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QUESTIONS (Ref: ar1099) (Contact us)

  1. What do you dislike about this page?
  2. How can it be improved?
  3. After looking at this page do you think you understand what the page is for?

(Ref: ar1025) 18 APR 2004 KEYWORDS : independence cyberspace declaration

Text is taken from here.

(Ref: ar1024) 14 APR 2004 KEYWORDS : management qualification penrose.

It has been with great interest that I have watched and taken more interest in the politics of countries. Lately I have watch such criticisms that have come from the soham enquiry, pension fiasco and the endowment mortgage failures. From all of the investigations regarding these events of concern I have noticed a growing commonality of directorial and managerial failure. I see also that the latest imagration scandal regarding "fast-tracking" applicants also heightlighted a failure of managers and senior managers to conduct the simplest of tasks, fulfilment of their roles and responsibilities. Being that part of my background is that of management theory I am beginning to wonder whether there is a need for society to move on. Looking at those who speak out in society about all that is wrong there is a common feel to all their voices, that of wanting to make things better. However the enormity of attempting to make things better will always stand in the way of any direct action. Hence we need to think longer term, we need to think more subtlety. Quite some time ago society under went a process of regulation of medical practitioners. Namely the need for those who wish to act as medical practitioners had to undertake a period of training and examination in order to qualify for the right to occupy those roles of medical practitioners. This was done to protect members of society from others and themselves. This seems strikingly similar to the situation that we as a society are finding ourselves in these days. I ask myself the questions if more experienced managers were in place in the MOD would members of the MP have lost their lives because they may have been more suitably equipped? If there was greater experience in the directors and managers of Equitable would there have ever been the Penrose enquiry? Why is it for a position that oversees budgets, personnel, HSE and corporate administration we have not introduced the need for qualification prior to accepting the role. Perhaps it is time to consider using the DTI as a vehicle for implementing such a system. After all in a way the DTI has been attempting to do this by the promotion of quality assurance systems which by their very nature promotes a momentum by snowball effect. There are many many aspects of life in Great Britain that are currently open to abuse due to the unregulated field of management. It is possible to see evidence of societies growing concern regarding this, again the Penrose enquiry is a good example, everyone agreed that regulation failed and that the managers did not act in bad faith. However at the same time everyone also agreed that they failed to see how the regulators could have avoided the events that ensued. The time now might be right for such a moment to come into being. I suspect that it is something that all parties would consider subscribing to. I do not think that implementation of a need to qualify for positions of management like that of the medical qualifications will be quick, at its shortest I would consider that we would be looking at a five year plan. I also believe that there may also be a need for a qualification for the position of directorial ship. A knock on effect of these requirements to qualify would also mean a clearer path of prosecutions in areas of justice such as corporate manslaughter. By introducing these levels and requirements for qualifications we should be looking to create a quality frame work to ensure the success of relations between parties. I am beginning to wonder whether introduction of such a regulation would merely be the next step in progression of furthering the progress we as a society have made to date.

Everything in the archive below this point was put here en bloc on 11th April 2004. It is unformatted, random stuff from previous writings. It is all relevant to how this project came to be.

POLITICS (Ref: ar1023)

Did I vote in the last election and if not why not? Who for? Why? Who against? Why? Did I agree with everything the winners said? Did I agree with everything the losers said? What about the others? Do I know who I will vote for next time? Why? Do I know which MEP I will vote for next time? Why? Did the party/people do what they said they would last time? Will they next time? Do I care? If I don't why don't I? What did the MP for me do for me last time? What did the MP do for the country? For the world? Did I like what they did? Did they do anything? Did they try to do something but fail? Do I care if they did, didn't or tried and failed or didn't try at all? Was the result of the last national election just? Who for? Does it matter? Did the result of the election matter? To me? To anyone? To Humanity? Did previous elections matter? Will future ones? Will I always vote? If so why? If not, why not? Does Parliament work? Does our electoral system work? Does our whole political system work? Does the political system in other parts of the world work? Do I like democracy? Do I think I live in a democracy? Am I free? What do I mean by freedom and democracy? Should slavery be legal?

If today was Day One and I was all-powerful, for me, locally, nationally and for the whole of Humanity would I create exactly the political systems we have now? Do the political systems we have now answer my material and spiritual needs, those of this country and/or those of the whole of Humanity? Do I see the systems we have now answering any or all of these needs in five years time and in fifty and a hundred years time, and if not can I see that they are evolving right now at a sufficient pace to achieve this and going in the right direction?


ECONOMICS (Ref: ar1022)

Am I rich? Are my neighbours? Am I poor? Do I care? Do I care if other people nearby, in this country and in the world are poorer than me or richer than me? Do I think everybody locally, in this country and in the world has the wealth they need, want, deserve or could have? Do I have enough stuff? Do I have too much stuff? Do I think other people somewhere have too little stuff? Too much stuff? The wrong kind of stuff? Do I try to get more stuff or can't I be bothered? Do I care? Does it matter? Does anybody else care? Does it matter if anybody else cares? Do I wish I had less stuff? Do I want to get rid of stuff? Do I have assets? Why? Do I have a pension? Why? Why not? Does it matter? Why does it matter? Does everybody locally, nationally, worldwide have the pension provision they want, need or deserve? Do I give to beggars in the street in this country? Abroad? Should there be beggars? Do they deserve it? Should I give to any charity at all? Which ones and why? Should there be charities? Should the State provide all things for all? All the time? At some times? For some reasons? To some people only? Does the global economic system work the way I would like? Is it secure enough, fair enough, stable enough, just enough? Is it too global? Too local? Should banks pay and charge interest? Should we have banks? Should banks be only local? Only national? Only global? Should banks be only government run? Only private? Are shareholders desirable? Is profit moral? Should there be private companies? Should companies rule themselves? Should we have unemployment? Should it be illegal? Is there too much, too little here, abroad or worldwide? Should all countries be self-sufficient with no trade between them? Should all markets be completely open, tariff free and unregulated?

