Monday, January 28, 2008

A Model of Limited Perception

This is the fourth in a series of information war-gaming posts. The content of each post in the series will be determined by the discussion that follows the previous post.

Links to the earlier articles in this series are listed at the bottom of this post.



The sixth misconception about social change is that in order to bring it about one must obtain power. This assumes, first, that what I have called negative power is a neutral force, and second, that social change originates in power centers. Both of these assumptions are false.

The worst evils of our political system come from the centralization of power, irrespective of who holds it. It is the most naïve kind of hero-villain thinking to imagine that a new face will change a system. The major organizations in our society have seen dozens of incumbents pass through their top positions without greatly affecting the oppressiveness of their fundamental patterning.


— from Earthwalk, by Philip Slater (Anchor Press/Doubleday 1974, page 153

In the most recent essay of this series I addressed the difference between flat and hierarchically-organized information systems. I chose to highlight the advantages of a flat (or distributed) network because the flat model offers the only possibility for effective resistance to the Great Jihad, which has thus far proved so notably successful against us in the current information war.

None of my arguments is intended to rule out hierarchical networks as a useful component in information warfare. Once a new paradigm has emerged within a distributed network, not only will the existing hierarchically-organized systems be altered from the bottom up, but new ones may arise to perform functions of which we are as yet only barely aware.

In this essay I’ll be looking further into the nature of flat networks and distributed information systems. I’ll return to hierarchical systems in future posts.

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The video embedded below was made by Bill Cullison, and shows the formations generated by an enormous flock of starlings in the sky over San Rafael, California.

Take the time to watch the whole thing. It is an amazing and beautiful reminder of Hamlet’s assertion that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.



The behavior of these birds en masse is, in a mathematical sense, chaotic — that is, it obeys the laws of cause and effect and is not random, but it is inherently unpredictable. We can observe it and chart it, but we cannot possibly comprehend it in any meaningful way.

And yet there is no intricate master plan which these starlings are carrying out. The coherent formations and movements we see are the product of a set of simple neural instructions implemented simultaneously in thousands of bird-brains.

The starlings are a vivid demonstration of a distributed information network in action.

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How does such complex and coordinated behavior emerge from the simultaneous actions of such minimally-programmed brains?
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Until the advent of high-speed digital computing, the mathematical modeling of these flocks was not possible. But in the last thirty years the behavior of birds and other creatures that form flocks has been successfully simulated. In order for the computer algorithm to mimic avian behavior realistically, each “creature” must have the same set of programmed instructions. It also must be able to “see” only its nearest neighbors; that is, no bird in the flock can view the whole flock when adjusting the speed and direction of its flight.

One of the masters in this field is the software developer Craig W. Reynolds. He pioneered and perfected a model of flocking behavior by creating a computer program he calls “boids”. Mr. Reynolds employed three basic steering behaviors for his digital creatures:

Separation: steer to avoid crowding local flockmates
Alignment: steer towards the average heading of local flockmates
Cohesion: steer to move toward the average position of local flockmates

These instructions make intuitive sense, and a jet fighter pilot is surely using his own version of these algorithms to maintain position within a formation.

The resulting collective behavior of the boids effectively simulates flocks of birds or schools of fish. Mr. Reynolds explains the reasoning behind his algorithm:

Each boid has direct access to the whole scene’s geometric description, but flocking requires that it reacts only to flockmates within a certain small neighborhood around itself. The neighborhood is characterized by a distance (measured from the center of the boid) and an angle, measured from the boid’s direction of flight. Flockmates outside this local neighborhood are ignored. The neighborhood could be considered a model of limited perception (as by fish in murky water) but it is probably more correct to think of it as defining the region in which flockmates influence a boid’s steering.

[…]

In the boids model… interaction between simple behaviors of individuals produce complex yet organized group behavior. The component behaviors are inherently nonlinear, so mixing them gives the emergent group dynamics a chaotic aspect. At the same time, the negative feedback provided by the behavioral controllers tends to keep the group dynamics ordered. The result is life-like group behavior.

