Adonis Diaries

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Evolution theory was known long time before Darwin.

Darwin collected data before coming forward with his knowledge.

The same case with Euler who had Not a shadow of doubt that planet trajectories were elliptical. He still plugged in for years to gather the necessary data to come forward with his proof.

Many scientists start with an intuition and end up retaining the data that match their hypothesis. The common people have to wait for other kinds of scientists to analyse all the data and start a paradigm shift that discard the traditional knowledge.

Un érudit musulman a eu l’idée de l’évolution 1000 ans avant Darwin

Deux pages du Livre des Animaux d'al-Jahiz

Charles Darwin est le père de la théorie de l’évolution, mais avez-vous entendu parler du scientifique irakien Al-Jahiz ?

L’histoire de la théorie de l’évolution remonte loin dans le monde musulman.

La théorie de l’évolution du scientifique britannique Charles Darwin est l’une des pierres angulaires de la science moderne.

L’idée que les espèces changent progressivement au fil du temps grâce à un mécanisme appelé sélection naturelle (adapting to the environment) a révolutionné notre compréhension du monde vivant.

Dans son livre de 1859, De l’origine des espèces, Darwin définit l’évolution comme une “descente avec modification”, démontrant comment différentes espèces émergent d’un ancêtre commun.

Mais il semble que la théorie de l’évolution elle-même ait aussi un ancêtre dans le monde islamique.

La sélection naturelle

Environ 1000 ans avant que Charles Darwin n’écrive un livre sur la façon dont les animaux changent par un processus qu’il appelait “sélection naturelle”, un philosophe musulman vivant en Irak, qui s’appelait Al-Jahiz l’avait déjà précédé.

De son vrai nom Abu Usman Amr Bahr Bahr Alkanani al-Basri, l’histoire se souvient de lui par son surnom, Al-Jahiz, qui signifie quelqu’un dont les yeux semblent sortir de leur orbite.

Timbre représentant le penseur musulman al-Jahiz

Ce n’est pas la façon la plus gentille d’appeler quelqu’un, mais la renommée d’Al-Jahiz perdure grâce à son livre fondateur, Kitab al-Hayawan (Le Livre des animaux).

Il est né en 776 après J.-C. dans la ville de Bassorah, au sud de l’Irak, à l’époque où le mouvement Mutazilah, (Mo3tazalat) une école de pensée théologique qui prônait l’exercice de la raison humaine, gagnait du terrain dans la région.

C’était le sommet de la domination abbasside.

Des travaux de savants ont été traduits du grec à l’arabe et de puissants débats sur la religion, la science et la philosophie ont eu lieu à Bassorah, façonnant l’esprit d’Al-Jahiz et l’aidant à formuler ses idées.

Le papier a été introduit en Irak par des commerçants chinois, ce qui a stimulé la diffusion des idées et le jeune Al-Jahiz a commencé à écrire sur une variété de sujets.

Ses intérêts couvraient de nombreux domaines académiques, y compris la science, la géographie, la philosophie, la grammaire arabe et la littérature.

On pense qu’il a produit 200 livres au cours de sa vie, mais seulement un tiers d’entre eux ont survécu jusqu’à notre époque.

Portrait de Charles Darwin

Le Livre des Animaux

Son œuvre la plus célèbre, The Book of Animals, est conçue comme une encyclopédie présentant 350 animaux, dans laquelle Al-Jahiz présente des idées qui ont une ressemblance frappante avec la théorie de Darwin sur l’évolution.

“Les animaux s’engagent dans une lutte pour l’existence et pour les ressources, pour éviter d’être mangés et pour se reproduire”, écrit Al-Jahiz, “les facteurs environnementaux influencent les organismes à développer de nouvelles caractéristiques pour assurer leur survie, les transformant ainsi en de nouvelles espèces”.

Il ajoute : “Les animaux qui survivent pour se reproduire peuvent transmettre leurs caractéristiques à leur progéniture.”

Il était clair pour Al-Jahiz que le monde vivant était en lutte constante pour sa survie et qu’une espèce était toujours plus forte qu’une autre.

La couverture du magazine satirique français La Petite Lune en 1871

Pour survivre, les animaux devaient avoir des caractéristiques compétitives pour trouver de la nourriture, éviter de devenir eux-mêmes la nourriture de quelqu’un d’autre et se reproduire.

Cela les a forcés à changer de génération en génération.

Les idées d’Al-Jahiz ont influencé d’autres penseurs musulmans qui lui ont emboîté le pas.

Son travail a été lu par des gens comme Al-Farabi, Al-Arabi, Al-Biruni et Ibn Khaldoun.

Le “Père spirituel” du Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal, également connu sous le nom d’Allama Iqbal, observe l’importance d’Al-Jahiz dans son recueil de conférences publié en 1930, écrivant que “c’est Al-Jahiz qui a souligné les changements dans la vie des animaux à cause des migrations et des changements environnementaux”.

Théorie mahométane (Muslim theory)

La contribution du monde musulman à l’idée d’évolution n’était pas un secret pour l’intellectuel du XIXe siècle en Europe.

En effet, un contemporain de Charles Darwin, le scientifique William Draper, parlait en 1878 de la “théorie mahométane de l’évolution”.

Dessin de quatre espèces de pinsons observés par Darwin aux îles Galápagos

Le naturaliste britannique mérite à juste titre sa réputation de scientifique qui a passé des années à voyager et à observer le monde naturel, et qui a fondé sa théorie avec une précision et une clarté sans précédent pour transformer notre façon de voir le monde.

Mais le journaliste scientifique Ehsan Masood, qui a réalisé une série de documentaires pour la BBC intitulée “Islam et Science”, dit qu’il est important de se souvenir de ceux qui ont contribué à l’histoire de la pensée évolutionnaire.

Créationnisme

Il note également que le créationnisme ne semble pas exister en tant que mouvement significatif pendant le IXe siècle en Irak, lorsque Bagdad et Bassora étaient les principaux centres d’enseignement supérieur de la civilisation islamique.

“Les scientifiques n’ont pas passé des heures à examiner des passages de la révélation pour voir s’ils se comparent aux connaissances observées sur le monde naturel”, écrit Ehsan Masood dans un article sur Al-Jahiz dans le journal britannique The Guardian.

