Moulton Lava

Moultonic Musings

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Location: New England, United States

Friday, June 28, 2013

An Allegory

Once upon a time there was a young father who was teaching his 9-year old son how to play chess. The lad was eager to play and to win. He even read the rule book himself just to be sure his father hadn't left out any information about the rules of the game.

But not long after the lad had finished reading the rule book of chess for himself, he began using a move that was not a proper move under the rules of chess. In particular, the lad was moving a piece that was not his. The father patiently explained to the lad that manipulating another player's piece was not a proper move. But the boy was adamant and persistent, inexplicably asserting the father was also doing exactly the same thing — moving an opponent's piece.

Finally, in exasperation, the father said, "OK. I am going to play the next move using your set of rules, even though I say those are not the appropriate way to play chess."

And then the father moved the lad's king off the board.

Game over, lad. Game over.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Leviathan, Behemoth, and Ziz

Way out West they had a name
For Wind and Rain and Fyre.
The Rain is Tess, the Fyre's Jove
And they call the Wind Mariah.

In Bible days they had three names
For monsters fierce and dire
They needed them to take the blame
For spawning muck and mire.

Leviathan, Behemoth and Ziz
The air's a mess, the land's aflame
And the seas are rising higher
Who takes the blame for all this mess?
Yea, punishment doth require.

Azazel took the blame before
(Not sacrificial pyre)
Kids wander lonely in a fog
And listen to the wire.

Leviathan stirs the seas awash
Behemoth rakes the mire
The air above is fogged by Ziz
So says our vexed town crier.

What shall we make of monsters three
Of wind and land and water
Their names are known, but not their bones
Let's unspell them for your daughter.

They Call the Wind Mariah

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Becoming Aware of 'Becoming Aware'

In Howard Gardner's classical catalog of Multiple Intelligences, the Ninth Intelligence is the rarest of them all.  Gardner prefers to call it Existential Intelligence.

But the Ninth Intelligence is also variously known as Spiritual Intelligence, Theological Intelligence, Religious Intelligence, Priestly Intelligence, Prophetic Intelligence, Mystical Intelligence, Kabbalistic Intelligence, Transcendent Intelligence, Metaphysical Intelligence, Ethical Intelligence, Sustainability Intelligence, and Cybernetic Intelligence.  Temple Grandin calls it Pattern Thinking.  I prefer to call it Systems Thinking.

Other related terms include Intuition, Visionary Insight, Wisdom, and Enlightenment.

Wai H. Tsang
British neuroscience scholar, Wai H. Tsang, is perhaps the most remarkable young exemplar of Existential Intelligence because he effortlessly ties together all of the above variants of the Ninth Intelligence in a remarkable series of talks collected in the playlist, below.

I invite readers to become aware of Wai H. Tsang revealing his mind-expanding visionary insights into the science, philosophy, and theology of the Process of Becoming Aware.

Becoming Aware of the Process of Becoming Aware — Wai H. Tsang

Monday, June 03, 2013

STEM vs Law

While the recent case of Florida's Pine County School District pitted one or more jurisdictions of Florida's local or state constabulary against Bartow High School's distinguished honor student, Kiera Wilmot, it's an instance of a larger and more significant battle between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) vs. Law.

This has indeed been a "teachable moment" in many ways, but from my perspective, it's a "teachable moment" in a way that most people wouldn't have anticipated.

The Rule of Law has been around for some 4000 years. One might say it's a "time-proven method" for managing human societies.

The STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are much more modern.

One of the remarkable discoveries from the STEM disciplines is Chaos Theory, which technically begins with Sir Isaac Newton and Joseph-Louis Lagrange, but languishes until Henri Poincaré, Edward Lorenz, and Benoit Mandelbrot complete the theoretical work. James Gleick then popularizes the work in his lucid account, Chaos: Making a New Science, written for a general audience.

The main discovery — and it's an astonishing one — is that rule-driven systems are mathematically chaotic. The 4000-year old belief that the Rule of Law neatly maps onto the secular concept of "Law and Order" turns out to be one of the oldest and most tragic misconceptions in the annals of human history. "Law and Order" is also the name of a popular series on NBC that is now in endless reruns on the TNT Cable Channel, where the advertising slogan is, "We Know Drama."

Every child knows that rules define games (for which there is a well established Game Theory, dating back to the work of John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern, and John Forbes Nash).

Drama, in turn, is a generalized game. And there is a corresponding extension of Game Theory to Drama Theory.

Drama Theory is a subset of Chaos Theory. Indeed, drama is our favorite flavor of mathematical chaos because we can follow the story, step by step, remaining in thrall and suspense, without being able to foresee the outcome.

In the wake of a breach of expectations, there arises a ritual process that Anthropologist, Victor Turner, calls Liminal Social Drama.

And that's where we are in this story: Liminal Social Drama, with characteristic features that Victor Turner teases out and labels with technical terms like Liminality, Communitas, Ritual, and Anti-Structure.

So what is the "teachable moment" here?

It's the revelation originally hinted at in Genesis 2:17, later reified by Augustine of Hippo (who labeled it "Original Sin"), and which is now known as "Humankind's Original Logic Error" (HOLE). It's the revelation that the Rule of Law isn't what it's cracked up to be. Or to use a modern term from street language, the Rule of Law is "cracked" and those who still cling to it literally have a "HOLE" in their head. The Lawmaking and Law Enforcing "tribe" are committing both a mathematical atrocity and a human atrocity that departs from everything we know today from modern Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (where Science includes Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, and Criminology).

Oh, and incidentally, Theology had it right all along. But now it's no longer a religious article of faith. Now it's also a rigorously demonstrated finding from the STEM disciplines.

And that's the lesson to be learned in this "teachable moment" in what I expect will continue to be an epic battle of biblical proportions, pitting STEM vs. Lawfare.

If I had been in Kiera Wilmot's shoes, having just been banned from school (note that Banishment is the subject of the very first law of the original Code of Hammurabi), I would have invoked the second law of Hammurabi's Code and simply tell the Lawfare characters in this shreklisch drama to "Go jump in the lake."