Archive for the ‘Future Positive Home Page Archive’ Category

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Monday, August 1st, 2011

As we flounder with our current debt crisis and approach the 2012 election, have  you ever wondered if there wasn’t a better way? … Reposted from 2002 SynEARTH Archives.

Beyond Democracy

Timothy Wilken, MD

In today’s world, it is assumed without question that majority rule democracy is the best way to organize humanity. To even offer a criticism of majority rule democracy is to invite an immediate and often emotionally charged attack on oneself. We are quickly asked to choose between majority rule democracy or the dictatorships of communism/fascism. We are quickly reminded that if we don’t like it here in a majority ruled democracy, we are free to leave.

And, majority rule democracy which is rule by the most, appears to offer a clear advance over dictatorships which is rule by the one, or oligarchy which is rule by the few.

Majority rule democracy in its purest form was found in the ancient Greek city-states and early Roman Republic, these were direct democracies in which all citizens could speak and vote in assemblies. This was possible because of the small size of the city-states almost never more than 10,000 citizens. However, even these ancient democracies did not presuppose equality of all individuals; the majority of the populace, notably slaves and women, had no political rights at all. So even here the majority really did not rule.

In modern representative democracies we find the majority rule mechanism used to select our representatives, to make decisions within committees and to make decisions within the legislative bodies. In the United States, we elect one president, 100 Senators and 435 Congressman. This is one President for ~276 million Americans. There are two Senators for each state. Senatorial representation would vary from one Senator for ~16 million Californians down to one Senator for ~350,000 Delawarians. The members of the first House of Representatives were elected on the basis of 1 representative for every 30,000 inhabitants, but at least 1 for each state. At present the size of the House is fixed at 435 members, elected on the basis of 1 representative for about 500,000 inhabitants.

Our representatives do not even know us. If any Congressman met with 10 of his constituents every day for 365 days a year, it would take over 137 years for him just to meet all of them. And Congressmen are only elected for two year terms. If our Congressman don’t even know us how can they represent us?

So if we carefully examine modern representative democracy scientifically, we discover it is an oliarchy. In other words, we are ruled by the few. When we go to the poles to elect a President, we are simply electing the leader of the few who rule. Majority rule democracy ends for we the people the moment we exit the voting booth. And, our elected leader will have no need of our opinion for four years.

Its even less representative than it appears!

Both houses of Congress facilitate business by the committee system, and each has a fixed number of permanent committees, called standing committees, the chief function of which is considering and preparing legislation.

As the United States grew in population and in influence in world affairs, the volume and complexity of the matters arising in Congress also increased. Due consideration to all matters submitted to the Congress could not be given in open debate on the floor of the Senate and House. As a result, the standing committees of the Congress became the arbiters of the fate of practically all legislation. There are 22 standing committees in the House and 16 standing committees in the Senate. Even though majority rule is used to make decisions in these committees once the decision is made the results are imposed on ~276,000,000 Americans.

In recent years, the American people have attempted to exert their will by making use of ballot initiatives. Almost always if these initiatives are not popular with the few that rule, they are quickly dismantled. In November of 1996, the majority of Californians voted for Proposition 209, which banned affirmative action, Proposition 215, which legalized medical use of marijuana, and Proposition 187, which denied legal benefits to illegal immigrants. By January of 1997, all three were hung up in the courts or in a jurisdictional squabble with the federal government. None was close to being enforced.

By May of 1998, Proposition 215, the Marijuana for Medical Use Initiative which passed by a 56% majority throughout the state and by an 80% majority in San Francisco has all but been dismantled by the Few who Rule. They had succeeded in closing the majority of the medical marijuana clinics which had opened throughout the state, and were pressing criminal charges against many of those involved in the clinics. Obviously, the majority does not rule in California.

This fact is being increasingly realized by citizens across the nation. Voting in our representative democracy does not make a difference.  And we the people appear less and less interested in pretending that our voting has any effect whatever. Voter turnout has been declining steadily since 1960. And as reported  in the Wall Street Journal for November 9, 2000:

“Overall voter turnout for this week’s election barely budged despite nearly $1 billion of campaign television advertisements and the closest presidential contest in decades

“About 50.7% of the nation’s 200 million eligible voters cast ballots this week, marginally greater than the rock-bottom level seen in 1996, but significantly lower than the 1992 level, said Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate. Four years ago, only 49% of those qualified to vote actually did so, the lowest turnout since 1924. By contrast, some 55% of the electorate went to the polls in 1992′s close race between Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush.”


Seeking synergic government

However, even if we had direct democracies using majority rule, it would not be a synergic form of government.

Adversary relationships require loss.

Neutral relationships prohibit loss, but do not require winning.

Synergic relationships prohibit loss and require winning.

So in fact, if we use the Neutral criteria of prohibition of loss, majority rule democracy is not even a neutral form of government. In majority rule democracy, the minority often loses. As Andrew J. Galambos wrote:

“The word Democracy comes from the Greek words which mean “rule of the people.” However, the practice of Democracy can be no better than the understanding of the concept of “rule of the people.”Over the past 2,000 years, most people have come to accept without question or reservation the idea that Democracy means the ability of the people to choose their mode of social organization by means of majority vote.

“The political concept of Democracy arose as a consequence of counting yeas and nays on particular issues and than selecting the men who would decide how issues were to be resolved. Whichever man could muster the choice of more persons than his opposition could muster became the dominant person for the society. This was and is nothing more than an application of the old dictum, might makes right.

“This concept of Democracy (which prevails to this day) relies upon the ability of the winning political leaders to count upon the support of more people than their losing opponents. However, this concept does nothing to ensure the protection of the property, hence, the freedom of those who may disagree. Furthermore, those who may be in the majority with respect to a given issue or political candidate will eventually find themselves in the minority with respect to other issues or candidates. In the long run, therefore, everyone loses. This concept of Democracy eventually breaks down and leads to a destruction of freedom.”

Source: Andrew J.Galambos, What is True Democracy,  Free Enterprise Institute, 1963

In today’s “FREE” world all political decisions are made using majority rule democracy. The the group deciding may be small, a committee faced with solving some particular problem, or large, the entire voting electorate of a nation choosing a President. Regardless of the size of the group deciding, decision is made when one faction within the group achieves a simple majority. That faction wins, the minority faction loses. Majority rule consensus requires only a simple majority to force the minority, the losing voters to accept the position of the majority, the winning voters. There is no need to gain the agreement of all of the members. There is no need to prevent the minority from losing.

Majority rule democracy of which the committee is the most common example is filled with political intrigue and back room deals to obtain majority consensus and defeat the minority. This often results in the dark art of politics which makes strange bedfellows. Even when the majority wins they are not assured of the cooperation of the minority. Often the minority may only support the elected plan half-heartedly, or even seek to sabotage the plan they didn’t vote for since they feel they are losing anyway.

Compared to the rule by the one of dictatorship,  the rule by the most of majority rule democracy, appears to be a much fairer way. And fairness is perhaps the greatest value of our American nation.  However, it should now be clear to the reader that while Neutral political-economic systems are better for humanity than Adversary political-economic systems. Majority rule democracy is really an Adversary political-economic system pretending to be a Neutral political-economic system. In reality only lip service is given to rule by the most.

What we really have in America, the “freest nation on Earth”, is rule by the few. And, while rule by the few holds some advantage over rule by the one, its advantage does not imply there is nothing better for Humanity.

If we are to find a synergic form of organization for humanity, we will have to look beyond the representative democracies of today.

Read the Synergic Future Series: 1) Beyond Property 2) Redefining Wealth 3) Synergic Wealth 4) Synergic Wealth II: Deepening Our Understanding 5) Trustegrities — Protecting the Future and 6) Synergic Guardians — Protecting the Future.

Front Page

Monday, July 11th, 2011

The power of the ORTEGRITY is available to organizations through BIAS systems. See also: 1) Discovery in North Carolina, 2) Heterarchy—The Secret of Japan, Inc., 3) Defining Ortegrity.

The Structure of Winning

Timothy Wilken, MD

The Ortegrity is a system for organizing two or more humans. It produces win-win relationships between all individuals within the organization. This results in a conflict free environment which optimizes the two processes of human behavior — decision and action. The resultant is that efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life are optimized.


Major Features

Decision-Action Tensegrities utilizing —

 decision heterarchy with synergic consenus and veto,

 action hierarchy with synergic negotiation,

 conflict free mechanism



In the Ortegrity, decisions are made in heterarchy. Each member’s role is the same. The goal is to find the plan of accomplishing the assigned task with best effect on all. A win-win solution. This search leads to the most efficient way of doing things. All members are protected from any loss by their veto. Only a win-win plan can be approved. Such plans that will be strongly supported by all members.

Humans develop strong feelings of community in heterarchy. It strengthens their committment to the organization. Individuals are more creative and enthusiastic in a setting where they feel respected and needed.

Decisions are always made heterarchically. All individuals in a heterarchy sit on the same level. They are equal in authority and responsibility. No one is superior to anyone else. It is the responsibility of all to accomplish the task assigned to the heterarchy. They all have equal authority and equal responsibility to decide how the task will be accomplished.

Anyone can propose a plan as to how the task might be accomplished. The heterarchy continues discussion until a unanimous decision is reached. Only those plans not vetoed carry. Every member has a veto and is expected to use it to prevent losses. This is synergic consensus. It is a powerful system for producing unanimous decision. Remember loss can still occur in synergic organization. But if loss must occur it is minimized and then shared equally by all members of the heterarchy.


The Synergic Veto — life’s secret

Most humans are suprised to learn of veto power. It seems very strange in the world of “directed” management. How can the boss allow employee’s to veto his orders and get anything done?

Members of a heterarchy are not employees. They stand equal with the organizer. A major secret of life is that self-directed organization is much more efficient than other-directed organization. The secret is to transcend directing anyone. The Ortegrity creates the ideal environment for self-organization.

In an environment of self-organization, human potential blossoms. Humans operate at a more powerful level. Those in an Ortegrity soon realize that their well being depends on the success of their organizations. They realize that if they wish to be well paid their organization must be successful. They have high interest in successful solutions to their tasks. They desire to be successful, and they want their organizations to be successful as well.

Now once the members of a heterarchy have decided on a plan of action. They then renegotiate among themselves to divide the plan of action into subtasks.

Recall that all members sit on the same level as “equals”. No one has more authority than anyone else. Every one has equal responsibility and equal authority within the heterarchy. The assignment for the heterarchy is to find the best plan to accomplish the task so all members will win. It is the collective responsibility of the entire heterarchy to find this “best” solution. Anyone can propose a plan to accomplish the task. All problems related to accomplishing the task would be discussed at length in the heterarchy.

The proposed plan for accomplishing the task would be examined by all members of the heterarchy. Anyone could suggest a modification, or even a completely different alternative plan to accomplish the task — always seeking to maximize the win. All individuals would serve as information sources for each other. The heterarchy would continue in discussion until a plan could be found that worked well for everyone. The goal of the heterarchy is to find that course of action that maximizes the win for everyone, if that is not possible and the group must lose, then the goal becomes to find that action which minimizes loss for everyone. And when loss occurs it is shared equally by all.

Organizing Humans

Those individuals within even today’s organizations are the ones who collectively “know” the most about the organization, and they certainly “know” best how to organize their own skills, talents and abilities .

In an environment of calmness and trust, two heads really are better than one. And it is the veto that lets this all work.