“Au lieu de cela, ils sont sortis et ont essayé de découvrir des choses par eux-mêmes.”

En fin de compte, c’est la quête du savoir qui a entraîné la mort d’Al-Jahiz.

On dit qu’à l’âge de 92 ans, alors qu’il essayait de prendre un livre sur une étagère lourde, il s’est effondré sur lui, tuant le philosophe musulman.

« Le monde a besoin de science la science a besoin des femmes »

This myth that mystify: East vs. West?  Even Better, South vs. North

Depending on the context, depending on the outcome, choose your paradigm.

Both paradigms ( only one life or cyclical lives) are human constructions. 

They are cultural creations, not natural phenomena.

To understand the business of mythology and what a Chief Belief Officer is supposed to do, you have to hear a story of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god who is the scribe of storytellers, and his brother, the athletic warlord of the gods, Kartikeya.

The two brothers one day decided to go on a race, three times around the world. Kartikeya leapt on his peacock and flew around the continents and the mountains and the oceans. He went around once, he went around twice, he went around thrice.

But his brother, Ganesha, simply walked around his parents once, twice, thrice, and said, “I won.”

“How come?” said Kartikeya. And Ganesha said, “You went around ‘the world.’ I went around ‘my world.’”

What matters more?

Devdutt Pattanaik looks at business and modern life through the lens of mythology.
When he was Chief Belief Officer, he helped managers harness the power of myth to understand their employees, their companies and their customers.

He’s working to create a Retail Religion, to build deep, lasting ties between customers and brands.
 — the myths that mystify. ted.com|By Devdutt Pattanaik

If you understand the difference between ‘the world’ and ‘my world,’ you understand the difference between logos and mythos.

The world’ is objective, logical, universal, factual, scientific.  ‘The world’ tells us how the world functions, how the sun rises, how we are born.

My world’ is subjective. It’s emotional. It’s personal. It’s perceptions, thoughts, feelings, dreams. It is the belief system that we carry. It’s the myth that we live in. ‘My world’ tells us why the sun rises, why we were born. 

Every culture is trying to understand itself: Why do we exist?” And every culture comes up with its own understanding of life, its own customized version of mythology.

Culture is a reaction to nature, and this understanding of our ancestors is transmitted generation from generation in the form of stories, symbols and rituals, which are always indifferent to rationality.

When you study nature, you realize that different people of the world have a different understanding of the world. Different people see things differently — different viewpoints.

There is my world and there is your world, and my world is always better than your world, because my world, you see, is rational and yours is superstition. Yours is faith. Yours is illogical. This is the root of the clash of civilizations.

It took place in 326 B.C. on the banks of a river called the Indus, now in Pakistan. This river lends itself to India’s name. India. Indus.

Alexander, a young Macedonian, met there what he called a “gymnosophist,” which means “the naked, wise man.” We don’t know who he was. Perhaps he was a Jain monk, like Bahubali over here, the Gomateshwara Bahubali whose image is not far from Mysore. Or perhaps he was just a yogi who was sitting on a rock, staring at the sky and the sun and the moon.

Alexander asked, “What are you doing?” and the gymnosophist answered, “I’m experiencing nothingness.” Then the gymnosophist asked, “What are you doing?” and Alexander said, “I am conquering the world.”

And they both laughed. 

Each one thought that the other was a fool. The gymnosophist said, “Why is he conquering the world? It’s pointless.” And Alexander thought, “Why is he sitting around, doing nothing? What a waste of a life.”

To understand this difference in viewpoints, we have to understand the subjective truth of Alexander his myth, and the mythology that constructed it. 

Alexander’s mother, his parents, his teacher Aristotle told him the story of Homer’s “Iliad.” They told him of a great hero called Achilles, who, when he participated in battle, victory was assured, but when he withdrew from the battle, defeat was inevitable. 

“Achilles was a man who could shape history, a man of destiny, and this is what you should be, Alexander.” That’s what he heard.

 “What should you Not be? You should not be Sisyphus, who rolls a rock up a mountain all day only to find the boulder rolled down at night. Don’t live a life which is monotonous, mediocre, meaningless. Be spectacular! — like the Greek heroes, like Jason, who went across the sea with the Argonauts and fetched the Golden Fleece.

Be spectacular like Theseus, who entered the labyrinth and killed the bull-headed Minotaur. 

When you play in a race, win! — because when you win, the exhilaration of victory is the closest you will come to the ambrosia of the gods.”

The Greeks believed you live only once, and when you die, you have to cross the River Styx. And if you have lived an extraordinary life, you will be welcomed to Elysium, or what the French call “Champs-Élysées”, the heaven of the heroes.

But these are not the stories that the gymnosophist heard. He heard a very different story. 

He heard of a man called Bharat, after whom India is called Bhārata. Bharat also conquered the world. And then he went to the top-most peak of the greatest mountain of the center of the world called Meru. And he wanted to hoist his flag to say, I was here first.”

When he reached the mountain peak, he found the peak covered with countless flags of world-conquerors before him, each one claiming “‘I was here first’ … that’s what I thought until I came here.” And suddenly, in this canvas of infinity, Bharat felt insignificant. This was the mythology of the gymnosophist.

Bharat had heroes, like Ram — Raghupati Ram and Krishna, Govinda Hari. But they were not two characters on two different adventures. They were two lifetimes of the same hero.

When the Ramayana ends the Mahabharata begins. When Ram dies, Krishna is born. When Krishna dies, eventually he will be back as Ram.

The Indians also had a river that separates the land of the living from the land of the dead. But you don’t cross it once. You go to and fro endlessly. It was called the Vaitarani. You go again and again and again.

Nothing lasts forever in India, not even death. 

And so, you have these grand rituals where great images of mother goddesses are built and worshiped for 10 days … And what do you do at the end of 10 days? You dunk it in the river. Because it has to end. And next year, she will come back.

What goes around always comes around, and this rule applies not just to man, but also the gods. (But at a lesser energy and power? Like entropy?)

Even the gods have to come back again and again as Ram, as Krishna. Not only do they live infinite lives, but the same life is lived infinite times till you get to the point of it all. “Groundhog Day.” (Laughter)

Two different mythologies. Which is right? Two different mythologies, two different ways of looking at the world.

One linear, one cyclical. One believes this is the one and only life. The other believes this is one of many lives.

