Monday, October 23, 2006

This will continue the System Perturbation discussion on 5GW on from Part I. and comment on select elements in the following posts:

"'Global Guerrillas' as 5GW Warriors" by Curtis at Dreaming 5GW

"Toward Ensembles Acting with Authority" by RevG at Christian Soldiers

First off, I liked both of these posts for the depth at which each author considered the implications of the system perturbation concept as applied to human affairs. I have points of agreement and disagreement but I will limit myself to a few examples of each.

Curtis Gale Weeks wrote:

" ...have said many times: the hardest thing to track is a meme. But I have never given an explanation for why this is so. Here it is: memes do not travel. They are not transmitted. They emerge. Within individuals. This is OODA. "

This was interesting. I agree there are clear-cut instances of memetic emergence - take for example, calculus with Newton and Leibniz. On the other hand, the track record for transmission of long existing memes by observation seems to be pretty well established across the animal kingdom, though in the collective sense, with culture, individual transmission of menes would amount to emergence. Depends on the perspective at which we are arguing this point.

"However, these various GG rule-sets will emerge in multiple places, as the result of slightly or perhaps very different observations or of different immediate concrete effects / environments. In Robb-speak, this means that the various GG factions will have no ‘common’ motivation. He once said that they will have a similar objective; and, I responded at the time that a similar objective is a similar motivation, insofar as objectives motivate individuals to act"

Generally, Global Guerillas will not manage to set off system perturbations, such events are rare things, but their destructive actions will add to the aggregate amount of "noise" in the system. The "noise" or "chaos" ( or "entropy" or " novelty") is the the disintegration of the old system which creates a certain fluidity or space in which people will naturally seek out rules to create certainty. The weakening of the old system's authority makes the construction of new rule-sets both easier and harder while creating the necessity to do so.

So Global Guerillas might have a "common effect". And should they succeed in setting off a system perturbation what is accomplished is a dramatic acceleration of the process.

RevG wrote:

"Those who act upon fundamentals analysis require relatively stable systems or at least ones where system perturbation can be anticipated. System perturbation creates novelty, a kinder term than chaos or entropy but functionally identical. Their fundamentals analysis apprehends a historical view anticipating traditional cause and effect chains to continue intact. The required assumption of continuity is key with significant system perturbations necessitating a new or at least revised fundamental analysis. As human endeavor has evolved these chains have become both more complex and more complicated. Complexity has increased as the number of chains has propagated. Even though each chain may be simple, the sheer number of cause and effect chains has increased by a huge factor. This has lead to the emergence of unpredictable secondary effects due solely to there being vastly more cause and effect chains. This proliferation of the number of cause and effect chains, this increase in complexity, has contributed to a higher level of novelty"

True. The effects go beyond secondary - the number of variables and the outlier levels to which a major system perturbation can " ripple" makes it difficult to get a mental handle on the logical outcomes, much less the unintended and unanticipated ones. It is not something easily done even with sophisticated computer models, as attempts to model global warming have demonstrated, a considerable sacrifice in accuracy is incurred. The strategic question is which players are best placed to find oportunity rather than loss in such a disruption ?

"The current environment already possesses a high level of novelty and novelty levels will only increase. More complexity and complications will increase novelty levels. Attempts to reduce complexity and complications will also reduce interconnectivity, which will increase novelty levels. This leads to the question of how to effectively act while implementing analysis of the current environment before increasing levels of novelty invalidates the analysis. The answer involves speed of action relative to analysis. Increasing levels of novelty increase the need for speed. As this development accelerates anything that retards action relative to analysis will possess ever-lessening utility. This has a direct bearing upon the location of the authority to act with profound implications for human society."

As discussed in the earlier comments, increased speed ( or modulation of speed) is a strong possibility. It is however, not the only way to " get inside" your opponents OODA Loop and what matters is thay you get inside. This would lead me to suggest that one way to characterize the difference might be is that 4GW had asymmetric warriors while 5GW will have asynchronous ones.

