great experiment happening right now in Venezuela and if it works, I will change my mind. The proposed Venezuelan form of democracy would be bottom up
need based civilization, only managed, but not dictated by official dogma.
Google the information on this since it would take too much to fit the info I gathered on this movement.
Of course not too many people are familiar with Chavez's ideas, because the rich in Venezuela are doing their best, with US support to suppress them.
The many experiments in democracy from the late sixties and early seventies, such as food cooperatives, free clinics, the rainbow gatherings, etc; and the more recent movements mentioned in your post should be guides in any discussion weather "Another world is possible".  



14 Jul 2007 @ 00:20 by ming : Democrazy
The trouble with democracy is that it sounds like something good and nice that we of course would want, but we usually have ended up using the word about something that really ends up being something else. Like the two wolfs and the one sheep. Or one wolf leading a bunch of sheep. As long as it is about picking the one of us who's going to tell the rest of us what to do, there'll be something off.

Picking the one of us who's going to be our dictator is never going to be a match for the ideals we seem to connect with when we use the word.

But, yes, how about if we start with the view that nobody really is in charge. There's nobody who really can run the world, however much money or power they seem to possess. Really, whoever has power has it only because people give it to them. It is a bit of an illusion, allowing us to pretend that somebody else is taking care of things, so we don't have to, and even if they don't, we can at least complain that it was their fault.

And, yes, if we look at it as nobody in charge, "simply" a complex system, new possibilities start opening up. It is not about any us versus them, not about who's doing it to us. Things happen the way they happen because of various kinds of feedback loops. And if things somehow get arranged a little differently, different things can happen. Power structures are a lot more fragile than they look, because they aren't really power structures, but just a representations of how things happen to be flowing at the moment.

So, if nobody's is in charge, what are the things to do, to help "it" along?  



14 Jul 2007 @ 20:16 by ov : OpenSpaceWorld.org
Interesting discussion Ming. Did the Open Space concept come up? It's a self organizing technique for grass roots, and any type of group really where there is a need to clear organizational communication blocks so those that are on the front line that know what is actually going on can get things done. Applying it to an entire democracy could be a different thing.

For more information check the resource page at openspaceworld.org/cgi/wiki.cgi?  



15 Jul 2007 @ 08:07 by bapty : emergence
Another admirable example of Ming's impressively searching realistic reasoning.

For fully correlated complexly simplified answers to such questions I offer www.humantruth.org which includes a book The Wrong Reality, shortly to be published in the normal way.

Main answer, I believe, is that the basis of intelligently agreed cooperation is moral truth, the source of which is the common postconscious mind.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:20 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Emergence & Democracy: Plan Vs. Reality

Title of Lesson: PERSONALITY AND LORD OF THE FLIES

Appropriate for Grade: 12

Supporting Mastery of Outcomes: 1201, 1202, 1205, and 1208

Lesson Objectives: Students will . . .

1. complete the reading of Lord of the Flies ,

2. use the Kersey Temperament Sorter web site to review personality types and to associate characters from Lord of the Flies with the personality types listed.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:22 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Ralph and the conch

“ Because the rules are the only thing we've got! ”

pg. 91

Ralph may represent democracy as he is elected leader by a democratic vote and attempts to please the majority. He can also be interpreted as a representation of the ego, which governs the id and is associated with practicality. He seeks to create civilization on the island and is the antithesis of Jack. Ralph's hair represents him being civilized in the beginning of the book. Later on his hair becomes wild-like and shows him becoming a savage and not civilized.

The conch shell becomes a powerful symbol of civilization and order in the novel. The shell effectively governs the boys’ meetings, for the boy who holds the shell holds the right to speak. As the island civilization erodes and the boys descend into savagery, the conch loses its power and influence among them. Its appearance, or its gradual loss of colour from exposure to the air, may also parallel their descent. The other boys ignore Ralph and throw stones at him when he attempts to blow the conch in Jack’s camp. The boulder that Roger rolls onto Piggy also crushes the conch, signifying the end of the civilized instinct among almost all the boys on the island. When Piggy and the conch are destroyed, Jack jumps up and yells "...There is no tribe for you anymore. The conch is gone-I am chief!" This is the point at which Jack finally wrestles all control from Ralph, and without the powerful symbol of the conch to protect him, he must run from Jack's hunters who now have no inhibitions against killing him.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:23 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Piggy and his glasses

“Which is better - to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?”

Piggy may represent rational thought as he is logical, but unpopular. Eventually Ralph realizes how much he depended on him and his logic, admitting "I can't think. Not like Piggy." He shows that logic and realism is unpopular in itself and that the ideas he shows is part of what makes Piggy unpopular. He is arguably the most rational boy in the group, and as such his glasses may represent intuition, foresight and intelligence (they can also represent science, as can Piggy). But he often gets the response: "Shut up, Piggy!" This symbolism is evident from the start of the novel, when the boys forcibly take Piggy’s glasses to focus the sunlight and start a fire.

When Jack’s hunters raid Ralph’s camp to steal the glasses, the savages subsequently take the power to make fire, leaving Ralph’s group helpless. The physical state of the glasses may also represent the state of the social order on the island, for as their condition deteriorates, so does the order and organization of the boys. Piggy's obesity and asthma, which mark him as an outcast, can also be viewed as emblematic of how the superego, and, thus, civilized thinking, are ill-suited for this environment and are rejected as useless. The power of his glasses to make fire is also a reference to the notion that products of science can be useful, but the science itself isn't.

Piggy is the most feminine character in the story, and is almost a mother figure for the "littluns". Piggy is physically weak but mentally strong. Piggy identifies the conch, and he and the conch end their existence together. Throughout the story Piggy blames those who do not act properly of "acting like a crowd of kids" and always asks "what would the adults think?" to further enforce his point. In addition, like Piggy, the Sow (‘Pig.' 'Piggy!’) is a sort of mother figure; when she dies, so does most of the power of the conch.

Being physically weak, he is also a symbol of civilized man, in that the others must take care of him. This epitomizes an essential tenet of civilization, which is mercy. As soon as the others abandon him, they are rejecting civilized society.

Piggy's glasses may also represent civilization, as they are used by the boys to light the signal fires, which were the only hope for a return to civilization that they had on the island. When the first lens on Piggy's glasses is broken, it is a symbol that civilization on the island is breaking and falling apart. When the glasses are stolen by Jack's hunters, it is a sign that civilization is completely falling apart.

Piggy's glasses are his source of logical thinking. In most situations when a decision has to be made, Piggy will clean his glasses, to clear his vision. Similarly, Ralph pulls back his long hair from out of his eyes. As the glasses become broken, Piggy, to some degree, makes fewer decisions and becomes irrational in some cases. Without his glasses, Piggy decides to stand up to the savage tribe, and gets killed in the process.

Piggy is the only one on the island whose hair is growing slowly or hardly at all. As the boys' hair grows and begins to cover their eyes, their rational way of thinking is covered, and they become savages. Piggy's hair is still short even after being on the island so long and so we can conclude that he is the person with the most intelligent insight.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:26 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Jack

“ Bollocks to the rules! ”

Next to Ralph, Jack is the tallest and second strongest of the boys and may represent totalitarianism. He does not appreciate the results of the election and eventually uses his strength, aggressiveness, and his choirboy militia to seize power in a coup and rule alone, making himself chief and the other boys his tribe. Most obviously, he demonstrates Lord Acton's idea that "absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Jack may represent the opposition of democracy, dictatorship, or even the opposition of civilization itself—sheer atavistic savagery. Everyone must coordinate their actions by arbitrary rules, and he shows an obvious disrespect for the conch and its associations. In Jack's tribe, where fear and superstition go unchecked, the beast comes to seem more and more real until its existence is an article of faith. Jack, who gains authority from this atmosphere of dread by saying he'll protect the others from the beast, also succumbs to the fear himself. Jack may also be described as a revolutionary, a usurper of democracy and civilised values, as shown by his treatment of the conch. The status of Roger towards the end of the novel and his actions towards Jack show that Jack's savage system of government may be usurped by the sadistic evil of Roger, just like Jack did to Ralph.

Jack may also represent the Id in contrast to Ralph as the Ego and Piggy as the Superego. The logic behind this is that Jack seeks to immediately satisfy the needs and act on instinct, fulfilling the description of the Id, while Ralph upholds the social norms of the Ego. Examples of this are both positive and negative. The positive is his commitment to democracy and teamwork, while the negative is his conventional mockery of social oddities, such as Piggy's thick specs, his obesity, and his "ass-mar" (asthma), as he calls it in his lower class accent (see reference to 'Home Counties').  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:28 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Roger

“ You don't know Roger. He's a terror. ”

Roger may represent pure evil. Roger represents human malice even more so than Jack, abetting all his worst instincts, and is sadistic. Roger is described as mysterious and having black hair and a low forehead which in such times is seen as dirty and evil. A rogue early in the book, Roger throws rocks at a smaller boy, Henry, and only misses on purpose because "Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law." During the sow-hunt, he pushes his spear up the sow's anus, although the particular location is probably unintentional ("Roger found a lodgment for his point and began to push till he was leaning with his whole weight"). After nearly all of the boys on the island have joined Jack's tribe, Roger goes on to kill Piggy with a large boulder. Jack had originally put the boulder there to scare off "enemies" like Ralph, but since Roger represented death, hatred, or Satan, he deliberately uses the rock and kills Piggy.

He also tortures Samneric until they join Jack's tribe and plans Ralph's killing when they have captured him: Samneric tell Ralph that Roger sharpened a stick at both ends, much like the stick that the sow's head is impaled on, but do not elaborate further. He and Jack nudge each other near the end of the book, implying that had they been allowed to stay on the island any longer, Roger might eventually have challenged Jack for the leadership just as Jack did to Ralph in turn.

"Roger" means expert spearsman, so his name does not only suit him for the fact that he plans to kill Ralph with a spear sharpened on both ends, but also his violent nature and aggressiveness.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:30 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Simon

“ Simon stayed where he was, a small brow image, concealed by the leaves. Even if he shut his eyes the sow's head still remained like an after image. The half-shut eyes were dim with infinite cynicism of adult life. They assured Simon that everything was a bad business. ”

Simon may represent natural goodness because he is the only character on the island that continues being good even when the other boys forget about the rules of society. Some see similarities between him and Jesus, based on the religious references around Simon: his name (that of one of the Apostles), his skill with carpentry and his killing at the hands of a mob. Simon is also seen on the island giving the little ones fruit from the tree that they cannot reach. Simon is the only one who can get the fruit for them, and indeed the only boy who would stop to help. Through him they get the fruit, much like through Christ, Christians receive salvation they cannot achieve on their own. Also, Simon's private sanctuary is a place with a high dome roof and candle-like flowers, suggesting a cathedral, further establishing him as a spiritual, visionary character. His climb up and down the mountain to discover what the beast is also long and arduous, much like Christ's carrying of the cross on the Via Dolorosa. Also, Simon freeing the parachutist can symbolize Jesus freeing mankind or man. His conversation with the Lord of the Flies (pig's head) can be linked to Jesus' journey through the desert when he must overcome the temptations put before him by Satan.

With his superior insight, he sees most clearly that the children's civility is dying. This is made clear when he says "maybe it's only us" in reference to the beast. This demonstrates his intuitive knowledge that the fear and chaos come from the minds of the children and not from any outside agent.

Simon has been viewed as a Cassandra figure, able to predict the future but condemned to be disbelieved. Another interpretation is that he represents the poets and writers, much like Benjamin the Donkey in Animal Farm. Simon has a sense of many things which he cannot communicate to the others, and he is in touch with the darker side of humanity as much or more than Piggy.

Both film versions omit the monologue of the Beast, addressed to Simon.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:36 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Sam and Eric / Samneric (the twins)

“ But they could never manage to do things sensibly if that meant acting independently . . . ”

Sam and Eric are referred to in the first half as "Sam 'n' Eric" and the second half of the novel as "Samneric." They were very loyal to Ralph in the very first 10 chapters, but in the last chapters, they were forced to join Jack's tribe. It was actually Roger who tortured Samneric until they joined the tribe.

Their allegorical representation in WWI could be nations forced into war such as Germany did to Belgium. Physically, Golding describes them as "barely having enough skin" to cover both: they are "stretched." They also are a representation of unity, due to the fact that every activity they participate in, they do together. At first they are called Sam and Eric but then become Sam'n Eric and then Samneric which shows the breaking down of English, and communication itself, as the boys break down morally.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:36 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Percival

“ Percival had gone off, crying . . . ”

Percival, the youngest of the littluns, may represent innocence, emotion, and children. He is known as the character who frequently expresses emotions. He uses his address, Percival Wemys Madison, The Vicarage, Harcourt ..., as an incantation that comforts and reminds him of civilization. However, by the end of the novel he cannot even remember his own name. This shows how far the children have descended into savagery — so far that they have no recollection of the civilized world.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:38 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Boy w. the mulberry coloured birthmark

“ He says the beastie came in the dark. ”

At one of the earlier assemblies, a scared boy came forward to ask about the 'beastie.' He had a mulberry coloured birthmark. He is sometimes seen as the devil as he introduces something for the boys to direct their fear towards. Another possibility is that he represents the False Prophet mentioned in the book of Revelation who paves the way for the coming of the Antichrist, just as the boy's tale of the Beast in some ways gives birth to Jack's main source of fear and power. He is never given a name and is always referred to as the boy with the birthmark, which can also be the mark of the devil. After the forest fire, he is never seen again, and it is believed that he burned to death. Ralph suggests, "Perhaps he went back to the, the --," but no one has an answer for where he may have gone.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 00:41 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : The Beast

“ This head is for the beast. It's a gift. ”

The beast may represent brutality, propaganda, and irrational fears, as it causes panic and ultimately allies the boys around Jack. The fact that there is physically no beast suggests that it is a representation of the evil in human nature. "Lord of the Flies" is translated from Hebrew Beelzebub, or Ba'alzevuv. "Lord of the Flies" is said to be a mistranslation from an incorrectly transliterated word, but it does sound pungent and evil, like that of a reference to the devil. A devil whose name implies a devotion to decay, destruction, demoralization, hysteria and panic is particularly fitting for this book. The Lord of the Flies and the beast represent the evil lurking within everyone's hearts, which, while not physical, is no less real. This is similar to the cold war; no physical action actually occurred, but there was still a huge fear about it. It may also be considered to be the religious belief of the island society, as it is not seen but its existence is rarely doubted, it is credited to what cannot be explained, and it is given offerings in an attempt to persuade it to spare the lives of the islanders. In this way, it is representative of what one might call "dark worship" — the worship of things that are inherently bad.

Simon's conversation with the pig's head (referred to as "the Lord of the Flies") in the realm of his own mind is one of the most fascinating parts of the story, because the pig's head tells him that the beast is immortal and finds all human action funny, leading one to wonder if there is some intelligence inside human evil — a reference to the devil, linking back to its name.

The author is believed to have written the novel shortly after World War II as a reflection on true human nature. Simon implies that he thinks the true beast is really human nature. The beast's actions seem to match Simon's theory. The beast and the children's fear of it is what eventually splits the one tribe into two competing tribes. The beast is only seen by the littl'uns (the most pure of the children). It leads to the death of three of the children (one death is implied) and the attempted murder of another. Taking into account the world events occurring when the novel was written, similarities can be drawn to World War II. The 'beast' of human nature (Hitler's holocaust) divides the tribe (the world) into two parts. The idea the author tries to convey is that this 'beast' of human nature during World War II is not simply a one-time occurrence, but rather a fundamental flaw in human nature that is bound to be repeated until the world goes into total chaos, which is represented on the island when the jungle is being burned to the ground as a result of the manhunt for Ralph.  



16 Jul 2007 @ 08:08 by Ming Chau @84.103.71.151 : life is non-linear !
I saw the word "emergence" in a book about robotics and artificial intelligence. The same ideas where developped. Furthermore, it is said that emergence is a non-linear phenomenon : no additivity and no proportionnality. in other words, the sum of individuals is not the whole and tiny changes may lead to huge effects.

Emergence is also present in modern physics. In 19th century, scientists believed that universe will die when all forms of energy is finally transformed into heat, the poorest form of energy. They got rid of this idea in 20th century, when they discovered that emergence exists in chemistry, fluid dynamics, and so on. Universe will evolve; it will not die.

Actually, our current society has emerged from somewhere, so it is stable [(2) coherence or correlation (meaning integrated wholes that maintain themselves over some period of time)]. As a consequence of stability, nothing new can emerge in society unless something very special happens : major economic crisis, war, discovery of new worlds, etc... (sad but true examples)  



16 Jul 2007 @ 16:57 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Static Environment or Elemental Magic?

Actually, our current society - and our currents societIES (and it is also true, to a certain degree of most communities, and/or networks, such as for instance NCN) have all emerged from "somewhere." LOL

Are they stable? I don't know. No offense to our good friend Ming Chau here, but I do tend to be rather wary of reductionist theories, in general. And Ming Chau cautionary comparisons of 19th century versus 20th century beliefs with regard to the nature of the universe, is a good point.

But, yes, I can see how when "integrated wholes maintain themselves over some period of time" it can be a bad thing when/if it leads to stagnation because "nothing new can emerge."

I think you might be getting to something, here, Chau. Flemming Funch had an interesting post up not too long ago about Elementary Magic in which he presented "a simple principle that appears in many forms":

i.e. "A purposeful element in a changing environment is more likely to succeed, the more fixed its purpose is, and the more random motion there is in the environment."

And then a commenter (Seb) asked:

"What would you say is likely to happen in the opposite situation? (scattered goals, static environment)"

I can't help but feel there is something there that is of some relevance to NCN, wouldn't you think?

Is NCN currently such a static environment, in which, as Chau postulates, "nothing new can emerge unless something very special happens" (attract new members from a wider socio-economic-cultural palette for a greater diversity, revamping the dated infrastructure of the network (the medium is the message), etc...- the kind of things that would allow NCN to meet its original objective of being "a database of people and a lot of facilities intended to help [members] find what [they] need and collaborate with others when appropriate.")

Or, I don't know, am I reading this totally wrong here, and is NCN, maybe, doing exactly, like some of its members have been advocating, "what it was meant to do" by trying perhaps to be that "fix purpose" of which Flemming Funch spoke in his post about elemental magic - like kind of a soap box from which the same string of messages are spewed over and over in a simple, explicit and redundant kind of a way, until...somehow...something magical happens?

In other words, paraphrasing Flemming Funch, from his Elemental Magic entry, will "the simple fact that NCN keeps its desire alive and consistent" suffice to "align the rest of the world around it and bring opportunities to it and its members"? Is that the current administrative Modus Operandi of NCN?  



16 Jul 2007 @ 17:11 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Emergence and complexity

"Simple, rigid structures are subject to entropy. They fall apart over time, turn to dust. Whereas complexity, of the type that life is made of, regenerates, re-configures itself, it evolves, it transitions to higher orders of organization."
---Flemming Funch, Denial of Complexity  



16 Jul 2007 @ 18:15 by i2i : NCN as an Emergence experiment
Ming has a category, here, dedicated to the evolution (or stagnation, as the case might be - which is not to say that the network is without qualities) of NCN.

The thing is that Ming is just one little person here (like the rest of us, he has a life, and a family, and he is buzzy trying to make a living) and he has not been very successful, I suppose, in securing the kind of help from other programmers or system thinker or like-minded network, that could have made a difference in helping him advance NCN to the next stage.  



17 Jul 2007 @ 09:42 by jazzolog : People Leave
In my years at NCN, I have found the fundamental arguments are 1) why do people join and then what happens to them, and 2) why do people leave. They ought not be arguments. If Ming cared, we'd know these things.

Countless people join and, if you check new Profiles, never even Log In. How is that possible? Apparently motives can be strictly economic: the network somehow provides free advertising.

Why people leave addresses i2i's point however. Ming's view is people move on. They get what they want momentarily or over a long haul, and then live their lives in the real world...and not at this site.