A significant property of life-like behavior is unpredictability over moderate time scales.

Members of a distributed network have a limited neighborhood of perception. It’s not necessary for any of them to have the overall picture for the system to function effectively. In fact, if enough individuals within the system were to react to the overall picture instead of to their local neighborhoods, the network would cease to be a distributed one, and its collective behavior would disintegrate. It’s possible that it would subsequently reform into a hierarchical network — those having the overall view of the system would take their places near the top of the hierarchy.

A hierarchical network is powerful, but it is also slow and unwieldy. In order to have a rapid response time and maximum flexibility, those of us who act within a distributed network must learn to live with unpredictability.

It’s only human to want to see the big picture, and to control it. But we need to be willing to give up this idea if we are ever to be successful in the information war.

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So how does the analogy of the boids apply to our present circumstances?

The same three behavioral traits — separation, alignment, and cohesion — can be generalized for the elements of any distributed network. No particular person in the Counterjihad will formulate these behaviors — when successful steering rules appear, they will be replicated and spread spontaneously throughout the system.

The process of replication occurs when a node in the network — a human being sitting at a computer, just like you or me — reads a set of premises and conclusions that make sense, that resonate deeply within his psyche. The information is then internalized and passed on to other nodes by any available means.

When enough individual nodes are operating with the same instructional base, i.e. using similar steering behaviors, the entire flock will become a coherent formation and begin to act effectively. None of us will understand it all, yet it will work.

When I churn out ideas and display them here, I’m just repeating things I’ve picked up in other places. My material may be synthesized and reorganized idiosyncratically, but it’s not new. If what I say makes sense to you, then you in turn will spread it further within the network.

None of the ideas is original, and no one has any control. These are tough principles to accept, but necessary ones.

When this process matures, the behavior of the entire network will change. I call this phenomenon “distributed emergence”.

It will be the primary engine of the Counterjihad.


Previous Posts about Info War-Gaming:

2007 Dec 16 An Evolutionarily Stable Strategy
    22 War-Gaming in Cyberspace
    29 All Information Warfare is Local

23 comments:

Ethelred said...

My wife and I have been talking about this subject in different terms for years. She complains that the Net in general, and blogs or sites in particular are self-reinforcing and preach to the converted. What about the people living on Main Street in Wabash, Iowa (tongue in cheek).

I would argue that GoV or JW are a good thing. She did not disagree, but pointed to LGF as the end result of self-selection and self-reinforcement.

Hence, we were both excited when Glenn Beck first burst on the scene, exposing MILLIONS of people nightly to facts about Islam that NO ONE was saying at the time.

However, as we all know, Beck reverted to the "religion is good" view of Islam and said it is 90% peaceful, etc (puke here).

A (real) bird (not boid) flock would seem to have a finite maximum size, and hence whatever information is transmitted in the network cannot escape from it.

Again, GoV, JW, Atlas, Malkin, FOX News and all the rest are good things, and disseminate the truth more often than say, the DailyKos.

But, what we REALLY need is a virus that we can "allow" to escape and which will point more people in our direction, increasing the size of our network beyond what appears to be its current maximum limit.

PRCalDude said...

But, what we REALLY need is a virus that we can "allow" to escape and which will point more people in our direction, increasing the size of our network beyond what appears to be its current maximum limit.

Exactly.

In order for a sea change of public opinion to occur, we need the idea that Muslims don't belong in Western society to become viral. They need to be repatriated to their countries of ethnic origin. That's the only reasonable, non-violent solution that I see.

allat said...

"The coherent formations and movements we see are the product of a set of simple neural instructions implemented simultaneously in thousands of bird-brains."


.
Why. That's because you're looking at it from the outside. How do you know these birds are in possession of a simple neural system? Have you talked to to them?

The above is the sort of phrase the Conquistadores came out with, when they saw the Indios drumming and dancing, you know, "just bird brains."


Science and Physics has discovered that the Thinking Part is NOT inside the brain, but that the brain is JUST a transmitter/interpreter of the Thought.