"Fifth Generation Warfare is and will be conducted by ensembles acting with authority. The protected hierarchies’ authority distributed through unity of organization will be replaced by unity of purpose among ensembles or there will be no unity among the ensembles at all. Protected hierarchies must shift to providing unity of purpose in the vacuum created by the loss of unity of organization or atrophy. Ensembles acting with authority guided by unity of purpose are the immediate future of human society if human society is to have a future at all. "

I like the ensembles analogy. Distributed actors with "smartmob" action that have the capacity to dominate a much larger network.


Shloky has his own reflections to offer
On the other hand, the track record for transmission of long existing memes by observation seems to be pretty well established


I wondered how my statements concerning memes would be taken -- particularly by Dan of tdaxp, given our many arguments over the reality of social reality & the OODA!

Even these 'long lasting memes' are examples of emergence. Take for instance anything that has been 'transmitted' [sic!] via literature: different people observe the same stimuli, the written words, and because these words are always the same no matter who reads them, a similar emergence occurs within each mind. It would seem to be the same meme, although it perhaps isn't, not quite. (On this, I'm going with the holistic nature of memes & thought; for instance, two people follow all the forms to get married, get married, and realize some time later that 'marriage' means something different to each of them, and they divorce! So whatever emergence is caused by reading literature will be modified by other records within the mind -- reminds me of that post you put up recently on horizontal thinking and 'shelves.')

Even within literature 'comes' the meme: that unless we make what we read our own, it will do us no good. (R.W.Emerson.) All the supposedly 'transmitted' memes are really only emergences of memes, although because quite often the observations or stimuli are quite similar, similar memes emerge. I think this is very important for understanding what the future holds for us, also particularly considering the reality of increasing novelty or the increase in novel stimuli.
"Take for instance anything that has been 'transmitted' [sic!] via literature: different people observe the same stimuli, the written words, and because these words are always the same no matter who reads them, a similar emergence occurs within each mind. It would seem to be the same meme, although it perhaps isn't, not quite."

At a biophysical, neuronal, nano level, I am inclined to agree with you as a technical distinction.

OTOH, it is useful at the macro level -either human scale or the superorganism - to draw a clear distinction between emergence of new memes vs. transmission of existing ones.

Dan, comments ?
"Anyone ?...anyone ?...Buehler...
Buehler..." ;o)

When I think of memes this way, I think about Barnett's advocacy. Globalization may be one method of making the general environments of diverse people 'homogenous.' The environments are not really homogenous, but the common rule-sets lead to similar activities, which continue to shape the world per those rule-sets, etc.; and so, very common memes emerge in broad-scale. (Like: 'broadcast').

Some of the most effective stimuli for causing broadscale emergence will come from business; for instance, Wal-mart, which may market many of the same products in many different nations. But almost any transnational retailer may do the same. How many people across the world know what an Ipod is? Or, Madonna?

A lot of this is happening anyway, of course, and we see the reaction from those who do not want those influences. The major question I have about Barnett's PNM theory is related to what I wrote above about the way the 'shelves' in our minds may slightly alter the emergence of what would otherwise be quite similar memes: this suggests (as many have said) that the Long War is truly long, generational. A cell phone will mean slightly different things to a teeny-bopper, a businessmen, and a terrorist. The Leviathan force Barnett would have 'perturb' a system needing perturbing will probably not address this problem, and I have major doubts that a SysAdmin will be able to do it, at least not one that merely helps rebuild infrastructure and the like. Some real in-depth and focused memetic work is required.
Ah, btw, it occurs to me: The fact that we are talking about 'superempowered individuals' and smallish 'ensembles' and, well, GG's, suggests to me that the individual level may become more important than the macro-level approach. OTOH, if a macro-level approach could be devised that also addressed the micro-level, that might be good as well -- which is why that I particularly like the 'democracy' aspects of Barnett's theory. Unfortunately, 'freedom' will mean different things to different people as well, and the 'factional' aspects of democracy are not entirely different than the 'factional' aspects of militants GG's. For every new rule established via various security apparatuses, whatever they might be, an anti-rule is likely to emerge. (To put it broadly; I'm working off-the-cuff tonight!)
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