The denominator of Alexander’s life was one. So, the value of his life was the sum total of his achievements. 

The denominator of the gymnosophist life was infinity. So, no matter what he did, it was always zero. 

And I believe it is this mythological paradigm that inspired Indian mathematicians to discover the number zero. Who knows?

That brings us to the mythology of business.

If Alexander’s belief influenced his behavior, if the gymnosophist belief influences his behavior, then it was bound to influence the business they were in. 

What is business but the result of how the market behaves and how the organization behaves?

And if you look at cultures around the world, all you have to do is understand the mythology and you will see how they behave and how they do business.

Take a look. If you live only once, in one-life cultures around the world, you will see an obsession with binary logic, absolute truth, standardization, absoluteness, linear patterns in design.

But if you look at cultures which have cyclical and based on infinite lives, you will see a comfort with fuzzy logic, with opinion, with contextual thinking, with everything is relative, sort of mostly. (And what is the mythology of the Chinese? Are they bound to conquer the world as the US evangelists has been doing?)

You look at art. Look at the ballerina, how linear she is in her performance. And then look at the Indian classical dancer, the Kuchipudi dancer, the Bharatanatyam dancer, curvaceous. (Laughter)

And then look at business. Standard business model: vision, mission, values, processes. Sounds very much like the journey through the wilderness to the promised land, with the commandments held by the leader. And if you comply, you will go to heaven.

In India there is no “the promised land”. There are many promised lands, depending on your station in society, depending on your stage of life. You see, businesses are not run as institutions, by the idiosyncrasies of individuals. It’s always about taste. It’s always about my taste. (Is it still true in capitalist India?) 

Indian music, for example, does not have the concept of harmony. There is no orchestra conductor. There is one performer standing there, and everybody follows. 

And you can never replicate that performance twice. It is not about documentation and contract. It’s about conversation and faith. 

It’s not about compliance. It’s about setting, getting the job done, by bending or breaking the rules — just look at your Indian people around here, you’ll see them smile; they know what it is. (Laughter) And then look at people who have done business in India, you’ll see the exasperation on their faces.

This is what India is today.

The ground reality is based on a cyclical worldview. So, it’s rapidly changing, highly diverse, chaotic, ambiguous, unpredictable. And people are okay with it. 

And then globalization is taking place. The demands of modern institutional thinking is coming in. Which is rooted in one-life culture. And a clash is going to take place, like on the banks of the Indus. It is bound to happen.

I have personally experienced it.

I’m trained as a medical doctor. I did not want to study surgery. Don’t ask me why. I love mythology too much. I wanted to learn mythology. But there is nowhere you can study. So, I had to teach it to myself. And mythology does not pay, well, until now.

I had to take up a job. And I worked in the pharma industry. And I worked in the healthcare industry. And I worked as a marketing guy, and a sales guy, and a knowledge guy, and a content guy, and a training guy. 

I even was a business consultant, doing strategies and tactics. And I would see the exasperation between my American and European colleagues, when they were dealing with India.

Example: Please tell us the process to invoice hospitals. Step A. Step B. Step C. Mostly. (Laughter) How do you parameterize “mostly”? How do you put it in a nice little software? You can’t.

I would give my viewpoints to people. But nobody was interested in listening to it, you see, until I met Kishore Biyani of the Future group. he has established the largest retail chain, called Big Bazaar.

And there are more than 200 formats, across 50 cities and towns of India. 

And he was dealing with diverse and dynamic markets. And he knew very intuitively, that best practices, developed in Japan and China and Europe and America will not work in India.

 He knew that institutional thinking doesn’t work in India. Individual thinking does. He had an intuitive understanding of the mythic structure of India.

So, he had asked me to be the Chief Belief Officer, and said, “All I want to do is align belief.” 

Sounds so simple. But belief is not measurable. You can’t measure it. You can’t manage it. So, how do you construct belief? How do you enhance the sensitivity of people to Indian-ness. Even if you are Indian, it is not very explicit, it is not very obvious.

I tried to work on the standard model of culture, which is, develop stories, symbols and rituals. And I will share one of the rituals with you.  it is based on the Hindu ritual of Darshan.

Hindus don’t have the concept of commandments. 

So, there is nothing right or wrong in what you do in life. (And the judicial system?)

So, you’re not really sure how you stand in front of God. when you go to the temple, all you seek is an audience with God. You want to see God. And you want God to see you, and hence the gods have very large eyes, large unblinking eyes, sometimes made of silver, so they look at you.

Because you don’t know whether you’re right or wrong, and so all you seek is divine empathy. “Just know where I came from, why I did the Jugaad.” (Laughter) “Why did I do the setting, why I don’t care for the processes. Just understand me, please.”

Based on this, we created a ritual for leaders. 

After a leader completes his training and is about to take over the store, we blindfold him, we surround him with the stakeholders, the customer, his family, his team, his boss. You read out his KRA, his KPI, you give him the keys, and then you remove the blindfold.

And invariably, you see a tear, because the penny has dropped. He realizes that to succeed, he does not have to be a “professional,” he does not have to cut out his emotions, he has to include all these people in his world to succeed, to make them happy, to make the boss happy, to make everyone happy.

The customer is happy, because the customer is God.

That sensitivity is what we need. Once this belief enters, behavior will happen, business will happen. And it has. 

So, then we come back to Alexander and to the gymnosophist. And everybody asks me, “Which is the better way, this way or that way?”

And it’s a very dangerous question, because it leads you to the path of fundamentalism and violence. So, I will not answer the question. What I will give you is an Indian answer, the Indian head-shake.

Depending on the context, depending on the outcome, choose your paradigm.

And so the next time you meet someone, a stranger, one request: Understand that you live in the subjective truth, and so does he. Understand it. 

And when you understand it you will discover something spectacular. You will discover that within infinite myths lies the eternal truth. 

Who sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes. Indra, a hundred. You and I, only two. Thank you. Namaste.

Process of system/mission analyses? What are the phases?

Written in April 14, 2006

Systems, missions, and products that involve human operators to run, maintain, and keep up-to-date, as societies evolve and change, need to be analyzed at intervals for its consistency with the latest technology advances, people’s expectations, government regulations, and international standards.