Ethelred said...

allat,

Science and Physics has discovered that the Thinking Part is NOT inside the brain, but that the brain is JUST a transmitter/interpreter of the Thought.

This is an interesting proposition, and resonates well with my Zen Buddhist tendencies, but can you substantiate this naked assertion, or at least define the capitalized terms?

Ethelred said...

prcaldude,

In order for a sea change of public opinion to occur, we need the idea that Muslims don't belong in Western society to become viral. They need to be repatriated to their countries of ethnic origin. That's the only reasonable, non-violent solution that I see.

The statement is simple, but its implementation is complex.

First it is ISLAM that does not belong in Western society.

Start asking "Why?" to that assertion and you should end up with a rather long chain of individually true statements that ends with:

The West values Rational Individualism AS AN IDEAL and Islam values Mystical Collectivism AS ITS REALITY.

Collectivism of an stripe always leads to violence.

Unfortunately, the West has been infected with an altruistic, collectivist, self-sacrificial morality that works against the IDEAL of Rational Individualism.

The reason that the "Muslim as victim" meam (sp?) has worked is because of our underlying feelings of guilt which come from our moral system.

The REAL problem is how to overthrow the morality of self-sacrifice and inculcate a morality of rational self-interest.

Dymphna said...

prcaldude:

In order for a sea change of public opinion to occur, we need the idea that Muslims don't belong in Western society to become viral. They need to be repatriated to their countries of ethnic origin. That's the only reasonable, non-violent solution that I see

Is your statement a response to the question "what is to be done about radical Islam in the US"?

Are you certain that is the right answer in all cases? How about the women who have fled Iran by the thousands and sought asylum here? They're still Muslims.

How about the average-Mohammed who came in search of a place to flourish with his family? He has a small business, run very well, and his customers really like him. The youngest is in Boy Scouts.

I could give lots more examples, as I'm sure many people can.

Thus, I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to the question I inferred from your statement.

But maybe that wasn't the question you were answering at all.

Ethelred said...

Dymphna,

In my USA, Joe-average-Muhammad who came here to flourish would be told UP FRONT that Islam is not a protected religion and has been designated a seditious totalitarian political ideology.

He and his "house of worship" will be watched.

He either stays at home or leaves Islam at home.

Furthermore, any woman who gets out of Iran and makes it here, but remains a Muslim should be labeled insane.

Harsh? Islam is anti-human and deadly. We are under NO obligation to further its propagation.

PRCalDude said...

I think an exception should be made for Muslim women, possibly.

There's several stages of Muslim conquest. As we saw from the example of Mohammed, when the Muslims are weak in an area, they tell everyone how all they want is peace and harmony with other peoples. When they have the military or demographic upperhand, their story changes. Look at northern Nigeria. Look at Ethiopia. Once they take over, the entire culture in an area descends into a filthy Arabism. I don't think the endless antagonism of non-muslims by Muslims is worth the exceptions.

Sodra Djavul said...

Allat wrote:
"The above is the sort of phrase the Conquistadores came out with, when they saw the Indios drumming and dancing, you know, just bird brains.

You touch on a very interesting point, Allat. Since the Indios highly valued the plumage of their native feathered fowl, could it be possible that the initial contact between them and the Conquistadores was merely a horrific misunderstanding?

I mean, if I were to see a bunch of humanoid beings dancing around a campfire decked out with giant bird heads and covered in feathers, I might consider them frightening indeed. Especially considering the lighting conditions and the jungle foliage.

Would you initially believe them capable of communication or just default to your initial impression of some strange new species, oddly aggressive in their ritualistic dance. And the gold... After all, what would birds need with all that gold anyway?

- Sodra

Ethelred said...

prcaldude,

Muslim women produce Muslim children who perpetuate the disease.

At the moment, there is nothing to keep a Muslim male child from growing up to become a jihadi.

NJArtist said...

Most of the people escaping a moslem nation will remain, for the most part, loyal to the interests of that nation. This includes Christians.