It is the veto that allows for synergic consenus within the Decision-Heterachy. Synergic consensus requires that all decisions be unanimous. All proposed plans are approved unless they are explicitly vetoed. Any member of the heterarchy can veto any plan in which they or anyone else loses. It is their duty to veto any loss in the system.

Because all loss positions are vetoed, all relationships become win-win. The power of synergic concensus rests on finding the third alternative. A major fact about human performance mental or physical is that it is greatest when the individual is winning. Examine our Olympic atheletes or our Nobel laurates. An environment that allows only win-win relationships will produce major increases in efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life.

We humans are presently conditioned to expect our relationships to be win/lose. We view most situations from that either/or point of view. Either I win or I lose. It has to be one or the other. Synergy science reveals the third alternative. It may be harder to find, but there almost always exists a third way of doing things so no one loses. Or at worst you are assured that the loss has been minimized and equally shared. This distributes the loss so it has the least negative effect on the individual. This is the win-win way — this is synergy.

When all were in agreement and only then would the plan be implemented. The plan must insure that all members of the group win. Any member can veto a losing plan. Taking the time in decision making to discover the win-win way means that action will be many times more efficient.

In most human organizations today, the boss simply assigns tasks or groups of tasks to each of his selected managers. This is other-directed management — telling the managers what to do. The Ortegrity operates very differently. No one tells anyone what to do. All other-direction is replaced with self-direction. Once the heterarchy has synergically decided on a plan of action, the system negotiates to form an action hierarchy. This is the structure used in implementation. Here, each member’s role is different.

Action — Hierarchy

Now once the heterarchy has approved a win-win plan of action to accomplish the Synergic Task, the members of the heterarchy begin to form a action team on a negotiated basis. The individuals within the heterarchy divide labor. Action is too large for any single member. Individual responsibility and authority is agreed to through open negotiation. The action team then functions as a hierarchy to carry out the plan. Participation within the system is always voluntary. The members of the team decide how they wish to work together, or even if they want to participate. No one is ever forced to do anything they don’t want to. However no win can occur unless they are successful.

Individuality is a strong feature of the action hierarchy.

Actions are always made heirarchically. All individuals in a heirarchy sit on different levels. They have different authority and responsibility for accomplishing the task. Their individual responsibility and authority is determined by synergic negotiation. Once having reached a decision in heterarchy they begin an open win-win negotiation to divide the labor of the plan. They develop levels of responsibility and authority. But these levels are voluntarily assumed. Again only a unanimous arrangement is permitted.


All relationships within a Ortegrity are win-win. This is the first principle of an Ortegrity, and all are pledged to uphold it. This is why every member is required to veto any action within the the system in which he or anyone else would lose. The utilization of synergic consensus and synergic negotiation produces very different forms of heterarchy and hierarchy. The forms used within the Ortegrity are nothing like committees with majority rule, or typical other-directed hierarchies. Heterarchy decides using the mechanism of synergic consensus and veto. And hierarchies are created by synergic negotiation of individual responsibility and authority. Synergic means all must win.

There is a division of labor with the individuals negotiating as to levels of  responsibility and authority in terms of implementing the plan. The individuals remain in hierarchy until the task is accomplished. When finished the hierarchy is abandoned and heterarchy reformed to make a new decision.

Ortegrity utilizes a dual mechanism in that everyone within the organization has two identities — two roles. Everyone participates in both decision making and in action implementation. Everyone has both heterarchical and hierarchical functions. The unit of organization with in the Ortegrity is the sub-tensegrity — the Decision-Action Tensegrity.

The Rhythm Of Life

During implementation, the action team would continue to function until the task was accomplished, then the action hierarchy is abandoned with all members returning to heterarchy to make a new decision about the next task. this of course leading to the creation of a new action team.

Decision —>Action —>Decision —>Action —>Decision —>
Action —>Decision —>Action —>Decision —>Action —>
Decision —>Action —> and on and on and on …

First it configures as a decision-heterarchy, it then considers its task, then one member declares a plan of action. If there are no vetoes, then the heterarchy configures itself into an action-hierarchy. During the action it functions as a hierarchy. Each member standing where he agreed to stand, performing those tasks he volunteered to perform. Once the action is successfully completed, the hierarchy is abandoned and the members return to the heterarchy.

Heterarchy —>Hierarchy —>Heterarchy —> Hierarchy
—>Heterarchy —> Hierarchy —>Heterarchy —>
Hierarchy —>Heterarchy —> and on and on and on…………..

As a balanced system of discontinuous hierarchies and continuous heterarchies, the Ortegrity has the strengths of both heterarchy and hierarchy, and none of their weaknesses.

The End of Conflict

This system is designed to eliminate all internal conflict. Elimination of all conflict maximizes efficiency, productivity and quality of work-life. All relationships between all individuals within the system are win-win. This is a design characteristic of the system. It is veto power that forces the third alternative — the win-win solution. It is synergic relationship that unlocks human potential. This is the relationship that elimates all conflict.

          conflict     :      friction
___________      _________
organizations   :    machinery

Using the win-win relationship in organizations is like applying grease to machinery. Japanese corporations are presently 150% more efficient and productive than American corporations. Those companies who choose to restructure as Ortegrities could experience an increase in efficiency and productivity of 1000%.

Decision-Action Tensegrities

The organizing unit of the Ortegrity then is the Decision-Action Tensegrity. These are also tensegrities. Synergic organization utilizes a tensegrity of tensegrites.

The D-A Tensegrity is a group of between two and twenty humans. The size of a D-A Tensegrity is limited by the complexity of decision making. In a complex area such as in research & development, the ideal size may be six or seven members. In a system with simpler decison making as many as 16 to 20 individuals may form a production D-A Tensegrity.

During decision making the D-A Tensegrity uses the heterarchical form. A heterarchy with seven members is a base seven tensegrity. A two member heterarchy would be called a base two. A three member heterarchy is a base three and so on.

The following illustration of a base seven D-A Tensegrity represents the heterarchical relationship on the perimeter and the hierarchical relationships with direct lines of communication. All individuals have a dual idenity. Their heterarchical role in decision and their hierarchical role in action.


The organizers using synergic consensus will determine how to structure their Ortegrities. There is no right or wrong way. The way that insures the maximum win and prohibits loss is the best way for a particular system. I expect Ortegrities will be as diverse as life forms.

The “organizer” does not direct the other members of his group. He would instead be responsible for coordinating their organization into an effective team.

The “organizer” begins by presenting the synergic task to the individuals within the heterarchy.

An Ortegrity divides itself into synergic groups in order to function. We can call these groups Decision-Action Tensegrities. Heterarchy is used when making decisions and hierarchy when carring out actions. Each Decision-Action Tensegrities has an “organizer” that functions as coordinator-leader. When the group is making decisions, he/she coordinates the heterarchy. When the group is taking action, he/she leads the hierarchy. Decision-Action Tensegrities can have two to twenty or more members.

StartUp Ortegrity

A StartUp Ortegrity begins when a single individual commits to using the synergic mechanism of the O.T. to accomplish some goal or set of goals that are beyond his/her abilities as an individual.

The primary organizer first sets about recruiting one or more other individuals to help him or her. The primary organizer will begin by sitting down in heterarchy with the primary group and define the primary task using synergic consensus and veto. The members of the primary Decision-Action Tensegrity all have equal responsibility and equal authority in reaching synergic consensus and defining the primary task.

They discuss things fully. Any member of the group can propose a change to improve or refine the primary task. Only those modifications which find support from all members of the group are implemented. Anyone can veto any proposal in order to prevent loss, or offer a modification to insure a greater win. Only those proposals unanimously agreed to carry.

Once the primary synergic task is defined and unanimously elected by the heterarcy, then a plan for synergic action must be developed using synergic negotiation. Now the members of the heterarchy will accept hierarchichal roles with individual responsibility and authority. If the primary synergic task is within the abilites of the primary Decision-Action Tensegrity to accomplish it,then they accomplish it operating in action-hierarchy. When they are done, they reconfigure back into decision-heterarchy to define their next synergic task.

If however, the synergic task is too large for the primary Decision-Action Tensegrity to accomplish, then part of the primary synergic task will be to make the Ortegrity larger. This is accomplished by having the primary members recruit and organize secondary D-A Tensegrities.

TopDown Self-Organization

Once all members have agreed to a primary plan of action, they then divide it into smaller secondary plans for distribution among themselves. This results in the self-assignment of tasks. The members of the primary tensegrity, then divide labor through the voluntarily formation of a action-hierarchy to implement the plan. Each “organizer”, the term “manager” is scraped altogether, then takes his task down to the secondary tensegrity which he is responsible for organizing.

The pattern of organization is from the top down. This is not the “other-directed” hierarchy of American Capitalism. The process of organization is from the top down, but the mechanism is “self directed” heterarchy. Only when synergic consensus has been achieved at the higher level can the organizational focus move down to a lower level.

Within the Ortegrity, most “organizers” will function at two levels of tensegrity. Within the primary tensegrity, they are “organized” by the primary “organizer” — the synergic alternative to a CEO. In addition these members are also the “coodinators” of their own secondary tensegrities which they are responsible for organizing.

Within the Ortegrity, those individuals operating at two levels are then both organized and organizers. As members of the primary tensegrity, they are organized by the “primary organizer” — the O’ (called the O prime) and they are also the organizers of their own secondary tensegrities. Each of these is therefore an “organized-organizer” — the O-O  (called the double O).

An organization can have any number of Decision-Action Tensegrities. These Decision-Action Tensegrities can be on different levels. Large organizations would include severay levels of Decision-Action Tensegrities. These different levels are referred to simply as first level, second level, third level and so on in synergic terminology.

Compound Tensegrities

The following illustration is of a base five, level two O.T.. Twenty five employees with one five-member primary DA-Tensegrity and five (five-member) secondary DA-Tensegrities.


The central * DA-Tensegrity is the primary Tensegrity. It divides the primary tasks of the company into secondary tasks, these are then carried down to the secondary Tensegrities for solution by the O-Os, “organized-organizers”. In this example the O’ functions as both primary organizer and one of the O-Os.


Ultimately Flexible

No known system of organization is more flexible and adaptive then Living systems. The Ortegrity is a pattern of life.

The Ortegrity is ultimately flexible. There can be two to twenty individuals within the base D-A Tensegrities. Bases can be regular — all with the same number of members or irregular — all with different numbers of members or any mixture of regular and irregular.

There can be any number of levels, and any number of branches on each level. The system is so powerful that twelve levels looks like enough for most of our needs.

The following chart is based on a base seven regular tensegrity. All DA-Tensegrities would have seven members.

# of base tensegrities
# of individuals
1 1 7
2 8 49
3 57 343
4 400 2401
5 2801 16,807
6 19,608 117,649
7 137,257 823,543
8 960,800 5,764,801
9 6,725,601 40,353,607
10 47,079,208 282,475,249
11 329,554,457 1,977,326,743
12 2,306,881,200 13,841,287,201

A level 12 Ortegrity would be adequate for organizing the entire humans species within a single organization. Recalling that the larger a tensegrity the more powerful it will is. Synergic science predicts this will also be true for human organizations structured as Ortegrities. Therefore, I would expect a trend towards very large organizations.

Imagine, what could be possible if the entire human species were a single organization. No conflict, no wars, no crimes. Is there anything we could not accomplish?

The power of the ORTEGRITY is available to organizations through BIAS systems.