If today was Day One and I was all-powerful, for me, locally, nationally and for the whole of Humanity would I create exactly the economic systems we have now? Do the economic systems we have now answer my material and spiritual needs, those of this country and/or those of the whole of Humanity? Do I see the systems we have now answering any or all of these needs in five years time and in fifty and a hundred years time, and if not can I see that they are evolving right now at a sufficient pace to achieve this and going in the right direction?


ENVIRONMENT (Ref: ar1021)

Do I like my environment? What is my environment? Do I like the environment of the country and the rest of the planet? Do my neighbours live in the kind of environment I think they should, could or deserve to? Is this so for everybody everywhere? Do global environmental problems exist? Are they being tackled well, quickly enough, justly enough? Do I like the policies of my government and other governments on nuclear issues, global warming, GM, energy, fox-hunting, pollution, fur trade? Do I agree with all my government says? Other governments? Charities? Lobby groups? Greens? Do I like the way organisations tackle these issues? Do I care if the Lesser Spotted Bogtrotter goes extinct? Should I care? Does it matter? If the LSB is saved what does that achieve? Why do I care about the environment at all? Does it matter if I care? What would I do differently?

If today was Day One and I was all-powerful, for me, locally, nationally and for the whole of Humanity would I create exactly the environmental policies and systems we have now? Do the environmental systems we have now answer my material and spiritual needs, those of this country and/or those of the whole of Humanity? Do I see the systems we have now answering any or all of these needs in five years time and in fifty and a hundred years time, and if not can I see that they are evolving right now at a sufficient pace to achieve this and going in the right direction?


RELIGION (Ref: ar1020)

Do I believe in God? A God? A god or gods? Why? Why not? Do I care? Do I care if anybody cares? Why are new happy-clappy religions booming while the traditional ones decay? Are they? Does any religion, my religion, somebody else's religion answer my spiritual needs now and will they for my future? Will they answer the spiritual needs of my children, their children and so on? Do I believe my religion does good in the world? Or bad? What about somebody else's religion? Why do religions fight? Do I want to do away with religion altogether because they do more harm than good?

If today was Day One and I was all-powerful would I create religion as a concept? Would I create religions as they are now? If I would like them to be different can I see them evolving right now at a pace sufficient to achieve the improvements and going in the right direction?


HEALTH (Ref: ar1019)

What use are doctors? Do I want a National Health Service? Do I think anyone who gets AIDS should be allowed to die? Or shot? Is anybody in this country or any other entitled to health care? What is health care? Is it the same for me as for poor people? Rich people? Should drugs be witheld on grounds of cost? From me? From smokers? From poor people? From Black people? How old is too old for heart surgery or hip replacements? Nose jobs? IVF? In fifty years time will Bill Gates be rich enough to buy the latest flu jab? When is a drug too risky to use? Do I think the NHS does what I think it should? Do I think it doesn't but it could? Should some people be sterilised by force? Put down at a certain age? What is quality of life for sick people? Who decides? Who should pay for self-harm such as cutting, smoking, drinking, bad driving, couch-potatoeing, rock-climbing, AIDS?

If today was Day One and I was all-powerful, for me, locally, nationally and for the whole of Humanity would I create exactly the health policies and systems we have now? Do the health systems we have now answer my material and spiritual needs, those of this country and/or those of the whole of Humanity? Do I see the systems we have now answering any or all of these needs in five years time and in fifty and a hundred years time, and if not can I see that they are evolving right now at a sufficient pace to achieve this and going in the right direction?


HAPPINESS (Ref: ar1018)

AAm I happy? Am I sad? Do I know which if either? Do I care? Does it matter? What is it about politics, health, religion, environment or economics that contributes to me being happy or sad? Are things getting better? For me, for my neighbours, for people in this country, of my religion, race or skin colour, or for the whole of Humanity? Are things getting worse? How's my spirit doing? Do I know? What do I mean by the question? Am I spiritually awake? Dead? Do I know or care? Does it matter? To me? To anybody else? Do I care if anybody/everbody else is awake, alert, dead or doesn't care? Do the political, economic, health, religious and environmental systems we have now answer my spiritual needs now? In five years and up to when I die? The needs of my children? The needs of the future of Humanity?



Answer these suites of questions for the future of Europe, infectious diseases, agriculture, transport, housing, education, immigration, Social Security, working hours and conditions, job security and satisfaction and Law and Order.

These questions are worded deliberately to give yes/no answers and to encourage the answers to be absolute by the standards of your moral values rather than relative to those around you.



I have reached a number of conclusions about why we can't change the world the way we would like and suggest how some of the principles of the way we do things must be altered fundamentally or change will never occur, or will not occur fast enough.

These are generalisations and they are meant to be. We are not dealing with individuals but with mass actions, billions of people making trillions of decisions, all nominally and practically independent. For real change to occur it is the mass, the zeitgeist, that must be altered not the details of individual actions. These conclusions and suggestions are biased towards the Western view of the world with which we are familiar and which has, for good or ill and by fair means or foul, produced the vast wealth and stability of the rich countries of Europe and North America.

The biggest generalisation of all, but also the most useful, is the realisation that all our problems are interdependent. The 'environment' can't be 'fixed' if the economies of the world are in turmoil, millions starve or die of disease, and millions more live lives of material wealth but spiritual poverty and desperation. Material wealth does not make you happy and material poverty does not make you unhappy. The economy can't be 'fixed' without political institutions that answer our needs, both material and spiritual. Politics and economics can keep us warm and fed and a clean environment can stop diseases but none of these can answer all our spiritual needs. If they did then in the West religion would be on its way to extinction. It isn't. Science and statistics seem to prove that our economic, political and environmental woes are not actually caused by lack of stuff. We have stuff aplenty. It is the distribution which is awry. The distribution is awry partly because our attitudes are awry. The other component of this is the way our institutions, against our 'will' prevent us from changing our actions and our attitudes. There is feedback.