Christians do not breed Christians: a believing parent does not necessarily produce a believing offspring. A nominal or believing Christian produces a nominal Christian. These nominal Christians affect the policies of the churches they inhabit and whose they ascend.

In the case of the Palestinian Christians, They are a force behind mailine churches becoming pro-Arab and anti-Israel.

"Christian" citizens derived from moslem countries also affect our politics: Fred Thompson had Spencer Abrams(sp)as an advisor who was pro-Arab and favored pro-Arab policies. The result would be policies that, in the end, would promote the moslem cause.

Therefore, I am prepared to support even denying refugee status to my fellow Christians, actual or nominal, fleeing moslem societies.

Harsh? Yes. I am morally obligated to protect my own society. Else, I am in the same boat as the Roman church that denies this country the right to control its immigration.

TC said...

I would like to point out an important difference between muslims in the US and muslims in the EU: Being an immigrant myself, it is obvious to me, that people from anywhere in the world, including muslim countries, generally come to the US to fulfill their version of the American dream. Many succeed very well and that funny thing happens to them, that will happen only HERE: they become more American than Paki or German or Italian or whatever.

Not so in Europe. There, immigration is about being planned, manufactured and sponsored by the EU “elite” because they figure that the muslims (instead of their own non existent offspring) will pay for the continuation of the lavish European lifestyle and their social hammock AND about the lure of easy money out of the social security system for any muslim immigrant. In Germany for instance, being jobless and having fur or five kids pays better than a minimum wage job. North Africa and the Middle East know that and they all come, including imported child brides for arranged marriages.

I think a good way to sort out the “deportation” approach, is to send back everybody who does not sustain themselves financially and who does not pass a language test. The language and the willingness to work are the line. That should be applicable for ANY legal immigrant, not only muslims.

Sodra Djavul said...

OT On Bird Brains

Epaminondas just made a posting comparing the Southern Confederate states to the Nazis. Literally.

Epaminondas: Horrifying Collective Punishment

If there's one thing you don't shove up the backside of a Southerner, it's gloating over the outcome and subsequent economic enslavement the North carried out in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Comparisons to both the Nazis and the Palestinians ensue.

I have never been more enraged at a single individual within the blogosphere than this pretentious a&&.

- Sodra

PRCalDude said...

Epaminondas just made a posting comparing the Southern Confederate states to the Nazis. Literally.


He/She worked in the civil rights movement in the 60s and was a liberal until 9/11. Therefore everything he/she believes is seen through that lens. Liberals are perpetually trapped in the 1960s.

allat said...

"This is an interesting proposition, and resonates well with my Zen Buddhist tendencies, but can you substantiate this naked assertion, or at least define the capitalized terms?"


Oh, I've researched this sort of thing, and it goes back, way back to very Ancient Times, the Ancients knew about it.There are tons and tons of documentation, has been gathered now- by the young, rebel Archeologists and Historians, from all around the world - can be found in the Internet.nd can be found in the Internet.

An ex.: is Indra's Net:

http://www.heartspace.org/misc/IndraNet.html


But at any rate, your answer is "The Morphogenetic Field" :

http://www.experiencefestival.com/morphogenetic_fields

(1/4 down)


And when I talk about birds thinking, I refer you to a vast list in the Internet of Inter-Species Communication:

Vulture of Leesburg, Va.
http://www.animal-connection.net/vultures.htm

For those skeptics, I call them, "Dream Breakers" - (Go away!)

However, Americans and other Western people alsways demand proof and evidence - it time to stop that, it's time to rely on your own Right Brain, your own connection to the Other World, and the Devil Take the Hindmost, if people don't believe you, what do you care? Yet, so many millions of books have been written about all this, for thousands of years, to the Present time Could all these people be nuts or imagining?

It's like this see: Everybody in the West, seems to have otherworldly experiences at one time or another - by is afraid to talk to others because ithey're afraid to be thought crazy 0 and so they go around silent, looking sidewise at the next person, waiting for them to be the first to talk about it.