Front Page

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

From the Future Positive Archives. Today, I define the ORTEGRITY, this is the third in the series that started with the Discovery in North Carolina of the Organizational Tensegrity, and was followed by my discussion of Heterarchy—The Secret of Japan, Inc..

Defining Ortegrity

Timothy Wilken, MD

Life’s pattern of organization is the tensegrity, it has been in use on earth for over three and one half billion years. The tensegrity is the basis of organizing all living systems including our own bodies. Up until now we humans have not understood the mechanism and therefore could not use this pattern to organize our marriages, our businesses, our organizations and institutions, our communities, or even the entire human species.

Humans who organize themselves using the pattern of tensegrity will find themselves orders of magnitude more efficient, more productive, more creative, more intelligent. More importantly they will be much more successful in pursuing their goals and desires.

Within this half century, we humans have developed ergometric science to help us improve our tool-making. Ergometric scientists tell us how to best design tools to fit the human form. By carefully measuring both the physiology and psychology of the human body, today’s scientists are seeking to determine the best designs for new tools. They know that the best tools are those that fit you like a well-tailored glove fits your hand.

Recently ergometric science has been much advanced by a breakthrough in our understanding of human intelligence. With the development of the “dual mind” model of human intelligence it is now possible to design tools that fit the human “mind-brain”. In other words, we can now ergometrically engineer tools to fit the way we humans think.

We humans are the toolmakers, and in our history we have made many tools — both simple and complex. The most complex and complicated of all our tools are our organizations — the corporations, institutions, militaries, and governments of earth. These are also the most important tools in all our lives, for they significantly influence both the quality and quantity of our lives. Of all the tools we might seek to ergometrically engineer to fit the human “mind-brain”, there exists no greater potential benefit for all humankind then by applying this science to our most complex tools — our human organizations.

One such tool has recently completed development, and is now available to organizations for immediate application. This first ergometrically designed tool for human organizations is called the Ortegrity. The Ortegrity is a “mind-brain” compatible system of organizing humans. It can be used by a small group of individuals or a giant corporation with hundreds of thousands of employees.

The Ortegrity is a “system of human organization that creates a conflict-free environment for decision making and action implementation”. This is an environment so ergometrically suited to human thinking that efficiency and productivity are predicted to increase 10 to 1000 times. Yes, that is 10 to 1000 times more efficient and productive.

The Ortegrity achieves its great power by creating an ideal psychological environment for human thinking. One important finding of recent mind-brain research, is “that whenever humans experience conflict they lose access to their full intelligence”. When humans are confronted with conflict, their mind-brains shift to a very primitive and highly reactive way of thinking called the survive mode. The survive mode  evolved in the jungle to insure physical survival. Its primary skills are fighting and fleeing. Its extremes are rage and terror. All humans thinking in the survive mode will find their intelligence to be severely limited. Access is lost to the faculties of reason and intuition. In severe conflict, many of us lose even our ability to speak. Unfortunately, the survive mode turns on with the slightest conflict, and instantaneously our intelligence begins to decrease. It is not simply on or off. It is more like the rheostat dimmer switch controlling a dinning room light. A little conflict will produce a little loss of intelligence, while a large conflict will produce a large loss of intelligence. If we remain in conflict for weeks, then we will operate at limited intelligence for weeks. And in full rage or terror, we humans access only a tiny fraction of our potential intelligence. Conflict is to organizations as friction is to machinery.

The power of the Ortegrity results then from its unique ability to create a conflict-free state. It is this conflict-free state that optimizes human intelligence and creativity. It is this conflict-free state that maximizes efficiency and productivity. It is this conflict-free state that increases the quality of work-life. It is the conflict-free state that allows all relationships between all members to become win-win.

In the difficult political-economic times ahead, organizations must learn to work smarter. Only by optimizing the human factor can they hope to survive. The Ortegrity promises to increase efficiency and productivity by 10 to 1000 times. It accomplishes this by increasing the intelligence and creativity of all members in the system. This is working “smartest”. The Ortegrity was designed to fit the human “mind-brain” like a well tailored glove fits your hand, it could change the way we all work and live in the future.

When living systems — the plants, the animals, and our own human bodies are compared to the best of man-made systems — the corporations, the institutions, our governments and militaries, Living systems are found to be one to three orders of magnitude more efficient and productive. By utilizing the Ortegrity, it appears possible to restructure human organizations so they are ten to one thousand times more efficient and productive.

Synergic Consensus

Synergic consensus is a much more powerful mechanism of decision than the majority rule of present day committees. All decisions with an Ortegrity system are made within Decision Heterarchy. A decision heterarchy is made up of a group of humans with common purpose. The minimum number is 2 the maximum number is presently unknown. I believe the ideal size may be ~six or seven individuals. The group is organized horizontally with all individuals sharing equal authority and equal responsibility.

We humans are most familiar with the committee system. It is very different than the Heterarchy. While they are both methods of organizing human individuals to make decisions for group action. Committees are filled with conflict and highly ineffective. In a committee no individual is held responsible for the actions taken by the group. And decision is made by majority ultimatum. A desenting minority member can support the action he voted against or leave the committee. Heterarchy of the Ortegrity, in contrast organizes individuals to have equal authority to decide on joint action with equal responsibility for the resultant that is produced by that action.

Synergic consensus occurs when a group of humans sitting in heterarchy negotiate to reach a decision in which they all win and in which no one loses. In a synergic heterarchy, all members sit on the same level as “equals”. No one has more authority than anyone else. Every one has equal responsibility and equal authority within the heterarchy. The assignment for the heterarchy is to find a plan of action so that all members win. It is the collective responsibility of the entire heterarchy to find this “best” solution. Anyone can propose a plan to accomplish the needs of the group. All problems related to accomplishing the needs would be discussed at length in the heterarchy.

The proposed action for solving a problem is examined by all members of the heterarchy. Anyone can suggest a modification, or even an alternative action to solve the problem. All members of the heterarchy serve as information sources for each other. The heterarchy continues in discussion until a plan of action is found that will work for everyone. When all are in agreement and only then can the plan be implemented. The plan insures that all members of the synergic heterarchy win. All members are required to veto any plan where they or anyone else would lose. But all vetoes are immediately followed by renegotiation to modify the plan so the loss can be eliminated.

Unanimous Agreement

Synergic consensus is unanimous agreement. I can hear the objections now. “That’s impossible, you will never get everyone in the group to agree.” “Decisions will never get made.” “It is hard enough to get a majority to agree.”

A Japanese business heterarchy is slower at making decisions than a single manager in an American business hierarcy. It takes longer for a group of individuals to discuss, negotiate, and come to agreement than it takes for a single American manager to decide all by himself. If the speed of making decisions is the only criteria for choosing a mechanism of decision making then the business tyrant — the rule by one is the clear standout.

However, the Japanese have shown us the disadvantages of other directed hierarchies. Majority rule committee is not a rapid decision making process. Individuals within a committee are seeking to gain the majority of support. This takes time — sometimes a lot of time. The focus is on lining up votes — working deals — in a word — politics. This process is anything but rapid. If all decisions in American businesses were made by majority rule, decision making would probably be even slower than in Japanese companies using heterarchical consensus.

Synergic consensus is only now becoming available to humanity. We do not yet know how fast it will be at making decisions. But, I predict that decision making by synergic consensus will prove faster than decision making by majority rule. Synergic consensus elimates conflict. Recall conflict is the stuggle to avoid loss. Conflict is at the very heart of majority rule decison making. The focus of synergic consensus is very different. The entire group knows from the outset that they cannot lose. They are focused on choosing a plan of action that serves the needs of all the members in the group — to choose a plan of action that causes no one to lose. The synergic veto is not invoked capriciously. The only basis for synergic veto is to prevent someone from losing. This is a mechanism to eliminate loss — to choose the very best plan of action for everyone. This may well speed up the process of decison making. In any event regardless of the speed of decision, implimentation will be rapid. There is no conflict. This is a major advantage.

The Synergic Veto

Synergic Mechanism accepts the Neutral value — To Prohibit Loss. Those humans using synergic mechanism desire just as strongly as those using neutral mechanism not to lose, but synergic mechanism is more. Both parties need to win. Let us recall our basic definition,

Co-OPERATION  — def — > Operating together to insure that both parties win and that neither party loses. The negotiation to insure that both parties are helped and neither party is hurt.

Co-Operation is the mechanism of action necessary whenever an individual desires to accomplish a task beyond his individual abilities. Imagine, you and a friend are moving a heavy piece of furniture. Neither of you are strong enough to move the furniture by yourself. You decide to co-operate — You decide to operate together during the lifting. You would negotiate to insure the win — to insure being helped.The conversation might go like this: “Are you ready?”    “Ok.”    “Ready, 1.. 2.. 3.. lift!” and if things are going well that is fine, but if one end gets too heavy then Synergic Co-Operation prohibts loss… “Whoops! Set it down.” This is the synergic veto.

This is the true meaning of co-Operation — the negotiation to insure that both individuals win. And the synergic veto to stop the action if either party is losing. Losing is the only valid use for synergic veto. All synergists are required to immediately veto any action in which they or anyone else would be harmed — any action in which they or anyone else would lose.

No-win Scenarios

Remember, even when you use synergic mechanism you can’t always win. There will times when the contraints facing a synergic group are such that loss is unavoidable. Synergic mechanism strives to make this a rare situation, but loss will occur. If you can’t find a win-win scenario to clear a synergic veto, then synergic mechanism dictates the group must admit and accept the inevitability of loss. When a No-Win situation occurs, the synergic group shifts its focus to finding that action or solution that will minimize the loss. And then, whatever the loss is, it must be shared equally.

In synergy, we are one. In synergy are equal. In synergy we strive to win together. But if we are forced to lose, then we will lose together — this means we will all share equally in the loss.

Synergic Equality

The basic unit of synergic organization is a synergic group organized as heterarchy. All members of a synergic heterarchy are equal. They share equal responsibility for the actions chosen by the group. They share equal authority in the process of choosing those actions. When individuals work together in synergic relationship to a accomplish a common goal. They are considered as a single system.

When individuals work together in synergic relationship, new abilities, skills, talents, etc., emerge as a part of that relationship, that are not there when the individuals work separately. The individuals working in synergic group are more efficient, more productive, more creative, and more intelligent, than they are when working separately. The result of their synergy is that they create “more” together than they could create apart. This “more” is Haskell’s “Co-Operators’ surplus”.

When individuals work together in synergic relationship, they equally contribute to the synergic emergents, and will share equally in the Co-Operators’ surplus. Haskell’s “Co-Operators Surplus” is property and it is owned equally by all who synergized within the synergic group to create it. Within a synergic group all members commit to the Six Tenets of Synergic Equality.

1) In synergy, I am ONE with my associates. 2) In synergy, I am MORE with my asscociates than by myself.

3) In synergy, I am EQUAL to all my associates.

4) In synergy when we WIN, I will win MORE with my associates than by myself and I will share equally in the GAINS.

5) In synergy, when we LOSE, I will lose LESS with my associates than by myself and I will share equally in the LOSSES.

6) In synergy, we will win together or lose together, but we are TOGETHER.

SYNERGY — Working Together

In synergic relationship individuals continue negotiating to insure the win, In synergic relationship, all players are focused on winning. Everyone is seeking help. The game calls for only winners, there is no need for loss. Each player is expected and encouraged to veto any suggested plan wherein they would lose. It is of primary importance in synergic relationship to veto all loss positions. Failure to do so instantly shifts the relationship back to adversary, with the immediate return of conflict. In contrast, since there are no losers in synergic relationships, there is also no conflict. And because obtaining help by helping others attracts the highest quality help, real winners seeks synergic help. Seek always synergic help by making sure that those who help you also win. Be sure they understand how their helping you will also help them. Use the following approach to help you succeed.