It's true: I confess to joining a few message boards just to post one item or reply to something...and then never go back. BUT I can list you at least a couple dozen key people from all parts of this planet who joined, became involved, then inspired, went on to attempt regeneration, reconfiguration, transition to higher order---call it what you will---but became frustrated and quit. What is tragic to me is the frustration usually was a workable situation. Matters could have been solved simply by the webmaster paying attention, accepting offers of help and then compromise on all sides, and following through on promises made.

At first it seemed leadership was asleep at the wheel here. Then NCN was set adrift like a rudderless ship. Now there are few comments at the Logs, the Chats drone on lifelessly, and who ever has known what goes on in those Workgroups? Elsewhere forums and subject discussions float in limbo. People use NCN for purely selfish reasons...if at all. It's the perfect formula for stagnation.  



17 Jul 2007 @ 20:49 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Emergence and Democracy: NCN

People Leave... There is that.

It is a good point - all of it.

And, it seems that it's always kind of difficult (or painful) to address the topic, because, as I have been lead to see it, NCN is Flemming Funch's baby, and anything which is perceived as a criticism of NCN is often taken personally - understandingly so (and sometimes with good cause, I must say, depending on the nature of the criticism.) And with that, also comes - again, very understandingly so - a bit of denial, too, on the part of the founder of NCN - I have read posts or comments in which Ming, for instance, seems to somehow more or less lay the shortcomings of the network at the feet the NCN membership, a bunch of "strange people" "who don't like each other very much" or a membership not made of the kind of "system thinker" or "visionaries" he thought would be joining NCN. Etc. And sometimes speaks of himself as if he himself, were not a part of the dynamic at work on NCN, while stressing his function of "facilitator" trying to "support the existence of a network," and how "that makes [him] sad" (sic) that people do not get it, and do not just use the network to "go out and do the things they see that need doing."

Now, all of this may sound a bit harsh of me, so I want to make it clear that I am not one of Ming's detractors here - there are some who have said that NCN "functions under a false pretense, " or those who claim that NCN is just a vanity website that Ming has put together to boost up his image and his presence on the web and that nothing else will ever come of the network. I am not one of those.

When Ming says, as above on the present post that "Emergence is one of [his] most favorite subjects. The one [he]'d maybe most like to figure out," I think NCN is - or ought to be - very close to Ming's heart (and to his Libertarian heart, too, politically,) to that regard, as an experiment as to what happens "when nobody is in charge," or when "everyone is in charge," or when everyone one does synergistically "his or her own things."

Plan Vs Reality:

One of the premise of NCN, as clearly stated by Ming is the idea that there is "No need for everybody to agree on everything. A civilization isn't built out of uniform agreement on what it is. It is a collage of a diversity of currents that somehow get woven together."

This is the idea. The reality is that things have not at all been working that way, in the past, and are not currently working that way (I am not going to go over the detail of it, as Ming has already done a better job, here, of documenting the history of NCN than I could.)

I believe it an error to lay the blame, as Ming sometimes does, at the feet of the NCN's past and current membership. And I think that, deep down, he knows better than that. I don't think that it is about lecturing people either - and there has been a lot of that.

The limited kind of membership NCN attracts or the way members interact (or fail to interact) with one another are not the CAUSE of the problem but one of its SYMPTOMS - those are things which are symptomatic of some systemic deficiency or insufficiency with the way NCN came to be when it was first designed and the way it developed from there (those are things that Ming is aware of, as he has himself addressed some of that there: link) and the way it is being operated now.

The notion of catalyst, here, is a relevant one, and one I am sure Ming will relate with: a catalyst is something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected. This is the idea. And, well, maybe NCN needs a better catalyst here - this means going back to the drawing board: What is it that is working with the current infrastructure? (And there are some nice features here, and Ming has come up with many clever ideas.) Where is too much tension being generated with the current layout (a bit of tension can be a good catalytic element, whereas too much tension can have a counterproductive effect. Cross-pollination or a vivid exchange of ideas, is not the same thing at all as Cross-Trolling or all out war and sabotage.)

The success or the failure of a catalytic reaction is also dependent on the nature of the elements in presence. I, for one, do not think that there is anything wrong with the present membership of NCN, other than the very obvious and, I think, widely recognized fact that ever since its creation NCN has been lacking in DIVERSITY (a fact too, that Ming has acknowledged.) And as jazzolog point it out in the above comment, "People leave."

Unlike jazzolog, however, I am not sure that the problem is that "people use NCN for purely selfish reason" - though there are people who have been known to do that - but, the truth of the matter is that, had NCN been designed to work the way it was intended to, this should not have mattered. It should not matter at all. All kind of people (including selfish minded ones) should be able to coexist and work with each other when they feel so inclined (even when their inclination is selfishly motivated) without it being detrimental to NCN as a whole. Actually this kind of interactions (the selfish kind and the less selfish kind) is perhaps one of the prime functions NCN is purportedly intended to serve. The problem is that that function is not served!

Unlike Ming's view (presented by jazzolog above,) I am not sure either that people come to NCN and "get what they want momentarily or over a long run" and then "move on." Though, again, there are those (the same who have claimed that "NCN function under a false pretense") who say that this is exactly the way NCN is intended to work: people come to NCN, they get "proselytized to" or "un-hypnotized" (depending on one's perspective) and are actually meant to leave at the end of the process (so, their leaving is actually seen as a good thing.) Again, this is not something I believe, but it is out there (and deserves to be brought out in the open) and this kind of paranoia (there are many other on NCN - and no wonder) is not a good indicator of the health of NCN as a functioning system.

The number one problem of NCN seems to me like something less nefarious than any of the conspiracies theories out there. To me, it essentially comes to a problem of population. The way NCN was first populated. And the way it is populated (or depopulated now.) The cause and the consequences are the same: lack of diversity and dwindling active membership. People come to NCN, they look for like-minded people, or people they feel they can work with, or the kind of "think-tank" diversity they expect to find on NCN and...they do not find it. And they leave. It's a vicious circle.

Furthermore, this lack of diversity and limited size of the active population of NCN, result in a magnification of the presence of some of the more eccentric members (they are often the most active), who although they may not be trolls per see (in the classical sense), may, for all practical purpose, look and sound like trolls to visiting members. Personally, I happen to believe that eccentric members are ordinarily (under normal population conditions) an asset to a network (especially so, if one is looking for a "think-tank" kind of an environment), furthermore they are often amusing - enlightening, at times. However under strained population conditions (especially where paranoia is present), such activities may result in the opposite effect as it generates an intelligence drain, meaning that when such members create havoc on a thread or on a network (especially when behaving in a Troll-like mode,) all discussions often become less intelligent and less useful to all other participants, as a result. (which, in the case of a real Troll, is the intended effect, of course. - Trolls tend to post messages in which the original words that they seem to reply to, are purposefully misinterpreted, pulled out of context or simply ignored.) Things might get heated. When things get heated, people concentrate on flaming and flaming only. And...people leave.  



18 Jul 2007 @ 01:56 by tlingel : NCN: Service Pack One



YOU ARE IN ERROR. NO ONE IS SCREAMING. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION.

The Computer is happy. The Computer is crazy. The Computer will help you become happy.  



18 Jul 2007 @ 02:05 by tlingel : LOL
Paranoia: Intended as a spoof on other RPGs, the Paranoia rulebook is unique in a number of ways. For example, in earlier versions of Paranoia, the entire chapter on rules is labeled 'optional', and player knowledge of the rules is treasonous (treason, of course, being punishable by summary execution). Most of the rulebook is written in an easy, conversational tone that scoffs at how screwed the players are and frequently takes potshots at other notable RPGs.



The Computer fears a number of threats to its 'perfect' society, such as The Outdoors, mutants, and secret societies (especially communists). Nonetheless, a large proportion of the people who inhabit Alpha Complex are mutants and members of a variety of secret societies - including communists. The PCs ((Player Characters) almost invariably are mutants and members of secret societies, and so are traitors of the very sort feared by The Computer. The PCs are usually given incomprehensible or self-contradicting mission goals, dangerous, faulty or experimental futuristic gizmos as equipment, as well as contradictory missions from their secret societies.  



18 Jul 2007 @ 03:03 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Whimsical "Green Hat" thinking

Or is that "black hat" thinking, lol.

It's not the first time, btw, that NCN is compared to an RPG (I think the last one to do so was Swan, and I would give a link to it, except that, to my knowledge, she is apparently one of those who closed their accounts and have left NCN.) As I said in an earlier comment, I happen to believe that such eccentricities are ordinarily (under normal population conditions) an asset to a network. A bit of whimsical "Green Hat" thinking can be a bit of a welcome relief, especially after too much "White Hat" or "Blue Hat" thinking has been going on. Not taking oneself too seriously is not a bad thing either.

I must say that this is actually pretty funny. The Secret Societies are hilarious:

- First Church of Christ Computer Programmer (FCC-CP) (also referred to as The Assemblers of God in some editions): They believe that the Computer is God. (...) But there are interfactional conflicts between different sects of the church, and even simple differences in interpretation can lead to bloodshed.

- Humanists: The Humanists are aware of just how flawed Alpha Complex is ...at least to some degree. They realize the Computer is bonkers, and strive to make Alpha Complex a better place for people. They do this by making hidden backdoor codes in the computer, reprogramming rogue bots to serve humanity, and planning for the day when they rise up and restore power to the people. That day is just around the corner; and has been for centuries. They just never seem to get much done, as the society is bogged down by process, meetings, and committees.

- Illuminati: The Illuminati is a secretive organization whose goals are so well hidden that most members don't know them. No one knows what the goals of this society are, or even how it goes about them. Members may be given orders as simple as 'deliver this', or 'kill him/her', or as unfathomable as 'Take the cap off the pen in the briefing room XLJ11, and dispose of it down the trash chute in X corridor'. Most Illuminati also pose as members of another secret society, in order to keep their true society a secret.

- Mystics: Supposedly founded by those seeking enlightenment, the Mystics focus on Recreational drug use. Another example of an un-society, there is no grand Mystic goal. Some limit themselves to their own personal visions, others might try to drug food or water supplies to try to enlighten as many as possible.

The list goes on: link
:-)  



18 Jul 2007 @ 10:58 by jazzolog : But Seriously Folks
Hanae's analysis (yesterday @ 20:49) is one of the best I've seen in any number of occasions during which this topic has been rolled out---or, honoring all secret synchronism societies, rolled itself out. I'm particularly interested in the "eccentric" feature of his/her (? speaking of eccentrics) comment. I don't want to talk behind someone's back, but I imagine most of them would gladly confess to eccentricity. Many of them splashed down with the first page, if they weren't Founding Mothers themselves.

The point is the character of a Message Board (and that's what mmmark called this site essentially) definitely is formed in the minds of newcomers by the more active and forceful personalities who do a lot of replying to stuff. I admit to avoiding some sites where there is a know-it-all and accompanying unwelcoming atmosphere. I know that people have felt that way here, especially if they wander innocently into the Chats.

The potential of NCN is stupendous in my opinion, diversity or no. What is undeniably diverse is the international character...and that's its most valuable attribute in my opinion. There never has been, in cyberspace anyway, a greater need for people from all over the planet to have a forum in which to share or debate. It's why I come here everyday...along with the hope the next new member through the winding labyrinth of joining will be another special someone who can withstand it all and stick around!  



19 Jul 2007 @ 16:25 by tlingel : Human Operator(s)



A fusion of fields as was seen in the Renaissance is certainly no longer possible; the mountain of specialization has grown too high. However, one might demand that the different fields of knowledge communicate with one another and without undermining each other. This is, in essence, that which Edgar Morin has called "transdisciplinarity," that which, without attempting a unifying principal for all fields of knowledge (which would also be reductionism), aspires to a communication between the disciplines based on complex thought.
---Regarding a New Humanism, by Salvador Pániker (Translation by Karen Phillips)
Salvador Pániker is a Spanish philosopher and writer.
[First published in the Opinion page of El Pais, February 18, 2007.]  



19 Jul 2007 @ 17:00 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : ...honoring all secret synchronism...

Ah, yes, synchronism! Synchronicity even. There is that too. There is something of a bit of micro cyberspace "harmonic convergence" here, when logging onto Ming.tv, you see three entries posted one after another, and the first one is about "Elemental Magic" and the second (the present one) is about "Emergence and Democracy," and the following one is called "Plan vs Reality." It is all a coincidence, of course, or - who knows? - perhaps it was all meant to be, or maybe it is something that is imbued of some significance that goes beyond our limited linear perception of our "non-linear" universe. Like Tarot reading, or Tasseomancy. In order to read the tea leaves or grind coffee, one must be served a cup of tea, and as everyone knows drinking cannot be rushed. Tea or coffee is served steaming hot. It is sipped, time slows down, and you relax. Then the tea leaves are pondered for signs of what the future might bring ;-)  



19 Jul 2007 @ 23:26 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Future Incidents

---------------------------- quote ------------------------------

"Consider that the future is the co-created reality of everybody involved in it. It basically is what people agree that it is. That is no different from the past; the only difference is that we agree that the future is the part that "hasn't happened yet". But now what if a bunch of people agree that there is a lot of bad things that will happen in the future. Well, if they make it real enough and agree well enough, then they are right. It doesn't mean that they were good at predicting things. It just means that the future is what you make it.

There is nothing that IS the future. It is whatever you are making it now, and if you change your mind about it, the future changes. If a group changes its mind, even better, the future might be greatly different.

It is not that the future doesn't exist. We might for simplicity's sake say that is hasn't happened yet. But actually it is very real. It is just that you change it quite easily, by changing your considerations about what it will be.
(...)
I've had several people run out large catastrophes they had in their future. Nuclear holocaust, earthquakes, etc. If enough people do that the future will necessarily change for the better. Particularly the events that there is wide agreement about, like prophesies from Nostradamus or the Bible, would be a prime target of incidents to run out.

It would be reasonable to say that one person who is running out a future group incident is to some degree doing it for everybody. That is, if 100 million people have a nuclear armageddon incident located in 1999, they don't all have to run it out. If enough people run out the incident, the 100th monkey effect will set in. The incident will change for everybody."

---Technical Essay # 113 - Flemming Funch 3 December 1992
--------------------------- endquote ----------------------------------

The above material, and other like it, are a remnant of the Free Zone (or independent Scientologists or Scientology Freezone) with was essentially a group founded by ex-Scientologists to promote L. Ron Hubbard's ideas independent of the COS [Church of Scientology].

I mention this freely because, for one thing, I do not believe there is anything wrong with any of that, and furthermore Ming is and has been very open about all of this, and he has talked of his past association and eventual disagreement with the Church of Scientology quite openly before, and there was an occasion, in particular, when he was the object of a pretty nasty spirited attack on his person and his reputation (The downside to living your life publically) where the topic came up and he somehow found himself on the front page of a minor German business newspaper. And, well, the lesson of all this is that, as Ming put it, "there's always a bit of a danger in being a multi-facetted, open-minded person with varied interests and years of colorful experiences exploring different things." And it is a darn shame, too. Especially when "you suddenly are put particularly in the spotlight, and any little comment you might have made can be greatly misconstrued and taken out of context, painting a picture of you that isn't really true." So, I try not to do that. Members of NCN who are not involved with the Free Zone or who have not even ever been Scientologist themselves have found themselves on the receiving end of the same kind of prejudiced mental attitude on the part of people who found out about their involvement with NCN and assumed them to be Scientologists - I am thinking of one person in particular, who had gotten very enthusiastic about NCN and had listed on his resume and on his website his being a member of NCN, until he realized that the word has gotten around amongst some of his co-workers that in their mind that made him a Scientologist, and, well, he eventually removed from his resume and website any reference to NCN.

Now, the reason I bothered quoting the above Free Zone document is because it is time-wise very relevant to the issue of diversity and the topic at hand - I would not have done so otherwise. It is also important to stress here that Ming 1992 is not Ming 2007 (and Ming, for whom "Science and Sanity" is still on his list of all time most important books written, will understand what I mean.) Furthermore, as Ming put it "In these essays I am sort of more thinking aloud and also changing my mind along the way." So this is not really about Ming himself either. What makes the text relevant is the time at which it was written and some of the ideas that were prevalent that can be found in such a text (or others like it), at the time NCN came into being, and the kind of people (ex-Scientologists, FreeZone people, New Age people interested in the Harmonic Convergence and the 100 Monkeys stuff, etc.) who resonated with that.

Ming himself spoke of it thusly:

"Little things might have made a big difference in what sorts of people mostly moved into NCN. For example, back in 1995 I made a Celestine Prophecy discussion mailing list. It still exists on the server, has hundreds of members, and is still quite active. Because of that, various Celestine Prophecy mailing lists recommended NCN as a good place to take a next step. Which, still today, means that a lot of the new people are folks who're looking to learn more about energy, and it is obvious from many new member comments that they believe this to be a Celestine Prophecy oriented community. Which is fine and great, but compared with the original target, it is a more passive group. Nice and spiritual people, but not the kind of activists, inventors, organizers, systems thinkers, etc, that originally were expected."

Most of the Celestine Prophecy people have moved on now, and things have somewhat evolved since then - as they should - but not that much, and very insufficiently so (and unfortunately not always for the better, as the Network is pretty anemic right now - that's what happens when your base population is lacking in diversity), and NCN still suffers from the perception that NCN is a Network founded by ex-Scientologists to promote L. Ron Hubbard's ideas and nothing more. Some members came and went. Some spoke of a need to reinforce the Meta-paradigmatic vocation of NCN (an objective with which Ming agreed wholeheartedly) and well, here we are.

jazzolog's point that "the character of a Message Board definitely is formed in the minds of newcomers by the more active and forceful personalities who do a lot of replying to stuff" is a good one. When it comes to the ex-scientologist/libertarian type (a common combination) and such forceful personalities (especially when the active participation is at a minimum) drop hints that they are "in the know" of what NCN is about and that other members do not, it does NCN a disservice. And yes, the occasional "know-it-all atmosphere" which sometimes prevail can definitely be a problem. That said, understand me, I do not have any beef with Scientology or Libertarianism per se here - or, even if I did, it should not matter whether I (or any member of NCN) did or didn't, and neither should it matter to ex-scientologists or Libertarians whether any given member of NCN have come here to do or speak of things that have nothing to do with L. Ron Hubbart's philosophy/science/religion or the Libertarian ideal. The point of the matter is that NCN is not an ex-scientology or Libertarian site. Because if it were, well, if it were, then it wouldn't be what the Network claim it is aiming to be.

The Elementary Magic entry is very relevant here:

"Let's say some extremely rare butterfly is looking for a mate. If it is in a very static environment, like your kitchen closet, and there's no other butterfly of that kind of around, it is out of luck. But if you drop it somewhere where thousands or millions of species live, and all of them move around a lot, it is more likely that the right kind of lady butterfly will flutter by. Some wind might help, bringing in specimens from elsewhere..."

NCN is in need of "thousands or millions of species live, and all of them moving around a lot," so that when some "extremely rare butterfly" (or even some not so rare butterfly) come looking for a mate and join NCN here, some magic can happen.

I like Tlingel's Human Operator(s) entry, above. It's a potent image (visual thinkers are good that way.) It is of no good for NCN to be some spaceship in outer space, if it has no crew. I don't care how bright the engineer, who designed the spaceship, is, or how happy some of the people who have found their way aboard might be with some of its features, or how bright they themselves might be - it doesn't matter - the spaceship is going nowhere (no emergence is going to happen here.) It is of no good either if a ship which is required to be operated dynamically by different crews working alongside one another, independently or dynamically with one another, is only occupied by one or two of the required crews, and the critical mass is not met. It is of no use either for the engineer to blame the existing crew for the fact that his ship is stranded. It is of no good either for the engineer to turn to the crew and ask for volunteers to assist him in doing what he has failed to achieve. There may be a few on deck who might be able to assist (provided that the engineer is sincere in his request and there is no control issue,) but the help he requires might in large part - and in all likelihood - be beyond the available potential of the ship (whose population is limited and unbalanced - remember? - that's the problem one is trying to redress.) The engineer has built a ship and thought that this would be enough and that his ship would be discovered (on the strength of the message it is broadcasting) and that people would come aboard and that the right diversity would occur and that critical mass would be reached and that the ship would be flying off, and well...things seldom work that way now, do they?