Don't you know that Einstein admitted that he got all is inspirations in dreams? In the morning he would work applying these dream ideas? Many other brilliant men, genuises, scientists have said the same thing.

The world is run on such things. The Bible is chock full of these things. History changed because of these Other world connections - Paulist xtianity his conversion on the Road to Damascus, Constantine's Malvian Bridge event, and the course of "official" history was changed.

I recommend reading "The Holographic Universe" by Michael Talbot - (large paperback) it's only about $11 bucks. Good reference book to have.


So research Quantum Physics, and the Double Slit Effect, and Particle-Wave Physics. See the Youtube vid:

What The #$*! Do We Know!?
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=FpCSk7WC4GI


Get hold of, buy or borrow:

Ramtha: The White Book. This is Gold in your hands.



Blessings,

latte island said...

The trouble with welcoming individual muslims who seem to be playing by our rules (supporting themselves, no jihad, etc.) is that just because Mohammed the Nice Business Owner seems to be okay, how do we know? There have been so many yuppie terrorists both here and in Europe, can anyone say any individual is really okay?

Also, suppose a given Mo the Yuppie is really okay. If it were only him, no problem. But what if the sheer numbers of similar people overwhelm a small town...if this happens everywhere, pretty soon, you lose your own majority culture. This is not abstract for me. It's exactly what's happening where I live.

In fact, my African muslim neighors are so ordinary-seeming, like so many here, it took a while for me to realize they were muslim. I don't want to rant about my personal situation, I realize it's inappropriate. But I also see how naive some of you are, and I want people to know how things really are in California, and what I'm seeing is probably happening elsewhere. So my neighbors are these squeaky clean young immigrants with gorgeous, well-dressed children, etc. I noticed the parents didn't make eye contact with me, ever, even though I said hello to them a few times and they didn't respond. They always walk assertively between me and the kids, whenever we're in the common area at the same time, as if they're afraid to let me near the kids (I'm a bookish, quiet middle-aged woman, not a hell's angel type). I noticed the rack of shoes in their entrance. Then I noticed the mother in law, in hijab.

Okay, what I'm saying here is, my neighbors and so many people like them are making it, playing by the rules, bettering themselves. But they definitely have an attitude about Americans. It's plain that they regard me as an infidel. Some of you will say I'm paranoid and racist, and I wouldn't disagree. But please think about this and don't assume Mohammed the model muslim isn't any threat to you. I think people like my neighbors are undermining what we have, and we are complete fools to invite more of them here.

latte island said...

Now, back to the actual topic, I have a couple of thoughts. My readings in psychology and metaphysics, as well as my own personal experience, incline me to think that the bird model isn't all there is, or it doesn't always work exactly like that. Sometimes people just get something all at once. Very often I'll have an insight, and all of a sudden it's all over the internet at the same time. Synchronicity. I don't think it's the bird thing, it's something else.

What I'd like to see, in terms of war-gaming and such, is let's ask ourselves, how can we get Jews and women on board? These two groups have so much to lose from islamism, and yet more often than not, they're on the other side, and they do a huge amount of damage. Both Jews and women are often socialized to see the good in everyone and not write anyone off. I was socialized that way too, and it's the work of a lifetime to deprogram oneself. Our job as anti-jihadis is to figure out how to make it easier for the slower learners. 9/11 gave me a head start, I really don't know why everyone else didn't get it, but there's probably a way to reach all those muslim-loving feminists and Jewish liberals. We have to in order to win.

saladin89 said...

Well when it comes to flat and hierarchicall organizations I know of a real life flat type organization that may be interesting to comment on. Look at the youtube video:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=JCbKv9yiLiQ

Here is an organization which is run by anonymous people and previously these guys have done lots of shit on the internet for the "lulz" they say. So just stuff for the fun of it. Now they have chosen to combat scientology by making people know about the bad sides of the cult. They have gotten
lots of media attention by doing this. Several TV stations have commented on this. And they have done real life stuff to like giving out pamphlets about scientology and making protests.