Whenever you encounter conflict in a potential helper, they are struggling to avoid loss. This means they believe they will lose by helping you.

1) Analyze the relationship, if your potential helper is really losing, then modify the plan so they will win. To proceed without modifying your plan will only continue conflict and get you only the lowest quality help.2) If the potential helper simply misunderstands, and in fact he really does win, then explain why he misunderstands, or fill in the information as to how he wins. When he knows he will win by helping you — he will immediately seek co-Operation.

TRUSTING — Synergic Attitude

The most powerful strategy one can use in our present world then is to seek synergic relationship. But survival requires you to avoid individuals comitted to adversary relationships. They too, are seeking to make you help them — the adversary way needs losers.

Synergists are sometimes mistaken by adversary players as weak adversaries. This is not the case. A good synergist immediately notices any loss, and will seek co-operation. If relationship where both parties win cannot be negotiated, then the synergist will break off a relationship with the committed adversary.

Synergists don’t fight or flight; they communicate and negotiate. They understand to fight or flight is to abandon the synergic way for instant conflict — for instant hurt — for instant loss. The synergic individual desires always to win. He seeks synergic relationship to increase his chances of winning.

Anytime, the synergist is not winning, he seeks to renegotiate. If he is unable to co-Operate, he chooses not to conflict. He simply ends the relationship with the least possible loss. He lives the attitude of the good synergist. I am a helper, and therefore I will help you, and trust you to help me. I will seek to help all my fellow humans, but my resources are limited, and in the long run, I must help those who help me.

Avoiding Ultimatums

Ultimatum is an adversary condition when the stronger forces the weaker to lose. This can occur between two individuals or between two nations. For example, let us assume that two individuals decide to help each other — that is they decide to work together — to form an “us”. These individuals will discover their individual preferences are constrained by their joint life. Because they share resources, they can’t both live in their favorite city, or in their favorite house, or own their favorite automobile, unless by chance they have identical favorites. The “us” is formed to gain the power and advantage of interdependence. Interdependence’s “division of labor” improves the standard of living for both, but the price for the higher standard of living is that the choices of both individuals are constrained by the needs and wants of the other.

In the adversary relationships, we experience this constraint as the ultimatum. The ultimatum is an opportunity to lose. You can lose-a-little or you can lose-a-lot, but you will lose.

Imagine, a husband comes home from work. He says to his wife,

“Well, I lost my job today. I have had it with the bay area. We are going to move to Los Angeles, there are good jobs there.” His wife counters, “But, I don’t like Los Angeles. The kids and I will lose, if we have to move to Los Angeles.” The husband plays the trump card. “Well you can either go to Los Angeles or you can get a divorce. Its up to you, but I’m moving to L.A.”

Which do you want? — a broken arm or a broken leg? Your choice is between losing-a-little by moving to a community you don’t like, or losing-a-lot by getting a divorce, but you are going to lose.

Seeking Bindings

Now constraint is placed on any group of individuals who choose to live or work together. This is a law of physics. Constraint does not go away in the synergic relationship. But it remains only a constraint, and not a compromise. In synergic relationship, you are never forced to lose. You, in fact, are encouraged and expected to veto all losses. The only path the two of you agree to walk is one in which you both win. In synergic relationship there is no loss. You may win-a-lot or you may win-a-little, but you will win.

The synergic alternative to the ultimatum is called the binding. It is the contract that results from the negotiation to insure the win — co-Operation. It is the contract establishing a relationship in which you both win in which you both are helped.

Imagine, our husband coming home who enjoys synergic relationship with his wife. “Honey, I got laid off today, I have really had it with the bay area. I just can’t stay here anymore. I feel like I’m losing.” “Well, where do you want to go?” “Los Angeles, I hear there are good jobs down there.” “No, the kids and I would lose in Los Angeles. How about Denver?” “Okay, I could live with that. Let me check the job market tomorrow.”

In synergic relationship there is no loss. You may win-a-lot or you may win-a-little, but you will win.

Life Utilizes Synergic Consensus

Today, mind and brain scientists have made enormous progress in understanding how the human brain works. There has been many surprises in these recent advances. But the biggest shocker is that the brain doesn’t decide what to do. Decision making is not controlled centrally in the brain. The mind-brain appears to act as a coordination and consensus system for meeting all the needs of the cells, tissues, and organs of the body. The brain doesn’t decide to eat. The cells of the body decide to eat, the brain coordinates their activity and carries out the consensus will.

Our human brain stores the gathered information from the body’s sensing of its environment, the brain presents opportunities for action reflective of both the sensing of environment and the needs and goals of the 40,000,000,000,000 cells it serves. The brain is not the leader of the body, it is the follower of the body. It is a system that matches needs of the body with its sensing of opportunities to meet these needs by action within the environment. The brain is a ‘synergic government’ that truly serves its constituents — the cells, tissues, and organs that make up the human body. The body is governed by unanimous consensus and has survived millions of years.

The apparent ‘I’ is not real. It is really a ‘we’. We humans have mistaken the self-organization of synergic consensus for the directed organization of an ego decider.

If the human body can using unanimous rule democracy and synergic consensus can organize and coordinate the actions of 40,000,000,000,000 cells so totally that we identify the whole organism as a single idividual, then we humans should be able to use these same mechanisms to organize our species and solve our human problems.

Read the full description of ORTEGRITY

Front Page

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

A graduate of Harvard Medical School and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. N. Arthur Coulter is a synergic science pioneer. He began searching for a better way for humanity over 50 years ago. In 1983, we would meet and work together. By co-Operating, we would discovery the organizational tensegrity. … Reposted from the Future Positive Archives.

Discovery in North Carolina

Timothy Wilken, MD

Independent of me, another synergic scientist N. Arthur Coulter, Jr., MD had been seeking to develop an ideal system of organization for human beings. He defined ideal as that system that would maximize both freedom, and quality of life for all within the system. He was the author of SYNERGETICS: An Adventure in Human Development. I discovered him by purchasing his book based on its title from a science catalog. I was so impressed with his book that I took a chance and wrote him. We soon developed a long distance friendship.

Coulter was also searching for a better world. He had realized that with the dropping of the Atomic bomb on Japan, humanity had reached a crossroad. That our weapons were now of such power that they threatened us all with extinction. He concluded:

“What is needed is nothing less than a major evolution of the human mind, which would give the rational, humane part of the mind a much greater control over the emotional part.”

Coming out the Army at the end of 1945, Coulter switched his focus from Mathematics and entered Harvard Medical School. He said he needed to learn all he could about the human brain and mind. Thirty years later, he was Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. But whenever he wasn’t teaching medical students, his focus was on understanding human thinking and human relationships.

In March of 1983, I traveled from my home on the west coast of Northern California to meet with Dr. Coulter. From Chapel Hill, we traveled by car a small private retreat he had built on a lake in nearby Virginia. It was a beautiful and very quiet place ideal for thinking and corroboration. He called it Synergia.

The purpose of our meeting was two-fold, first to share our research findings about human relationships, behavior, and thinking, and then to design or at least establish criteria for designing a “conflict-free” organizational system for humankind. As synergic scientists, we both believed an ideal system would be based on win-win relationships.

As our discussions began, I felt sure the system would be a form of capitalism. I had studied theoretical capitalism for a number of years.

One captitalistic theorist, Andrew J. Galambos had proposed an advanced capitalistic system which was non-coercive. Its underlying premise was to eliminate and prohibit loss. Galambos’ proposed system did not insure win-win relationships, but it promised to eliminate losing relationships. Galambos’ system was a type of SuperNeutrality. It allowed win-draw, draw-win, draw-draw, or win-win. It was committed to the protection of property. But, the definition of property was expanded to include your life, freedom, ideas, and actions. Galambos’Capitalism was a much more powerful form than exists today. With its absolute prohibition of injuring others, it can be thought of as Moral Capitalism. Its tenets included the absolute protection of property, individual freedom, and total responsibility.

Galambos’s “SuperNeutrality — Moral Capitalism” retained many of Neutrality — Capitalism’s value systems. In 1983, I shared most of these values. However, even then I knew there was an even better way possible. I felt Galambos’s system could be modified into the synergic system we were seeking. I envisioned the ideal system would be a form of Synergic Capitalism — win-win capitalism.

As a synergy scientist, Coulter was sensitive to the wholistic view — a view he associated with theoretical socialism. He felt the needs of the species were more important than the needs of the individual. As the Star Trek character Spock said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

Unaware of Galambos’s work, Coulter assumed all capitalistic structures had to be based on win/lose dynamics, and therefore he was opposed to them on principle. Coulter envisioned a form of Synergic Socialism — win-win socialism.

Stalemate — Warring Ideologies

Socialism and capitalism are often polarizing words in our culture. And, Coulter and I also had our hidden assumptions. We discussed the issues long into that first night. And yet as adaptive and open as Coulter and I might hope to be, we were starting very far apart.

Over breakfast the next morning, we both shared our concern over the risk of a stalemate. It seemed our starting premises were exclusionary. The ideal system couldn’t be both capitalistic and socialistic. Capitalistic — Socialism or Socialistic — Capitalism? It just didn’t work.

Above all else Coulter and I were committed to the scientific way. As scientists, we knew all beliefs were only models of how Nature works. That all models were only temporary, even the best were theoretically obsolete on the day they are made. All models would someday to be replaced with better ones. Newton’s model of Universe served us well for over two hundred years, but Einstein’s model of Universe replaced it all the same. Everyday somewhere on the planet a human being is discovering something new about Nature that will eventually change all of our opinions. We both agreed that all present political systems were adversary systems. That all present systems were and are coercive  systems. Our committment to synergy’s win-win principle required that Coulter and I be apolitical. We could not endorse any political system. Our interest in theoretical capitalism or theoretical socialism related only to their underlying patterns of organization.

We also agreed that finding the ideal organizing strategy for humankind was important if not critical. Neither of us wanted a statemate. We both committed to openly considering the other’s point of view, and further pledged a willingness to modify our positions based on the power of each other’s arguments. But after hours of discussion, I still believed the ideal system would be a form of synergic capitalism, and Coulter believed it must be some form of synergic socialism.

Korzybski’s General Semantics

We decided to formalize our discussions by utilizing the powerful communication science — General Semantics. Alfred Korzybski originated General Semantics to take the misunderstanding out of communication. He is quoted as saying:

“There can be no disagreements only misunderstandings. We are all looking at the same universe, in the end we must agree.”

I hoped Korzybski was right, and that Coulter and I would somehow discover we were only misunderstanding each other. But I had my doubts, capitalism and socialism — could they ever be resolved into a single system? No, it had to be either one or the other.

I hoped General Semantics would lead us to an answer. If it was to be socialism, then I was willing to change my position. But Coulter, would have to prove he had a better system.

After breakfast, I began by presenting the basic postulates underlying theoretical capitalism and its underlying relationship to hierarchical strategy, and then Coulter presented the basic postulates of theoretical socialism and its underlying relationship to heterarchical strategy. First I would teach him, then he would teach me. We alternated back and forth.