To that end, the latest development in the body of knowledge of human physical and cognitive capabilities, along with the latest advancement in the methods applied for analyzing and designing systems have to be revisited, tested, and evaluated for better predictive aptitude of specific human-machine performance criteria.

This article is a refresher tutorial of the necessary sequence of human factors methods offered to analyze each stages in system development.

In general, the basic milestones in system development begin with the exploration concept, demonstration of the concept, validation, full-scale engineering development, testing and debugging for errors and malfunctions, production, and finally operations and support systems for marketing.

Each one of these stages requires the contribution of human factors professionals and experts from the extensive array of methods they dispose of and are trained for, to their vast store of data on human capabilities and limitations, and to their statistical and experimental formation.

Human factors professionals can also contribute to the baseline documentation, instructions, training programs, and operations manuals.

There is a mission for each stage of development concerning the end product of the stage to the next and the sequence follows 7 steps.

The first step is constituted of four analyses requirements; mainly, operational or the projected operations that will confront operators and maintainers, then comparing similar systems in operations and functions, measuring and quantifying the activities involved in the operations, and then identifying the sources of difficulties or critical incidents that may have to be overcome among the interactions of operators and machines.

The second phase is to figure out the flow of functions and the kinds of action/decision or binary choices at each junction of two successive functions. There are no equipments in mind at this phase of analyses.

The third phase is concerned with the types of information necessary to undertake each action identified in the second phase.

The fourth phase is the study of allocating operators to sets of functions and activities and how many operators and skill levels might be needed to fulfill the mission.

The fifth phase is to construct detailed analyses of the required tasks for each activity/function and basically trying to integrate among people, software, and hardware for smooth operations.

The sixth phase might call for an assortment of methods in order to collect detailed data for the network of tasks such as faulty events, mode of failures, the effects or seriousness of the failures, timeline from beginning to ending a task/activity, how the tasks are linked and how often two tasks come to be interacted, simulation techniques whether a computer simulation of virtual real world or prototyping, and eventually conducting controlled experimentations when the previous traditional methods cannot answer specific problems of cause and effects among the variables.

The seventh and final phase in the analysis of a stage of development is to study the sequence of operations and the physical and mental workload of each operator and to finalize the number and capabilities of the crew operating as a team.

The last five phases are time consuming and it is imperative that the first two phases be well planned, analyzed and firm decisions made for the remaining phases in funding, duration of study, and level of details.

In all these phases human factors are well trained to undertake the analyses because they have the knowledge and methods to extract the capabilities and limitations of human operators interacting with the software and hardware so that the design, trade-off studies, and prediction of human performance match the requirements for achieving a mission.

The ultimate output/product of the sequence of analyses becomes inputs to specifications, reviews, and for design guidelines.

Art of thinking clear?

Non Transferable Domain Dependence:

Profession, talents, skills, book smart, street smart…

You talk to medical professionals on medical matters and they “intuitively” understand you.

Talk to them on related medical examples based on economics or business perspectives and their attention falter.

Apparently, insights do not pass well from one field to another, unless you are not a professional in any specific field

This knowledge transfer is also domain dependent such as working in the public domain or in private.

Or coming from academia and having to switch to enterprise environment and having to deal with real life problems.

Same tendency when taking a job selling services instead of products.

Or taking a CEO job coming from a marketing department: the talents and skills are not the same and you tend to adopt previous and irrelevant skills that you are familiar with.

Book smart people do not transfer to street smart individuals.

Novel published by Literary critics get the poorest reviews.

Physicians are more prone to smoke than non-medical professionals.

For example, police officers are twice as violent at home compared to other normal people.

Nobel Prize in economics Harry Markowitz for his “portfolio selection” theory and applications could not think better than investing his saving 50/50 in bonds and stocks.

Decision making mathematical theoreticians feel confounded when deciding on their own personal issues.

Many disciplines require mainly skills and talents, such as plumbers, carpenters, pilots, lawyers…

As for financial marketing, financial investors and start -up companies… luck plays the bigger role than do skills.

Actually, in over 40% of the cases, weak CEO leads strong companies.

As Warren Buffet eloquently stated: “A good management record is far more a function of what business boat you get into it, rather than of how effectively you row”

Note: Read “The art of thinking clear”. I conjecture that people with vast general knowledge do better once they are inducted into a specific field that they feel comfortable in. These people feel that many fields of disciplines can be bundled in a category of “same methods” with basically different terms for the varied specialties.

Incomplete: Simplify (Einstein, Godel, Turing, Chaitin…)

One thing we know is that life reinforces the hypothesis that the world is infinitely complex and most of its phenomena will remain incomprehensible, meaning unexplained.

For example, no theory of life evolution was able to predict the next phase in evolution and the route taken to the next phase. The reason we have difficulty discovering how living organism adapt to the environment to survive, in longer term.

We don’t know if laws in biology will exist in the same meaning of laws of physics or natural phenomena.

For example, is the universe simple or complex, finite or infinite?

The mathematician Chaitin answered: “This question will remain without any resolution, simply because we need an external observer outside our system of reference, preferably non-human, to corroborate our theoretical perception.”

(A few of my readers will say: “This smack of philosophy” and they hate philosophy or the rational logic deducted from reduced propositions that cannot rationally be proven)

So many scholars wanted to believe that “God does not play dice” (Einstein) or that chaos is within the predictive laws of God and nature (Leibniz), or that the universe can be explained by simple, restricted set of axioms, non-redundant rules (Stephen Hawking).

Modern mathematical theories and physical observations are demonstrating that most phenomena are basically behaving haphazardly.

For example, quantum physics reveals that hazard is the fundamental principle in the universe of the very tiny particles:  Individual behaviors of small particles in the atomic nucleus are unpredictable.  Thus, there is no way of measuring accurately speed, location, and direction of a particle simultaneously; all that physics can do is assigning probability numbers.

Apparently, hazard plays a role even in mathematics.

For example, many mathematical “true” statesmans cannot be demonstrated, they are logically irreducible and incomprehensible.

Mathematicians know that there exists an infinity of “twin” prime numbers (odd number followed by even number) but this knowledge cannot be proven mathematically.

Thus, many mathematicians would suggest to add these true “propositions” but non demonstrable theories to the basic set of axioms.

Axioms are a set of the bare minimum of “given propositions” that we think we know to be true, but the reason is unable to approach them adequately, using the logical processes.