The feedback is in the form of vicious circles. These circles by definition are impossible to break from within and this is key. The 'tweaking' which our governments do endlessly only shifts anything to tiny degrees away from stable states. The default shift is always back to the stability that is our institutions' natural state. This stable state towards which our institutions naturally veer does not serve our needs. Hence inaction inevitably leads us away from what we most desire while action only improves things by inches and then only temporarily. It is the character of the stable states which we most need to change.

The way we structure most institutions, regardless of whether they are political, social, environmental or religious tends to automatically place them in vicious circles. We cannot break free of these circles from within them. This is the greatest of all Catch-22s.

The key to vicious circles, and their importance, is to spot them. During an election campaign the Left tells you how it will fix the world. You are convinced. The Right tells you how it will fix the world. You are convinced. Both sides have said this in every election. So, the world is fixed then, right? No? Why not? Could there be a vicious circle of failure here? If there is, what is the only rational, and indeed possible, strategy for breaking the circle? Stop the debate, simply don't take part. But then what? You have recognised that the circle exists and that salvation is only possible by breaking out of the circle and refusing to play the game any longer. You wreck the board. (See the WOPR in the film War Games, and the episode of Star Trek where the Enterprise finds the Voyager spacecraft) But this still doesn't tell you how to resolve the dilemma. Or does it? The recognition of the circle is the key to the knowledge that the real problem lies not with the opposing answers but with the question! When you spot a vicious circle forget the answers and change the question. Test yourself. When did you last hear a 'debate' or soundbite on TV between two politicians where you thought both were right, or both were talking rubbish, and you just wanted to scream at them that you don't care what answers they give because you don't even agree with the question?

Why do our institutions have these negative characteristics? Most of the ways in which we govern our lives, in any of the domains discussed so far, tend to view decisions and policies and rules as bipolar, bivalent, either/or, black or white matters. Most of our political structures are based on adversarial principles. So is the Law. So is science. So is debate. So are religions. So are environmental policies. Do this, don't do that. You are wrong, I am right. You must agree with my beliefs or you will not be saved. You either work for this company or you don't. The trouble is that the real world is not all bivalent, the real world is fuzzy, woolly, uncertain, wavering, drifting about. This is most particularly true of any system which has to be under the influence of Human Beings. We, or all 'things', are fuzzy.

A major criticism that will be levelled at a good deal of what I propose is derived from the addiction to a bipolar approach to the world and its demand for perfection, or at least perfect either/or in our systems. This criticism will say that my methods are heuristic (?), derived from estimates, continuously varying measures, best-guess opinions and the like. They are, deliberately. A dogmatic adhesion to avoiding these uncertainties ties us in knots of indecision and doubt, sometimes referred to as paralysis by analysis. Cutting through this will cause mistakes and errors but not only is this the case today but this acceptance encourages new thinking and experimentation which ultimately results in better solutions not worse.

The adversarial nature of so much of our society is combined with a dangerous obsession with zero sums. In order for me to win x you must lose x. Why do we do this? Nature does not give a hoot whether we do or not, nor does it try to affect our obsession. Nor will Nature 'suffer' from our obsessions, whatever they are. It is a matter of choice. We chose to be obsessed with a zero-sum way of life. We could choose not to be.

Every aspect of our existence is a matter of Human choice. Even when it appears we are constrained by Nature or physics or whatever, this is not really the case. I can choose to walk to work naked in minus forty degrees. Nature will not stop me doing so, nor is it predetermined that I will choose not to do something for which the consequences are my death.. There will be consequences and I have the choice to suffer them or not, and Nature will not interfere. I choose to avoid the death that would ensue from such action as a matter of free will. It is an inevitable consequence of this free choice that even though the way the System works now is determined by trillions of independent decisions by billions of people it is equally possible for those same people making more decisions to change the way things are. It really is our choice. So what is it really that prevents change?



We have developed a number of 'habits' which do us a disservice. Most of these are the result of smaller decisions each of which is rational. The trouble arises with the unintended consequences of such astronomical numbers of almost independent thought processes contributing to the whole. These habits are just side-effects not real immutable laws of the universe. We can change them but first we have to be able to see them. Perhaps the most important of all these habits is our adversarial zero-sum obsession. The nay-sayers point to this as 'Human Nature' and therefore immutable. Nothing we do can ever change human nature so there is no point fighting it, we will lose. The Human Nature argument says that we are, in our molecules, selfish, competitive, self-absorbed and incapable of co-operation or atruism except as a temporary and spacially limited aberration. Says who? Why? I maintain that 'Human Nature' is a matter of choice, we can change it. We choose to have the nature we do because it best serves us with the methods of government and societal institutions we have built for ourselves. It is a chicken and egg situation but one we have chosen. We have chosen it so we can unchoose it. I think I will concede that self-interest is probably human instinct and immutable for biological reasons. I suggest that that is the only instinct there is. I think for example that there is absolute proof of our capability for unlimited co-operation on show for all of us every day and every last one of us takes part, voluntarily and, importantly almost 'instinctively', all the time. We have roads! We have invented all the rules voluntarily; if not us then who did set the rules? Virtually all of us keep to virtually all the rules voluntarily virtually all the time. Every aspect of moving on a road at whatever speed for whatever purpose by whatever means and with whomever in control is the exercise of some agreement about how we choose to go about doing this driving business. And we probably fail catastrophically to co-operate in this fashion in perhaps one in a trillion instances. Is this not proof of a fantastic capacity for co-operation? And why do we do this? I maintain there is only one reason this happens at all and that is self-interest. We know that the penalty for all of us not co-operating is ultimately death and we each calculate all the time the cost/benefit ratio to ourselves of keeping on co-operating. And self-interest means we do it. All day, every day, all over the planet. We can co-operate if we choose to. The whole Human Race can co-operate on the same task too if it chooses to. Money is another example of near perfect Human co-operation. This instinct for self-interest does at first appear to be a huge obstacle to the sort of changes I contemplate in my Utopia but I will show later that it might actually be an asset as it can be made to depend on how we choose to treat it.



