Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 26th, 2010

Whether we admit it or not, every person has constructed a mental model of how he views the universe and life.  For example, was the universe created, is it infinite, is it timeless… and what is life, the purpose of life, what happens after death, is there a soul, what happens to the soul, is the soul individual or a collective soul…?

Since antiquity, philosophers have been discussing and reasoning on the following matter:  “Do mankind enjoys an innate general spirit (regardless of ethnicity, culture, gender…) that expresses how he views the construct of the universe, or it is an individual learning process relevant to the manner the various sensory organs observe nature and people and organize the information”?

The hypothesis is:  Do people with sensory handicaps (blind, deaf…) extend the same kind of subjective understanding of the universe and life as “normal” people do, across all ethic cultures with oral and written myths and traditions?

First, we need baseline stories on “What do I know about the universe and life?” from “normal” people with “normally” functioning sensory organs (vision, audition…).  The baseline stories should be captured from varieties of ethnic cultural entities in the five continents, privileging the oral cultures with no recognized written documents and minority cultures with written cultures but not read or disseminated universally.  The baseline stories must discriminate between genders (between group factors) and the ethnic stories within each gender groups. The baseline stories must discriminate among the stage of maturity of the storyteller (young, adult, middle age, and older people).  The baseline stories must discriminate among the literacy levels of the subjects (such as they read and write in one language, read only, and only orally literate subjects).  Thus, the team of experimenters must be trained to adequately record answers and stories in uniform fashion.

The next phase of the experiment is gathering stories of sensory handicapped people in the above ethnic and gender groups (blind, deaf…)

We may extend this experiment by artificially handicapping a normal subject by preventing him to see or to hear while resuming his “normal” live for a period.  Do you think that his mental model of the universe might be altered significantly?

Another extension may be involving normal sensory subjects but with different mental capabilities and limitations (over developed or under developed brain powers).  This experiment would answer the question: “Are reading and listening to stories generate different types of observational data due to further brain processing mechanisms?”

The most essential preparation for the experiment is the designing of an exhaustive questionnaire with exhaustive options to educating the subjects on the varieties of viewpoints and myths.  For that purpose, the questionnaire will be tested on many preliminary samples of ethnic cultures in order to catch and collect the varieties of relevant options, sort of exhaustive compendium on the different myths and mental models.  I would recommend that the design requires every question to be answered; this means that those logical procedures of demanding the subject to skipping several questions, as in filling tax formes, be eliminated:  We should not fall in the bias of enforcing our rational logic on oral culture ethnic groups and the illiterates.

It is advisable that follow-up oral stories accompany answering the questionnaire; then, another follow-up written story be attached to the oral story.  The written story would condense the individual story into a comprehensive and coherent story after the preceding two educational sessions.  The teams of trained experimenters would have to fill the initial questionnaire with the new information generated by the oral and written stories; missing information can be filled by default, using the original questionnaire for each subject.  Thus, data analysis can be conducted on the two questionnaires: the before learning process and the after learning process of the mental models.

I find it interesting that, after the written story, the subject would give his opinion on the current theories of astrophysicists on the universe in order to checking the cohesion and compatibility of the subjects in their perception of the universe.  For example: what they think of the theory that this universe is the product of a collision between two universes; that a universe revolves around each black hole; that what we see is a simulated universe of a matrix universe; that the sky is a wall on which the image of the stars and galaxies are projected onto it (a universe as hologram); that the universe keeps changing every time we observe it…  Do you think that you might change your view if a theory (coming from an astrophysicist) impresses you?

The spontaneous suggestion is “why not ask a subject to telling his story before answering a questionnaire? At least we can have an original version, unbiased by constructed questionnaires.”  This suggestion is pertinent if it is feasible to nudge a subject to start telling a story without a prompt sheet containing the necessary lines of thoughts to guiding the subject in the endeavor; the prompt sheet must be devoid of any biased suggestions.  In any case, I believe that devising such a prompt sheet is necessary, even if not applied in the experiment, in order to get the questionnaire developed and cleaned of idiosyncratic allusions and local imageries.

The experiment is complex and will need to be subdivided in meaningful stages of shorter experiments; it is time intensive and for a long duration; it requires training of large teams of researchers and experimenters.  Preliminary experiments would show the best ways of experimenting piece meal this vast project.

Note 1:  I tend to include materials we read and stories we heard as sensory inputs since they are processed by the brain, at various levels, as sensory observations.