Einstein said: “What is amazing is that the eternally incomprehensible in nature is comprehensible”; meaning that we always think that we can extend an explanation to a phenomenon without being able to proving its working behaviors.

Einstein wrote that to comprehend means to rationally explain by compressing the basic axioms so that our mind can understand the facts; even if we are never sure how the phenomenon behaves.

For example, Plato said that the universe is comprehensible simply because it looks structured by the beauty of geometric constructs, the regularity of the tonality in string instruments, and steady movement of planets…

Steven Weinberg admits that “If we manage to explain the universal phenomenon of nature it will not be feasible by just simple laws.” (I agree with Weinberg in that statement. Consequently, comprehension will be limited to the few scientists who can handle and visualize complex equations)

Many facts can be comprehended when they are explained by a restricted set of theoretical affirmations:  This is called the Occam Razor theory which says: “The best theory or explanation is the simplest.”

The mathematician Hermann Weyl explained: “We first need to confirm that nature is regulated by simple mathematical laws.  Then, the fundamental relationships become simpler the further we fine-tune the elements, and the better the explication of facts is more exact.”

So what is theory?

Informatics extended another perspective for defining theory: “a theory is a computer program designed to take account of observed facts by computation.  Thus, the program is designed to predict observations.  If we say that we comprehend a phenomenon then, we should be able to program its behavior.  The smaller the program (more elegant) the better the theory is comprehended.”

When we say “I can explain” we mean that “I compressed a complex phenomenon into simple programs that “I can comprehend”, that human mind can comprehend. 

Basically, explaining and comprehending is of an anthropic nature, within the dimension of human mental capabilities.

The father of information theory, John von Neumann wrote: “Theoretical physics mainly categorizes phenomena and tries to find links among the categories; it does not explain phenomena.

In 1931, mathematician Kurt Godel adopted a mental operation consisting of indexing lists of all kinds of assertions.

His formal mathematical method demonstrated that there are true propositions that cannot be demonstrated, called “logically incomplete problems

The significance of Godel’s theory is that it is impossible to account for elemental arithmetic operations (addition or multiplication) by reducing its results from a few basic axioms.  With any given set of logical rules, except for the most simple, there will always be statements that are undecidable, meaning that they cannot be proven or disproven due to the inevitable self-reference nature of any logical systems.

The theorem indicates that there is no grand mathematical system capable of proving or disproving all statements.

An undecidable statement can be thought of as a mathematical form of a statement like “What I just said is a lie”:  The statement makes reference to the language being used to describe it, it cannot be known whether the statement is true or not.

However, an undecidable statement does not need to be explicitly self-reference to be undecidable. The main conclusion of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems is that all logical systems will have statements that cannot be proven or disproven; therefore, all logical systems must be “incomplete.”

The philosophical implications of these theorems are widespread.

The set suggests that in physics, a “theory of everything” may be impossible, as no set of rules can explain every possible event or outcome. It also indicates that logically, “proof” is a weaker concept than “true”.

Such a concept is unsettling for scientists because it means there will always be things that, despite being true, cannot be proven to be true. Since this set of theorems also applies to computers, it also means that our own minds are incomplete and that there are some ideas we can never know, including whether our own minds are consistent (i.e. our reasoning contains no incorrect contradictions).

The second of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems states that no consistent system can prove its own consistency, meaning that no sane mind can prove its own sanity.

Also, since that same law states that any system able to prove its consistency to itself must be inconsistent, any mind that believes it can prove its own sanity is, therefore, insane.

Alan Turing used a deeper twist to Godel’s results.

In 1936, Turing indexed lists of programs designed to compute real numbers from zero to 1 (think probability real numbers).  Turing demonstrated mathematically that no infallible computational procedures (algorithms) exist that permit to decide whether a mathematical theorem is true or false.

In a sense, there can be no algorithm able to know if a computer program will even stop.

Consequently, no computer program can predict that another program will ever stop computing.  All that can be done is allocating a probability number that the program might stop.  Thus, you can play around with all kinds of axioms, but no sets can deduce that a program will end.  Turing proved the existence of non computable numbers.

Note 1: Chaitin considered the set of all possible programs; he played dice for each bit in the program (0 or 1, true or false) and allocated a probability number for each program that it might end.  The probability that a program will end in a finite number of steps is called Omega.  The succession of numbers comprising Omega are haphazard and thus, no simple set of axioms can deduce the exact number.  Thus, while Omega is defined mathematically, the succession of the numbers in Omega has absolutely no structure.  For example we can write algorithm to compute Pi but never for Omega.

Note 2:  Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) tried to rediscover the founding blocks of mathematics “the royal highway to truth”.  He was disappointed and wrote: “Mathematics is infected of non proven postulates and infested with cyclic definitions.  The beauty and the terror of mathematics is that a proof must be found; even if it proves that a theory cannot e be proven”

Note 3:  The French mathematician Poincaré got a prize for supposedly having discovered chaos.  The article was officially published when Poincaré realized that he made a serious error that disproved his original contention.  Poincaré had to pay for all the published articles and for destroying them.  A single copy was saved and found at the Mittag-Leffler Institute in Stockholm.

When the Devil in the details?

When the occupation forces are comfortable in the situation?

Israelis diverge on details of a Palestinian State

Would Israeli support for a Palestinian state (60%) be dramatically lower when they are presented with specific details rather than being asked to support the basic idea?
Right Wing think-tank jumped at the occasion with a biased poll to confirms the argument that Israelis who support theory of two-state solution recoil from concrete details.
 in Jerusalem in The Guardian, Monday 20 October
 Jerusalem
The Jordan Valley
The Jordan Valley, which Israel considers to be its eastern border. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

poll has found that 75% of Israeli Jews oppose the creation of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders if it means withdrawing Israeli troops from the Jordan Valley.

The survey, conducted by a right wing think tank headed by a political ally of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, makes for stark reading, contradicting previous polls showing up to 60% of Israelis in favour of a two-state solution.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is making a concerted diplomatic push for a UN security council resolution seeking an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories by November 2016.

Of the 60% of those polled who described themselves as right wing, opposition to a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines rose to almost 92%, while 72% of those who identified as left wing would support it.