Typically for a project of this nature, a great deal of care is paid to the crew of a ship. What kind of talents does the ship require? Or in the case of a multidisciplinary expedition (as NCN was clearly intended to be), how do I insure that all the needed or relevant disciplines are represented? How do I attract "talents" - don't forget that even though it might seem to you that your ship is God's gift to people interested in working on a new civilization and you are basically giving something free to anyone who want to use your facility, basically what you are still doing is asking of people to contribute freely a lot of their time to you project (and time is a precious commodity, so this is a two way road) - people are also giving you their trust. Building a ship is only half of the work, you still need a crew, even if the idea is that the ship will fill up with all kind of different and unexpected people and transform along the way to snowballs (forgive the mixed metaphor) into something that's greater than the sum of its parts.

Well, anyway, this is one vision of NCN.

The other vision - and it is a little bit, at times, as if there were two conflicting visions of NCN struggling with each others, here - is that the crew of NCN is EXACTLY what it is supposed to be, doing EXACTLY what it is supposed to do. And while people who join NCN may think they are joining NCN for all the reasons they think they are joining NCN, they have, in fact, and unbeknownst to them, joined NCN to be "educated." NCN "knows" all the answers (hence the "know-it-all atmosphere" which sometimes prevail), and the mission of NCN is to help, quoting something I once read on a thread by one of its members, "change the Worldmind," which take us back to the 1992 quote with which I opened this comment.

This is, of course, another vision of NCN, entirely. The latter is tainted with hubris, and might be one of the causes of some of the discomfort some people have experienced with NCN. This is not the vision that is advertised on the Splash page of NCN (but then again, it wouldn't be), and I do not believe it to be at all the vision of the founding father of NCN.  



20 Jul 2007 @ 09:53 by jazzolog : NCN As Spaceship
I was invited into NCN, and literally led by the hand to Turn To Divine Powers Workgroup, where I lived for a while until I dared venture out to look around. My guide was a representative of another major population in here: those who believe in ascended masters and/or motherships waiting for something on the dark side of the moon. (That person now may make an appearance at the site once every year or 2.) I don't subscribe to such philosophies nor spend any time during my day thinking about them. I didn't know scientology was the seed kernal of this site or I probably never would have joined.

What the heck does that word even mean? My 6 years of Latin tell me "scire" means "to know" and my 0 years of Greek define "logos" as "reason." So this is a group that seeks the reason to know anything or maybe purports to be the Reason To Know Everything?

Oh well, between the attendants to alien visitors and the remnants of faded scientological dreams, we have the network of the New Civilization. Hmmm, maybe there is very little mystery about an increasing lack of vitality around here.  



20 Jul 2007 @ 16:09 by a-d : Is this - - - - - -
"gettin' down to the NittyGritty" ? : All fabulous Analysis and the rest of variable Intellectualism presented in the thread here above; the very core on which ALL life on earth (itself) in very real terms depends on, is whether we understand that our own PSYCHE/psychology is NOT "optional" , but always actively at play in every interaction we have; how we relate to other(s lifeforms) outside our own skin.

ONLY our true/own Psyche is hard-wired towards LIFE. The false one; our Socio-political Image; the so called Ego; our SELFISH-bully, who lives at-the-expense-of-others is NOT hard-wired towards Life,( but ALWAYS HOPING to survive "one hour longer", because it is AFRAID of the "possible" JUDGEMENT on "the Other Side"! -and for no other reason! This is an important psychological factor that needs to be taken into account since it is in play all the time -in everything we do -or don't! )
The more this kind of selfishness in a person; the more BULLY they are.
The more bully; the LESS im-personal/righteous, sticking-to-the- SUBJECT-matter-at-hand these kind of people are capable of being. Hence incapable of discussing, venting, clearing out (possible confusions etc) but the knee-jerk reaction kicks in: "defend-the- perpetrator-and- kick-the-Target's-ass-instead"; (The Age -OLD "Blame The Victim-" Syndrome).
In other words: defend those who choose COMPETITION over CO-operation! Defend the bully-type/Competitor vs the Co-operative one!

Life IS moving towards ever more humans breaking away from the self- destroying COMPETITOR-("ideology") to ever more CO-operation-type, but the NAME of this site IMPLIES that these latter activities and people are the ones this site is made for.
Though, in reality -under Ming's stewardship- this is NOT how NCN works today... not even meant to work... even though pretending to do so! (Ming did NOT START this site originally, I've been told, but took over the site AND with the package came its original idea of being a forum for this NEW emerging civilization).
People are mislead to this site, because with its name it advertises itself as being a site for this Cause & Purpose of the New, slowly, but steadily growing in numbers -emerging- Civilization -yet it isn't quite living up to it!(... and under Ming's Stewardship, not even quite meant to, is my conclusion, after my -more or less- four years here!)
Why Things are "This Way" (here on NCN), is what we have to see and acknowledge: It is for the same reason as in the World/Western "Civilization" at large: because the old way of being is PARASITICAL in its very core and it NEEDS to steal (the) Life energy from the Co-operative ones!

The day that NEW CIVILIZATION Network changes its name to something more TRUTHFUL to its real "temperature" and start calling itself something, that more appropriately would reflect the truth of NCN;s HIDDEN Agendas, it would admit its Parasite status.
Of course, this won't happen, because the PARASITE always NEEDS its Host = ENERGY /Food-source -and the parasite won't give give that up voluntarily, will it?!

IF there was a web-site with an as easy navigation system as Ming's site (NCN); all the Co-operation /NEW-Civ-Loving People would already have moved over to that site -but in all of the Big Cyber World, there really isn't a site this easy to navigate -and that is the Power and the Strength of Ming's site!
But before all is said & done; ALL Problems do have several Solution Options -of which ONE is always of a higher (more Divine ) quality than the rest of them.
One of these days, the Divine Solution = most honest/truthfull one, for NCN -as well (as for the World at large) will surface, I am sure! ... : )  



20 Jul 2007 @ 21:34 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : NCN: Emergence and Diversity
1. NCN FAQ:

NCN in itself is just an infra-structure, a framework, a space in which connections might form.

2. NCN Intro:

NCN is a place where you can find people to work with and where you can share your experiences with others.

The way I understand it - the intro makes it very clear - "there's no agenda to NCN as a whole other than to connect THOSE who build a better world" and THOSE are "...quite a diverse group of people with quite different views and beliefs and backgrounds."


I personally have no beef with Scientology or the Free Zone or the "Turn To Divine Powers Workgroup" or a-d's personal understanding (above) of what a New Civilization entails. It's all good to me. It might not be all good to everyone, or everyone might not personally be interested in, relate to, or agree with such or such art/philosophy/science/ideology. And that is as it should be. No one, here, is required to get involved in anything that they don't personally relate to or to get involved in something in which they might have but just a peripheral interest. People should be able to get here and run into someone who is, say, an ex-scientologist, and say:

"Ah, you are into the scientology tech kind of a stuff, how interesting. Nice to meet you, my name is so and so, and Scientology is not really my cup of tea (or I have but just a passing interest in that kind of stuff.) What I am really interested in is 'Green Technology' or 'creative synthesis' or whathaveyou, and I am hoping to connect with those on NCN who share that interest. Hey, is 'Green Technology' or 'creative synthesis' or whathaveyou something you are interested in?"

Likewise no one should be made to feel that in order to join NCN, you have to become part of the "Turn To Divine Powers Workgroup," or any group.

More importantly, NCN as a whole should take care of its image - as it is perceived by outsiders and potential members. And no one should get the mistaken impression that NCN is, say, a Scientology Website or a Free Zone Website (and most people don't even know the difference between Cos and Free Zone anyway,) or a "Turn To Divine Powers" website, or whathaveyou.

Plain and simple, people interested in NCN should be able to come here and find it "a place where [they] can find people to work with and where [they] can share [their] experiences with others." Unfortunately, and that's what I mean when I speak of the DIVERSITY issue, unless newcomers happen to be interested in, say, "Scientology tech" or the "Turn To Divine Powers" ideology, or whathaveyou, most of the time, they DON'T FIND PEOPLE TO WORK WITH (this has been a major complaint.) And sometimes - and this is not good at all and not in keeping with the image that NCN has been trying to promote - such new members are made unwelcome. Self-organization is all and well, provided you find people to organize with.

I have spoken of Scientology, not because I am prejudiced against its followers, or to give Ming a hard time (I think Ming knows better than that) but because, the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard ("he who must not be named") is the elephant in the room. To that regard, NCN has been caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock being the Church of Scientology itself because the Cos has a tradition of taking steps to suppress the Free Zone and shut down dissenters when possible, by "all means necessary." The hard place being, on the other hand, the people who do not like or do not trust Scientology (and as I've said somewhere further above, Cos or Free Zone, it's all the same to them.)

There are been calls for help, on a couple of occasions, from Ming, mostly for techies or system administrators, and this is a good thing. And I'll come back to that. There has also been people who, spontaneously, have attempted to help NCN by promoting it to outsiders and try to bring in more people in here who might relate to NCN for different reasons so has to plant the seed for a greater diversity from which some kind of emergence could unfold. And this is another good thing. All solutions to NCN shortcomings are not all techies solution. If population is a problem, you need to take steps to maximize NCN exposure to people you think would be a good fit for NCN. Who are those people? How do you find them? How do you approach them? How can NCN be made an attractive place they feel they can join and to which they can contribute? This is where the notion of IMAGE becomes prevalent here!!!

Insofar as the techie part is concerned, there are, of course, many other questions to be addressed. Do those people already have a website or are they already part of a network? If so, why would they want to join NCN? How could such websites or networks be dynamically integrated (as opposed as just having a bunch of sites listed on one page) to become part of a greater network of which NCN would be the hub? Again, here, the notion of Trust and Image is an extremely important one!!! So is a clear DESIGN and structure establishing unmistakably, at first site, that META-PARADIGM is the name of the game here. This is how emergence works, it must be embedded in the design, and the concept must jump out to you at first sight that this is what it is. If you must start having texts all over the place explaining what it is, it means your design is not so good. Then if you must further start posting about it on your blog because people do not get it, then you are in trouble.

Also, this is one heck of a project to be handled by one person alone. Ming and NCN at large would benefit greatly from having more than one techie in charge. There is help to be found outside of NCN. People who are interested in emergence, and system thinking, etc. (Ming blogs about this all the time, some of his friends and acquaintances blog about it all the time, and some are techies.) A lot of inspiring stuff there. Like this (I practically picked it randomly out of Ming.Tv's Organization category) about User Community:

Here are some of the bullet points:

- Create something worth building a community around.
- Identify and recruit your thunderlizards—immediately!
- Create an open system.
- Welcome criticism.
- Foster discourse.
- Publicize the existence of the community.

Ultimately the first order of business, it seems to me, would be to put together a team of facilitators who could help lay the kind of ground making possible "the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of [NCN] self-organization in complex systems." (The definition of emergence by Jeffrey Goldstein, from Wikipedia, presented by Ming in this very entry.)

And speaking of Emergence and Democracy, emergence is a bottom up process, and I don't think it to good for Ming - no matter how good he might be at what he is doing - to stand all alone by himself here, as an administrator, at the top of such a project, and I can only see some good (for himself, as for NCN,) coming out of bit of brainstorming with qualified techies and like-minded individuals, and system-thinkers working together as a team on all of this, and see what emerges out of it all. I don't know about Ming, but were the roles reversed, I know I would feel lonely up there, all alone by myself.  



21 Jul 2007 @ 03:18 by tlingel : Ron Hubbard Legacy?



"Ron Hubbard believed, and said, that benevolent dictatorship is the best political system, and
saw himself as the only natural candidate. His successors possibly suffer from the same conceit."
---Jon Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky, Part 9: "Summing Up", Chapter 1: "The Founder"  



21 Jul 2007 @ 03:23 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : LOL

Is that "Black Hat" thinking, now, or “Red Hat” thinking, Tlingel? Or is that a Yin Yang hat on this irreverent picture of Hubbard?  



21 Jul 2007 @ 03:46 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Well...

I fear Tlingel might have, no doubt, "intuitively" picked up on the last note of my last comment @ 21:34 which does indeed hint to the possibility (mea maxima culpa) that there might be some contradictions to a network which is designed on and around the concept of bottom-up democracy (a topic dear to NCN's founding father) and yet which remains pretty much under the authority and decision-making of one person only (i.e. autocratic control) when it comes to the design and the administrative control of that network. What I meant by that – in not too subtle kind of a way, apparently, considering what Tlingel has made of it – is that there is there indeed somewhat of a paradox. Yet a dictatorship is not what we have here – not by a long shot - lol - not in my book. Because if Ming were a dictator, well, I wouldn’t even be wasting my time getting involved with any of this. As a matter of fact this thread would not even exist in the first place. And our good friend Tlingel would have been kicked out of NCN for crime of “lese majesty” (an offense or crime committed against the ruler or supreme power of a state), lol.

Freedom of expression is actually one of the features that pretty much work rather well on NCN, except that it would work far better if there were a greater diversity and more people to talk around with, instead of just a handful of people – interesting as they might be. Humor, too, has its place on the network (or there was a time when it used to, in any case,) it often does help clear the air by making light of subjects which are in desperate need of being made light of - and Scientology and the Free Zone is definitely one of them ;-)

Somewhere above jazzolog justly observed, that in his opinion, “there never has been, in cyberspace anyway, a greater need for people from all over the planet to have a forum in which to share or debate.” I couldn’t agree more. That forum – or the potential for such a forum – is a nice feature of NCN (it shouldn’t be all what NCN aims to be, but if NCN could achieve just that, it would be one great accomplishment.)

Jazzolog also says that he come here everyday “...along with the hope the next new member through the winding labyrinth of joining will be another special someone who can withstand it all and stick around!”

You know, it shouldn’t have to be that way. Members of NCN shouldn’t have to be “survivors” who did “withstand it all.” Members shouldn’t end up leaving because they feel unwelcome, or “talked-down” to, or because they haven’t found the diversity they were expecting and are disappointed in the so-called network. The elementary magic butterfly doesn’t have to be out of luck. The butterfly should be able to find other butterflies of his or her kind on a NEW CIVILIZATION NETWORK worthy of this name, and “thousands or millions of other species live, and all of them moving around a lot,” so that cross-pollination and all kind of wonderful and unexpected things can happen…and maybe emergence.

NCN is not the only place I visit on Cyberspace, there are all kind of diverse and interesting people out there who share in NCN dreams. They are not all “visionaries” or “system thinker” per se, they don’t have to be, what they all have in common is that they care.

This is – picked totally randomly – the site of Laura @ llrishel.com

I do not know Laura. Yet, I know that she cares. For one thing, she is part of the Peace Corps. Peace Corps member work – often under difficult conditions – on a voluntary basis. They believe in helping to make the world a better place for all and part of their missions is one of promoting understanding. Laura is presently on assignment in Togo. She talks about it on her blog.

Now, shouldn’t her blog be part of a New Civilization Network?
Wouldn’t the NCN membership (or part of it) be interested in what goes on globally in the world? Wouldn’t you want to hear more about Togo and about what Laura is doing over there. About what different people are doing all over the world? Shouldn’t people all over the world be networking with one another? Shouldn’t NCN be dynamic and welcoming place for them all?  



21 Jul 2007 @ 09:52 by jazzolog : Buy A Used Network From This Man?



If I'm not careful, antics like this will bring Ming into our thread. I think Hanae have been doing brilliantly with their commentary (maybe the name is plural?).  



21 Jul 2007 @ 14:22 by a-d : I rest my case!
"....Shouldn’t NCN be dynamic and welcoming place for them all?"

Isn't that -pretty much- the point I've been making a hundred times about NCN!.....

"... I do not know Laura. Yet, I know that she cares. For one thing, she is part of the Peace Corps. Peace Corps member work – often under difficult conditions – on a voluntary basis. They believe in helping to make the world a better place for all and part of their missions is one of promoting understanding. Laura is presently on assignment in Togo. She talks about it on her blog.

Now, shouldn’t her blog be part of a New Civilization Network?
Wouldn’t the NCN membership (or part of it) be interested in what goes on globally in the world? Wouldn’t you want to hear more about Togo and about what Laura is doing over there. About what different people are doing all over the world? Shouldn’t people all over the world be networking with one another? Shouldn’t NCN be dynamic and welcoming place for them all?"

Isn't THAT exactly the ISSUE I've been trying to bring up by discussing WHY it is NOT the case with NCN?!
(you co love to take other people's points and make to yours, Hanae! This is NOT the first time you pick my discussions and with some new WORDINGS make them to look as if they originally were your points!... Quite funny -in the way Queen's English uses the word "funny"! Then again; THAT is exactly what so called "Intellectualism"/"being (an) 'Intellectual"' is all about: No OWN Original/New thinking, but taking someone else's ball so to speak -and run with it, as the saying goes!
I have also, just to make Things clear, explained/"analysed" WHY this ("... Shouldn’t NCN be dynamic and welcoming place for them all?"" is NOT the case with NCN.... To no avail(have I done so. People's Mental capacities here don't seem to stretch that far as to grasp my simple language about the Human Psyche -or is the scrutiny "Too Close For Comfort"???

I say it ONCE AGAIN: Change the NAME of NCN to LESS deceiving and all will be fine!
Let someone else -with more integrity- have the name to start a new site with it and maybe THEY could actualize what NCN only pretends doing or representing; a Forum for the Ones, who indeed truly are all members of the NEW (Spiritual ) Species of Humans; those who are both willing and capable of Co-operation with ea in a Loving atmosphere; to give ALL a chance to pursue their Lives in Peace & Harmony & Abundance of Health and Wellbeing on all fronts; for the Highest Good of ALL Life on Earth!  



21 Jul 2007 @ 16:00 by bushman : Hmm,
I think most people are already decived if they come to any web network, expecting more than what reality provides. Where a machine may become the central core of a new civilization, it can not be "The New Civilization" People go to Las Vegas to gambal, but thats not the only reason to go to Las Vegas. We could say in its early days, that Las Vegas was a sort of a "New Civilization Network". This is how NCN works, and people cant expect to win the gambal they take, niether good nor bad, till someone decides to just accept some new age diversity and toss out the ones that are here for something else, to have a true reality of diversity, all aspects of human existance must be represented, this includes but not limited too... good,evil, right,wrong, showing emotion, and none at all, being hot or cold or just luke warm, just use Las Vegas as your model. The machine cant pretend. The best place anyone can be on a network, is on middle ground, because its a machine, it only does what you turn the knobs to do, just because your amplifier goes up to 11, dosnt mean that its any louder than an amp that only goes to 10. Its all about the ability of the musician. NCN is like, Woodstock and the Us festival, made into one show, lol. It dosn't need to be "Battle of the bands" but then again, NCN wouldn't be the all encompassing/diverse network that it claims, if it didn't now and then trip into human-ality. :}  


22 Jul 2007 @ 02:16 by ming : Origins of NCN
Wow, I get busy elsewhere and don't pay attention to my own blog for a few days, and then I run into all this. I need to catch my breath...

I'm not going to even attempt to respond to all points raised, but a few key things:

Creating a link between NCN and Scientology is somewhat like the kind of work that German journalist did, where he looked my name up on the net, found various things I had been involved in, and linked them all up into an insidious master plan, even though there wasn't much of a link.

I used to be a scientologist. I got kicked out 25 years ago and declared a "suppressive" (evil) person. I was later in the Free Zone independent Scientology thing. But I eventually moved on, even though I still have friends who're very into that, and I have nothing bad to say about that. Those "technical essay" writings you picked up on, Hannae, were my process of re-evaluating what I thought I knew, and if you read them all the way through, which I don't necessarily recommend, you'd find that I essentially moved from speaking scientologese into just talking about philosophical principles. I haven't considered myself a scientologist since then.