By late in the afternoon of our second day, we had both learned a lot. I was beginning to see the power and value of heterarchy, and Coulter was discovering the power and value of hierarchy. Both of us had held a number of false assumptions about the other’s position. However no real progress was made towards our ideal system. And, we still found ourselves butting heads over the terms capitalism and socialism. It seemed both of us carried strong emotional opinions about the terms in our unconscious. Our strong emotional attitudes seemed to block any hope for a solution in the little time we had available. If we didn’t change our focus, hope for any meaningful solution would be lost. Because our unconscious attitudes were sabotaging our efforts, we agreed to drop the terms capitalism and socialism completely from our discussion.

Beyond Capitalism & Socialism

Coulter and I both agreed that what was really important was to create a system that produced only win-win relationships. If we succeeded at that, then whether it was “capitalistic” or “socialistic” might not really matter. At this point, we agreed to change our focus to “hierarchy” and “heterarchy”. We began seeking a unique system that would transcend both capitalism and socialism — perhaps we could call it simply synergism.

I began by discussing the underlying structure of capitalism. I felt that even if the ideal system wasn’t capitalistic it would still have to retain hierarchy.

Hierarchy is a vertical system with many levels of organization. Those with greatest responsibility and authority occupy the higher levels. Hierarchy creates a feeling of difference or individuality. Individuals within the system see each other vertically, “He is over me.” “I work under John.” “He is way up in the company” “She is the lowest one on the totem pole.”

Hierarchy is humanity’s oldest organizing strategy. It was born in the jungle, was nurtured in the cave, grew up in the tribe, blossomed with feudalism, and today dominates nearly all the corporations, institutions, governments, and militaries of earth. Hierarchy is often experienced as the chain of command or pecking order. It is most formalized in military combat.

In business organizations, hierarchy is often experienced as an extension of the personalities of those individuals who founded the company. The operating policies of the company are a reflection of the values of the individual founders. Individuals with similar values are often selected to continue the company. So we see the primary concerns of a hierarchy are the goals of those few individuals that control it.

This is why American companies have individual decision making, and individual responsibility. Hierarchy has a particulate focus because goals are particular to the individuals who create them.

Hierarchy’s focus on the individual does lead to the stimulation of individual innovation, creativity, and originality. This leads to the development of a few individual stars who tend to dominate the company. Individuality has its strengths — one of which is rapid decision making. One individual can always decide much quicker than a group. I highly valued the individual and felt reliance on the best individuals had to be good for the whole group. Now it was Coulter’s turn to speak for heterarchy.

Coulter was just as sure the ideal system must be a heterarchy. His commitment to heterarchy was supported by research findings which revealed human relationships are optimized when humans feel they are valued at the same level.

The primary organizing strategy of theoretical socialism is heterarchy, this is in sharp distinction to political socialism which is usually hierarchical.

Heterarchy is a very different breed of organizational strategy than hierarchy. It is a horizontal system with only one level of organization. All are equal within the heterarchy. Individuals within the system see each other as  being on the same level. “We are a team.” “Its like a family rather than a job.” “We all respect each other.”

Heterarchy is ideal for communication and discussion, because it  allows for the sharing of responsibility and authority within an informal environment. Task assignments following open discussions, produce more cooperative working relationships. In a setting where associates feel valued, openness and integrity emerge. Individuals often take much greater roles in the tasks of their departments. In this setting, there is less conflict, and this usually results in improvement in efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life.

Heterarchy creates a feeling of oneness — a feeling of community. Members of a heterarchy strongly identify with the whole system. Morale and espirit de corps are optimized. Because heterarchy is highly inclusive, all feel that they are a part of the system. This is in strong counter distinction to hierarchy’s exclusiveness. Individuals within heterarchy tend to protect the system. Individuals within hierarchy often ignore the system, and sometimes even attack it. The wholistic focus of heterarchy is on the needs of the whole organization. This wholistic focus leads to collective decision making and collective responsibility.

Decision making in heterarchy is slower. It takes time to gain the consensus of all the individuals within the heterarchy. However, implementation is much more rapid because the attitudes of those responsible for implementation have been considered in the decision making process. This not only eliminates conflict, but also encourages all members to feel responsible for the successful implementation of the decision. Anyone who has ever built a house knows it is much less expensive to erase lines on a paper, than to demolish mortar, brick, and stone.

As we focused more tightly, our discussions intensified, and to our mutual surprise we began to discover much agreement. Both hierarchy and heterarchy were emerging as valid strategies. They could both be seen to have major utility. They were very different, but equally valid methods of organizing. Heterarchy seemed better for meeting the needs of the whole system, while hierarchy seemed better for accomplishing the goals of the individuals within the system.

Heterarchy reduces conflict by seeking consensus. This appears to be the secret of its success. This is also why we see slow decision making, but rapid implementation. Hierachy produces rapid decision making, but slow implementation. Individual decision making always occurs with minimal knowledge of the attitudes of those who will be responsible for implementation. This lack of awareness produces inevitable conflict which slows and limits the success of implementation.

Neither seemed universally superior, heterarchy worked best in some areas, but hierarchy clearly worked better in other areas. But despite our agreement, if our two positions were found to be equally valid, then which one should we use? Our discussion of heterarchy and hierarchy did not trigger the emotional reactions that discussing socialism and capitalism had, but we seemed no closer to our goal than we had the first day. Heterarchy and hierarchy seemed to be exclusionary as capitalism and socialism. It had to be either heterarchy or hierarchy, it could’t be both.

Exhausted, we decided to break. Coulter invited me to take a walk along the lake that bordered his property. For some minutes we walked in silence, both of our minds grateful for the rest. Eventually, we reached a pleasant spot beside the lake and we sat down.

A few sailboats could be seen on the lake chasing the spring breeze. The scene was pleasantly reassuring, no sign of the troubled world that had prompted our quest for a new way for humankind. I thought of all the years I had been seeking a better way. It seemed so long ago that this journey had started. Even as a child, I had believed in a world without conflict. Coulter too seemed quietly sad, he too had been searching for a long time. His journey had begun even before my birth. I lay back and closed my eyes. The noise of the water gently laping against the shoreline began to soothe my troubled mind.

Beyond Right & Wrong

Later, as we lay by the lake, Coulter told me of a powerful thinking tool he had developed:

“When I find I am confused, I test the idea by placing it in the following multiple-point-of-view rotary.

“The “idea” is right.
“The “idea” is wrong.
“The “idea” is neither right nor wrong.
“The “idea” is both right and wrong.

“First, I think of all the examples of when and where the idea is right, then of all the examples of when and where the idea is wrong. Then I look for examples where or when the idea doesn’t seem to apply, and finally I think of examples when the idea seems paradoxical — both right and wrong simultaneously. I have used this tool many times, and I have always understood the idea much better because of it.”

After resting a few more minutes we slowly walked back to his cabin. Following a break for supper, we resumed our discussions. We continued to learn from each other, but agreement seemed no nearer.

Alone, in my room preparing for bed, I took Coulter’s advice and jotted down his rotary.

Hierarchy is right.
Hierarchy is wrong.
Hierarchy is neither right nor wrong.
Hierarchy is both right and wrong.

Heterarchy is right.
Heterarchy is wrong.
Heterarchy is neither right nor wrong.
Heterarchy is both right and wrong.

As I lay down to sleep the rotary kept dancing in my head. Coming into our meeting, I had never felt so sure. How could so many things that seemed certain suddenly become so uncertain?

How could things be so right and so wrong all at the same time? What is the value of our science, if it can’t answer our questions?

And tomorrow, was our last day.

Last Day

The third morning, we began our discussions on mind-brain science. This has been a primary focus of both Coulter’s and my research for a number of years. Here we found an abundance of agreement. By midday we had reached a number of accords concerning human thinking. As we broke for lunch, we were pleased with this progress.

As this was scheduled to be our last day of meeting, we agreed to try for the ideal system once more after lunch. Coulter was still committed to heterarcy, but I had opened his eyes to hierarchy. Likewise my eyes were now open to heterarchy, although I still leaned toward hierarchy.

The night before I had completed outlining the operation of a hierarchy, so it was Coulter’s turn to talk. Coulter began to describe his ideal heterarchical system in terms of decision making and project execution.

Coulter’s voice modulated with excitement as he described the “heterarchy with  mission teams”. He had imagined a system of associates that were organized as a heterarchy. All members would sit on the same level as equals. No one would have more authority than anyone else. All problems and projects would be discussed at length in the heterarchy. All individuals would serve as information sources for each other, however participation was always voluntary.

Coulter leaned forward, “Now any individual would be free to declare a mission. Then other members of the heterarchy could examine the mission and participate on a negotiated basis in the creation of a mission team. If a declared mission found no voluntary allies, it would die for lack of support.”

“What would be the structure of the mission teams?”, I asked.

“The teams will be organized any way they like, remember it’s all voluntary. The individuals of the heterarchy will decide how they want to organize themselves, or even if they want to participate.

“Only those missions adequately supported by the heterarchy could occur. All involved would be voluntarily participating. Committment would be 100% . When a mission was over the team would return to the heterarchy.”

“Could the mission team be a hierarchy?”, I asked.


Coulter paused momentarily stunned. He seemed deep in thought, then he relaxed with a sigh and responded, “I had never really thought about the structure of the mission team. Yes, I think you are right. The structure of the mission team would be a hierarchy.” He paused again, deep in thought, then continued, “But with an important difference from many hierarchies because everything is voluntary.”

I realized he was describing negotiated hierarchy, a powerful form of hierarchy that served a vital role in Galambos’s non-coercive capitalism. As Coulter continued talking, I saw the heterarchy in my mind’s eye begin to move. First, there was the heterarchy, then one member of the heterarchy declared a mission. The heterarchy suddenly configures itself into a mission hierarchy — a negotiated hierarchy. During the mission it functions as a hierarchy. Each member standing where he agreed to stand, performing those tasks he volunteered to perform. The system was strongly self-organizing. Once the mission was completed, the hierarchy was abandoned the members return to the heterarchy.

Heterarchy becoming hierarchy becoming heterarchy becoming hierarchy becoming heterarchy becoming hierarchy and on and on and on………….

The model danced in my head. Always a heterarchy, occasionally a hierarchy. The heterarchy was the continuous pull — always pulling information. The hierarchy a discontinuous push — only occasionally pushing out a mission. Coulter was describing a tensegrity. A tensegrity made up of heterarchy and hierarchy.

Hierarchy is both right and wrong.
Heterarchy is both right and wrong.
Hierarchy is neither right nor wrong.
Heterarchy is neither right nor wrong.

In a flash, Coulter and I had got what we were after. I had been blind to heterarchy and he to hierarchy. But there it was, both strategies in one system. I had not come to North Carolina looking for tensegrities, and Coulter had never even heard of a tensegrity. And yet, his “heterarchy with mission teams” was in fact a tensegrity — a tensegrity with an equal balance of heterarchy and hierarchy.

There are no accidents in Nature and the tensegrity is no exception. This is the way we humans were meant to organize. Life’s most powerful organizing strategy for us is the organizational tensegrity.

To be continued …

Front Page

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Reposted from Ming the Mechanic.

The Collective Intelligence Singularity

Flemming Funch

I don’t really believe in The Singularity, in the sense that there’s a rapidly approaching point in time when computers become much smarter than humans, so much smarter that they take over the control of the further evolution of society.