That opposition rises further still if the issue of dividing Jerusalem is included, with 40% of left wingers opposing the division of Jerusalem.

The poll was commissioned by a think-tank run by a former policy advisor to Netanyahu and initially published in the free newspaper owned by the Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson, one of the Israeli prime minister’s biggest backers.

Left Wing commentators suggested the polling was likely to be an accurate reflection of Israeli public opinion.

“The poll published in Israel Hayom is obviously meant to serve Netanyahu’s agenda,” said Mairav Zonszeinwriting for the +972 website.

“And while it is dangerous to rely solely on a single poll to backup any claim, this specific poll – no matter how flawed or skewed – happens to be an accurate reflection of the Israeli government’s policies, much of its rhetoric, and the reality on the ground.”

Although historical polling has suggested solid Israeli support for a two-state solution, Zonszein argues that the latest poll more truly reflects both how Israelis vote for political parties – and those parties’ agendas – and how they talk about the peace process.

Even though many polls over the years have shown and still show that a majority of Jewish Israelis support a two-state solution based more or less along the 1967 border with land swaps, such sentiment is reflected less and less in the way Israelis vote and talk. This new poll seems to provide a much more honest assessment of the reality on the ground and the reality in the halls of government,” she said.

The latest poll reflects what appears to be an ever-diminishing appetite for a two-state solution on both sides. (Yes, right. And study done by a US think-tank?)

Two sets of polls earlier this year – one of Palestinians for the right-leaning US think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Pew Research poll in the spring – both identified growing pessimism that a peace deal could be done.

Note: But the details are known if you are interested, though we are under the belief that all the details are secrets because that’s what Israel wants you to believe. The two-State status is a preliminary condition for any sustainable and serious peace negotiation in the Middle-East

Benefits of a bilingual brain

How about mastering multiple-languages? Like Reading in original books?

The mastering of three languages is better, meaning you can easily read and write, in addition to understanding the spoken slang?

Just thinking we understand the spoken language does Not cut it. We have got to read the original authors and works.

Researchers now know that learning another language is actually an amazing way to keep your brain healthy.

Believe it or not, before the 1960s, researchers thought children learning other languages was a handicap.

People back in the day, reaction times on some language tests. made some hypotheses that must mean it’s a drawback for students to know more than their original language (biased tests?.

It won’t necessarily make you smarter, but Mia Nacamulli points out it’s now believed that being bilingual “exercises your brain and makes it stronger, more complex, and healthier.”

And if you’re young, you get an added bonus

What does being bilingual really achieve?

1. It changes the structure of your brain.

Researchers have observed being multilingual can visibly make the neurons and synapses in the brain’s gray matter denser and spur more activity in other regions of the brain when using another language.

Basically, it’s a brain workout!

And another neurological study notes the white matter in the brains of older lifelong bilinguals has a higher integrity compared to older monolinguals. (What integrity means in this context?)

2. It strengthens your brain’s abilities.

That gray matter up there contains all the neuronal cell bodies and stuff (that’s a technical term) that controls your muscles, senses, memory, and speech.

Newer studies show that those slow reaction times and errors on language tests really reflect that the effort of switching between languages is beefing up the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — the part of your noggin’ that controls problem-solving, switching tasks, and focusing on important stuff while filtering out what’s irrelevant.

3. It can help delay Alzheimer and dementia disorders by as much as four or five years.

Yes. Sí. Oui. When bilinguals are compared to monolinguals, that is.

And although some cognitive research notes there’s still a similar rate of decline after onset, more years of a super-strong brain is always a good thing.

Now, this fourth one gets a little bit nuts.

Nacamulli says it’s believed there’s a key difference between a young bilingual person and someone who learns another language in adulthood.

4. There’s a theory that children who are bilingual get to be emotionally bilingual.

The parts of the brain that are being strengthened while speaking multiple languages include not just the analytical and logical side of the brain but the emotional and social side as well.

It’s called the critical period hypothesis.

The separation of the hemispheres increases as we grow up, and so when you’re a kid — the hypothesis holds — the two sides are a little more plastic and ready to work together while learning language.

Nacamulli says this could be why children seem to get the contextual social and emotional nuances of other languages better than grown-ups who became multilingual later and instead often think  like grown-ups.

Speaking more than one language turns our brains into powerhouses, and it makes our children more emotionally intelligent!

It’s definitely not a handicap. It’s a superpower.

For more on the magical bilingual brain, TED-Ed has some great info!

Note: Though I’m trilingual (speaks, reads and write), my verbal intelligence (rhetoric and clear vocalization of intentions) is pretty deficient. Verbal intelligence is a matter of nurturing while a kid (to be spoken to, asked your opinions, invited to mingle with grown up people, initiated to artistic courses…)

Big Society needs Big Citizens?

Does a citizen centric approach delivers valued public services?

Prof. Jeff French delivered this speech to Uscreate on 2013

I want to start this blog by proposing a hypothesis:

“Adopting a citizen centric approach and relationship marketing principles is key to delivering valued public services“.

Change management in the public sector over the last 10 years has been driven mostly by focus on business planning, service delivery, better systems management and more recently, a growing focus on diversity of supply and competition.

There has been a concerted effort to import such management disciplines from the private sector to increase efficiency and effectiveness; concepts such as Lean Management have been widely adopted.

What the public sector has failed to grasp is that such processes are second order functions in most private sector organisations.

A few public sector organisations have also gone beyond this systems approach to apply some marketing principles.

However, in the majority of public sector, marketing is perceived in an outmoded way as being about slick information giving, promotions and a bit of market research to help understand user needs.

A new way of perceiving managerial responsibility and functions together with a more up-to-date view of marketing’s contribution to public issues and service delivery is needed throughout the public sector.

First order functions in successful businesses are focused on winning and retaining customers and delighting the customers through the development of innovative and desirable products and services.

Successful businesses do not start with the development of efficient and effective back room systems: these come in as supportive functions to the first order function of Marketing which is focused on understanding and building relationships with customers. This approach is known as Relationship Marketing.

To achieve success there has in the business sector over the last 40 years been more and more emphasis on delivering excellence by ensuring a consistent customer centric driven approach. This approach has been focused on building mutually beneficial long term relationships between providers and users of services or products.