Note 2: Many scholars present the view that what we actually sense are in fact “processed observations”, and not the raw sensed data, since all sensing observations are data processed by the brain at different levels of manipulations. Good enough: We are dealing with what mankind is observing; that is what is available to forming a coherent structure of the universe and the environment we live into.  The follow-up lesson is:  Other reasoning species must be viewing the universe differently since their senses have different capacities and limitations and their brain structures are different from mankind.

Note 3:  The essential question that the previous experiment might offer an answer to is:  “If an individual is handicapped in one or more sensory organs then, by reading or listening stories, can his brain re-establish what normal people comprehend of the universe?”

Greedy Financial Managers say: “Blame it on greedy human nature”

The verdict of the greedy financial managers and analysts in this international financial crisis is: ” the culprit is a non-entity: It is human risk-taking nature, driven by greed for the enjoyment of the present moment.”

The convenient scapegoat is this mythical concept of human risk-taking attitudes.

Almost all financial managers would like to blame the greedy short-timer shareholders for the successive financial crisis. They say: “The young financial operators have never witnessed but bull market trends and they had no memory of financial crisis.  The young financial operators grabbed the risk-taking attitudes of clients and ran with it.”

1. The financial managers say: “Give a child a piece of candy and promise him another candy if he waits ten minutes until you come back:  Very few children will not eat the candy immediately, instead of two shortly later.”

2. They say: “The weight that people give to the present satisfaction far outweigh logical reasoning of good profits and advantages a year later.

Reason says: “In time of great uncertainty the best recourse is thinking on ways to cope with its consequences.”  The reality of human nature says: “In time of great instability, the past is gone and the future is uncertain; thus, let us enjoy the moment; we have one life to live.

3. The greedy financial managers and analysts say: “People learned to save their liquid money in banks:  Any money in the pocket is spent readily.  Consumerism culture resorted to the devilish credit card mechanism to trap and sap human saving good intentions.”

4. They say: “It is a disorienting characteristic of human temperament that, knowing full-well the ultimate disaster of their actions (investing for short-term benefits), we keep believing that we are immune to bad results and that we are of the lucky-types to having the intuition of jumping ship at the nick of time.”

5. They say: “A father or head of a family feels that he is better off retaining a few debts so that he is forced to staying alert to snatching opportunities.  The father or mother prefers to be indebted and feeling permanently threatened with financial instability in order to be on his toes and keep going day-in day-out.”

6. They say: “Financial managers and operators learned to take the money quickly and run with it and not looking back:  As the crisis arrives and the shit hits the fan they are no longer in the job  and they working somewhere else.

7. They say: “All regulations and restrictions on new shares offered to managers of enterprises were dropped in most companies.  Instead, managers were encouraged to speculate immediately with their shares in order to keep the managers constantly on the lookout for short-term profits to the enterprise.

It is true that there are financial risk-takers and they are a minority category of people.

It is true that many are willing to risk their lives on dangerous adventures not related to money.

It is true there are a few cultures that train their people on risk-taking games not necessarily waging real money.  Fact is, financial managers are no kids or inexperienced on inevitable financial crisis and their symptoms (steady bull market for successive long years).

Financial managers explicitly encouraged the young operators to behaving as if “there is no tomorrow” and take the money and run.  The State will inevitably comes to the rescue in no time.

Financial managers are no dumb:  They know that money transferred around at the speed of light are fictitious money, hundred times overvalued with respect to gold or any goods of values.

Thus, they think that they may as well play this game of risks as if they are playing with beans, candies, or crackers.  It barely comes to their mind that they are playing with the earnings of millions of hard-working people, money earned by blood and sweat.

Greedy financial managers know they rule the world:

1. That they are far more powerful than any government or a combination of unified governments.  2. They know that they are transacting 5 trillion dollars a day, twice more than all the powerful governments managed to save for emergency situations.

3. Greedy financial managers know that they have far more lawyers, consultants, and expert in financial matters than any government can harass them with:  The odds favor the financial institutions in any legal battle.

4. Greedy financial managers know that governments have not many experts or professionals to managing and regulating the financial markets and institutions.  Governments end up hiring financial experts who worked at the financial institutions they mean to regulate.

It is beyond natural individual greed: International capitalism has replaced bourgeois capitalism by mafias-types capitalism at a world scale and nobody dares to investigate into, account for, or prosecute.

The traditional entrepreneur used to say: “This cow is producing my daily milk.”  The mafias multinational boss says: “When I see a cow I feel hungry for steaks

Still, governments have one edge over financial multinationals:  Government hold the “law and order” power.

Jail the financial managers and their bosses before legally prosecuting them and they will come to their reason: they will drop all their flatulent blame games and puny scapegoats.




November 2010

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