The term "New Civilization" was in part inspired by the "New Civilization Game" thing that Bill Robertson wrote. Bill who was both a top Scientology person, and instrumental in the "Free Zone" movement. And who indeed was one of Hubbard's most loyal supporters. But that's about the end of any Scientology link. None was intended, or desired, on my part, and NCN never particularly appealed to scientologists anyway, Free Zone or not. There are a handful of NCN members who're Free Zone scientologists. But I can't really think of any element of NCN that has anything inherently to do with Scientology beliefs or practice. We share the bold expectation that a group of people can change the world, but that's about all.

So, is there any secret inner doctrine here that only a few people are initiated into? Not as far as I'm aware. I've worked hard in the past on laying it all out in the open, creating open dialogue, putting all the cards on the table.

But, as Hanae also pointed out, there are some self-contradictory elements in what NCN is, which in my mind is what has stopped it from taking off, and which I personally never succeeded in overcoming.

I invented NCN. However, I never ever had in mind that it would be anything I'd be the leader of. And that's kind of where I probably hadn't thought things through all that well. What I wanted was very much a self-organizing bottom-up network where distributed direct democracy would emerge. I optimistically expected that this would happen more or less by itself. What I accomplished was to some degree the "clustering" type of emergence mentioned at the top. I got a lot of people together, and by word of mouth they got other people to join up. And it was a very potent group of people, quite a who's who of leaders of various kinds, activists, non-profit organizers, system thinkers, etc. Which was what I was aiming at. But I had no plan on what to do with them. Because I expected that the main work would be that they would self-organize into teams that would work on different aspects of what a new civilization is and what it needs, and then those teams would cooperate with each other, and bigger things would come out of it.

I have written extensively in the past about the various things that went well, and particularly didn't go well about that. The thing was that a functional self-organization didn't magically emerge. So, things kind of fell back to the need for more traditional organization. And, by default, all eyes landed on me, as I somehow would be the likely leader to give a hint on what we all ought to do. For a while that somewhat worked, at a time where I collected news and visions and other items from memebers and distributed them in regular e-mail newsletters. This was before the existence of this website, mind you. And I spent quite some energy on preaching how this really is a self-organizing thing, where anybody can choose something to work on and just go and do it. Some people argued against that, but a lot of people argued with me that it was a sound principle and all was well.

However, when it came to it, you of course couldn't just order an effective self-organizing world-changing network into existence just by decreeing it and giving it a pep talk.

I was continuously stuck between the vision of anarchic, emergent self-organization and my de facto role as being the guy to lead that. In retrospect, it is a bit of a design flaw. I should have thought about that before. If done a little differently, it could have been done one of two ways:

1. It might simply have been a technological platform, a set of tools for connecting people together. You know, like MySpace, Facebook, or Skype, or the phone system. There's no content imposed on you, no agenda. Nobody's preaching to you about what you ought to say or what you ought to work on. It is simply a set of tools for communicating and organizing yourself. Nobody is rebelling against the agenda of the people in charge of Facebook. One might bitch about the features, one might want different ones, one might leave and go somewhere else. One might use Gmail or Yahoo mail, it doesn't really matter. NCN could have been like that, simply an effective platform for connecting individuals, teams and networks together, to do whatever they chose to do.

2. NCN could have been an organization with a specific aim, a specific agenda, with a group of people working towards it methodically. Amongst the initial people coming together, roles would have been chosen, teams would have been formed, different people would be in charge of different parts. A legal organizational structure would have been chosen. Financing would have been thought. Maybe I'd have ended up being the leader of it, maybe not, if somebody better suited stepped up. But if I were in charge, I'd have handpicked the people who had a similar or complementary vision, and who also were skilled and effective at what they do. And I'd have gotten rid of the people who didn't support the vision.

So, if #1 had been the plan, then the initial actions to take would have been technical. Somebody would have developed a suitable platform. Might have been me, or a group of software developers, designers, etc. The aim would have been a very scalable platform that inspired people to communicate and collaborate in ways that weren't possible before. If successful, you might today have been talking about NCN the way one talks about MySpace or Yahoo Groups. Except for that it would have been better, and the world would be a different place because of it.

If it had been #2, NCN would today be some kind of NGO, a sort of meta organization, bringing together a think tank of inspired minds in different fields with the infrastructure necessary for taking action on the very best projects that are available. If done well enough, it would be the kind of thing that Warren Buffet or George Soros would leave their fortunes with.

NCN became neither. If that's anybody's fault, it is mine, for failing to predict and resolve the basic conflict, which to a large degree is just my own basic conflict. How to bring about an emergent self-organizing phenomenon while being its benevolent dictator. It is of course impossible. It isn't quite self-organizing if anybody has any final say about how it is supposed to be done. It isn't really emergent if you need somebody to inspire you or persuade you into doing it. How do you lead a leaderless group?

So, instead of keeping trying to do the impossible, I should probably have chosen one of the two paths there.

Is there a way out? I could somehow get inspired to cut through and decide that NCN is one or the other. Or both can happen at the same time, but it is still two different things. The original vision was most like #1. The work done on a New Civilization Foundation was along the lines of #2.

I hate being pessimistic, but I'm afraid I think the window of opportunity has closed. It was definitely there at some point, and it was big, really big. But I don't sense it now.

So, we're somewhat left with making the best out of what is there at this point. Which isn't bad. But it isn't what it could have been. I can never say that a phoenix won't rise from the ashes. It might, but I personally have little clue how.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 10:53 by jazzolog : Plan Vs Reality
Hmmm, sounds like an interesting title for a blog entry...but not a particularly attractive way of life in my opinion. OK, what might have been. What I was like then and what I am like now. Is this NCN Anonymous? So where's the hope and strength? What's the dream now? Where's the plan? Where's the wheel? Who's got the rudder?

Ming, it seems very simple to me...and I haven't changed my view on this in 5 years. If you say you're going to do something, popular support or no, do it. What drives people crazy is not a dream unfulfilled. It's a promise not kept.

You said you were going to redesign at least the look of the site. You had somebody helping you out around LA somewhere. I even saw a mockup of the thing and told you I thought it looked great. Nothing happened...except maybe some personal friction with the kid? I don't know. We've still got the same splash page that looks like the floor of a public restroom.

You said you wanted to survey the membership about what we wanted from the site and how we could facilitate all that. You called for volunteers to help you email it all or post it or something. At least 3 people I remember stepped up with enthusiasm. Nothing happened...except a couple of them got so depressed they quit NCN entirely.

More recently you promised a member you'd show her the manifestation of her suggestion for a forum. There had been about 50 comments in the thread before you dropped by with that promise. [link] That was in April 2006. Not a peep and no show.

I appreciate you take blame and shame upon yourself, but it seems to be with a shrug rather than any real acknowledgement. Your life is your own and apparently so is this site. Most of what some of us have learned about the New Civilization and its network is you do whatever you want. So be it. But these are crocodile tears

No one has a clue as to how a phoenix rises from its ashes. That's the wonder of it. But hope plays a part. And a plan based on what's real doesn't hurt. What's real is the need here...and the desire. If you doubt it, read the comments of any new member about why they're joining!  



22 Jul 2007 @ 12:02 by ming : Plans and Realities
Although it generally is a good thing to do what one says one will do, it is not always as simple as that, particularly when there are groups of people involved and the "how" isn't clear.

A forum, yes, I'd like to be responsive to what people want. But my estimation would be that it would turn the member area into a war zone unless it is done right. It would essentially be like a workgroup that everybody's a member of, without any self-selection of who gets along or anything. I can add a forum any day, but I'd be very worried about that. I don't have a solution to how to do a forum in the current setup that is likely to work well for the group dynamics. It is entirely possible that it simply wouldn't be used much, like the "Subjects" areas, that essentially are forums already. But if it is used, it would be more like the chat rooms split into many threads. Some people will have to be moderators. Would it simply be that anybody can add their own forums, just like they can do blogs, and they set their own rules? Probably, but there are many tricky issues there.

As to the site re-design, you probably didn't notice, but it would have turned NCN into something like the #1 kind of thing I mentioned above, and the globally shared spaces, like chat rooms, would fade out of existence. That design is focused on the individual, who then would add connections to others, similar to other social networks. That might be better, but it would fundamentally change what NCN is. And I didn't dare make that jump at the time. Plus there were some unresolved technical issues.

As NCN already is good evidence of, design elements that intitially seem tiny and insignificant will grow and take a life of their own over time. Any seed planted has a certain DNA. Some turn into weeds, some turn into forests.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 15:16 by istvan : The spaces betwean things.

Self emergence was and still is the basic idea that you cherish and fascinated by it’s apparent incidences as magical happenings presented in a seemingly chaotic universe.
The results of my personal studies/experiences with the basic question of “What is this all about Alfie” (life is you like) is that there is no such happening as “Self Emergence”.
Everything and anything happening in all nukes and corners of the Universe manifests only as and according to a basic law, not yet fully understood/comprehended by the human mind, that governs/directs manifestation (the observable), can only create what is possible in any instance of what we perceive as time.
”Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law.”
From The Kybalion.
One example: The whole Universe is predatory in its basic nature; as galaxies swirl displaying their spectacular light shows in essence they are consuming each other’s material reserves, not for the display of fireworks, but to achieve an orgasmic state we know as Energy. Than LIFE appears and low and behold it follows the same pattern. Dog eats dog. And humans appear and consume anything consumable to collect energy for a better Orgasms.
Than intelligence appears. This intelligence starts wondering and begins to feel, according to its visions/ understandings, that life is actually well enough to be happy sometimes, but something is not quite right and according to it’s new powers of cognition begins to desire other ways/states of being that is not wholly based on predatory principles, but a transcendent form of being that vibrate beyond the elemental laws of manifestation of observable only by the senses. Thus appears philosophy, religiousness, ideas for new civilizations, etc.
Opinions for century after century pour out of human minds like lava from an overburdened volcano suggesting how to transcend the elemental, ,but no one listens.
In the meantime. as intelligence deepens, it becomes more and more painful to experience the e old ways, the predatory elementalism, that that no longer serves the vibrations perceived by this deepened intelligence we are evolving toward, could be called GRACE, that has to be allowed to descend and be allowed to transform the elemental toward finer vibrations of being where the” predatory” is no longer the LAW..
Here the idea of GOD becomes reality.
OSHO used o try to explain that “MAN”(no gender applied), is an unfinished product, hovering somewhere between the present animal and the idea of god, living in confusion as to how to apply the faint voices of the spirit and synchronize its animal (elemental) nature to create a new world conducive to living in harmony, so as to manifest “EXTASY”(not the drug induced, but permanent), SATORY that can be experienced and lived.
The ideas of NEW CIVILIZATIONS arise from the pain of the spirit by the elemental contaminants within the shells of individual beings that we create as sovereign/individual entities within the apparent chaos of the Universe. T
To ease the pain these contaminants cause, like the oyster crates pearls around grains of sand, we crate ideas.
Each attempt of intelligence to -create and evolve- is such a pearl to ease the pain of the spirit to feel more comfortable until such time as living in a shell is no linger necessary, because the environment is no longer predatory and now totally supports “Live and let Live”.
Until than, we like to share our pearls crated by the pain of not being able function fully according to our potentials/possibilities also presented within the UNIVERSE (equally with the limitations).
I say throw these pearls freely to the pigs, as many as you can muster, in fact feed the pigs only pearls. I guarantee they will quickly disappear to search for more nourishing condiments. If you are attached to your pearls you can always retrieve them from the detritus, they can not be digested by the pigs.

Ming, you have the facility(NCN) and the material(Holo World and the ideas/desires of the members} to Revitalize NCN to serve the path toward a new civilization if you would only heed Sengstan’s advice
“Do not search for the truth, only cease to cherish opinions.”

You, yourself expressed the problems often, Just one example from of your entries is: “Why am I complaining?
It is funny how different environments inspire different kinds of communication. Like, here in this news log thing, it seems like I'm most inclined to write about day-to-day annoyances I have, rather than deep philosophical visions about new civilizations. Well, maybe because I need an outlet for complaining about things, maybe because I feel less of an obligation here to write something inspiring. Or maybe one just goes through different phases. In those periods where I keep a personal journal (on paper) it also changes quite a bit what I put in it. Sometimes my dreams when I wake up; sometimes philosophical ideas, or realizations about how something works; sometimes personal longings I'd have trouble sharing in othe
r formats.”-Ming

Hear the spirit and all is WELL.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 16:54 by ming : Making things happen
There's clearly a conflict between the common human tendency to set a goal and then go try make it happen, and everything that works more by emergence, or by law we could say. I agree with you that everything that appears to be chance is merely law that isn't visible. Sometimes certain things are possible, sometimes they aren't. We might assign imaginary causes to try to explain it. I wasn't focused enough, the force wasn't with me, etc. Whereas sometimes it is simply a question of the right thing at the right time. And whether it is the right time or not might depend on factors we don't understand. Although, intuitively, we might be plugged into something that tells us, whether we intellectually understand or not.

Can one set out to purposefully create an emergent self-organizing bottom-up environment in a goal-oriented we-can-do-it kind of way? The folly in attempting to do that could be said to be somewhat humorous. Well-executed plans don't really go well with emergence. You can't both allow things to be whatever they are, and at the same time insist that they are a certain way.

We can dream of a civilization where everything is harmonious, where things get sorted out all by themselves, good things just happen naturally, and we all work together to do great things. But can one go ahead and construct such a thing, like we'd construct a company or a bridge? Probably not. And if it is something that needs to emerge by itself, how do we relate to that? Do we just pay no attention, and act surprised when it emerges, or is there something we should do to help it along?

These kinds of questions, conundrums, paradoxes are inherently interwoven with the idea of creating a new civilization. What part do you construct, what part do you just let grow wild? How do you organize something that will organize itself?  



22 Jul 2007 @ 18:55 by jazzolog : How About
if you reply very kindly at someone's NCN Log that you are going to do something in response to an idea---
and then change your mind through whatever out-there or in-here contortions may "emerge"---
you go back to that beautiful soul's Log and say so and explain it?
Do you owe anything to your members?  



22 Jul 2007 @ 19:17 by ming : Doing what you promise
I don't necessarily owe anything, but I'd easily feel like I do. So, I do my best to be responsive to what features people want.

And if that's straightforward, no problem.

But there's the kind of problems that involve a process of firt finding a good solution. In that case, I can't just promise that I'll solve it, because I don't really know. I might optimistically state that we'll figure it out, but sometimes I'm wrong.

Yes, of course it would be good communication and good manners to stay on top of it, and explain why if something turns out to be more difficult than expected. I have probably failed in that regard on various threads, like the discussion of creating forums, which I haven't looked in on for a long time.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 19:29 by istvan : to solve this
[ [link] ]  


22 Jul 2007 @ 20:03 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Complementary Visions

I very much resonate with Ming’s analysis @ 22 Jul 2007 @ 02:16 and I like the #1 vs. #2 vision.

I do not think that NCN should be one or the other. I personally believe that #1 and #2 can – and I would even say SHOULD probably - happen at the same time (in a first stage.)

Somewhere hereBreathing with the Mind Uncle Remus made the following point: "Unless the freshness and spontaneity of process is kept alive in the moment now, it can eventually turn full cycle and our effort achieves the opposite of our intentions." Somewhere along, Remus also referred to NCN as being – amongst other things – “a creative medium to bounce ideas." I like that description. One of my comments there was that “if you fill a bag with jewels and knives, with nails and coins, with poison and ale, you never know what you will pull out when you are in need. What you find could hurt, what you find can help. It is very much like calling out the spirits of the Fae and asking them for help. Some help, some don't, that is always their way…” And so it is with emergence.

Coming back to the diversity issue, those were Uncle Remus exact words:

“For myself, I have been enjoying NCN as a creative place for me to bounce ideas back and forth, I am often not sure myself how a post that I begin is going to end, there is a sort of dialogue going on, mostly with myself---and with others too, when I am so lucky (although I don’t mind talking to myself, the benefit of such networks as NCN is that supposedly one should be able to communicate with others who share similar interests as one does.) One of the dimensions of NCN I like is its think tank quality, and think tanks work best when the diversity is great, and, well, that is maybe the part where the many gated, multi-dimensional ambition of NCN still leaves a lot to be desired. I think that typically, newbies expect that they will start posting and that people who share their interest will come up, and that they will be able to connect and, possibly work with some of the people they have thus met. More often than not, however, the diversity of the NCN active membership is not such that things will always end up working that way----unless one invests a lot of time and energy inviting the diversity in - i.e. invite people who share their interest to join NCN too and use the facilities to work with them on a given project. The thing is, most such groups tend to already have their own network on the internet and it is a hard sale to try and convince them that they should join NCN. In a way, it is a shame, because it is my conviction that if a way could be found to invite enough such “self sufficient” groups on NCN (which would address the excessive dependency on the currently overly stretched active membership for feedbacks and participation,) such groups and their members would eventually find reasons to interact with each other and turn the network into a bigger more optimally functioning NCN.”

There was also here (At Play in the (fractal) Fields of NCN - July 2002 – My! how time flies), this entry by Quidnovi.

The diversity issue, here again:

“I don't think that NCN is a tool of indoctrination (or counter-indoctrination) or about "simplifying diversity" and though I thoroughly enjoyed Scott's powerful piece on that theme (a lot of interesting things there---I liked the bit about the Sun), I do not believe that it's about "demystifying" NCN's language either (I don't think it's enforceable on this Network, nor would all people care about that). NCN is essentially about what Shakti_ma referred to as FREEFLOW. Which means to me that EVERYTHING GOES! And with that inherently comes a great deal of complexity. I see NCN as an ECHO CHAMBER into which resonates that multi-layered fractal experiment, Richard was talking about, and through which we sometimes almost can glance, fugitively, an image of the UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (i.e. the future or what we could make it). I think that phenomenon could be and should be amplified. We could read a better and more complex image. It all depends on the multiplicity and the quality of the people who join NCN and will be joining NCN in the future.”

And perception:

“Perception is all. One suggestion I made was that we try to reinforce the META-PARADIGMATIC nature of NCN. It would include making it CLEAR, right off the bat, on NCN's greeting page, that there is a proliferating variety of terminologies, concepts, models, theories, and disciplines going on here, and that they are all part of NCN and that all are welcome!!! Let's acknowledge our intellectual divergences and the weirdness and the quirkiness too (it comes with the territory) and publicly recognize them as part of what NCN is all about (creativity and open mindedness.) Anything that reinforces the idea that not all fruits are oranges and makes it clear that joining NCN is not necessarily an endorsement of any particular movement or school of thought. Not all fruit are oranges, nor does joining NCN make an orange out of anyone.”

And Site Redesign:

Consider this:

Ming (in some of his comments on the present thread) makes some very good points:

1. “The ‘Subjects’ areas, that essentially are forums already” are not used much.
2. Turning the member area into a war Zone: …. not so good a thing.
3. The globally shared spaces, like chat rooms, fading out of existence: ….not so good either (we definitely don’t want that.)

One of the ideas presented on Quidnovi was:



“…the possible introduction of a subdivision into both the Newslog and the Member News on NCN's greeting page. It could be done in a cute way. i.e.: a picture of a room with a spiraling series of doors. Each door a different entryway. Like "here we all are rationalist-objectivists" (or whatever) or "here we believe in magic" or "here we don't believe in magic" or "here we don't care what we believe in", or (my favorite) "here we don't know what we are talking about." Each door would open to different sub-groupings of the Newslog in which would only be listed the posts of people who share the same paradigms (and with a possibility for crossover for those who feel they belong to more than one school of thoughts.) For people who do not share such concerns they still could all just list their journal in the Newslog such as it exists now and which would be accessible through the door that says, of course, "Here we don't care what we believe in."

”Myself, I would probably feel at home behind the door that says, "here we don't know what we are talking about" but then again I can understand the so-called rationalist-objectivist who would feel more comfortable introducing friends and colleagues to NCN and would be more at ease referring them to his/her journal if it belonged to a Newslog where there is no talk of magic. Conversely, the magic believers (of which, I fear, I am) might occasionally enjoy the possibility of just stepping from time to time through a door where they know the rationalist-objectivists fear to tread and won't come and bug them.
Furthermore, this typology would serve to stress that NCN recognizes the existence of distinct orientations or predispositions in human thoughts, while at the same time emphasizing NCN's purpose to pull together and juxtapose diverse views and strands of thoughts into a wider meta-paradigmatic approach to our world and its problems.”