Another habit is that of giving power to the smallest possible number of people. And then individually complaining that we are powerless! The nay-sayers will counter that mostly the power is taken by the power-hungry not given by the powerless. The powerless become so from choice because we at worst do not prevent power being taken from us. More often than not we actively participate in actions which give the power away. We do this to get a quiet life, because we do not want the hassle of making decisions, because we do not consider ourselves qualified to make the decisions ourselves and we do not have time to do all this work ourselves etc. All true. The nay-sayers say this is human nature and we will not change it. Again I disagree. We do all this out of habit because by these actions or inactions we get a resulting system that gives us the best all round result given the way we have set up the institutions in the first place! Chicken and egg not law of the universe. People take power and abuse it because they can and because that is a facet of what we choose to call 'success'. Change the system so that it is much much harder to take power, and remove the contribution of power-acquisition from the success formula and we remove the reasons why power abuse occurs. If there is no personal power gain relative to everyone else by an action then 'instinct' will make the exercise pointless and it will rarely occur. On the contrary, if power is a burden it will be exercised very wisely indeed to avoid the negative consequences of doing otherwise. Not the zero-sum of today but the win-win of tomorrow. What principle can be adopted that causes the least sum total of power over other human beings to be exercised at all, puts this necessary minimum of power in the best possible hands and provides the safest repository for power against tyranny and abuse? Just about every permutation of power distribution has been tried. Abuse and lessening of freedom to some degree has been the almost universal outcome. The nay-sayers point to Human Nature again. Vicious circle time again. Also wrong question time again, with a twist. The question is why can't we prevent the abuse of power? The question should be, why do we have the power in the first place? Change the fundamental principle so that it says that no power of one person over another shall be permitted unless it is absolutely unavoidable, and furthermore that the power is then exercised not voluntarily by someone who wants it but obligatorily by someone who doesn't want it, as a matter of social duty. Now that the question is changed what has happened to the vicious circle, freedom and the cost to society of those who will not play the game?


YOU FIRST (Ref: ar1012)

You first. This one is part of the zero-sum problem. Nobody will make the first move, budge first, concede first, pay more tax first, help anybody first. Why? Because the zero-sum way our society is structured will mean that whoever does something altruistic first will suffer the most and the way things are today the price for most actions is high and climbing rapidly. When the definition of 'success' is the highest total of some kind of stuff acquired, whether it be money, power, goods or social status, then there is a point where the price is simply too high. We have reached this cost level in most aspects of life in our 'rich' countries. Deep down how many of us can truly say we don't occasionally yearn to be the first to do some deed for all our benefits but do not carry it out because we 'cannot afford it'? Do we like feeling this way? Do we like the unnecessary hardships and petty miseries this attitude causes? Is this behaviour a law of the universe, Human Nature, or a matter of choice? We have defined what we call success and we have defined what the costs of everything will be. We can choose to change it. It is the way it is because that is how we have set up the institutions in the first place. Chicken and egg but not law of the universe. Thus it can be changed.



It is said that we must learn from history or we are doomed to repeat it. True. But so what? All around the world every day we see that we do indeed repeat it. I blame one end of the political spectrum for many of our problems. I have always done so, often vehemently and viciously. They blame my end. Equally and sometimes even more vehemently and viciously. They have always done so. We debate the rights and wrongs of history. Endlessly. Sometimes for mere centuries, even occasionally for a millennium or two. Isn't there a slight odour of vicious circle in here somewhere? What have we convinced ourselves is the only way out of one of these? Stop arguing. Forget my answer. Forget your answer. We are both asking the wrong question! So stop blaming anybody for history. Here comes the b-word; remember your promise. How can we learn from history if we cannot even apportion just blame to those who did the deeds or failed to do them? Change the question. How about looking at what was done and what the consequences were and then recognising that the vicious circle we have been trapped in since is actually the result of the argument aging, becoming senile and inappropriate for any time except that in which it arose. Accept this and we see that the debate can never be resolved nor achieve anything, it no longer has any meaning. And as history is genuinely immutable the deeds have been done or not done irrevocably. The debate is now utterly without purpose or possible useful outcome. The only way forward? Don't do it. As soon as we realise we have entered a vicious circle simply give up, stop, desist, grow up and move on. I hope to demonstrate later that institutions, the 'System' also ages and becomes senile and obsolete in the same way as historical argument does. Also that, once recognised, this proves a useful concept and a source of great hope for the future.



Why is so much of public life, in the UK for example, so private? Is there something oxymoronic about that, or just moronic? Why does government so insist on secrecy in its doings? Why is the concept of Freedom of Information in government fought so ferociously? One reason is certainly because secrecy confers power and the illusion of power. But another surely is that an insistence on secrecy is also a very effective way of shielding ones mistakes from disclosure. Our 'system' insists on the covering up of mistakes and failings whenever possible because of its parallel obsession with blame and punishment for those mistakes and failings. The cost to a person who fails is so great that it cannot be admitted without a fight. But taking a step back reveals that the cost of the secrecy is immense and paid by all of us willy-nilly. We have vicious circle problems again. Complete freedom of information is the key to this problem when coupled with one extra feature, namely collective responsibility. It has been the fashion that responsibility must hone in on an individual, the buck stops here. But this fashion results in endless and nasty buck passing. In isolated incidents this can often be seen to be 'productive' in that we find someone to swing. Taking the step back, though, reveals the destructiveness of this fashion. Roughly speaking it drives away the best people from public service, it discourages risk taking and enterprise, it discourages experimentation, it discourages the learning from mistakes, it engenders cancerous mistrust among public 'servants', it damages health and it enriches nobody but lawyers. A way to avoid the answers and change the question is to say how can we shift the blame so that it goes away altogether? Change the way we view a public body so that it is not a collection of individuals who can all be targets for blame when something goes wrong and instead say the body is one or more teams and the lowest unit to which blame can be attached is the team. The scene changes to one where team members look after each other and watch each other's backs. A member who genuinely fails in some way too often or badly will eventually incur such disapproval from the team that the team will have the person removed. This is a wonderful opportunity for witch-hunting. The key to making it safer for all concerned (because every one of us could find one day that our team decides it does not like the way we look) is to make as much information about the team's work as possible completely transparent. When a true and truly open team is in operation, and as a publicly funded body why should the public not demand complete openness, a failing member of the team comes under pressure to improve, the team knows it should improve to get its status back and the public has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes that happen, instead of knowing only that it does not know what is going on. This sort of thing needn't apply to private enterprise but public service is different, and should be superior. Freedom of information is key to freedom from fear. Freedom from fear contributes vastly to better spiritual, mental and physical health. Who loses from this?