Many of the basic business processes for developing products and services, such as total quality management, are well established and the delivery of excellence in these areas is seen as no more than a baseline requirement for success not the reason for success.

The shift from a product and service orientation towards a more customer relationship focused orientation has been profound in the private sector, but much less marked in the public sector, in which a systems efficiency and effectiveness focus still dominates management and professional thinking.

A more sustainable and culturally relevant approach

People who work in the public sector do so partly because such roles provide them with a strong sense of satisfaction.

In practice, they often find themselves dealing with the vagaries of working within a service on the edge of being perceived as institutionally dysfunctional, subject to continuous public disquiet due to a seemingly never ending scandals and perceived falling standards and cut budgets.

One way to move out of this negative space that would appeal to those working in the public service would be to switch emphasis from systems management solutions towards a culturally focused strategy that does what business does, put the user citizen at the core of all planning, management and delivery.

Building a public service culture that is constantly striving to improve services from a citizen user perspective rather than one that is driven by expert opinion about what is best and an obsession with systems efficiency would deliver more appropriate services, motivate and engage staff and deliver the kinds of services in the way people actually want them.

A ‘Citizen Centric’’ approach to service improvement will also gain new respect and regain trust from the public.

Public service providers would no longer be viewed simply as a once great but failing set of post war institutions, putting up with chronic adversity. A new perception would grow, over time, a perception of responsiveness and of a service driven by a strong desire to satisfy people needs and aspirations and engage in a continuous dialog and partnership with users of the service.

The boundaries between user and provider would soften with users and potential users being encouraged and have incentives to take part in policy selection and formulation, service development, implementation and evaluation.

A ‘Big Society’, as defined by the current administration in the UK is one that empowers, facilitates and supports its citizens to create a better life for themselves, their families and everyone else. Such an approach should need to have its foundations in an ethos of citizen centric service delivery.

Putting more emphasis on citizen driven as well as citizen responsive services is about ensuring that everyone not only gets their needs met but also that as many people as possible help others to get what they need.

The ‘Big Society’ concept is the flip side of a citizen centered approach to public service delivery. It represents a social contract that implicitly accepts that taking forward a citizen focused approach to public service delivery is not a one way street. It involves a change in approach from both providers and also from the consumers of public service.

Existing ‘Big Citizens’ are the thousands of local people who already give their time and energy to help others need to be encouraged, supported and praised.

In a new citizen centric public service approach incentives will need to be developed that encourage people to make an active contribution to helping public services become more responsive and also to help deliver some aspects of services or augment basic services.

One of the big challenges will be to develop and deliver forms of incentive, support and encouragement that promote this kind active contribution. The good news is that we know that people are generally disposed to helping others and want to make a social contribution but currently this is not as easy as it should be.

By applying a Relationship Marketing < link to first blog post> approach to building and sustaining active engagement and ownership of the development and delivery of public service these services can not only be sustained but enhanced as new energy, ideas and innovations will be introduced by citizens.

‘Public Service’ not ‘Public Services’

Applying a Relationship Marketing approach will only be possible if a new culture of public services is facilitated.

This is something that central government can encourage by putting in place financial incentives and possibly disincentives.

Central government can also foster a change of culture using ‘soft’ approaches such as training, capturing and making available learning and also by empowering citizens through free access to information about what local providers are doing and how they measure up to the best providers.

Relationship Marketing is also a key factor in reinvigorating public sector staff morale and pride in what they do.

Internal Relationship Marketing to engage and empower staff ideas and contributions will be key to any new reform of public service. Actively building relationships with staff will reinforces and build on their sense of vocation and desire to deliver better and more responsive services to the people that they work for.

Relationship Marketing also means that rather than automatically adopting any tactical approach such as Nudging, Shoving, Smacking or Hugging governments and public sector organisations should insist that systems are put in place that ensure that citizens views, needs and wants are given weight when making decisions about how to promote social well-being.

Intervention approaches such as Nudges are often key ingredients in a successful intervention mix but they are not a universal answer for success in every situation.

The recipe for successful public service delivery and to increase public sector staff morale is to adopt a citizen centric approach to planning and service delivery based on the Relationship Marketing philosophy of maximising dialog and the development of mutually owned solutions to social challenges.

Professor Jeff French is a global leader in the theory and application of behaviour change and social marketing.

Trembling in Stupor

Stupeur et tremblements by Amelie Nothomb,  (Book review, October 30, 2008)

French author Amelie Nothomb, in her fantastic book of 189 pages “Stupeur et tremblements“, describes her experiences for an entire year at the Japanese Import/Export large company of Yumimoto in 1990.

The title was extracted from the behavior and acting of any Japanese in the presence of the Emperor.

The entire story is mostly a long series of stupor and quavering by the Japanese employees in front of their superiors, and how they dealt with the culture of a western girl.

As I recall, Amelie was born in Japan when her dad was the Belgian Consul.  She loved her first 5 years there, and felt that Japan was her homeland, after so many transfers to other countries.

Amelie returned to Japan with fresh recollections of her sweet and unforgettable years there as a child.  Amelie will discover at her expense that she was not to exhibit in business meetings, with other friendly Japanese companies, as she masters the Japanese language!

Amelie had a life after her 10-hour work day, but she decided to focus her autobiography of that year on the enterprise.

Nothomb described in details the strict hierarchical structure of the company, its unwritten rules, the behavior of the employees, and the status of women in society.

With or without a contract, an employee at that period was not expected to be fired.

The initiative for leaving a company was left to the employee who would have to meet personally with each boss in the higher levels in the hierarchy and present his resignation.

A sample of the verbal resignation should be stated: Amelie memorized the formal sentence for resignation:

“We are at the end of term of my contract and I would like to announce to you my regret for not being able to renew it.  The company of Yumimoto offered me multiple occasions to prove my potentials.  I will be eternally grateful. Unfortunately, I could not satisfy the expectation of the honor accorded to me.”

It is unheard of that an employee could take the initiative without the permission of his immediate boss or even complains to a higher level.

In general, the higher levels would refrain from undercutting the responsibilities of the immediate boss, although they could and had the total right to curse, lambasted and humiliate any lower level employee in front of all the employees for no specific reasons.

The cadre was not permitted to defend himself or speak. All that he should be doing is to lower his head and show respect until the verbal storm is over.