Not very technical, of course (no offense to Quidnovi) and I can see some potential complications around the implementation of such a design or something in that direction, and I am sure that Ming, who has probably far more experience in that domain than anyone else here, will be prompt in spotting some of the potential issues. BUT, you know, issues are things we work around. They are part of what makes life interesting. And part of what makes (or used to make) such projects as NCN interesting.

Coming back to Ming’s points, the interest of a spiraling series of door entryway as a splash page is that:

Point 1: It could help revitalize the development of a subject-oriented forums

Point 2 and 3: It would diffuse the potential for the member area to turn into a war zone:

I can see how, insofar as any given member’s blog is concerned, any blog, depending on the member’s interest, could be ubiquitously present and accessible behind a great number of doors, or just be present behind one door only, depending how such or such member feels about it. Any given members, could, if they so choose, just have their blog accessible behind the door that says “here anything goes” (which would basically be the equivalent of the current Newslog as it is now set up on NCN.) Coming back to the “more active and forceful personalities” of which jazzolog was speaking, it could prove a helpful tool for those who are turned off (and sometimes turned away from NCN) by some of the rude behavior of some of those members who want to talk about one issue and one issue only, or who want to impose their one “truth” or paradigm of what the world is or what NCN is about on everyone and cross-post rabidly and aggressively everywhere they can and often regardless of the subject-matter in a way that sometimes borders on harassment. This could come handy in promoting a space in which members who have different visions of NCN could work alongside each other – and know that it is alright – and sometimes, hopefully, interact with one another, and find out that NCN is neither this or neither that. But war (war of ideas), too, is a tool for emergence, hence the interest of a “here anything goes” door. And insofar as cross-pollination is concerned, there would continue to be, no doubt, many members, with many interests, who will want to have a link to their blog behind many of these doors. But, let say that there are some members who just want to explore the emergence of a new civilization on a spdfgtyex paradigme (I just made the word up so as not to risk offending anyone on NCN – a too easy thing to do – I hope there is no actual spdfgtyex group around here,) or members who are strictly “spdfgtyex or bust,” in their approach of things, can make it clear to any trespasser (an innocent intruder or a Troll) that “hey, we are not interested here on your non-spdfgtyex heresies, please move on to another door and leave us alone.”)

In a way, that’s a lot of what the current structure of NCN has been trying to promote, but has never really been able to implement. Nor has NCN really been able to make its case to many people out there who might have benefited in participating in the NCN experiment that this is what NCN is about. Having it, IMMEDIATELY, INTUITIVELY, OBVIOUS (the medium is the message) from the SPASH PAGE seems paramount.

A mutiple gated access to the Newslog area, like doorways to different realities (different visions of the same thing) instead of ONE Newslog area, which seems, btw, like a pretty linear (one-dimensional – not quantic at all) way of doing things, despite some of the cute and ingenious features that come with it, is an interesting one.

I don’t know, it’s just an idea. There are many others out there. What’s important it’s not to give up searching. Not to be afraid to experiment and see what happens along the way.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 21:59 by i2i : FLOW
I just finished cleaning the water fountain we keep running outdoors on one of the balconies out there.

It's a tricky business because the fountain does attract some of the birds that live or transit through the area, and since I am the one who built and put the fountain out there, I feel responsible for the birds it attracts and who occasionally drink from it.

One thing I've learned is never to allow the water in the fountain to stagnate. Water left stagnant can develop a nauseating odor after a while and can develop harmful bacteria. So, I try to remember to keep the water continually circulating through the fountain, and keep it oxygenated, so it's always fresh! I also try to ensure new water is added regularly and that it's not just the same old water circulating endlessly over and over.

I think the birds are Okay with the fountain though, because, after all, many of the same birds do drink from the marsh in the area, and I guess they can handle stagnant water.

My cat, Amelia, is another matter though. Like many cats she is mesmerized with the fountain, and she often attempts to drink from it rather than from the fresh water I put for her every day in a bowl. Some of the birds shit into the fountain too, and I am not so sure that, birds or no birds, drinking from the fountain is such a healthy thing for her to do. Besides she scares some of the most interesting birds away.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 22:23 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : There is Flow..

Environmental flow is the term for the amount of water needed in a watercourse to maintain healthy, natural ecosystems.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 22:26 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : And there is Flow

as defined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  



22 Jul 2007 @ 22:33 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : And Flow (Stowe Boyd):

Via Ming.Tv:


 



22 Jul 2007 @ 22:50 by jazzolog : Numa Numa
I resonate with anadistvan's link and agree with that answer.  


22 Jul 2007 @ 22:55 by ming : Spiraling doors to many rooms
One of the key, key principles for me as far as NCN is concerned is the idea that there's room for all sorts of activities/people/viewpoints, that everything goes, essentially, but that one is free to, or invited to group together with the people and the ideas one resonates with, and one is free to exclude people one doesn't resonate with from those groupings. It is the law of two feet, essentially. You don't like the vibe in this end of the playing field, feel free to walk over to the other end, or extend the field, and do your own thing, and invite others to participate. Open space. Nobody can tell everybody else what they should do or think, but anybody is free to start organizing whatever they want. Create any group you want, but don't monopolize the whole thing.

That remains a good vision, one which I'll stand by, and which I've defended a lot over the years, but which a lot of people really got. However, in practice, it isn't always so easy.

The chat room was a war zone at some point, so I created several different chat rooms for different kinds of interaction. In this one you have respectful discussions, in this one you can say whatever you want, etc. Which never quite worked. Probably in part because there wasn't anybody who changed the water, or who faciliated it otherwise. So if a few people were having a conflict, they'd somehow go and have it in all the chat rooms at the same time, no matter what it said on the door.

One thing I learned along the way is that it isn't enough to just put up a sign, a banner under which people assemble. I've tried it in various ways. One can always gather people together. But you can't control what happens by merely putting a label on the gathering place. Which is in part why those Subject areas don't work. Early on in NCN I created mailing list discussion groups such as "Alternative Energy", "New Money Systems", etc. for teams to work on those issues. Interested people gathered together and had interesting discussions for a while, but nothing much happened, and it petered out. You don't create action just by putting up a sign. Takes constant attention and somebody to spearhead it and grow it and nurture it, and maybe police it if necessary.

I like ideas such as several different doors into different aspects, different realms, different ways of working. I love doing stuff like that. But I also know by now that it takes more than just that for the magic to really happen.

The feng shui of how things are laid out is important. The pattern language. Sometimes I've been surprised at what worked and what didn't work. Yes, the Subject areas are forums, but somehow they don't feel like something one would move into.

Another example of maybe bad feng shui or an unfortunate pattern is that "Positive Relations" list on the "People" page. It was meant as a motivation to have good relations with others. But the existence of a ranked list tended to make it something more competitive, and gave rise to various intrigues and conspiracy theories, and some people would cheat.

Hanae, I agree that it would be best to do both my #1 and 2. But the issue is that there's a couple of things that pollute each other somewhat. There's the technical platform, groupware, social network. And there's the project(s) of furthering/promoting/discovering/teaching a new civilization. They're not necessarily in conflict, but it needs to be clear which is which. If one comes in and thinks one is joining a think tank that works untiringly on building a new civilization, and one finds that it is just a collection of tools and a diverse group of people going in different directions, one might be disappointed. What I described in the beginning of this comment here is certainly not the way one creates a focused, organized activity. It might be an environment or a network, but it is not an organization or a movement. An organization will sometimes be born in an open space, or an open space can exist within such an activity, but it doesn't happen by itself just by telling everybody they can go do what they want to do. Somebody would need to actually make it happen. Specific things happen specifically.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 23:23 by ming : The technological vision
Before NCN was started, there was a technological vision. Mostly it consisted of conversations I was having with Max Sandor at the time. The idea was to create a bullet-proof network of Internet servers, each operated by different people, sharing some common protocols for exchanging data between them. It would be a number of social network islands, connecting together into a bigger network. Nobody could take over the whole thing, because nobody controlled it. One could plug into any of the servers, create teams, discuss things, work on common aims. What happened on one server would be accessible from other servers too, and maybe replicated on other servers, because they shared a communication framework.

To this day, nobody has really done this. It is being discussed by tech bloggers from various angles. There are big social networking sites, but they're all monolitic islands that don't share data with other islands. You can transfer your Facebook or LinkedIn friend list anywhere else. What you post in one place doesn't get distributed to other places. There's no common identity system.

It is a hard problem, and that's in part why it hasn't happened. But one of the ideas behind NCN was to do something like that.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 23:37 by ming : The whole system vision
Another basis for NCN came out of the Whole Systems discussion group mailing list I was running at the time, in 1994-95. A bunch of very bright systems thinkers were thinking together. The intention was to move it beyond thought and create action. To do something about the big problems in the world. Develop solutions, take action.

There were several models that inspired me at that point. Mainly three.

One was the New Civilization Game. The idea being basically: here we have a planet, what does it take to run it in a way that ensures maximum freedom and enjoyment and productivity for everybody? We need energy, we need education, we need transport, we need art, etc. So, let's team up according to our expertise and develop better alternatives in each area.

Second idea was the TeamNet, inspired by the book "The Age of the Network" by Stamps and Lipnack. A network of teams, essentially, each team focusing on particular aims and issues, freely connected with other teams.

Third idea was Buckminster Fuller type thinking. Spaceship Earth. The idea that a few people could invent better things that will change the world, simply because they're better and they're compelling to adopt. Change the world, not by persuasion, but by inventing better ways of doing things.

What created NCN was my call for action on the Whole Systems list. I hadn't thought about what exactly would happen, beyond those basic principles and a bold intention to change the world. There was no structure ready, no how-to, no strategy, no technology, no organization. But the response was overwhelming and hundreds of people showed up within days, wanting to participate.  



22 Jul 2007 @ 23:55 by tlingel : YDYB



YDYB or the "Why Don't You/Yes But" game is a classical Transactional Analysis’s "script" in which one player (White) would pose a problem as if seeking help, and the other player(s) (Black) would offer solutions (the "Why don't you?" suggestion).

When White plays "Why Don' You/Yes But" he elicits advice from another (Black) but rejects every suggestion so that everyone ends up exasperated. It is the type of conversation which occurs over and over again. It is devious and covert: on the social level, it appears to be a conversation between a person in the Adult ego state asking a question from one or more people who are also in their Adult ego states. What makes it a game is that none of the suggestions are really accepted. The reason for that is that, at the psychological and much more meaningful level, what is really going on is that the game’s purpose is to confirm White’s existential position that “nothing ever works out” and there is really nothing he could or ought to do about it, so that every time the game is played it reinforces that position and justifies further inaction on White’s part.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 00:12 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Yes AND

I think, I'll have to take full responsibility for that one, Tlingel. I did push a bit hard, and, well, Ming is reacting as would anyone who is feeling cornered here, and this is very not definitely the way I wanted things to go – definitely not the best approach for anything really constructive to take place. I know better than that. And Ming knows better than that, too. But sometimes we forget.

All I am saying, Ming, is why don't you sleep on it?

NCN is not well. Surely you realize that, don't you?

If you really feel that you've tried your best shot here and done everything you could possibly do, and you feel, in essence, that you are stuck: seek help. There is no shame in that.

There are talents out there, people very interested in some of the same things you are, many of which are relevant to NCN. You've just said it yourself: "It is being discussed by tech bloggers from various angles." Don't give up, eh? You're better than that. NCN is better than that. And some of the people who have found their way to NCN, or who might be finding their way now to NCN even as we speak, are better than that.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 00:46 by ming : Yes but
Ha, well, guess you don't know me very well, after all. I never give up. But sometimes I move my game to a different playing field. Meaning, it is not a given for me that what I'm trying to do has to work out in the forrm of NCN. Would be nice, but if it doesn't work, moving on to another attempt might be wiser. I probably tend to hold on too long to things that aren't working. But I also understand well that a success often is built on a long series of failures, which merely were steps on the way.

My wife will occasionally accuse me of playing that "Yes But" game, and probably so will others. People give me lots of good suggestions, and I insist that it still isn't quite right. Could be because I'm stubborn, or it could be because it just isn't quite right yet.

NCN failed a long time ago in being what it was meant to be. It had some golden years with a lot of potential and a lot of activity, where it looked like it was going to work. That particular window has long been closed, and few people are around to even remember it. That doesn't mean it deserves to die, however. Sometimes a group transforms into something else, which is good and worthwhile in itself. So, the question is what we do with what is there today.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 01:45 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : I don't know you very well, it's true

I never claimed I did.

The fact of the matter is that it shouldn't really matter if, I, or anyone else do know you now, or should it? (For that matter does one really "knows" anyone?) And NCN shouldn't really be about just you, or should it? Is the poem called "We are the New Civilization Network"? Or is it called "I [Ming] am the New Civilization Network"? Who you are shouldn't be relevant to NCN, but it is. It is so, because technically, administratively and in terms of what happens to NCN, NCN is basically YOU. It has never been allowed to really be anything else. NCN never really reached the stage of adulthood, or adolescence even, when one gains one’s autonomy and makes decisions about one self from the bottom-up, rather than from the top down parental figure. Like those over-protective and overly possessive parents you never were able to let go. Hey, I don’t blame you – I totally understand – NCN is your baby. But maybe that baby should have been allowed to grow up at some point.

You say that “[NCN] had some golden years with a lot of potential and a lot of activity, where it looked like it was going to work.” I believe you. You also say that “that particular window has long been closed, and few people are around to even remember it.”

That particular window has been closed?

Who closed it?

You say that the “the question is what we do with what is there today.”

I don’t know, you are the one calling the shots , so I suppose that the question (and the answer too - so this pretty much makes it a moot point ) is whatever YOU say it is.

Can’t you see any problem with that?

Do you see the relevance, to the present entry about Emergence and Democracy?  



23 Jul 2007 @ 02:08 by a-d : Response to Ming
I am very glad you yourself mentioned that fact that William Robertson was the one who came up with the NEW CIVILIZATION GAME ( & (?) Networking ).
Had you stuck to NEW CIVILIZATION People NETWORKING there would never ever had been any "problems"!......
The Problems have always come forth from the CONFUSION ( in SACRED NAME of DEMOCRACY = MOB-RULE) you seem to adhere and prefer over logical application of a SpecificGoal/INTENTION -as the NAME of your site IMPLIES, but does NOT deliver!....
It is like having two Organizations/Clubs -or what ever one wants to call such: one is a Filatelist Club a club for people who are hell bent on collecting stamps, because the like stamps and all the info one can gain from etc etc. Very popular when we grew up, remember? : )
The Org nr Two is a letter/info/envelope shreading =destroying organisation/ Society under the guise of "Official Business"
Of course, there is a lot of "legitimate "Good" -at least justifiable- in destroying info.
So both groups now have a Very Good Reason/Cause for being what and the way the are.
But what happens when a stamp (-even those still on envelopes) collecting loving guy takes the wrong door -something in the name mislead him and he ends up where his beloved envelopes/(with the ) stamps gets destroyed in front of his very eyes???... etc etc a thousand bad scenarios could be dreamt up here as examples for the fallacy of having been mislead; in/to the wrong place, even though BOTH operate (to some extent) with same MATERIAL (-at least to some extent like all envelopes with their stamps still attached)?!?....THESE DO NOT HAVE THE SAME INTERESTS AT HEART, Democracy or not!...they are in opposing positions!!!
So is NCN with its FALSE NAME and yet from a technical point of view NCN is fabulous! Ask me who is the most techno-challenged person out t/here! : ).
Why the People, who truly are looking to connect with other like minded in order to together build the NEW CIVILIZATION = of completely opposite Consciousness than the old consciousness, upon which for instance entire so called Western Culture is founded on, comes to NCN, in hopes to have a NICE TRULY GIVING and UPLIFTING experience!.... well... they find oftentimes themselves being the sheep among Wolves here on the DEMOCRATIC NCN!.... the reason why they stick is two fold: NCN's easy navigation program and the friends they quite quickly find/ makeon NCN; those who despite all shit coming at them still hang in there. These are the two reasons -always- why NCN has ANY of the higher consciousness people playing on its grounds! "Higher consciousness" does NOT imply any specific TOPIC other than doing what one is doing with One's HEART IN THE RIGHT PLACE/aligned with the "For the Highest Good of All"-concept and being a genuine friend, open, honest, not bent to twisting twarting, destroying others who don't see eye to eye with them , but with the brains/ability to discuss the Message/the TOPICS instead of in SOME form attacking the Messenger/people. THIS behaviour is a direct result of sailing under False Flag -as it were.
CHANGE NCN's NAME to a better, to more intelligently cover what NCN really is all about and hence "whom" it really is for! No more people choosing the wrong door by mistake, mislead by an all too similar name to THEIR Mission in Life!
That would be YOU, Ming having INTEGRITY!... : ) To hell with the so called democracy!... what f--- misnomer!...
There in the Big World democracy is all but totally GONE, broken down -and that is good!.... There is also a NEW CIVILIZATION emerging, whether the Ol' mentality guys on NCN like it -or not!.... We are coming forth more and stronger for every passing day!
I hope I have made myself clear enough here.If not, pleas ask all the questions you need in order to get the pic I'm trying to convey. You ,Ming are a heck of good guy and one of my dear friends. You're a little confused....and a little insecure -and are we all -in one moment or another!.... but when consisteny in confusion and insecurity is apparent, then it behooves us all to re-evaluate somethings, eh?
You are the only one, who easily can correct the illness (NCN is suffering from; that of confusion/being confusing to people. The Cure: CHANGE THE NAME to a more adequate!...and the HEALING will begin instantly!... You WILL do this UNLESS the really IS a Hidden Agenda to intentionally attract people from whom the parasites here can suck some life energy... a true micro cosm of our Western macro cosm . THAT would be very sad and can only be /remain so to NCN's own demise... just like it is all going down now in the Macro Cosm out there.
Whom ever said anything about the Scientology on one of the comments must answer to that one. I have now answered what I discussed in my comment.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 02:16 by ming : Who calls the shots
Hannae, that it even is an issue or a question is an annoying bug, an unintended side effect. NCN was never meant to be about me, or to be "my baby". Certainly was never meant to be dependent on me coming up with a master plan for what we ought to do.

So, on one hand, I could keep pointing in the direction of what it was meant to be, and point out that it is not at all about what I personally would want. Quite the opposite. There are spaces and tools enough here for any of you to get together and work on anything you want, and that is the point. It is not about who administrates the web server. That's a very minor point

On the other hand, I recognize the flaw in the initial design, which somehow accidentally made my person an obstacle for many people, and a bottleneck in other ways. I somehow fell into the trap of trying to lead something that inherently has no leader. And I maybe failed to lead that which should have a leader. And at this point I don't lead anything much.

Yes, NCN failed to reach adulthood, able to survive on its own.

But, Hanae, that is not news. Not something I somehow stubbornly fail to see. There probably are things I stubbornly fail to see, but it ain't that.

I'm calling the shots on what to do with this website. I can shut it down, I can redesign it, I can change it into something different. But I still have a deep respect for the stuff I don't call the shots on, which is what people do with it, and what comes out of that. I am in no way going to try to call the shots on what you write in your blog, or what kind of workgroup you open up, or who you network with, for what purpose.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 02:42 by ming : New Civilization
Astrid, it is actually a very good point about the name. See, however much I or others have tried to explain, what new people join and expect to find isn't really what is there. It somehow sounds like either a think tank or NGO or activist network, where one works together on somewhat shared aims. Or maybe it sounds like a spiritual community where everybody's in harmony, I don't know. Different people put different meaning in what "New Civilization" means, but it is clearly something desirable, and one would tend to expect to meet a somewhat organized effort in that direction. And it is a letdown to find that it isn't, and that it is a do-it-yourself project. And that it isn't always harmonious.