RISK (Ref: ar1009)

Risk. We are obsessed with risk. Not managing it but mismanaging it. First we will not take a risk with people. If I trust you then you might get one over on me. You win, I lose, zero-sum. Or I don't trust you, I win, you lose, or we both lose. Either way you do not lose less than me or gain more than me. Zero-sum. I will not accept the risk of a train crash because if I get hurt and you do not pay me compensation then you win I lose. You will not trust me not to sue you because I may get one over on you, you lose, I win. So you will not accept the risk, neither will I, so we both agree to remove the risk altogether. At whatever cost! And all without calculating the real cost at all. I may say that I cannot put a price on a human life. What is the actual result of that policy? I won't put a price on human life because if I do you will sue me or I will die myself; you win I lose. We must both give in first. Is there not a vicious circle in here somewhere? The end result is that while you and I alternately think we win and the other loses, in fact we both lose. Furthermore the societal effect is that we all lose. If we accept today's system, and we accept the principle that 'the government' should tell us what to do because that is what we elect them for, and we accept that we should do as much as humanly possible to eliminate risk from our lives, and we accept the proposition (whether true or false) that the people are too ignorant/stupid/uncaring/idle to understand risk, to what extent does, or could, the system achieve this risk-free dream? For forty years we in the West have been arguing about the issue of nuclear waste. There are three fundamentally opposed camps. One says that the issue is not actually that serious or difficult. One says that we need nuclear power but we must build waste repositories that are 'safe'. One says that safety cannot be guaranteed so we must forego the use of nuclear technologies altogether. The argument in the real world of today is far more political than scientific but in today's 'real' world that is the situation we must deal with whether we like it or not. In the political battle the first camp, that says the problem is not that big a deal, is ignored, nowhere in the race, so lets ignore it too. Both the other camps demand either complete permanent guaranteed safety (an impossibility) or enough of a guarantee to shut the others up so that the 'government' can get away with using nuclear technologies anyway. So, we the people, demand and pay for Herculean efforts to achieve safety levels which involve almost infinitesimal probabilities of loss of life. We similarly demand safety on trains and planes and we are willing to pay cash to achieve this. I know the arguments that agree that this is not rational but it is what the people want and therefore it is what the politicians must provide. But don't we elect politicians to tell us what is good for us because they know better or we are too busy or ignorant to study the matter rationally? Now conjure up in your mind the worst nuclear, airborne, train crash in Bhopal that you can, and guesstimate the loss of life and other consequences. What you get is probably not a very pretty picture. But given the very very low chances of this catastrophe happening what can we say about other causes of real risk to real Human Beings? How many people died in the 20th Century from the effects of war, poverty and famine? Did these people die because of technological or scientific failures? In other words were these natural or man-made disasters? These deaths have actually already occurred and continue to occur while the nuclear disaster deaths are a statistical likelihood. So where should a government that will do what's best for its people despite their wishes if necessary invest the tax-payers money? One answer would be that all further attempts to make the nuclear, chemical, train and plane industries safer should stop immediately and the moeny should instead be used to prevent human failure in political systems. This will not happen of course, partly at least because the System is such a viper's nest of vicious circles and vested interests that cannot and will not be broken from the inside, as discussed elsewhere. This surely is an area where the new POM system can make great improvements. The people whose mistakes or power games or insanity caused the man-made disasters mentioned above caused catastrophes partly because the System allowed them to. Now that we are proposing to create entirely new institutions and power structures from scratch we have an opportunity to build in at the start mechanisms for preventing things going wrong. The nay-sayers will claim, correctly, that we do not know what future Stalins will arise, or where, or when, or why or how. Yes. So? We demand that nuclear engineers cater for every possibility including unforseeable ones. This is what is meant by fail-safe. We also demand of nuclear engineers that their creations are safe effectively forever, not just for the five year term of this crop of politicians. Why do we not demand this level of permanent safety in political institutions? This is impractical and in ways undesirable for the same reasons as it is in the nuclear or plane businesses. But my argument therefore is that we should at least try but in doing so balance the cost with the benefits. The nuclear, chemical, train and plane businesses will spend more on improving already very safe systems before you finish reading this document than is spent in a century in Britain in ensuring fail-safe political institutions. The new POM system can bequeath to all future generations a genuinely safer world, by default. At virtually no cost except the will to do so. Can't we be persuaded to spend something on preserving freedom and Spirit? Would this not be the most efficient, most bang-for-the-buck, easiest way to improve the mental and physical health of the Human Race and the Earth itself that we could ever wish for?