They have caused media attention by DDOS attacking all of Scientologys' websites. Although the anti-jihad blogging community doesn't have the skill of these guys when it comes to computers I am sure we can do something similar to this.

The cool part is that Anonymous doesn't have a leader of any sorts therefore they cannot be stopped by legal actions. The downside is that
it may be harder trying to get the message across without a leader.

Anyway look into it. There are other videos also from this group and the MSM just check youtube.

my first comment wow:)

English is not my first language so the grammar may not be perfect.

latte island said...

I left out something very important. Chain immigration. Mo Average Nice Guy imports his relatives, they import theirs, etc. My neighbors, who are not jihadis or criminals or welfare cheats, as far as I know, have a constant stream of visitors from their own culture. Whenever I go to the local park, during the summer, I always see very large family gatherings of various types of muslims or Christians, both African and middle eastern. These are large extended families, obviously immigrants (foreign languages spoken, hijab or cross tattoed forehead, etc.) Crowds of 40 or 50. Probably started only a few years ago from one Mo Average Guy or other deserving type who came here to better himself. Result? No more majority culture where I live. Used to be a Navy town. Now almost unrecognisable, sometimes. The Coptic Christians don't fit in any better than some muslims. Very primitive, lots of welfare, spousal abuse. It's one thing to make common cause with oppressed people, another thing to live with them. And then there's the higher fertility of these groups. Bye bye California, bye bye USA, bye bye Europe. But, we wouldn't want to stop that nice Mo from coming here to better himself, that would be you know what.

PRCalDude said...

Okay, what I'm saying here is, my neighbors and so many people like them are making it, playing by the rules, bettering themselves. But they definitely have an attitude about Americans. It's plain that they regard me as an infidel. Some of you will say I'm paranoid and racist, and I wouldn't disagree. But please think about this and don't assume Mohammed the model muslim isn't any threat to you. I think people like my neighbors are undermining what we have, and we are complete fools to invite more of them here.

You're not paranoid or racist, you're merely pointing out a naked emperor. That's been my very same experience in California. Between the Mexicans and the Muslims, we're getting it from all sides. We're sitting on one big, giant powderkeg here and everyone knows it.

Ethelred said...

prcaldude and latte island,

What part of "Allah hates the Unbeliever" do people not understand?

Islam is a "total way of life" which includes hating non-Muslims. They live in an unreal universe where the sun can rise in the West, since Allah is bound by nothing. They live in complete cognitive dissonance since Allah created the entire universe, loves his creation, which includes dogs, pigs and Infidels, yet hates them.

Etc, etc.

nikolai said...

I agree completely with what I think is the thrust of the essay. The power of television to mesmerize the voters is immense but it isn't all powerful. The counter power of the blogosphere and related webstuff will grow over time in the manner indicated. It won't be monolithic and people shouldn't aim to make it so in my opinion. Just a question of whether it can achieve critical mass before it is too late imo.

The important thing is information. I grew up in an area of the UK that was one of the first areas to be colonized. A lot of bad stuff went on and almost none of it was ever reported on the BBC because it didn't fit multi-cultural ideology. That meant only a small minority knew what the real cost was. Also the indigenous people in those areas could never know if it was a pattern of if it was just their area.

Collections of information like this blog are key to make people aware that their own experiences aren't unigue but part of a pattern.

CanManOT said...

"There's several stages of Muslim conquest. As we saw from the example of Mohammed, when the Muslims are weak in an area, they tell everyone how all they want is peace and harmony with other peoples. When they have the military or demographic upperhand, their story changes. Look at northern Nigeria. Look at Ethiopia." PRCalDude...I agree with you entirely....the only place I would add to Nigeria and Ethiopia is Serbia and its Kosovo province...Albanian muslims claim that they have been mistreated, but during the last century they increased their numbers from 40% to today's 90%...if these muslims were so mistreated, why did they come their in the first place...doesn't seem logical. However, this is all because there is an islamic masterplan to have at least one muslim country (the other is Bosnia) in Europe.