Generally speaking, the idea that there’s an accelerating curve of machine intelligence, leading to the machines taking over some time soon seems a little silly to me. There’s an accelerating curve of processing power, and there’s an accelerating curve of many other interesting things. But if you’re talking about conscious machines, there’s simply no curve. No computer has been shown to have any kind of consciousness whatsoever. None. Neither has any other machine we’ve constructed. You can program computers. Given more processing power and better algorithms, you can program computers to solve more and more problems in more flexible ways, running on their own more of the time. That’s great. But to simply hope that somewhere along the way, bing, a miracle happens and suddenly they become conscious as well, that’s a little naive. It would at least make sense to first try to understand what consciousness is.

But there are other singularities that are likely to happen relatively soon which are equally interesting, and much preferable. Most interesting to me would be the collective intelligence singularity which might well be just a couple of years away. I.e. there’s a point where we, as a group, a society, a planetary population, become smarter than any one of us. Not only that, but smarter than any one of us is able to understand. We right now already have a hard time understanding the world, but the collective intelligence isn’t yet particularly clever. At some point it might actually really, really start working, and we’ll not be able to understand exactly why.

For that matter, this could very well happen in 2012. You know, since many of us are looking towards some kind of cataclysmic event happening then. So, instead, it might very well be a monumental leap forward in our collective evolution. Not the end of the world, but the end of a world that can be dominated by individuals. A world where 6 billion people actually are smarter than any 1, 10, 100 or 1000 people, however rich and powerful and smart they are.

You see it beginning to happen right now, in the form of a series of uprisings against authoritarian governments. None of these revolutions are terribly intelligent, but they surely demonstrate that a large group of people is stronger than one strong guy and his hired hands. That’s surprisingly something new. The masses can get rid of the guy at the top, even and particularly if he is a billionaire and a mass-murderer, and then they can actually self-organize in constructive ways.

The global Collective Intelligence is certainly technologically amplified. The Internet is its nervous system. In all its forms: SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, e-mail etc. But it is important to realize that it is not something foreign that is going to “take over”. It is all of us. We The People. Humanity.

The fact that a few desperate dictators keep trying to shut down or control electronic communication among “their” people will ensure that the network will evolve more rapidly to the point where it really can’t be shut down.

There are many things going on right now that are leading in the same direction. WikiLeaks makes it a bit harder for the few to hide big bad things from the many. Natural catastrophes accentuate the need for rapid ad hoc self-organization. Who knows what is going on? Are the people I know safe? How can I help?

It is becoming harder to lead large populations along based on lies, and it is becoming easier for large populations to figure out together what is going on and what needs to be done.

Collective Intelligence is emerging. It needs to develop more internal complexity, of the good kind, more connections, a more fine-grained neural network. But that can happen very quickly. There’s nothing essentially new that needs to be invented first.

It will take most of us by surprise. Then again, it won’t. It will take those few people by surprise who think it is up to them to make the world work, by owning or ruling most of it. The rest of us will be a bit surprised too, but at the same time we have an intuitive sense of it. No matter what political observation we think we adhere to, most of us have a sense of being part of The People, and we’d be quite satisfied to see that suddenly The People seems to know how to act in a sensible way. Things seem to strangely be getting better.

So, here’s my prediction: Before the end of the year 2012, next year, there will be a widespread realization that something profound has changed. Together we are undeniably more than any one of us possibly can be. People in power can no longer keep their sordid secrets, and for that matter, suddenly nobody can stay “in power” through the traditional means. Big problems get sorted out by self-organized networking. Suddenly, the more people get involved in something, the better the outcome tends to be. It is puzzling, and nobody can easily put their finger on how or why it changed. The best solutions are typically found, and the truth tends to emerge.

It is a singularity because, once it happens, there’s no way back. You can’t shut it off any longer. And none of us can completely understand it, or predict what it will do next. But at the same time, we will probably increasingly have a shared feeling of it. Because, again, it is us.

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Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

For the past few months, I have  been studying the work of Psychologist Abraham Maslow. In his too brief life (62 years), he accomplished much. Today we look at one of his discoveries called the Theory of Motivation. This essay was reposted from the author’s website.

Maslow’s Theory of Motivation

Dr. C. George Boeree

One of the many interesting things Maslow noticed while he worked with monkeys early in his career, was that some needs take precedence over others.  For example, if you are hungry and thirsty, you will tend to try to take care of the thirst first.  After all, you can do without food for weeks, but you can only do without water for a couple of days!  Thirst is a “stronger” need than hunger.  Likewise, if you are very very thirsty, but someone has put a choke hold on you and you can’t breath, which is more important?  The need to breathe, of course.  On the other hand, sex is less powerful than any of these.  Let’s face it, you won’t die if you don’t get it!

Maslow took this idea and created his now famous hierarchy of needs. Beyond the details of air, water, food, and sex, he laid out five broader layers:  the physiological needs, the needs for safety and security, the needs for love and belonging, the needs for esteem, and the need to actualize the self, in that order.

1.  The physiological needs.  These include the needs we have for oxygen, water, protein, salt, sugar, calcium, and other minerals and vitamins.  They also include the need to maintain a pH balance (getting too acidic or base will kill you) and temperature (98.6 or near to it).  Also, there’s the needs to be active, to rest, to sleep, to get rid of wastes (CO2,  sweat, urine, and feces), to avoid pain, and to have sex.  Quite a collection!

Maslow believed, and research supports him, that these are in fact individual needs, and that a lack of, say, vitamin C, will lead to a very specific hunger for things which have in the past provided that vitamin C — e.g. orange juice.  I guess the cravings that some pregnant women have, and the way in which babies eat the most foul tasting baby food, support the idea anecdotally.

2.  The safety and security needs.  When the physiological needs are largely taken care of, this second layer of needs comes into play.  You will become increasingly interested in finding safe circumstances, stability, protection.  You might develop a need for structure, for order, some limits.

Looking at it negatively, you become concerned, not with needs like hunger and thirst, but with your fears and anxieties.  In the ordinary American adult, this set of needs manifest themselves in the form of our urges to have a home in a safe neighborhood, a little job security and a nest egg, a good retirement plan and a bit of insurance, and so on.

3.  The love and belonging needs.  When physiological needs and safety needs are, by and large, taken care of, a third layer starts to show up.  You begin to feel the need for friends, a sweetheart, children, affectionate relationships in general, even a sense of community.  Looked at negatively, you become increasing susceptible to loneliness and social anxieties.

In our day-to-day life, we exhibit these needs in our desires to marry, have a family, be a part of a community, a member of a church, a brother in the fraternity, a part of a gang or a bowling club.  It is also a part of what we look for in a career.

4.  The esteem needs.  Next, we begin to look for a little self-esteem.  Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one.  The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, fame, glory, recognition, attention, reputation, appreciation, dignity, even dominance.  The higher form involves the need for self-respect, including such feelings as confidence, competence, achievement, mastery, independence, and freedom.  Note that this is the “higher” form because, unlike the respect of others, once you have self-respect, it’s a lot harder to lose!

The negative version of these needs is low self-esteem and inferiority complexes.  Maslow felt that Adler was really onto something when he proposed that these were at the roots of many, if not most, of our psychological problems.  In modern countries, most of us have what we need in regard to our physiological and safety needs.  We, more often than not, have quite a bit of love and belonging, too.  It’s a little respect that often seems so very hard to get!

All of the preceding four levels he calls deficit needs, or D-needs.  If you don’t have enough of something — i.e. you have a deficit — you feel the need.  But if you get all you need, you feel nothing at all!  In other words, they cease to be motivating.  As the old blues song goes, “you don’t miss your water till your well runs dry!”

He also talks about these levels in terms of homeostasis.  Homeostasis is the principle by which your furnace thermostat operates:  When it gets too cold, it switches the heat on;  When it gets too hot, it switches the heat off.  In the same way, your body, when it lacks a certain substance, develops a hunger for it;  When it gets enough of it, then the hunger stops.  Maslow simply extends the homeostatic principle to needs, such as safety, belonging, and esteem, that we don’t ordinarily think of in these terms.

Maslow sees all these needs as essentially survival needs.  Even love and esteem are needed for the maintenance of health.  He says we all have these needs built in to us genetically, like instincts.  In fact, he calls them instinctoid — instinct-like — needs.

In terms of overall development, we move through these levels a bit like stages.  As newborns, our focus (if not our entire set of needs) is on the physiological.  Soon, we begin to recognize that we need to be safe.  Soon after that, we crave attention and affection.  A bit later, we look for self-esteem.  Mind you, this is in the first couple of years!

Under stressful conditions, or when survival is threatened, we can “regress” to a lower need level.  When you great career falls flat, you might seek out a little attention.  When your family ups and leaves you, it seems that love is again all you ever wanted.  When you face chapter eleven after a long and happy life, you suddenly can’t think of anything except money.

These things can occur on a society-wide basis as well:  When society suddenly flounders, people start clamoring for a strong leader to take over and make things right.  When the bombs start falling, they look for safety.  When the food stops coming into the stores, their needs become even more basic.

Maslow suggested that we can ask people for their “philosophy of the future” — what would their ideal life or world be like — and get significant information as to what needs they do or do not have covered.

If you have significant problems along your development — a period of extreme insecurity or hunger as a child, or the loss of a family member through death or divorce, or significant neglect or abuse — you may “fixate” on that set of needs for the rest of your life.

This is Maslow’s understanding of neurosis.  Perhaps you went through a war as a kid. Now you have everything your heart needs — yet you still find yourself obsessing over having enough money and keeping the pantry well-stocked.  Or perhaps your parents divorced when you were young.  Now you have a wonderful spouse — yet you get insanely jealous or worry constantly that they are going to leave you because you are not “good enough” for them.  You get the picture.


The last level is a bit different.  Maslow has used a variety of terms to refer to this level:  He has called it growth motivation (in contrast to deficit motivation), being needs (or B-needs, in contrast to D-needs), and self-actualization.

These are needs that do not involve balance or homeostasis.  Once engaged, they continue to be felt.  In fact, they are likely to become stronger as we “feed” them!  They involve the continuous desire to fulfill potentials, to “be all that you can be.”  They are a matter of becoming the most complete, the fullest, “you” — hence the term, self-actualization.

Now, in keeping with his theory up to this point, if you want to be truly self-actualizing, you need to have your lower needs taken care of, at least to a considerable extent.  This makes sense:  If you are hungry, you are scrambling to get food;  If you are unsafe, you have to be continuously on guard;  If you are isolated and unloved, you have to satisfy that need;  If you have a low sense of self-esteem, you have to be defensive or compensate.  When lower needs are unmet, you can’t fully devote yourself to fulfilling your potentials.

It isn’t surprising, then, the world being as difficult as it is, that only a small percentage of the world’s population is truly, predominantly, self-actualizing.  Maslow at one point suggested only about two percent!

The question becomes, of course, what exactly does Maslow mean by self-actualization.  To answer that, we need to look at the kind of people he called self-actualizers.  Fortunately, he did this for us, using a qualitative method called biographical analysis.

He began by picking out a group of people, some historical figures, some people he knew, whom he felt clearly met the standard of self-actualization.  Included in this august group were Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams, William James, Albert Schweitzer, Benedict Spinoza, and Alduous Huxley, plus 12 unnamed people who were alive at the time Maslow did his research.  He then looked at their biographies, writings, the acts and words of those he knew personally, and so on.  From these sources, he developed a list of qualities that seemed characteristic of these people, as opposed to the great mass of us.