So, that is sort of my point, of my error of having mixed what is a technical platform with what probably should be an organization. It was merely a platform, but fueled with great visions of concerted action. And nothing looking like an organization emerged from that.

At some point the name and the positioning was very appropriate. At this point it is probably misleading.

But, still, I'm not sure it is possible or wise to try to change the name. Even if it isn't entirely appropriate, it is still a key ingredient that holds something together here.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 03:02 by ming : Windows
>That particular window has been closed?
>
>Who closed it

That's not necessarily a good question. NCN came into being as an answer to a need. A movement that needed to happen. A wave came by, and it was time to jump on it.

We had fun, but we didn't quite succeed in staying on the board, and the wave passed by. Now, years later, since most people have forgotten, and there's not much else to look at, it somehow gets to look like it is just my invention, just a website, and that nothing happens unless I turn it on or off, and if it isn't happening, it is somehow my fault.

If that were really all, I'd just turn it off, and have lots fewer headaches. But I don't really believe it. Despite that I say the wave passed by, the pool that it left behind is somehow meaningful. Something is growing in it, and there might yet be something important that needs to emerge from it.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 03:08 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : The hand that rocks the cradle

"There are spaces and tools enough here for any of you to get together and work on anything you want, and that is the point. It is not about who administrates the web server. That's a very minor point."
---23 Jul 2007 @ 02:16 by ming

I disagree. I think it is, at the contrary, a very major point.

It might have been a minor point at first as NCN was launched, at the conceptual design stage (the baby's birth.) But if emergence is what one is interested in, one should expect that as the baby grows, the evolution of spaces and tools will need to evolve and change along with the baby's need. How, can a single person expects to be right, straight on from the beginning, and that nothing would need changing along the way, ever. And who decides on those changes? And who dare decide alone when so much is at stake? And when the baby’s health or development falters, shouldn’t one seek the council of others who can help and may have expertise that one doesn't necessarily has, or knowledge that is complementary to one's own (for there too, emergence can happens)? And as the baby reach adolescence or the age of independence, who then is to decide what's best for its needs. Who should decide on the changes?  



23 Jul 2007 @ 03:19 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Strawman

"it somehow gets to look like it is just my invention, just a website, and that nothing happens unless I turn it on or off, and if it isn't happening, it is somehow my fault."
---23 Jul 2007 @ 03:02 by ming

This is not what I said.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 03:34 by bushman : NCN
works fine, for one, it dosnt take isolationist stance, where most networks like this are. Here you have true freedom, cause you know the reality is, there will always be good and bad elements new civilization or not. Shall we become like Yahoo? Have Witch hunts? NCN can never go that route of a party line, or collection of clicks and cults. What other network accualy stores every comment/story/artical ever made in such a way that any member can go back in time to almost day one? I mean other than stuff that is deleted by the user, its all still there. Thats flippen amazing. People just need to pick thier space and do whatever they are going to do, the newslogs work fine. The articals for the most part, are of things that a person would expect to find on a network named NCN. :}  


23 Jul 2007 @ 03:44 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : That particular Window has been closed

> Who closed it?

Is a very appropriate and relevant question, Ming-san.

That this particular window has been closed, is essentially the opinion that YOU have expressed, Ming.

Maybe you are right and maybe you are not. And that is not the point.

The point is that YOU are operating under the premise that, in your understanding, that window has been closed. YOU have therefore, in effect, and in so far as you are concerned, "closed that window.”

Maybe you are making a mistake, here, and that window has not closed. Also, there might be people who possibly do not think that that window has NOT been closed.

What kind of support can people who still believe in a certain vision of NCN really expect from someone who has given up in that vision?

That was my point, and the sense of my question.

I don’t perhaps always make myself as clear as I should. I have been trying to shorten my comments and not to be too verbose. So, if there is something that I say that you do misunderstand, or read out of context, I’ll try to clarify, to the best of my ability (that’s all anyone of us can do), to clarify what it is that I am trying to say.

I have nothing at stake in this conversation than my honest and earnest interest in the topic-at-hand. And maybe a desire to help. But as we all know the path to hell is paved with good intentions ;-)  



23 Jul 2007 @ 06:28 by a-d : Once again it dawned on me...
... while reading these impeccable and officially 100% acceptable -yet icy cold, with NO heart feeling in them at all- comments here, that there really IS another solution to NCN's "Dilemma": THROW OUT THE mean spirited people! ALL other web-sites where interaction is available reserves that right; to without any further ado they shut out perpetrators of ill feelings. They are quite frankly not that many on NCN at all, but those who are, to far too high degree determines the overall energies/feelings here, chasing away any enthusiasm and joy , that people dare to feel when presenting any Good Ideas to further a New Heart felt Civilization with their poohpoohing, ad hominem etc. One way to solve this would be to allow members to report the names of perpetrators together with their nasty comments. The ones who get most complaints in xxxx amount of time will be kicked out. Even the Mean Ones would have to clean up their acts ...
I know you don't like this kind of solution and you seem to be very afraid of the Intimidators ( Dah...aren't we all!? that's what intimidation is supposed to do: induce fear in people! But to always side with the Poohpoohers/Slanderers is not a good idea!.... it WILL be NCN's downfall. It IS NCN's Weakest point still at this moment. As far as anything else about NCN goes, I salute you Ming for such a great site and support you and side with you in your argumentation. The nasty ones on NCN are not very many in numbers at all, but boy, do they ALWAYS -whenever they perceive even the a smallest window of opportunity- unfailingly create a BAAAAAAD feeling with their nastiness!!!!... NOT your fault Ming!... just FACE THE SAD TRUTH about it and address the issue. And... zimsalabim, now you DO have a log for the NEW CIVILIZATION to network & come together in peace and harmony to discuss Things, exchange experiences and such!!! : )
( Don't worry Ming; you're The BEST!... regardless what SOME say to you here, trying to make you feel bad! Don't buy into it!)  



23 Jul 2007 @ 10:49 by jazzolog : Emerging Democracy
This discussion is not going well. Attempts to lighten it have been correctly ignored. They've been ignored because they are based on the notion that appeals to the webmaster are hopeless. Tlingel's reference to the game is right on the button.

Time and again through the years we hear the purpose and vision of NCN from the mind of the creator. "I created...I created...and then I created." But it's not his baby. DNA check anyone?

"I don't owe anybody anything." We need a support enforcement agency in here.

Ming yearns to look out upon his domain and see it flourishing. But here we have a gathering of the populace crying out a lament. There have been people in this public area of NCN who have been skilled in computer tech. There have been other visionaries. Many have offered up proposals with which they would be happy to help, do whatever they could to facilitate. That's what "democracy emerging" looks like. But those people have quit in exasperation.

This is what an emerged democracy looks like. A group is in the town square. It's a meeting. Here we are, with a common plea (except of course for bushman who's a very different kind of dude...and always welcome). We don't know each other. It's not been planned. There's no conspiracy. This group hasn't assembled at any other Log or Workgroup that I know of.

The replies of the writer of this entry, who also happens to be the webmaster of the site, are always the same:
1) Maybe I should have thought this out more thoroughly.
2) The idea is good but the implementation is difficult, which is why it isn't being done.
3) It could go this way or it could go that way. I'll think about it some more sometime.
4) I haven't thought about all this for a while. I've been doing other things.

Does this sound like someone interested in democracy, dialogue, the art of creating a community, or even natural organization? Or does it sound like the Wizard of Oz? An old rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open, free and exciting is waking up.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 12:08 by ming : Emergent democracy
Actually I think this is quite a meaningful look into emergent democracy. It isn't pretty, but it brings up many of the issues and difficulties.

Here we have a website. I control the programming on the site. There's a vision that goes along with the site. I set the tone for it initially, but we can't really say I control it, because anybody can make a different one, talk about it as much as they want, and gather support for it. But it is clearly a vision about emergent democracy.

If the contention point is the website, there are solutions, of course. Yes, I understand well that if people want different features, and I refuse to do them, then it isn't exactly democracy. It isn't exactly democracy either if I just do whatever people ask for, or what the majority want. It is more like a reverse dictatorship, where there's one person to do the work, and a few hundred to decide what he should do.

My concept was always that if anybody wants to do anything different, step up and do it, and I'll support it in any way I can. I.e. put your actions where your mouth is. If you need some new space where different things go on in a different way, go and create it. If the facilities aren't there for it, I'll try to provide them. If I can't, feel free to bring in somebody who can. Feel free to develop a branch of the network on different servers, under your own control, and I'll cooperate in linking them up.

There's been somewhat of a scarcity of technical people. No lack of suggestions of what should or could be done, but typically nobody to do them. There was originally Max who administered the server, "Server One", as he called it, because we expected others to do their own newciv servers. For years it was his server, paid for and run by him, and it remained the only server. At first there wasn't a website like the current, but I developed that after a couple of years when I saw the need. At one point Danny helped me design the look of an alternative site. And various people have filled in various roles that supported the site over the years, like Jazzolog acting as editor of the front page blog, a series of people handling the membership signup process, Nora running a meditation group, etc. All of which is good. But nobody stepped up to actually work on the site. The closest thing has been that Mark handed me some loose design notes for how some of the pages could be laid out differently, and he then pulled out when I didn't instantly give him access to the server to just go and change it.

I'd quite readily hand the site (newciv.org) over to a team of people who'd run it. I only need a minimum level of assurance that they don't turn it into a parking lot or close it down two weeks later. I'd explain anything you need to know about the current setup. But you do need programmers, skilled PHP people who're up for something of this complexity. You can do it with or without me, as you wish. But it would need to be a team.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 14:59 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Emergent democracy

Is a bottom-up process, Ming.

NCN's Design/Tools/Image is not up to the challenge.

In case, it has been missed, I'll repeat it again – I understand that you came late into this thread, and maybe you missed some of it while scanning some of the earlier comments:

One of the problems of NCN (of any Emergent Democracy setting for that matter) is a POPULATION problem. Can you say Population, Ming? I knew you could. In fact, though you might not have used that exact world yourself, you have made it clear that you are aware that there has been from the beginning a DIVERSITY problem in the way NCN was originally launched and the kind of people you appealed to or contacted at the time, and the kind of people who came and went subsequently as a result.

YOUR 100 hundred Monkeys took possession of NCN (you are the one who invited them in – i.e. you chose your beginning population group), and well, all the rest of the world little Monkeys have failed to be transformed and see the world as Ming and his 100 hundred Monkeys thought they would.

There is a difference between EMERGENCE and FORCED EMERGENCE, basically, to me, one is emergence and the other isn't.

You can't force emergence, Ming. You facilitate it. And this is where you have failed, or where your actions do not match your words of OPEN SPACE and EMERGENCE. If you have a site in which you are trying to draw people’s interested basically in a New Civilization and "creating a world that work better for all," etc., well, it seems to me that the word ALL here is key. This means, you cannot just have 100 little Monkeys here (no matter how adorable, smart, or whathaveyou they are) just take possession of NCN, chant that "THEY are the New Civilization," and harass or chase away, other little monkeys who don't sing the same song they are (I've seen it done again and again - there are people on NCN who have been expert at button pushing – and don’t tell me that this is coming to you as a shock - and I guess it shows that all their Scientology schooling was not lost on them – I guess we do have a bit of Monkey see, Monkey do king of a thing happening after all.) If that is how you are hoping to launch a New Civilization, your setting here, is not that of a bottom-up emergence, what you have instead is a SOAP BOX for your 100 hundred little monkeys. Oh, the little monkeys do not all agree on everything, so we have a lot of bickering here, but at the bottom we still have a 100 hundred little monkeys dominant ideology. And, no matter what one might say to try and convince new members to join, well, when you have a lot of monkeys running around, it does make the place look like there is – well - some monkey business going around, here. You tell me there is no “monkey business” going on here, and if you say so, Ming, it must be true, still the fact remains that NCN has an IMAGE problem and the DIVERSITY issue remains. Now, some of the little monkeys have left, some other species – too few - have joined (to that regard, I am in owe that there are people like jazzolog here, who despite it all, still manage to stick around,) and NCN’s problem still is and remain a POPULATION problem.

Oh, Ming, do not take me wrong, I might have been giving you a hard time on this thread, but deep down, you know I like you, I like what you have been attempting to do, and, hey, I even like the 100 little monkeys or what’s left of them. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here attempting to talk to you (I would be snickering being your back, like some people out there do.) Monkeys are cool, but if you want NCN to grow you must bring other species in here, Ming, and you must create an environment that is inviting to other species. It could be that the stuff you really, really care about is the monkey stuff. And, if so, that’s perfectly fine, you cannot get interested or knowledgeable about everything (and that was one of my points.) There are people who are interested in stuff in which you aren’t and who share you interest in Emergence and bottom-up democracy, do not ignore and compound the mistakes of the past, try and bring some of those people in. Talk to people. Do not decide UNILATERALLY, whether the window for NCN to be what it could have been is closed or not closed. Do not decide ALONE that it is time for NCN to be something else, or be left to its own device to see what might come up out of the remaining cesspool. There is nothing bottom up about this, Ming. And it is not Democracy either (emergent or otherwise.) You are NOT Frankenstein and NCN is not YOUR creature. Or is it now? Is it how you think of NCN? Is it what Emergent Democracy means to you?  



23 Jul 2007 @ 16:24 by bushman : Hmm,
Anything can emerge on NCN, I can see all sorts of easy outcomes. Like for instance the town of Sedona AZ, is exacly like NCN, the fight being in who gets to run the town, we have every religion represented here, and they fight for population, even if they have to lie about the benifits. So here the new agers try to run the show but the Christians have more population, so they impose not only thier beliefs, but they take on a gastapo mentality about it, so the newagers wage economic war, showing thier cult like attitudes. Sedona may as well be run by religious Nazis. And if you check out our sheriff, hes just plainly a Christian fasist Nazi. The point being just what form of gov would naturaly emerge in a given situation. Ok, so you find a plot of land, with a river and good soil, some ediable wildlife. You set up house and farm, but you need help, so you get a few friends to move in, and they decide to do thier own thing but there is a set of rules that cant be enforced totaly, so these people come together and enforce thier thing. Thats not democracy, because they are enforcing thier rules of a belief. The only natural way anything like this can go is into emergent fasisim. Anytime you try to control something, you automaticly end up throwing out population, as has happened here in Sedona, the city decided that the native hippies scare the tourists, so little by little they ran them out of town, as well causeing already established groups to change thier names to something more tourist friendly. Gabrials group used to be called the, "Aquarian concepts community", now its called, "Global community communications alliance". Because the city was complaining that they sound too cultish. This is real world, not cycerspace. So if its happening in real communities, its going to happen on the net far more often. What I see going on here is the same old crap of, "If your not with us, your against us".

Against: [link]

For: [link]  



23 Jul 2007 @ 16:37 by ming : Bottom up
Hm, Hanae, despite that you're good at finding relevant quotes of things I've said, it is like you're not really listening to what I'm saying. Thank you for lecturing me about things I've been preaching for years. But that is part of what didn't work so well.

You seem to believe I have some kind of inner core of NCN members, that you think are some kind of Scientologists. I think you're dreaming. Yes, there are a hundred little monkeys here, although I think it is a bit insulting to call them that. And some of those use this as their soap box. Generally it isn't my kind of stuff they're preaching, but that is all good.

The whole point is how to facilitate how something more will emerge. Yes, I know you can't force it. But you can't just put it on me either. That the reason things aren't emerging is because I'm doing it wrong. It goes both ways. You can't MAKE it happen, and for the same reason, if it fails to happen, it isn't the one person's fault who didn't make it happen.

But that's a riddle and a conundrum. Clearly there are things one can do, and some of those things are more likely to lead towards emergent self-organization than others. I personally have tried many things, some of which worked, some of which didn't. No big loss in that. The question is still how to find the ingredients or the spice that makes it cook. What have you tried?

And, no, that isn't just about me. I'm clearly failing to make that point, if you feel that it is something you'll have to explain to me.

So, what would YOU like to do to foster emergent democracy? And if you feel I'm in your way, please explain.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 16:46 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : 100 Monkeys

Is a reference to this, Ming: link

And you know it.

To those who subscribe to that belief the "100 monkeys effect" goes like this: "...when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind. Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people. But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!"  



23 Jul 2007 @ 16:53 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : You can't force it:

What I meant by that is that when you have an overwhelming majority of people who have taken a site over with the idea that their collective beliefs is what a New Civilization is about and their mission is to covert or bring to their views more people through the 100 monkeys effect or whathaveyou, what you have here - think about it - is a "bottom down" kind of a process. It is not very tolerant of diversity and it is not bottom-up at all.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 17:07 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Scientology

Scientology is part of your schooling, Ming. I don't think that there are some kind of inner core of neo-Scientologists at your beck and call here or any dark conspiracies stuff, lol, BUT Scientology is very part of who, you are, Ming (and I am not saying that it's a bad thing - unless you start exhibiting some of the syndromes of Scientology's founding father - I understand you have moved beyond scientology and that you get interested in a lot of things,) and it is very much part of the fabric of NCN, and, well, you know how it is, sometimes you can take the scientologist out of Scintology, but you can't take Scientology out of the ex-scintologist.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 17:35 by jazzolog : NCN As An Emergent
I've often felt there was an elite quality to much of Ming's writing, the kinds of salons he was involved in during his time in the States, and the way he has interacted with those of us in the "public square." I don't know anything about scientology but the nature of the conversation on this thread makes me think there is a real basis in the history of this site to this feeling I have...which I admit may be an unjust prejudice.

It's interesting to me, with all this talk about emergent, that almost always we use the term as an adjective. But it's a noun too. An emergent is a plant that has roots in one medium but quite incredibly (when you really think about it) rises up out of that nature into another one. Most plants with roots in the water stay down there, but there are some that come up and do their dance in the air. Cattails and rushes are such. But an emergent also is a tree that stands out much taller than the rest of the surroundings. An elite tree.

Maybe the trouble of highly skilled and motivated members in NCN who become disillusioned and leave, slamming the door behind them, has to do with this emergent bias that may be here. We learn (Ming 23 Jul 2007 @ 12:08) that Mark and Ming were working together on something or other, that Mark wanted to "take over" the server, Ming wouldn't allow it, and Mark left...forever (though his membership still stands among the Profiles). There are other situations similar with people with whom Ming was interacting. How could such a partnership come to this kind of conclusion? What is the real dynamic operating that so infuriates? Are there no social skills of engagement and negotiation? Maybe it gets to be which one is the more emergent. Emergentier than thou.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 17:56 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Control issue

Well, yes, it is a common issue---not that difficult to relate to, really. I understand that the need for control and the fear of his organization being "taken over" was pretty much one of L. Ron Hubbard's big issues. Not having had the privilege of being a scientologist myself, I am not sure how founded Ron's fears were or whether he became or not over controlling and whether this was or not a desirable thing insofar as Scientology's ideal is concerned, but, yes, I can see how such control issues could become a problem in the case of network such as for instance NCN, where emergence and bottom-up democracy is a desirable goal.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 19:03 by ming : Scientology
Not that it has much relevance to NCN, but Hubbard's organization did eventually get taken over, by one of his messengers, who's the guy who runs it today. And his first act was basically to get rid of anybody who had been around since early on, and who therefore had a rather relaxed participatory attitude about everything, replacing them with his own more fanatic cronies who were better at following the party line.  


23 Jul 2007 @ 19:11 by a-d : Something new,
open, free and exciting is waking up. Is it, Jazzo? Not very much on NCN. There's MUCH more of it happening out in the Big World!.... only a tiny bit of this New / Exciting is seen AND GIVEN a HEART-FELT SPACE on NCN!!!..... but ONLY "so much" and then the control MO's kick in in the Minds of NCN's "DIVERSE Ones"!.... and THAT is a GROUP of people here, who ALL contribute with ea their own kind of mean spiritidness -and no; it is NOT the so called Scientologists here!
It is really hard for me to NOT be really sarcastic here right now, because this discussion thread has by now been pushed OVER THE TOP/ EDGE -or whatever, by some of the Classic "Wolves" here on NCN.