We have lots of government and lots of rules and lots of regulations. Most of them say 'thou shallt not'. What are all these laws and rules for? Look around you. Do you stop at red traffic lights because the law says you must or because of the risk of dying if you don't? When you buy a new dress do you pay for it because if you don't the alarm will go off when you try to leave without the security tag being removed, or because you believe that what you are doing is exchanging something you have for the dress so that both sides of the transaction come away happy? When you take a day off work why do you tell anybody or sign a piece of paper saying you intend to do so? If you are entitled to a day off why not just take it? If you agree that your television license fee (UK specific here) gives good value for money why do we have an organisation that pursues through all the circles of Hell any person who does not pay the same as you? Fundamentally we do all these things because although we would do them all voluntarily, some people would not if they could get away with it.'s We lose, they win. Unacceptable. No way Jose. What is the cost of all these rules and their enforcement in money, time, convenience, trust, spirit and societal structures? Do we not spend a disproportionate amount on those who do not play the game? Shouldn't this be spent rather on those who do play the game. Those who do not play the game do not deserve any special effort or spending on our part but the opposite - their rule-breaking should cost them not us. I am deliberately leading this argument towards our old friend the vicious circle. Looking at every 'socially inappropriate action' from mass murder to picking your nose in a public place, are things improving, is preventing each infraction costing us less as the years go by, and can we continue to tackle the problems the same way as we do now for the next ten, fifty and three hundred years? If the same question was asked fifty years ago how similar would the answer be to today's? Remember the promises of the politicians, who you elected, that they would fix it? Do I detect a vicious circle somewhere nearby? If you agree with me that the answer is yes then you know what we must do. Change the question. Don't do the wrong-doer, rule-breaker, the honour of concentrating your attention on him. Ignore him. Change the zero-sum rule from we lose he wins to we win he wins less. Instead of telling him that he will lose if we catch him, and by the way we will have already lost by that point (we all lose), point out to him that we are not interested in just preventing him winning to any degree but are instead going to reward ourselves so much that he will eventually come to the conclusion himself that his self-interest, his only Human Nature, is best served by taking our freely-offered win rather than the win he takes from us by force. This doesn't stop the wrong-doer but it makes him pay not us. He will choose to pay. Or not. We move from a state of all of us losing and all being voluntarily infantilised by the voluntary removal of freedom to a position where only the wrong-doer loses and the rest of us retain freedom and adulthood. Now that we have changed the question and the viewpoint how many of the laws, rules, regulations and social sanctions do we still need and want? Much more to say on this subject. See for starters Lerner pages 242/243 roughly on 'Guard Labor'.


LAW (Ref: ar1007)

What is the purpose of Law? We have a hierarchy of rules which extends from accepted social behaviour, slightly odd social behaviour, guidelines for social behaviour, guidelines for public behaviour by public bodies and institutions, rules and regulations about behaviour, laws which carry with them discretionary or abitrary sanctions of some kind and, finally laws which carry with them mandatory, non-debatable sanctions. The subject of all these kinds of 'laws' are of two kinds, institutions and people. However, institutions are made up of people and these people all have free will. So all these 'laws' are made by and for people. They are made by us but what for? They all say, roughly, that we must do something, or we must not do something. In an adult society of adults with free will who has the right to make a 'law'? Who is to say that when I break a law you are right and I am wrong? What of dissent? How is the balance to be struck between the power of society and its institutions with that of the individual; the power to enforce laws on those who disagree with them? How do we balance anarchy with tyranny and do we want to? This debate has been going on since the dawn of time. It swings to and fro over the years and the societies and the places. Its only resolution has been in anarchy or complete tyranny, neither of which do the most justice to the most of Humanity. Is this another vicious circle? In this case what does it mean to change the question? Instead of trying to balance a law that this person wants with a law that that person wants why not change the question to ask first whether either person should prevail at all? Change the presumption that the competing needs of different people can only be met by creating a rule, custom or law that both agree to obey and instead state that neither side prevail and no just custom, rule or law can or should be made. Say instead that for a person or institution to say another person must do something or must not do something is a fundamental assault on the person's freedom and free will. As such, the creation of any custom, rule or law which carries an imposed sanction on an individual should be the very last resort, not the first. Change to, or keep to, the principle of 'permitted unless prohibited' rather than the other way around. Furthermore, change the presumption that the desire to not keep to a custom, rule or law is 'wrong' and 'dissent' and instead label it 'different'. Make the presumption that difference is permitted unless there is an overwhelming and irresistible necessity to classify, or re-classify for this occasion, a 'difference' as a 'wrong'. By this change of view we can reverse the 'instinct' of government and the law to be self-sustaining and self-enlarging forever. We also move away from the tendency of 'isms' to proscribe thought-crimes and to make tolerance and difference prescribed instead of voluntary. This tends then to reinforce free will and its voluntary responsible use. This way thought-crime is permitted unless rather than prohibited except. The non-creation or abolition of rules, customs and laws is a sustainable process; the one-way creation of these things is not. The new way permits experiment and improvement, our present way stifles innovation and has only one outcome. This is a vital characteristic for many other areas of life and for the progress with stepping out of many different kinds of vicious circles and dead-ends. It is also an agent that permits change, an essential process when institutions, ideas and societies mature, age, turn senile and become obsolescent.


THINK BIG (Ref: ar1006)

A modern buzz-phrase says 'think global, act local'. Do you like that idea? Why have I never been on a demo, never thrown eggs at the prime minister and generally never done anything much except read and think? I'm lazy, I'm a coward, um, well, we needn't go any further down that path! Does this slogan have anything in common with the idea of 'trickle-down economics'? How does it compare with the world-renowned theory, known only to me and my closest friends, that all good socialists should insist on every country building as many nuclear weapons as possible? The arguments against these propositions are many and loud but leaving aside the rightness or wrongness of the arguments, or the propositions themselves, there is a further problem. While you are arguing that a global corporation should produce a cheaper sticking plaster the gangrene will kill you. While you are waiting for a global corporation's wealth to trickle down to you you will starve to death. What point is there to you saving the pretty little lesser spotted bogtrotter in your back garden if you get killed in a war with a billion desperate people determined to get at your drinking water? Is this slogan a luxury of a wealthy West which results in the solution of tiny problems in my back yard whilst the Third World's desperation is left unchecked and eventually overwhelms everybody and my back yard? My problem again is with the efficiency of our present methods for attacking our problems when we have our institutions as we do. These issues end up back at the same brick wall of vicious circles. Again I feel I must ignore the answers, not waste my time on protests and demonstrations, and make a tasty omelette instead of wasting the eggs on the outside of an armour-plated limo. The eggs do the same damage to the limo as the sticking plaster does to the gangrene. I want to change the question. With our present style of institutions the think global act local policy is akin to the divide and rule strategy. Nobody meant it to be that way but it is the way it really is. Once I reach the position of deciding that saving the lesser spotted bogtrotter is a waste of time I am left with surplus energy and enthusiasm to use up. What if my whole thesis is not unique to me, and that my views are a sort of distillation of the disquiet amongst many people who do not like the way the world is but do their little bit, acting locally while thinking globally, and that their little bits involve organisations that promote environmental aims, political movements, ism or anti-ism movements, religious movements and spiritual growth movements and so on? What if they all get convinced like me that they are actually doing the same as I was, and individually just trying to save their own lesser spotted bogtrotters, and that therefore they too are wasting their time? What would be the total of surplus energy and enthusiasm available then? What if all of them said, like me, that the 'System' is a vicious circle and that, having recognised this, they all now have no choice but to stop playing the game! Step out of the circle and act together, change the question not the answer. Think 'critical mass'. An essential component of this idea is seeing politics, religion, economics, the environment, and all the rest as a whole. They are not separate things, nor are they an emulsion of things, nor in fact a mixture. They are a true solution, just aspects of one thing. Our environment is everything from spirit to dioxin and everything in between. Think big not small. Think gigantic not big. Think holistic! So, all of you out there who subscribe to any organisation or charity that is devoted to 'good' works of any kind try this. Look at all the things you belong to, list them in importance to you. Take the middle one and resign from it! Put the money and effort you invest in it aside to devote to the big picture, our new view. The money can be used for photocopies of this document to help spread the word, going to workshops discussing it, supporting your candidate for the election or some other need that arises for this new way of looking at the world. Don't look on this as 'letting down' a cause, or abandoning it, but as another way of helping it, wile simultaneously without extra expense, in money or effort, helping your other causes and those of other people too.