These people were reality-centered, which means they could differentiate what is fake and dishonest from what is real and genuine.  They were problem-centered, meaning they treated life’s difficulties as problems demanding solutions, not as personal troubles to be railed at or surrendered to.  And they had a different perception of means and ends.  They felt that the ends don’t necessarily justify the means, that the means could be ends themselves, and that the means — the journey — was often more important than the ends.

The self-actualizers also had a different way of relating to others.  First, they enjoyed solitude, and were comfortable being alone.    And they enjoyed deeper personal relations with a few close friends and family members, rather than more shallow relationships with many people.

They enjoyed autonomy, a relative independence from physical and social needs.  And they resisted enculturation, that is, they were not susceptible to social pressure to be “well adjusted” or to “fit in” — they were, in fact, nonconformists in the best sense.

They had an unhostile sense of humor — preferring to joke at their own expense, or at the human condition, and never directing their humor at others.  They had a quality he called acceptance of self and others, by which he meant that these people would be more likely to take you as you are than try to change you into what they thought you should be.  This same acceptance applied to their attitudes towards themselves:  If some quality of theirs wasn’t harmful, they let it be, even enjoying it as a personal quirk.  On the other hand, they were often strongly motivated to change negative qualities in themselves that could be changed.  Along with this comes spontaneity and simplicity:  They preferred being themselves rather than being pretentious or artificial.  In fact, for all their nonconformity, he found that they tended to be conventional on the surface, just where less self-actualizing nonconformists tend to be the most dramatic.

Further, they had a sense of humility and respect towards others — something Maslow also called democratic values — meaning that they were open to ethnic and individual variety, even treasuring it.  They had a quality Maslow called human kinship or Gemeinschaftsgefühl social interest, compassion, humanity.  And this was accompanied by a strong ethics, which was spiritual but seldom conventionally religious in nature.

And these people had a certain freshness of appreciation, an ability to see things, even ordinary things, with wonder.  Along with this comes their ability to be creative, inventive, and original.  And, finally, these people tended to have more peak experiences than the average person.  A peak experience is one that takes you out of yourself, that makes you feel very tiny, or very large, to some extent one with life or nature or God.  It gives you a feeling of being a part of the infinite and the eternal.  These experiences tend to leave their mark on a person, change them for the better, and many people actively seek them out.  They are also called mystical experiences, and are an important part of many religious and philosophical traditions.

Maslow doesn’t think that self-actualizers are perfect, of course.  There were several flaws or imperfections he discovered along the way as well:  First, they often suffered considerable anxiety and guilt — but realistic anxiety and guilt, rather than misplaced or neurotic versions.  Some of them were absentminded and overly kind.  And finally, some of them had unexpected moments of ruthlessness, surgical coldness, and loss of humor.

Two other points he makes about these self-actualizers:  Their values were “natural” and seemed to flow effortlessly from their personalities.  And they appeared to transcend many of the dichotomies others accept as being undeniable, such as the differences between the spiritual and the physical, the selfish and the unselfish, and the masculine and the feminine.

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Monday, March 28th, 2011

We continue with the third in our SafeEARTH series on Protecting Community.

Synergic Containment

Science and Rationale

Timothy Wilken, MD

Synergy at its most basic simply means “working together.” Synergic science is then the study of “working together.” As science has progressed in helping us understand the human condition, it is now clear that we are an interdependent species. Sometimes I depend on others, and sometimes others depend on me. Another important fact of being in interdependent species is we share the same environment—the same reality.

Shared Reality

At home, we share the same living space with friends or family. If I turn the heater thermostat up, the room will become warmer for everyone. Control of that reality is shared. If I start yelling and screaming, things will get much noisier for everyone. Control of that reality is shared. If I make a mess or don’t clean up the kitchen, then we are all living in that mess.

This is just as true in the workplace, our neighborhoods, our communities, and in fact in the whole world. We live on a single planet, we all share the same water, the same air and the same resources of the single small planet.

Because control of reality is shared, if I foul the water or air, I foul your water and your air. Whatever I do, will effect you. Whatever you do, will effect me. If we work together and act responsibly, we can minimize the harm we do each other, and maximize the benefits of solving our problems together.

Freedom of action in a shared environment is a privilege, not a right. When we use Synergic Containment to protect a child, we are teaching the child that in a shared environment, he is free to act as long as those actions do not hurt others. We are teaching him to work together and act responsibly.

Synergic containment is probably most attractive to parents because it is a technique to control adversary behavior when you love and care about the individual behaving adversarily. Most parents love and care about their children. Containment is about protecting both the victim and the aggressor. It does this by stopping adversary behavior. Now synergic containment could be used just as effectively outside the family.

Community Use of Synergic Containment

Throughout the long history of humanity, the primary mechanism for controlling adversary behavior has been adversary punishment. In the short term, adversary punishment seems successful in controlling adversary behavior, but punishment always hurts and injures the one being controlled. This injury tends to breed anger and resentment in the one being punished. Of course the effect is longer if you kill the aggressor, at least until their children grow up.

Now, outside the family, we often do not know or care about the individual being controlled with adversary punishment. So we are less disturbed that they are being injured and hurt. In fact we often identify with the victim, and feel it is only fair that they suffer for their crimes. It is an “eye for an eye,” and a “tooth for a tooth.” It is our very definition of justice.

What we are missing here, is that adversary punishment fails to stop adversary behavior in the long run. Punishment breeds hostility, hatred and eventually revenge. The Israelis and Palestinians have been punishing each other for decades, with no sign that the mutual adversary behavior in their communities is stopping or even slowing. “As you sow, so shall you reap!” You can’t stop adversity with adversity.

We have been adversarily punishing serious crimes in the United States for over 200 years. As the FBI reported in 1998: Despite the fact that as of “midyear 1998, the United States’ prisons and jails incarcerated an estimated 1,802,496 criminals”, in the year 1997, “the number of violent crimes—murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault —and property crimes—burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft —reported to the police departments in the United States totaled 13,175,070.” (2)

Community’s Right of Synergic Containment

In Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek, Mr. Spock, the Vulcan Science Officer from a race ruled by logic, would remind his shipmates that: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one.”


The human body is a community of 40 trillion individual cells. The individual cells are organized synergically to be interdependent upon each other. They cannot separate themselves from the body as community. The survival of the cells depends on the survival of the body. The needs and safety of the body precedes the needs and safety of the individual cells. Sometimes individual cells are injured or even sacrificed to protect and insure the survival of the body as a whole. The needs and safety of the community of cells takes precedence over the needs and safety of the cells as individuals.

The Needs of the Many

Which is more important? The individual’s right to freedom of action or community’s right to public safety? We can now see that this is a silly and false argument. Community is simply “many” individuals. My freedom of action stops at the boundary of another individual’s personal space and safety.

America has long been the champion of the individual’s right to freedom of action. In fact, our American criminal justice system is so paralyzed by the need to protect the rights of the individual, that our streets are full of criminals, and our e-mail boxes are full of unsolicited junk mail and garbage including pornography and fraudulent offers. Why do we tolerate this? Isn’t it time to grow up? Aren’t we smart enough to create a society that values both an individual’s right to freedom of action and the community’s right to public safety.

With the discovery that humanity is an interdependent species comes the realization that we humans can no longer separate ourselves from community. Humanity as community is larger and contains humanity as individuals. The needs and safety of humanity as community must precede the needs and safety of humanity as individuals.

Community’s Right to Synergic Containment rests on the premise that if you deliberately harm other members of community, you will lose freedom of action within that community. If I harm others in a shared environment, I should expect community to contain my behavior—I should expect community to restrict my  freedom of action.

The Rule of Public Safety is that no human should be allowed to deliberately injure another human—that all adversary actions should ideally be prevented and when not prevented quickly contained.

Our present culture based on the false premise of human independence often places individual needs and safety over community needs and safety. This will shift dramatically in a synergic culture. If we humans choose a positive future, we would want a system that provides both for the protection and safety of humanity as community and humanity as individual.

Life Trust Guardians

This future system might well be modeled after the most successful systems on the planet—the living systems. Your body has a powerful immune system which protects the organism as individual cells and the organism as a whole.

In my proposal for protecting humanity, I have defined those who would assume this role as Life Trust Guardians. Their mission would be the protection of both humanity as community and humanity as individuals. They are bound by two laws.

The Code of the Life Trust Guardians

1) A Life Trust Guardian may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

2) A Life Trust Guardian may not injure an individual human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the First Law.

The first law of the of the Code commits to protect Humanity as Community. The second law commits to protect Humanity as Individuals. This represents a major shift in human values from today’s focus with the individual as primary to tomorrow’s focus with community as primary.

While Life Trust Guardians are responsible for the safety of both humanity as community and humanity as individuals, the needs and safety of community take precedent over the needs and safety of individuals.

This does not suggest a casual attitude toward the rights of individuals. Life Trust Guardians may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would cause injury to humanity as a whole — except where that would cause injury to humanity as community. When an adversary event presents no risk to humanity as community then the Synergic Containment Officer’s first responsibility is to the safety of the individual. (3)

Protecting the Public

The Life Trust Guardians (LTG) as described in A Synergic Future have large responsibilities. Here we will only address their role in protecting public safety.

The Public Safety Division of the LTG would be entrusted with protecting the public safety by containment and prevention of adversary events. They will utilize synergic mechanism based on synergic morality to insure freedom from crime. This synergic organization will act more like our body’s immune system, than the law enforcement agencies we are familiar with today. Life Trust Guardians accept the premise that adversary behavior is caused by ignorance and not badness. This is discussed at length elsewhere in Beyond Crime and Punishment. Life Trust Guardians are synergists. They operate in the synergic paradigm.



MISTAKES = Badness MISTAKES = Ignorance

—> self-punish


—> self-educate





Life Trust Guardians accept as their responsibility the protection of humanity as community as well as humanity as individuals.

The Rule of Public Safety is that no human should be allowed to deliberately injure another human— that all adversary actions should ideally be prevented and when not prevented quickly contained.

The Public Safety Division of the Life Trust Guardians accomplish the rule of public safety by:

  • 1) Seeking the Containment of all adversary events,

  • 2) Performing Scientific analysis and investigation of all adversary events to determine the causes and parties responsible,

  • 3) Holding Responsibility Hearings when those suspected of adversary actions claim innocence,

  • 4) Providing Rehabilitation of those responsible for serious and dangerous adversary events up to and including incarceration for long term psychiatric and psychological treatment until they are found to be fully recovered and no longer a threat to the public safety,

  • 5) Providing Education of those responsible for adversary events until they possess the understanding and knowledge necessary to avoid such events in the future,

  • 6) Seeking Restitution from the responsible parties to repair to extent possible the injuries that their adversary actions have caused, and

  • 7) And, always working toward Prevention of future adversary events, by monitoring and/or restricting personal freedom as appropriate to protect the public. (3)

The Public Safety Division is composed various pubic safety specialists. These include: Synergic Containment OfficersScience Officers, Hearing Officers, Rehabilitation Officers, and Prevention Officers.

Let us examine the process in more detail. When an adversary event occurs and an injury is reported to the Life Trust Guardians, they will dispense Containment Officers to the scene of the injury to analyze the adversary event, and if further risk to body or life exists, contain it.

Principles of Synergic Containment

1) Protection and safety of Humanity as Community.

2) Protection and safety of Humanity as Individual

3) When in conflict, the protection and safety of Community takes precedence over the protection and safety of the Individual.  “The needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few or of the one.” A community is a collection of many individuals.