This, Ming, is what always happens here, when and because the "WOLVES" here think the Chicken Coop is FOR THEM, for their particular whims & wants! Emerging Democracy in Action?!?... ; )  



23 Jul 2007 @ 19:17 by ming : NCN
Yes, to some degree NCN is taken over by a limited number of people who set the tone for what goes and what doesn't. But it isn't in any way "my" people, and the tone they set is certainly not mine. That is part of what others have a problem with, one of the things to solve, on how we can create a pleasant atmosphere, despite cliques who pursue their own agenda and impose it on others, or who hound people with different opinions as themselves with ridicule and aggression. So, some people think I should do something about those other people, put them in their place, kick them out or whatever. And others think it is fine as it is, and just part of the scenery.

I have tended towards letting things sort themselves out, leaving room for everybody, thinking that would be most in keeping with the aim of a self-organizing environment, open to anybody. Others again think that's wrong, and I should take a lead and police the place and make sure that nobody messes it up.

My own difficulty in trying to be a facilitator is that whichever way I go, there would tend to be two camps with opposite ideas about it, and there is never even a clear majority with just a few dissenters. Like, in the various kinds of advice you seem to be trying to give me here, there's the same kind of conflict and confusion. It is up to me, it is not up to me. I created it, I didn't create it. I should take a lead, I should get out of the way. You can't make it happen, but I'm still supposed to make it happen. You seem to blame me both for controlling and for not controlling.

I can take a lot of abuse, and that isn't necessarily a problem. But in the last few years, my choice has been to get out of the way, to diffuse the otherwise endless discussion of who the hell put me in charge, and why don't I get out of the way, or why don't I do what people ask me to do, and why don't we all vote for what I should be doing. None of which has much to do with creating new civilizations, other than maybe as an example of the obstacles in getting anywhere.

Individuals need to take action and launch initiatives, teams need to form, as well as communities and networks. There are big problems to solve in the world. They need to be studied by very capable people, and the best possible plans need to be developed and implemented. There are lots of well-organized groups already doing that in the world, and one would need to cooperate and coordinate with those, of course. Sitting around and complaining about the webmaster of one little old website, trying to persuade him to make it all happen for you, while telling him he's an arrogant sob for thinking he might have anything to do with it in the first place - none of that will lead very far. I make websites, I know a lot of people, I sometimes say something inspiring, but, I'm sorry, I don't create new civilizations singlehandedly while you stand around watching.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 20:13 by Merlin Silk @76.168.217.251 : close the door
Hi Ming,

here is a suggestion for a feature to the blogs on NCN: define a thread as closed. If you notice that a discussion - like this one here - moved off topic that badly, it's time to end it. In the old scientology parlance: start - change - stop.

I mean I have missed all the fun, I read the original article and then was too busy to follow all the comments and only ran into this today again and had to look at the original article to remind me how it started.

Ming, don't let yourself being dragged into something where you don't want to be. There is no need for any justification. If people don't like or appreciate your creation - hey, that's not your problem, isn't it?

Cheers
Merlin  



23 Jul 2007 @ 20:35 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Oh, the hokey pokey:

1. Read above comment by Ming:

"Individuals need to take action and launch initiatives, teams need to form, as well as communities and networks."

Etc.

2. And then go back to square one (to an earlier comment written 6 days ago):

"...it seems that it's always kind of difficult (or painful) to address the topic, because, as I have been lead to see it, NCN is Flemming Funch's baby, and anything which is perceived as a criticism of NCN is often taken personally - understandingly so (and sometimes with good cause, I must say, depending on the nature of the criticism.) And with that, also comes - again, very understandingly so - a bit of denial, too, on the part of the founder of NCN - I have read posts or comments in which Ming, for instance, seems to somehow more or less lay the shortcomings of the network at the feet the NCN membership, a bunch of "strange people" "who don't like each other very much" or a membership not made of the kind of "system thinker" or "visionaries" he thought would be joining NCN. Etc. And sometimes speaks of himself as if he himself, were not a part of the dynamic at work on NCN, while stressing his function of "facilitator" trying to "support the existence of a network," and how "that makes [him] sad" (sic) that people do not get it, and do not just use the network to "go out and do the things they see that need doing."

Now, all of this may sound a bit harsh of me, so I want to make it clear that I am not one of Ming's detractors here - there are some who have said that NCN "functions under a false pretense, " or those who claim that NCN is just a vanity website that Ming has put together to boost up his image and his presence on the web and that nothing else will ever come of the network. I am not one of those.

When Ming says, as above on the present post that "Emergence is one of [his] most favorite subjects. The one [he]'d maybe most like to figure out," I think NCN is - or ought to be - very close to Ming's heart (and to his Libertarian heart, too, politically,) to that regard, as an experiment as to what happens "when nobody is in charge," or when "everyone is in charge," or when everyone one does synergistically "his or her own things."

Plan Vs Reality:

One of the premise of NCN, as clearly stated by Ming is the idea that there is "No need for everybody to agree on everything. A civilization isn't built out of uniform agreement on what it is. It is a collage of a diversity of currents that somehow get woven together."

This is the idea. The reality is that things have not at all been working that way, in the past, and are not currently working that way (I am not going to go over the detail of it, as Ming has already done a better job, here, of documenting the history of NCN than I could.)

I believe it an error to lay the blame, as Ming sometimes does, at the feet of the NCN's past and current membership. And I think that, deep down, he knows better than that. I don't think that it is about lecturing people either - and there has been a lot of that.

The limited kind of membership NCN attracts or the way members interact (or fail to interact) with one another are not the CAUSE of the problem but one of its SYMPTOMS - those are things which are symptomatic of some systemic deficiency or insufficiency with the way NCN came to be when it was first designed and the way it developed from there (those are things that Ming is aware of, as he has himself addressed some of that there: link) and the way it is being operated now.

The notion of catalyst, here, is a relevant one, and one I am sure Ming will relate with: a catalyst is something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected. This is the idea. And, well, maybe NCN needs a better catalyst here - this means going back to the drawing board: What is it that is working with the current infrastructure? (And there are some nice features here, and Ming has come up with many clever ideas.) Where is too much tension being generated with the current layout (a bit of tension can be a good catalytic element, whereas too much tension can have a counterproductive effect. Cross-pollination or a vivid exchange of ideas, is not the same thing at all as Cross-Trolling or all out war and sabotage.)

The success or the failure of a catalytic reaction is also dependent on the nature of the elements in presence. I, for one, do not think that there is anything wrong with the present membership of NCN, other than the very obvious and, I think, widely recognized fact that ever since its creation NCN has been lacking in DIVERSITY (a fact too, that Ming has acknowledged.) And as jazzolog point it out in the above comment, "People leave."

Unlike jazzolog, however, I am not sure that the problem is that "people use NCN for purely selfish reason" - though there are people who have been known to do that - but, the truth of the matter is that, had NCN been designed to work the way it was intended to, this should not have mattered. It should not matter at all. All kind of people (including selfish minded ones) should be able to coexist and work with each other when they feel so inclined (even when their inclination is selfishly motivated) without it being detrimental to NCN as a whole. Actually this kind of interactions (the selfish kind and the less selfish kind) is perhaps one of the prime functions NCN is purportedly intended to serve. The problem is that that function is not served!

Unlike Ming's view (presented by jazzolog above,) I am not sure either that people come to NCN and "get what they want momentarily or over a long run" and then "move on." Though, again, there are those (the same who have claimed that "NCN function under a false pretense") who say that this is exactly the way NCN is intended to work: people come to NCN, they get "proselytized to" or "un-hypnotized" (depending on one's perspective) and are actually meant to leave at the end of the process (so, their leaving is actually seen as a good thing.) Again, this is not something I believe, but it is out there (and deserves to be brought out in the open) and this kind of paranoia (there are many other on NCN - and no wonder) is not a good indicator of the health of NCN as a functioning system.

The number one problem of NCN seems to me like something less nefarious than any of the conspiracies theories out there. To me, it essentially comes to a problem of population. The way NCN was first populated. And the way it is populated (or depopulated now.) The cause and the consequences are the same: lack of diversity and dwindling active membership. People come to NCN, they look for like-minded people, or people they feel they can work with, or the kind of "think-tank" diversity they expect to find on NCN and...they do not find it. And they leave. It's a vicious circle.

Furthermore, this lack of diversity and limited size of the active population of NCN, result in a magnification of the presence of some of the more eccentric members (they are often the most active), who although they may not be trolls per see (in the classical sense), may, for all practical purpose, look and sound like trolls to visiting members. Personally, I happen to believe that eccentric members are ordinarily (under normal population conditions) an asset to a network (especially so, if one is looking for a "think-tank" kind of an environment), furthermore they are often amusing - enlightening, at times. However under strained population conditions (especially where paranoia is present), such activities may result in the opposite effect as it generates an intelligence drain, meaning that when such members create havoc on a thread or on a network (especially when behaving in a Troll-like mode,) all discussions often become less intelligent and less useful to all other participants, as a result. (which, in the case of a real Troll, is the intended effect, of course. - Trolls tend to post messages in which the original words that they seem to reply to, are purposefully misinterpreted, pulled out of context or simply ignored.) Things might get heated. When things get heated, people concentrate on flaming and flaming only. And...people leave.
---17 Jul 2007 @ 20:49 by Hanae @69.33.46.10

3. And back to Ming. All together now:

"I give my right hand a shake, shake shake"
"And I turn myself about."
...
"That's what it's all about."  



23 Jul 2007 @ 20:48 by tlingel : The Route to Total Freedom



The authoritarian nature of the movement's epistemology entails that the modification or elaboration of doctrine or practice is not something in which the individual member can participate. It is his place to receive the doctrine, not to question it. The individual member is to find "what he needs" and to move on. Hence, the movement's literature warns against doubt, questioning criticism, and open-mindedness. 'Persons who "have an open mind"' are regarded as 'threatening sources.'  



23 Jul 2007 @ 21:07 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Path To Transformation

As I've said, I don't know as much about Scientology (it doesn't look all that bad to me as some people make it) as I do about many religions. So I cannot really speak of it. But, generally speaking, t is, alas, something common to many religions that "open mindedness" is often seen as the work of the devil.

Open-Mindeness is a tricky business, too. Many people claim to be open-minded, while what they really mean by it, is that their vision of reality or their personal philosophy - often judged "open-minded" itself - is a vision of things that surely everyone should be able to embrace, or else, they must be something seriously narrow-minded about those who don't. As a result, other's understanding is often dismissed as "narrow-minded" - which is in itself not a very open-minded way of interacting with others. We all tend to do that to one degree or another. And it sometimes is harder for the person who "knows it all" to let go and work with others who might have different ideas than they do. One of the great ideas of NCN is that it tries and encourages people to do just that. I wish that idea could find its way up to the owner of the site, so that he too could be encouraged to do so:

"We avoid the things that we're afraid of because we think there will be dire consequences if we confront them. But the truly dire consequences in our lives come from avoiding things that we need to learn about or discover."
---Shakti Gawain (The Path of Transformation)  



23 Jul 2007 @ 21:17 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Merlin's hint

is a good one:

"There is no need for any justification [on Ming' part]. If people don't like or appreciate [Ming]'s creation - hey, that's not [his] problem, isn't it?"

And I feel that I might have over-extended my welcome, here. So, I'll just move on, and let Ming wraps this any which way he please - if he so choose - and let him have the last word, which is the proper thing to do, as this is, after all, his blog.  



23 Jul 2007 @ 21:19 by ming : Multiple personalities
Now, Hanae, over time I generally have found your comments constructive and positive, if a little wordy. But I do have a slight problem with you participating in the discussion with several different names.

I don't know the makeup of your household, but I know you're at least two who participate in NCN. But we've heard from 3 of you with different names in this thread, and you've referred to posts from at least two others, with different names, who also are you guys. And I can see you have a couple of extra account names handy that you use once in a while, in case you need more viewpoints.

That doesn't necessarily change the discussion, and maybe I just didn't know about all the members in your household, all being interested in the same issues, but it does look a little bit like cheating.  



24 Jul 2007 @ 09:42 by jazzolog : How They Leave
Of course, I remain interested in how many people join this thing and never log in. (Check new member Profiles.) Maybe there's a longer waiting period while the application is processed now, I don't know. But if my perception is not illusory, why in the world would anyone apply to a site like this and then not come in and at least try to look around?

But my main concern continues to be cessation of involvement. I contribute an annual pittance to the Webmaster because this little cyberspace corner costs money. I've never expected that fact to give me any clout whatsoever in how the place is run. I pay dues at other sites too. I mention it because it is a kind of enterprise with an entrepreneur at least observing the goings-on...sometimes. When customers leave and don't come back, when site activity slows to near standstill, when numbers of new members similarly lag, is it wrong to inquire of and offer suggestions to the administration? What kind of organization do we have when the answers seem either mired in dilemma or frozen in rigidity?

It is true that some members leave quietly, without fanfare. Logs simply sink to the bottom and petrify. People die, yet remain on the Most Popular and Trusted list. But if I were to leave because I had been through the NCN "process" and am now refreshed and ready to change the world, I think I'd post a thank you and farewell somewhere. Wouldn't you? How many such notes are there? Would a concerned, efficient administration keep track of that?

Rather I see frustrated individuals angrily delete their Logs and tear up their Profiles. I watch bunches of people register a complaint somewhere and vacate as a group. I hear rage and disappointment. My heart aches when I remember sweet people who have left like that. It is tragic when beautiful current members, who have had an idea, made a suggestion, and been given a promise, are shrugged off, ignored or forgotten about. This is the selfishness that is the problem here. This is the cause of the vacancy. What kind of institution does not attend to such an alarm? A new civilization or a dying one?

As to who's who, I stopped wondering who is writing some time ago. I'm just happy if there's only one of me writing, and if I actually can recognize something I wrote a few years ago. I don't know if the numbers by the machines guarantee who's writing there. I often write from libraries and schools where there are thousands of machines. I just try to deal with the ideas and words that show up. I'd like to know more about Hanae and add the name to my favorites list---if not already on there by some other name. But I'm content with the view that has been presented, which seems to me sound and consistent---even if 3 different people wrote it.

To my dear friend a-d (and contrary to what I wrote before she is someone I know...or at least have talked to on the phone and exchanged personal emails) I should have put quotation marks around the sentences involving "free and open and exciting". That's a slogan about NCN probably coined by Ming.  



24 Jul 2007 @ 12:09 by ming : Leaving
I know you really care about the issue of people leaving, Jazzolog, even though you half the time as a troll in places such as this.

It is somewhat special and unique for NCN that we do care who leaves. Nobody sheds any tears about the millions of people who create Hotmail accounts and then don't use them, or who sign up for mailing lists and then don't read the messages, etc. So, there's clearly something here that creates the feeling or the expectation of a tighter connection which is more persistent.

Back when I was very concerned about it myself, I'd spend quite some time on tracking down people who's e-mail addresses became invalid. I'd often found them, contact them, and make sure their address on record got changed so they stayed in touch.

That people leave because they are fed up or angry, that's different of course. I've long since given up on trying to make everybody happy all the time. But it is still a bad review when somebody leaves and slams the door. Unfortunately there isn't much of a pattern that has emerged from it. Or, rather, it maybe falls into two opposite categories. Some who feel that others who bother them should have been restrained, and somebody should take charge; others who are upset about anybody restraining them in any way, and anybody in charge should step aside. Which maybe speaks to that there have been two different incompatible things trying to happen at the same time. One type of activity needs organization and people in charge, the other specifically doesn't.  



24 Jul 2007 @ 13:40 by jazzolog : If We Define It They Will Come
and, most important, apparently a definition's enough work for the Webmaster. There's this over here and there's that over there. People come, people go, who knows why. He's content to make some of the people happy. Who are they? Could Hanae have been on to something? More thought, and consequent inaction, will be required.

Many message boards like Ming's have a feature where you can locate all the posts and comments made by the individual members. It would be interesting to check the accuracy of Ming's definition of my contributions at least in the Logs--if not the Chats. What we do have is a list of Log comments, some 44,000 of them, at a link on the Combined News Log page. I wonder what we would discover if we did a Find Search there for ol' Jazzolog. (Members can look at my Contact List but not all comments I've made. Priorities?) "Half the time"? He's good with statistics too.

Certainly at Ming the Mechanic's eventually I get testy in debate with him. Who doesn't? Being a Swede on both sides of the family, I have quite a lot of experience with trolls. And I've been butted off quite a few bridges by the likes of Billy Goat Gruff. Looks like it's happened again.  



24 Jul 2007 @ 16:29 by bushman : Hmm,
Nooo, lol, the deal is, human beings cant,wont, and never will be satified with anything, they cant prove they are really alive so they have to creat drama. People whine when thier loffty dreams cant be met, and never fathom just how much more fuel it takes to get the rocket into the clouds, they dont understand the laws of physics as to how much more horsepower is needed to get into orbit. Your average person cant understand why an Indy car needs 1600 horses to stay in the race. Some would say oh god what a waste of fuel, but do the math, in your own car, basicly 0 to 60mph time, then time from 60 to 100mph, then the time from 100 to 110mph, then if your car can go faster than 110, see what it takes to just get to 111. It all applys, everything is everything. Maybe you just need to put the horsepower to the ground, where it belongs, rather than just spinning your wheels? Some people just dont know how to keep thier wheels on the ground with so much available horses? Cant save fuel on lift off, even though its going to be a long trip and you need fuel for that too, or you could just burn most your fuel and then coast till you need the leftover fuel to stop at your destination. But see again, no one knows where we are going, because they have no idea what utopia looks like or feels like. And once they do get there, people will be at odds, because no human can be total satisfied with anything. Because the explorer in all of us says that there must be something better. If there is something better out there, NCN will eventualy find it. :}  


24 Jul 2007 @ 19:50 by a-d : No, Jazzo,
Hanae was NOT "On to something"! She used something we -other Members have been talking here for years, though the sharp Swede in you never caught on to it! ALL Hanae did was using our laments as if they had been her thoughts/insights after deep thinking : SHE STOLE what many of us have been saying here for years.( NORA always ACTS AS THE mean-spirited PROVOCATEOUR!!!... geeezzz , Jazz.... WHERE IS YOUR reading comprehension all of sudden???) -- to intentionally provoke and hurt Ming!....THAT is why --I believe-- he responded the way he did!....
TO TRULY dare to be HONEST -hence with a POSSIBILITY to UNDERSTAND Human Interaction means EVERYTHING in Life!
THAT is namely ALL God/LIFE/Universe cares about and asks from us and will eventually keep us accountable for: HOW WE INTERACT with ALL outside of our skin! HOW LOUD do I have to say this????? COULD it be that this REALLY IS the Scrape down to the bone about our very existence on this beautiful Planet --and ALL else is "human's embellishments" )
But I am glad you caught on to the fact that SOMETHING needs to be CHANGED: either the NAME of the site; which just happens to be a VERY GOAL SPECIFIC name, yet the site does NOT live up to what the name implies... I must sound like a broken record to you, ming, but it would be GREAT to be HEARD at least once. I mean REEEALLLY HEARD!! Of my four years of interaction on NCN I've been saying this for a GOOD three!...IF you change the name of the site , so that it doesn't intentionally miselead /attract people who really understand and are INTO working for a NEW Civilization -as OPPOSED to so many of the Old Timers (five or more years here)on NCN, who on the other hand just want to chat with their Pals ( and that IS OKEY.... ) but does not have the right to lure people of different Life Goals and endevour to then mistreated by the Old Timers, which has happened over and over over again!.... OR the other Option: TRULY WANT to net/work FOR a/the NEW -Better- CIVILIZATION and -in that case- throw out the Old timers that have a tendency to be ABUSIVE.
I've said this now for the last time. You guys have gotten my loving, caring energy more than you with your responses & actions deserve!

and....all you Change-hating Oldies, who don't want your boat rocked: the CHANGE IS COMING TO AMERICA : [ [link] ]
and of course, the REST OF THE WORLD as well: the strongest thing in this Universe is an IDEA whose Time has come! and that IDEA just doesn't jive with several Ol'-timers (plural ) hereDESPITE THESE Ol'-timers being here on a website that purports being ALL FOR NEW CIVILIZATION NET-WORKING!!!YOU guys figure out "who" you are /it might be! ; )  



25 Jul 2007 @ 01:21 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : Fair Play

"The term troll is highly subjective. Some readers may characterize a post as trolling, while others may regard the same post as a legitimate contribution to the discussion, even if controversial. The term is often used to discredit an opposing position, or its proponent…”

The above is from wikipedia, the link Ming kindly provided for us.