For example, Mori Fubuki, a most beautiful and classy lady of 29, boss of Amelie, was subject of such a scene.  Mori hurried to the toilet to cry her eyes out and Amelie followed her to express her compassion as western custom is preponderant.

Mori was greatly furious that Amelie dared to see her crying and she vowed to humiliate her at the extreme.  Fubuki thus decided to relegate Amelie to cleaning the toilets for seven months at the 44th floor of the building or the accounting department.

Fubuki selected the boring task of classifying receipts by company names and ordering them by date of receipt to punish Amelie.  Amelie ordered the names of the German companies called GMBH in one file on account that any additional prefix can only mean to be an affiliate to GMBH. It turned out that GMBH stands for Ltd in German.  The accounting cadre laughed very hard and every employee shared in the merriment.  Fubuki was humiliated because Amelie was her responsibility.

Fubuki then endeavored to find a task for Amelie that does not require “intelligence”.

Amelie was assigned to verify the accounting of business charge trips.  The genius of Amelie was that for an entire month, not a single number matched!

Calculating and accounting was the worst job that could be asked of her.  Fubuki knew that Amelie will never finish the job, but she waited patiently for Amelie to concede defeat.

The way I see it, the President of the company (not necessarily the owner) should be considered as God. As such, he should be handsome, tall, soft-spoken, and no one except the Vice-President is permitted to visit him or a cadre he summons to see.

The job of the Vice-President is to play Bad Cop; as such, he should look ugly, an ogre, and should be trained to curse, and his powerful voice should transmit far away. Basically, the Vice-President is to keep all cadres to their proper place in the hierarchy and remind them that no one is above the unwritten rules.

Once, Amelie took the initiative of aiding a cadre from another section without asking permission of Fubuki.  Fubuki wrote a complaint to Omochi and the cadre, and Amelie had a thorough wash down.  Fubuki would not allow a new comer to be promoted quickly when she had to suffer for 10 years to get her present promotion.

Nothomb explains why the Japanese society comprehends and admit crazy people in their company: this authoritarian society, with strictly controlled morals at work and in families, has a high rate of males cracking down and losing it.

The women are more controlled than men in society, but they manage not to reach the act of committing suicide, an act viewed within society as the ultimate in honor for a woman.  May be the only honorable decision that a woman can make beside marrying before the age of 25.

Working and breeding are the only tasks for a woman:  she should not expect much in promotion or eccentricity or compliments.

Children are treated as God till the age of three; from 3 to 18 they are sent to schools with “military” discipline. From 18 to 25, offspring have the only break in their lives to be free in university settings; then, they are back to concentration camps in their enterprises and strict duties and responsibilities to their institutions.

The Japanese fathers have an inkling of giving infinitive verbs for names to their boys such as “Work”; whereas females receive poetic names such as “Snow”, Rain”, or “Flower”.

Here is a list of prescriptions that women have to follow to the letters:

  1. If you are not married by the age of 25, then you have good reasons to be ashamed.
  2. If you laugh, you will not be considered distinguished.
  3. If your face shows feelings then you are vulgar.
  4. If you mention that you have a single hair on your body then you are vile.
  5. If a boy kisses you in public on the cheek then you are a whore.
  6. If you eat with pleasure then you are a sow.
  7. If you experience pleasure sleeping then you are a cow.
  8. If you go to the toilet for body releases, then make sure nobody hear anything.
  9. You should never sweat  Thus, avoid voluptuous love-making.
  10. You should not marry for love.
  11. If you fall in love then you were not well-educated.
  12. Stay thin because males do not appreciate round shapes.

All the sufferings in sticking to these precepts have the sole objective of preserving your honor and nothing else.

In 1993, Amelie had published two books and Fubuki sent her a brief letter in Japanese saying simply “Congratulation”.

 

How many women and men are needed to convince you of a rape act?

Rape is not sex.

Men don’t rape women because they need to get laid.

Rape is violence. It’s power and dehumanizing of women.

Many wonder why they (this group of men) raped girls while they could have consensual sex, but that’s not the point. They don’t want vanilla: they want violence. They want to humiliate, inflict pain and violate.

They want to take what they want without permission. Because they can.

We tip the nurse at the birth of the boy double the girl.

We say “go make your brother a cup of tea” and allow him to boss his sister around.

We raise our boys to do as they please. To pee in the street because “they can’t hold it”.

To sleep in and get breakfast to his bed instead of helping at home.

We praise his “masculinity” with the amounts of hearts he has broken because “boys will be boys”.

We forgive his fling with the neighbor’s girl because he is a boy while we beat the girl in submission, all her life.

We laugh at the stolen kisses in the staircase priding our “boy has grown” while we curse the girl who gave in.

But she is not ours so we don’t care. She is collateral damage.

We teach him that the girl he touched must be a slut, a sinner and if she has done it with you she must have done it with others.

We tell “our boy” not to cry or show kindness because a real man is tough and angry. We poison him with toxic thoughts and connect his masculinity to the level of hate and control he develops towards women.

We don’t tell him about consent.

When he has an urge it must be stilled. He can’t otherwise because “all men are like that, they are hunters by nature”.

We teach him that sex is something he does to women for his own pleasure only. We call them boys whereas they should be men.

We raise girls to comply. To become the perfect victim.

We teach her that her body is sin and must be hidden.

We teach her that anything is always her fault. She is sin. Her voice is 3awra. We teach her that she is a burden and not worthy of love, not worthy of autonomy over her body and life.

We tell her “all men are like that” when she comes home disrespected and defeated. We tell her “the boy likes you” when he is mean to her.

We tell her “your honor” is a membrane and that her life is worthless without it.

We cut her her genitals so she can be “controlled”, we make her bleed to prove virtue.

We tell her to be silent and do as she is told. We tell her to shrink so she is likable. We tell her to be silent so she can please. We tell her not to laugh too loud, to keep her legs closed, to dress to undress. To be a ghost.

It takes 100 girls to convince you he is a rapist and just 1 guy to convince you she is a slut.

Patriarchy is the reason for violence against women. Patriarchy is actually safeguarded by women. Break the cycle. Step out of it.

Start at the root. Raise your children differently.

Change the laws that enable rape culture and the dehumanizing of women.

Give women equality to men by law and enforce it. We have to stop being a society that hates and fears women so much.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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