SAINTHOOD (Ref: ar1005)

You're not a saint by any chance are you? Trainee saint? Are you actually so pathetic a human specimen that you can never contribute to making the world a better place? Are you a hard-core sinner like the rest of us; too lazy, selfish and cowardly to do anything good even if your life depends on it? One of the brick walls that bruise your nose if you try to dream your way to Utopia is to do with unworthiness and powerlessness. You could never lead the world to a better place because you are hopeless at keeping to your own feeble principles, you are lazy, you are cowardly, you are too busy, you are not intellectually up to it, and oh, I don't know, you'll think of some more applicable put-downs. Oops! Wrong question again. All day, every day, the media tell us how bad every thing is and everybody is. We agree and we tell ourselves we are bad too and that because people like me argue that society is us and only us therefore if society is bad then we are and therefore because I am worse than most people most of what is wrong with society is my fault. I should feel awful and guilty and I do. I didn't do all those murders or actually take the last food from a starving child but my church minister says its my fault and the charities say it's my fault and society says it's my fault so therefore everybody else must be right and I am wrong. And 'Have a Nice Day' to you too!

Is this all true? What about bad people? If I'm so bad then just how bad are they? The nay-sayers say that all Human Beings are just so fundamentally bad that we will never change, never be altruistic and never get ourselves out of our own mess. We will stew forever more. We ignore the wind and take it for granted but we do not claim it does not exist even though we cannot see it. Can we say that because we take most of our actions for granted and do not notice how bad they are not, that those actions do not therefore exist? How many interactions occured between human beings yesterday that did not result in one of the people raping the other? You don't know? Why not? You got up when the alarm rang this morning. You would rather have stayed in bed but the children needed to be got ready for school. Even though it was a really hot morning you put on some clothes because your conscience or your modesty or your societal customs or the law said you should. You gave the children breakfast even though they could have gone without. If you didn't feed them nobody would force you to and even if you didn't give them food for a long time society would not force you to, just say you should and take the children away from you so that it could do the job itself. When you boiled the kettle you made a cup of tea when it might have been a lot of fun to pour the water over the dog instead. You went to the supermarket to buy food because the children will need feeding tomorrow too, and you paid because you think you should give money in exchange for goods. On the way a mother pushing a pram stepped in front of the car suddenly so you jumped on the brakes when really you should have run them over because the woman is too stupid to be a mother. Nobody said you had to go to work but you thought being a nurse was quite a good thing to do and the money would come in handy too. At work you could have ignored the patient who asked for the bedpan but that wouldn't be a nice thing to do would it? Instead you told the husband how his wife was getting on and asked him if he had run into much traffic on the way in.

From all this I think it is pretty fair to say that you are a really really bad person! Is there anything wrong with this picture? Somehow during this morning you did a hundred little things that were right, you thought about many people's welfare as well as your own and you co-operated with the processes involved in getting in a car and going to work and with getting the children to school dressed, fed, clean and on time. And you didn't commit a single murder the whole morning! If you list all the bad things you did do you agree with me that actually rather than being all irredeemably bad you are really 99% saint already? With all I have written so far do you think it is inconceivable that you could fix much of the remaining 1% if you knew how? So what of bad people then? The people who did kill this morning probably did most of the other things that you did too. Are they completely irredeemably bad then? What of the 1% of people who murdured this morning who, psychiatrists say, have no conscience and no empathy with our norms of behaviour? Even for them only a microscopic proportion of all their actions and inactions in a normal day are really really bad. With our present societal structures it might be all but inconcievable that these baddest of bad people could ever change but though they are lacking in conscience and civility are they too totally lacking in self-interest? If they have self-interest and we change the viewpoint what then? Hope, that's what.