In Scientology lingo, I guess one would speak of a “suppressive.”

Or as defined by the quip on Tlingel’s input, above, "the movement's literature warns against doubt, questioning criticism, and open-mindedness. 'Persons who 'have an open mind' [or persons, who might possibly not always accept unquestioningly everything presented to them, I suppose] are regarded as 'threatening sources’.'"

And here is a wikipedia link to it.

I quote:

“The term is often applied to those whom the Church of Scientology perceives as its enemies, i.e. those whose "disastrous" and "suppressive" acts are said to impede the progress of individual Scientologists or the Scientology movement.”

And talking about “cheating” and fair game, here, this is what Fair Game means in Scientology [wikipedia:

I quote:

“Fair Game was a status assigned to those whom the Church of Scientology had officially declared to be "Suppressive Persons" or SPs. "Suppressive Persons" are those whose actions are deemed to "suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist." Often, this means they have been overtly critical of the church. The term "Fair Game" has also often been used to refer to a set of tactics used against perceived enemies of Scientology.”

WOW, I would have hoped that those would not be the kind of tactics that a former Scientologist would stoop down to, here, especially Ming, but, as I have said before, maybe one can take the Scientologist out of Scientology but maybe one cannot take Scientology out of the ex-Scientologist, after all.

I do not consider myself an enemy of NCN and I hope that because I dare post an entry critical of NCN and its management or, even, - even forbid - about “Scientology” (the elephant in the room) I am not “perceived” as an enemy of NCN. Because, really now, “We are friends and equals, we are diverse and unique, and we're united for something bigger than our differences,” aren’t we? Or, as per Merlin’s hint should some warning or disclaimer be added on the Splash page or incorporated into the “We are the New Civilization” poem, to the effect that this is Ming’s creation and that “If people don't like or appreciate [it]” just as it is, people should move on.

One again, I do not myself know much about Scientology, or the Free Zone and whathaveyou, or how much of it is at work on NCN (and it has been acknowledged on this thread that some of it is at work) or how much of a good thing or a bad thing it is, but I am finding out a lot about it---more than I really cared to, really. They are those, who obviously, and for obvious reasons are better informed about it than I am---Ming, obviously, is one of them. There are those amongst Tlingel (and Tlingel, btw, is a collective---i.e. people working together for something greater than their differences – what a concept.) This handle was generated as a collective managing entity for a couple of the Workgroups out there (mostly “creative writing groups” people interested in creative synthesis and the power of myths and stuff…and NCN too, obviously. Such as As If the Sea should Part – as Ming well know, as he was informed of that particular and even subsequently sent and invitation to the workgroup so that he could see for himself that nothing nefarious was going on there.)

You know, the topic about Multiple Personalities and Trolls and what have you, has come up many times in various places here. It came up very controversially when i2i launched her Troll Crossing workgroup (i2i and people like bushman, who got interested in the debate, soon came to the conclusion, as a result of the conversation which ensued, that it was not such a good idea, because the idea was not so much about the issue of Trolling per se but more about finding a forum for recurring topics which come again and again and which may or may not be Trolling but are often dismissed or do not really lead to a coherent development because, unfortunately they are posted out of context or in a way that doesn’t relate to the original entry on which they were posted. So the idea was more about actually promoting talk there than it was about suppressing would be speaker, be they Troll or no Troll, which again, as bushman put it in his very colorful way can be a very subjective call (I quote: “I don't know, as diverse as the world still is today, it's pretty hard to tell if someone’s taking a piss or doing something else, and sometimes one persons piss is another persons life giving fountain.”) And a room called Tangencies came to be created as a result.)

The topic about Multiple Personalities and Trolls came up as an issue on many other occasions and Ming, has always (perhaps wisely so) kept out of most of them, so for him to come out here and make suddenly a case about this, only seem to me as what it obviously is: a way to walk away from a topic that might have gotten uncomfortable to him, or with which maybe he is agassed (and I understand his agassment) and a way to get back maybe to those he feels have been giving him a hard time.

And, well, all’s fair in love and war, I suppose (though my preference is to stick with the topic). But, for Ming to do that at a time when one of the major participant on that thread had bowed out and graciously ceded the ground to him to “ wrap this any which way he pleased - if he so chose - and let him have the last word,” well, I was not really expecting that. I was expecting maybe for him to let it be (this is getting to be a very long thread,) or to maybe repeat one of his earlier points and develop it further and spin things his way (which he has been very intent on doing, and so have I, and, I figured that someone would eventually have to let it go, and it only seemed natural that it would be me, since, after all, this is Ming’s Blog), or I thought that maybe he would come up, like jazzolog sometimes do on his blog, with some neutral conclusion acknowledging some of the most interesting points that came up at various points on the thread. What Ming chose to do instead, well, it’s a bit underhanded. A bit like stabbing in the back a person who is leaving a room.

Most of all, it is an obvious red-herring – i.e. a diversion or a distraction.

The expression may relate to saving a hunted fox by dragging a smoked herring across its trail. This act would create a diversion through the strong smell of kippers. And, well, while I can see how Ming might have felt like a hunted fox (and this is probably, in part, my own fault,) I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed by his response.

I do not think the question of Troll should even be an issue on NCN. That it has apparently been so, has always been a source of puzzlement for me. I understand, that blogs are equipped with ways to handle unwanted visitors. And, as I said somewhere earlier on this thread, if the active POPULATION of NCN was important enough and diverse enough, it wouldn’t even be a problem because people would be able to connect with people who matter to them and trolls would be more easily ignored and would have less of an impact on the network or on any given blog.

The word troll is often and easily (mis)used as an ad hominem attack against someone whose viewpoints and input cannot otherwise be silenced.

Insofar as I am concerned, here are some rules of thumbs by which I operate:

1. I try to remain on topic.

2. I try not to participate on a thread where it has been indicated that my presence is unwelcome.

There are many blogs on NCN on which I never participated because I knew that anything I might have contributed there would have been taken the wrong way. Also I can’t be interested in everything and not everyone is necessarily interested in what I’ve to say. I can take a clue but I am not omniscient either. So, I’ll make it very simple, if my presence on a blog, at any time is unwelcome, all anyone has to do is let me know and I won’t attempt to post on a thread where my presence is unwanted, not as Hanae, nor under any other name. And I don’t think that this has ever been an issue. One of the reasons for that is simple, I am interested in dialogue, and forcing oneself on a blog where one is not wanted is not very conductive to dialogue.

The topic at hand here is Emergence and Democracy. I found it of particular interest because it came out in a succession with two other entries Ming had posted, one about Elementary Magic and the other about Plan vs Reality.

In Elementary Magic, Ming wrote the following:

“Let's say some extremely rare butterfly is looking for a mate. If it is in a very static environment, like your kitchen closet, and there's no other butterfly of that kind of around, it is out of luck. But if you drop it somewhere where thousands or millions of species live, and all of them move around a lot, it is more likely that the right kind of lady butterfly will flutter by. Some wind might help, bringing in specimens from elsewhere…”

And it struck me how relevant it was to this entry about Emergence and Democracy and how VERY relevant, too, it is, of course to NCN. You DO see how relevant all of this is, don’t you?

Ming had been posting some very interesting stuff. And, well, I was paying attention.

I do not feel, in fact, that there is anyone on this thread who has been posting anything that is irrelevant. Even the 100 Monkeys thing or the Scientology stuff (Ming never had any issue with talking about Islam or Christianity or Judaism, why should it be any different with Scientology? – especially when some material from Captain Bill Robertson is listed right on the NCN intro page under the New Civilization Game heading), all of that is of relevance. If there are any taboos here, or themes that maybe the owner of the site has grown tired with and doesn’t want to talk about. Fine with me.

This will be the last I speak of that subject. In fact, this will be the last that I post a comment on Ming.tv or on NCN for that matter.


Now, Ming, over time I, too, “generally have found your comments constructive and positive, if a little” self-absorbed ;-) and have generally been trying to be supportive of NCN by posting comments here and there on blogs which I find of interest and on which sadly nothing much takes place in term of active participation, including on your blog (except for the occasional spam.) I realize now that this was a mistake. You said it best yourself, “you cannot force things.” Especially on a Network with a limited (and I mean very limited - in number) active membership. And especially when the creator and administrator of the said Network has made it very clear that he doesn’t know how (or doesn’t want) to do anything about it.

Under the current circumstances, for anything bottom-up to really happen, would require many diverse self-autonomous, self-sufficient groups of people to decide that they want to join NCN and use its features. What would be making it work is that instead of coming here to look for the diversity (which is not here) they would be bringing it in. There would be no need for such groups to look for other people they can work with, as those people would have been brought in with them. Several already “self-organized” such groups with related AND unrelated project and interests, all related, of course, in their own ways, to the concept of a New Civilization, would make NCN the kind of environment where things are more likely to happen, and would lay the foundation for a greater diversity so that when our metaphorical “butterfly” comes flying by, he/she would have a better chance of finding people she/he can “resonate” with instead of finding the room nearly empty.

In view of the current situation, the prospect for anything like that ever taking place on its own is not very bright however. But maybe Ming likes things better that way. And, hey, it's not like Ming-Planet is such a bad thing. And I am not saying this in a derogatory way - it's an interesting and unusual place. It’s a far cry from the vision posted on the Splash page of NCN but it’s, well, something. It’s just not something that I am very interested in right now.  



25 Jul 2007 @ 05:56 by Merlin Silk @76.168.217.251 : sense of humor
Hanae really has a sense of humor:

>> Insofar as I am concerned, here are some rules of thumbs by which I operate:

>> 1. I try to remain on topic.  



25 Jul 2007 @ 13:07 by ming : Trolls
I rarely bother to try to categorize who are trolls and who are not. I don't spend much energy categorizing people. But generally speaking the term is used about people who jump into a conversation mainly to stir up controversy and who don't really seek resolution and who aren't going to stick it out until something constructive gets worked out.

This post wasn't about NCN. However, I can see the point in making the parallel, as an emergent democracy is exactly what NCN was meant to be. But then there's a dozen years of dirty laundry one can throw into the conversation. Some of that might be useful in figuring out how to actually do it. But that kind of requires that a group of people work through it. Some people seem to show up more to point out that the discussion would be futile than to try to take it somewhere useful. Like, a lot of the posts in this thread seemed to be directed at suggesting that I'm against anything like emergent democracy, and that I somehow all by myself am hindering it. There could be truth in the latter in some contexts, so it it not like I'm not interested. But if we don't get any further, it maybe wasn't so useful.

And Scientology, that's just the perfect subject to throw into just about any conversation in order to derail it. Suggest a link between some person and Scientology and there's an endless amount of juicy material you casually can dump into the thread. Even more effective than accusing somebody of downloading child porn or being a communist.

The test is in what happens when it is time to take action. If we assumed that the subject is the NCN online community and how to make it more like an emergent democracy, ok, then what's next? A team that will work on how? Would any of you like to take on roles to further that aim? If you'd like a different website, what could you imagine doing to help make that happen? If you want a self-organizing democratic group to run the NCN website, what would you like to do to make that happen? If there's anything you think that I'm blocking because I control it, present a viable alternative and I'll hand it over to a team to run it. But it takes more than just talk, digging up old reasons why not, and then leaving in a snicker when you decide it is hopeless.  



25 Jul 2007 @ 16:16 by Hanae @69.33.46.10 : This is a sophism, Ming

If Ming wishes me to elaborate on that, I'll be glad to.

I will only speak here, if I am expressly invited to do so by the webmaster and owner of this blog.

Or, if this is intended by Ming as a closing argument on a thread that has been going on too long, I'll respect that and will also understand.  



25 Jul 2007 @ 20:01 by ming : The proof is in the pudding
Yeah, I'm not sure what you mean by sophism there. Sounds like a clever insult.

Anyway, I do think this thread had gone on much too long a long time ago. But you'll notice that I neither invited you in the first place nor asked you to stop talking. That was your idea either way.

My last statement is intended as a challenge. If anybody here actually wishes to make NCN a functional democracy or create a team to run the website, go right ahead. I can participate in any discussion or not, as you wish.

The elephant in the room is me. You'd either have to figure out how to work with me, or how to get around me. I'd be happy to help you do either, but it takes more than good quotes to get some actual work done.  



26 Jul 2007 @ 06:15 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Thank you, Ming

A simple yes or no would have sufficed, lol. But thank you, I’ll take that as permission to speak.

I am trying not to overextend my welcome here, but I don’t want either to leave you, Ming, with the impression that I am just “leaving in a snicker.” :-}  



26 Jul 2007 @ 06:22 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : Empty Challenge

"The proof is in the pudding" - YES - precisely so!

You see the problem, don't you? You have a sign at your window that make promises that NCN does not deliver: “NCN is a place where you can find people to work with,” etc.

What you have here is a misrepresentation, if we were dealing with anything of more import than this website and had there been some contracts and some serious money involved, this would fall under the law under “misrepresentation” (a false statements or promises made by a seller of goods or service regarding the quality or nature of said product or service.) Now, misrepresentation comes under many forms, you have Innocent and Negligent misrepresentation, and you have Fraudulent representation such as in the case of False Advertising or Bait and Switch (a form of fraud in which people are lured in by advertising for a product or service, then find out that the advertised good is not available but that a substitute is. The goal of the bait-and-switch is to convince some people to go with the substitute good as a means of avoiding disappointment over not getting the bait.)

Well, as I said, NCN is not exactly the kind of stuff that breach of contract law suites are made of, lol (it’s not as if anyone ever got seriously injured, or defrauded of their money.) But I thought I would point all of that out, so that you realize the absurdity of your challenge, Ming.

Because, really, now. Who put that sign out on the window? Well, it was you, Ming. Who made those promises? You, again! Now, when people come in and find, instead of the place that was advertised to them, the metaphoric “kitchen closet” of our metaphoric butterfly, I think people have a right to complain. Or if perhaps not complain, express some concern maybe, and certainly, it does make sense that they would inquire about the state of the place and future plans.

Now, Ming, for you to turn the table around and tell those same people that, well, you really do not see how this should be any of your concern, and that instead of whining, those people ought to try to do what you failed to do and fix the place so as to remedy the problems that you neglected to address, I tell you, that is beyond ridiculous!

Note that those same people whom you are challenging, are the same people who were told that what was expected of them here was “to do their own thing” – that’s all, “do their own thing” – and that everything else would fall into place. So the people who are here, Ming, as you well know, are not necessarily the people with the designer or techie skills needed to revamp your website or maybe turn it into the network it was meant to be, nor are they necessarily the kind of people who might have the know how required to introduce NCN to a greater diversity of people and convince those people that this place is a good match for their needs. There might be perhaps a few here who do, I don’t know. But the kind of peremptory way in which you are calling on them in your comment here, might no be the best way to reach them, and this thread might not necessarily be the best place to do so. And they might not be interested - after all, they joined NCN to “do their own things” believing they would find an environment that would facilitate their connecting with people they might work with (the kind of stuff emergence is made of,) and regardless of whether they have the required skills or not, fixing NCN might really not be part of what it is they were looking for to do when they came here.

I have been pretty much on target and pretty consistent about this, very early on, on this thread at 19 Jul 2007 @ 23:26 (the part of the comment with the space ship analogy and the Human operators): “It is of no good if a ship which is required to be operated dynamically by different crews working alongside one another, independently or interactively with one another, is only occupied by just a limited number of the required crews, and the critical mass is not met. It is of no use either for the engineer to blame the existing crew for the fact that his ship is stranded. It is of no good either for the engineer to turn to the crew and ask for volunteers to assist him in doing what he has failed to achieve. There may be a few on deck who might be able to assist (provided that the engineer is sincere in his request and there is no control issue,) but the help he requires might in large part - and in all likelihood - be beyond the available potential of the ship.”

And as I also pointed out somewhere else, along the thread, what you have here is indeed “one heck of a project to be handled by one person alone,” Ming. And “NCN at large would benefit greatly from having more than one techie in charge." And I don't mean by that some flunkies doing your bidding, but some people on par with you, you could brainstorm ideas with. "There is help to be found outside of NCN. People who are interested in emergence, and system thinking, etc.” And you Ming, might very possibly actually be one of the best person to network with such people. You blog about this all the time, some of your friends and acquaintances blog about it all the time, and some are techies.  



26 Jul 2007 @ 06:24 by Hanae @71.165.180.193 : I admire your problem

This is quite a problem you have here. You have created something that is complex and possibly without solution. I am sure it’s bigger than you ever thought it would be as problems go. And there you have it---a big wondrous, amazing problem! Breathtaking, but highly admirable indeed! Wow.  



26 Jul 2007 @ 06:47 by Merlin Silk @76.168.217.251 : Please, please, please ...
...Ming, don't reply to this any more - there is leaching going on.  


26 Jul 2007 @ 13:04 by ming : Challenges, Action and Complaining
Hahah, yes, I don't think it will go anywhere further at this point. Anyway, thanks, Hanae for clarifying your position.

I hereby declare this thread closed.  



30 Jul 2007 @ 12:11 by jazzolog : Surely Ming/Merlin Jests
Just back from trolling recovery therapy (they didn't think I have such a bad case apparently) I discover this valuable thread is declared closed. This must be Ming's idea of a joke.

For one thing, Mr. Silk's description of the thread as leaching isn't a bad thing at all...and I frankly don't understand his advice to Mr. Funch to get out. Whether the leaching process is intended to clarify the valuable elements, or to be rid of the unhealthy, it is extremely valuable in the kitchen or the laboratory. Of course Mr. Silk may have meant a different kind of leach---which probably ought to be spelled differently---but who am I to tell grand personages what to do?

For another thing, Mr. Funch only had called for volunteers a couple comments earlier to form a "team" to work on emergent democracy here at NCN. If the thread is closed how can the volunteering take place? I wonder if this is the best vehicle for advertising the activity anyway. Shouldn't a notice be placed at the NCN Member page...maybe in one of the NCN Journals Ming edits, selects and authors?

But just a minute, what have we here? I see there's already an NCN Member Administration Team, as part of the TeamNet Member Teams linked at the Groups page. Perhaps that team could facilitate formation of the new team...or take it on as a subteam of the functions it performs already.

And look on that Groups page! The very first Workgroup ever formed is called NCN Site Development. It appears that Group hasn't convened in 2 years. Maybe this call for volunteers will wake them up.

My thought is why duplicate efforts others already are performing? We worked for weeks a couple years back to form a conflict resolution feature, for which there seemed to be a need. No sooner was it established than another group fired up its own conflict resolution feature. Now there are 2. Conceivably we could have a conflict which could complicate after the people decide to resolve it...but end up fighting over which conflict resolution group to consult. So how about if the Team and Workgroup already existing take on the work? I look forward to reading the discussion summary and proposals.
 



14 Mar 2009 @ 13:55 by Kyros @80.122.229.70 : Airline Tickets
Hello everyone. I don't believe in intuition. When you get sudden flashes of perception, it is just the brain working faster than usual. But you've been getting ready to know it for a long time, and when it comes, you feel you've known it always.
I am from Nepal and learning to read in English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Start today searching for cheap international airline tickets for your next vacation or honeymoon whatever occasion you. Have to travel."

Best regards :-), Kyros.  



23 Apr 2009 @ 20:07 by Marco @92.101.120.67 : Good morning.
Good morning. This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.
I am from Bosnia and know bad English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: payday "The airline flight information provided by."

Best regards :P, Maxwell.  



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