INSTITUTIONS (Ref: ar1004)

All the affairs of men are organised by or governed by or enabled to happen by, institutions that we have ourselves created. There is only one rule-book and we wrote it. It says only and exclusively what we told it to say. We can re-write it. However, as part of our genuine attempts to make the world a better place we design these institutions with many features that are intended to help in that project. Lots of our institutions superficially work very well. But we have seen how there are many reasons for believing that they are not achieving improvements fast enough, in the right directions or sustainably. Am I saying that 'they' got it all wrong and that we should scrap everything and start again? No. I am saying that our methods of doing things, our institutions, our laws, our customs, are genuine attempts to do what is 'right'. The effects of all these things are not at fault, they just are. History happens. Time moves on. Circumstances move on and the Human Race moves on. A result of all this is that customs, rules, institutions and methods of doing things age. They mature and eventually they may become senile, decrepit and obsolete. Then they should be replaced with something more suited to our needs now. That is absolutely not to say the work that went into them, or the people who did the work, were wrong, mercenary, evil, selfish, stupid or immoral. Just that they served their purpose and their time has passed. I would maintain that the sinking into vicious circles marks the point of senescence of a custom, method or institution and should be used as the sign for change. Furthermore, as these things become senescent they will die a natural death so sticking plasters and tweaks are not appropriate treatments. The gangrene will win. The wise accept death, learn from it, and get on with life. If the patient doesn't respond to tweaks, withdraw treatment and leave Nature to take its course. And don't blame the gangrene for anything, it is what it is, and does what gangrene does. Blame is not 'right' or 'wrong', it is simply not appropriate or applicable. And it is a pointless, futile, waste of human effort and energy.

Now you may say that what I recommend is replacing institutions that sort of work with new institutions that may, or may not, work as well. Why should it be any different next time round? Because we learn. The time has come for a new regime. Don't blame history, learn from it. Humanity has progressed. Not for everybody equally all the time. But the sum of the Human condition has improved. Improvement is not inevitable but it will occur as long as Human Nature, in the form of self-interest, exists. Without that one instinct then indeed it is hard to see any future except despair and imminent extinction. But, out of all the characteristics of the Human Being that you can ever think of, which is the most likely to disappear in the near future? Self-interest?

One characteristic that takes hold in our institutions is self-perpetuation and this is frequently one of the main problems when the institution becomes senescent. We can't get rid of what we know is no longer working. The skill would be to spot this happening and put a stop to it but it is an essential feature that we cannot see it ahead of time and before it is too late. The key is to design new institutions with a built-in self-destruct time limit, defined at the start and public. The institution can be continued but only by positive action and effort thus safe-guarding us against the harmful effects of inertia and power. Conversely the institution can be allowed to cease its existence effortlessly as we recognise its obsolescence.

Could it be the case that the top down approach to government starts to age and become outdated because at some point the total complexity of what it is trying to govern, ie total numbers of players times total 'interactions', gets to a threshold at which emergent behaviour breaks out. This is then in conflict with the control being attempted from above. This emergent behaviour is part of what is 'spirit' in ML's books etc. So inhuman contest. If look at emergent systems and how 'learning' occurs could it be that the control element tries to beat the emergent spirit element by learning, but always hits a local peak (the top down rules force this). At the local peak the whole show breaks down as the controller cannot make progress but cannot stop trying and the only way to continue trying is by becoming ever more controlling, and forcing control to ever lower levels into micromanagement. Vicious circle time. The System is then Borg but nothing like so good! So things like the EU and corporations succeed to a degree because the rules help them to 'learn' but they fail because the same rules do not allow escape from a local peak. Is this proof that one should spot emergent behaviour in a system and as soon as it appears stop the top down 'government' of it because you know it is now doomed to ultimately, but not necessarily soon, fail. The only fail-safe method is thus not to have top down at all. The ants are right.


TIME (Ref: ar1003)

A commonly perceived hindrance to change is that of time. We say that there is no point me trying to change anything because any significant improvement towards my version of Utopia will take centuries or forever and we will go down the pan long before anything is achieved. What about Feminism? The environmental movement? Soviet communism? Nazism? The Internet? All of these actually really did achieve vast social change in very short periods of time. Lots of movements didn't, but lots have. If this movement achieves a 'critical mass' then its acceptance and adoption will be very rapid indeed. It may fail. The one thing that can be guaranteed is that if it isn't tried it certainly will fail. There is also a view that history proceeds, by chance not teleologically, in cycles of stability separated by interludes of chaos and instability. During stable periods, such as the fifty years from 1939 to the fall of the Soviet Union, gross change of direction is at its least easy, the era has great inertial resistance to change. During the interludes the inertia decreases to very little or none and during chaos there is the maximum opportunity to make gross changes with least effort. If you want to change the world with maximum speed, minimum effort and least cost do it during the chaotic interval.This is surely now.



It has all been said before. The Greeks, Romans, Chinese and others all said extremely wise things which we recognise today as wise. We also say they didn't work then and have not worked since. And therefore never will work. Wrong! The problem is not that the ancient sages were wrong. They were ahead of their time. An idea ahead of its time will 'fail' precisely because the time is not right and/or the age in which the idea arises does not possess the tools for the successful implementation of the wisdom. The 'tools' can be freedom from the desperate struggle to survive, an agency like the UN, or a technology like the internet. Any idea, good or bad, can be made to work if the tools exist. If we try good ideas often enough then one day they stop being ahead of their time and become in their time. The idea of global domination by force was around long before the practice of it was made feasible by the invention of gunpowder. Similarly the idea of defeating tyranny was around long before the Internet was invented and used as a tool for the defeat of tyranny. The greatest tool ever invented for the testing of new ideas and for improving the Human Condition was wealth. The freedom from the struggle for brute survival is what is enabling me to even conceive of this document. That same freedom can be the key to envisaging, and then implementing, a new plan for advancing changes to the way we do things.



I have two (really one and a half) fundamental problems with supranational bodies such as the UN, international courts etc. 1) They are institutions with power. These are the very things that have some of the corrupting or spirit-destroying qualities POM seeks to diminish. Additionally they are by definition extremely powerful thus hardest to control, most susceptible to non-POM 'corruption', and most destructive when they go 'wrong'. 2) This is really probably only half an objection. Supranational bodies as we have them today, and as conventional politicians plan them for the future, operate within today's ethical framework and are thus inefficient or positively destructive in my view. But I can admit the possibility of supranational bodies being useful and trustworthy and safe in a proper POM world but way down the line into the future as POM matures, not in the next fifty years, say, while we are still in transition from today's ethos to POM. Later I suggest methods of achieving the same aims without needing to risk setting up supranational bodies, even after POM has matured.


Reject material. Be warned that this material will cause offence. (Ref: ar1000)

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