4) The force of Synergic Containment is overwhelmingly powerful. The power of community is much much greater than the power of any individual or group of individuals. The power of the many outweighs the power of the few or of the one.

5) The force of Synergic Containment is never applied to punish others for wrongdoing. It is applied only to protect. The goal is to protect the largest number of individuals possible. Because this force is so powerful it must be applied carefully. It is always applied with love and compassion. It is always applied thoughtfully, carefully, intelligently, cautiously, and calmly. Ideally, individuals win, community wins, Life wins and the Earth wins. If some must lose, all efforts will be made to minimize that loss.

Depending on the nature and severity of the adversary event, Containment Officers have the authority to take those suspected of adversary actions into custody. Public safety is paramount. Suspects are required to cooperate with the Containment Officers, and if asked to enter into custody to do so voluntarily.

Containment of adversary events is the prime responsibility of the Synergic Containment Officers. They are required to protect themselves and the public. If a suspect resists being taken into custody, the Containment Officers will utilize the most advanced containment technology in every effort to avoid injury to the suspects, but if the suspects resist, Containment Officers are authorized to use whatever level of force necessary to insure public safety. This includes authorization to use deadly force.

When a synergist is containing an adversary, he must speak the language they understand—the language of force.

While our immune system lacks any ability to repair or rehabilitate cancer cells, the Life Trust Guardians should have much greater success rehabilitating and educating adversarily behaving humans. In a synergic future, all Physicians, Psychiatrists and Psychologists will be Life Trust Guardians. As humanity becomes more synergic and our knowledge of human psychology becomes greater, the need for deadly force should diminish.

In a moment we will examine how this might work in the real world, but first we need to define what it means to be “hurt”. Recall, when an adversary event occurs and an injury is reported to the Life Trust Guardians, they will dispense Containment Officers to the scene of the injury to analyze the adversary event.

Today, if you have a house fire you call the fire department. If you have home accident with personal injury, you call an ambulance. Now within synergic society all of these problems would be reported to and handled by the Life Trust Guardians, but Synergic Containment Officers would only respond to reports of adversary events.

An adversary event involves the intentionally injuring or threatening to injure other individuals–fighting and flighting–pain and dying. This is where we find conflict–the struggle to avoid losing–the struggle to avoid being hurt or killed. These are the events that our police forces respond to today.

Synergic Containment

Synergic Containment Officers are only responsible for containment of adversary events.


Their first task will be to contain the adversary event, and prevent the event from spreading further into community and involving new victims.


Synergic society does not view the perpetrators as bad or criminal. However, they certainly recognize that they are dangerous. Recall in our initial discussion of using synergic containment to protect children, we are seeking to contain and protect all the individuals caught up in an adversary event—both victims and perpetrators. Containment is about protecting both the victim and the aggressor.

Synergic Rescue

Once the adversary event has been contained, the second task becomes to safely rescue all of the individuals caught up in the event. This rescue is prioritized. First to be rescued are victims at greatest risk for further harm, then victims at lower risk. Once the victims are safe, the synergic containment officers will begin their rescue of the perpetrators.

Synergic Disarmament

If those perpetrating the adversary event have weapons, they must be disarmed. Today, the danger of adversary events is greatly magnified by access to weapons. We humans are Time-binders. That means as a species we can create knowledge without limit. When we incorporate knowledge into matter-energy it is called a tool. Because knowledge can grow without limit, tools can also grow without limit. When tools are used to hurt others, they are called weapons. In our modern world, we have created ever more powerful weapons. These weapons are not safe in the hands of ignorance.

Once the perpetrators of an adversary event are contained, their victims rescued, then they will be disarmed, this must be effected before they can be rescued.

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Monday, March 21st, 2011

From the  SynEARTH Archives … This morning, I begin a series of articles on a new mechanism for the synergic containment of adversary events. This new tool from synergic science is premised on the understanding that all mistakes are caused by ignorance. We have previously discussed how that premise leads to new ways of dealing with mistakes, even when those mistakes hurt people.

Synergic Containment

Protecting Children

Timothy Wilken, MD

Today our world is a dangerous place, and growing ever more dangerous. Everyday, humans are hurting and killing other humans. Mothers and fathers are beating their children. Husbands are beating and killing their wives. Rouge men are abducting and killing children. Teenage and young adult men are killing each other over the color of their clothes or the brand of shoes they wear. Life threatening violence is erupting over any act of supposed DISrespect.

Children are strapping high explosives to their bodies and detonating them in public places in desperate acts of suicide-homicide. In April of this year, President George W. Bush said, “When an 18 year old Palestinian girl is induced to blow herself up, and in the process kills a 17 year old Israeli girl, the future, itself, is dying.”

And then of course there are the armed conflicts, Peter Wallensteen of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports :

In 2001, there were 24 major armed conflicts in 22 locations. … Africa continued to be the region with the greatest number of conflicts. Worldwide, there were approximately equal numbers of contests for control of government and for territory.

In the 12-year post-cold war period 1990–2001 there were 57 different major armed conflicts in 45 different locations. … All but 3 of the major armed conflicts registered for 1990–2001 were internal—the issue concerned control over the government or territory of one state. The 3 interstate conflicts in this period were Iraq versus Kuwait, India versus Pakistan and Eritrea versus Ethiopia.

… The year 2001 was overshadowed in September by one new major conflict with qualitatively different, global characteristics which have so far proved difficult to categorize.(1)

And now we have the War on Terrorism, the War on Afghanistan, the impending War on Iraq, and then what? The War on Iran? The War on North Korea? The War on the Philippines? The War on China? Etc.? Etc.?

Something is very wrong in our world.

Synergic Science

As a synergic scientist, I believe that we must learn to work together. This means we must become synergic humans. Synergy means working together—operating together as in Co-Operation— laboring together as in Co-Laboration—acting together as in Co-Action. The goal of synergic union is to accomplish a larger or more difficult task than can be accomplished by individuals working separately. We are committed to a world where I win, you win, community wins and the Earth wins. Win-Win-Win-Win.
Synergic science finds there are three types of humans in our present world. Which type you are depends on what you believe about how the world works.

Adversaries believe there is not enough for everyone and only the physically strong will survive. They believe humans are coercively dependent on others, and they best understand the language of force.

Neutralists believe there is enough for everyone, if only you work hard enough and take care of yourself. They believe humans are financially independent and should be self-sufficient unless they are too lazy or defective. They best understand the language of money.

And, finally a new type of human is still emerging. Synergists believe there is enough for everyone but only if we work together and act responsibly. They believe humans are interdependent and can only obtain sufficiency by working together as community. Synergists best understand the language of love.

But, to be successful in our present world, the synergist must understand all three languages and know when to use them. Synergists must sometimes use the language of force, and sometimes the language of money, it depends on whom they are talking to. However, when synergists are seeking allies—when synergists are seeking to build community—they must speak the language of love.

We believe that you should, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”What is it that most of us want others to do unto us? Synergic scientists answer this question as follows: Help and support others as you would wish them to help and support you.  Or, more simply, ”Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that’s my religion.” —Abraham Lincoln

Synergists are trying to heal the wounds inflicted by those who don’t understand how the world could work. This then is the essential challenge to the synergists. Can we work together and act responsibly in time to save our ourselves on this planet? … Only by helping each other. If humanity were to achieve synergy, we would have a peaceful world, but how do we get there?

As a young father, I wanted to do the best job of parenting I could. With the birth of our first daughter in 1980, I began reading the then current literature on parenting. After a few months I settled on the parenting style proposed by Dr. Thomas Gordon in his book Parent Effectiveness Training. It was a win-win approach that did not support punishment or conflict. But Gordon realized that permissiveness, and letting children run wild would create its own set of problems. Parent enforced discipline was a win/lose game that the parent always won. Permissiveness was a win/lose game that the child always won. Neither method was good for children or families. Gordon explained how we could improve our communication with others at any age. How to work together for solutions where both parent and child could win.

What he did was provide parents with a specific set of communication and problem-solving skills, as well as a means for knowing when and how to use them (the Behavior Window). These skills (Active Listening, No-Lose Conflict Resolution, and the I-Message) changed the way many parents communicate with their children. The Gordon Method has proved just as valuable for improving communication in the workplace and in our schools. His books have been published in 28 languages and over 6 million copies have been sold worldwide.

However, there was one situation that Gordon did not address. Children through immaturity and ignorance sometimes engage in  dangerous  behavior. The danger may be to themselves or to others. Often this begins before they are able to understand the consequence of their behavior, or to be reasoned with. How do you stop them without resorting to adversity and punishment?

We have all seen parents slap a small child’s hand, when their child reaches for something hot or sharp. The child immediately cries and often runs away, but what has the child learned? Gordon would argue that physically striking the child sends only one message, “You are bad!” And, while the child will withdraw, it is not because they understand that they were in danger, but simply because they fear the parent will strike them again. Now parents often feel that striking the child was necessary to protect the child, but is this really true?

I remember one winter, a heavy storm knocked out the electrical power to our home for almost a week. I hurriedly purchased a portable kerosene heater for warmth and cooking. It was an amazing device, but it was also dangerously hot. My three year old daughter Reason had never seen such a thing in our modern all electrical home and watched with fascination as I set it up. As I watched the sparkle in her eye, I realized the damage she might sustain from touching the top or sides of the heater.


I asked by wife to hold her well within her arms while I set up the heater.Once it was lit, it soon became hot and began to glow. I told my daughter that it was very hot. I placed a small piece of paper on top which soon burst into flames. I poured a few drops of water on the surface that flashed into steam. All this time her mother advised her, that the heater was very hot and she should not touch it. She stood back and I watched her eyes growing large in amazement. Later her mother went to attend her baby sister Serene, and when I turned, Reason was approaching the heater.

I moved quickly squatted down and contained her loosely in my arms. Gently preventing her from getting closer than two feet. Then to my delight, she told me that the stove was HOT! And that I was NOT to touch it.

Later that evening, I would hear Reason carefully instructing her baby sister that the heater was very HOT, and that Serene should NOT touch it. This was quite unlikely since Serene was only nine months old. However, she seemed to listen carefully as she sucked her bottle. Over the next seven days, Reason never ventured closer than two feet to the heater, and watched it with great respect. Then, electrical power was restored and we put away the kerosene heater.

At this same time, I was studying human behavior. I was aware of the three ways we humans could relate to each other—adversarily, neutrally, or synergically—also called The Relationship Continuum.

Striking the hand of a child reaching for something hot or sharp was an example of adversary punishment. Later as I thought back on how I had protected my daughter, I decided to call this technique synergic containment. At this time, I was practicing Stress Medicine. I often worked with young parents and would always tell them about Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training. And, include a description of the mechanism of synergic containment. I thought of the technique as protective, and in some cases even a rescue from danger. I advised them to apply it with love and compassion. Certainly, my child had a very positive experience in learning about the danger of HOT!

Synergic Containment of an Aggressive Child

One of parents came to me with a concern about their large and unusually strong two year old. He was into the full fury of the terrible twos, and he had taken to occasionally hitting his baby sister. It seemed to happen when he got angry. His parents had physically spanked him several times, but the behavior continued. They were genuinely afraid for both the aggressive child and the baby.

I advised them to use the mechanism of synergic containment as follows: Ideally, when a potentially dangerous adversary event occurs both parents would be present. Then one of the parents could contain the aggressor, while the other one attends to the baby. But if there is only one parent present, then the most important thing is to contain the aggressor. The baby may cry, but she is safe once the aggressor is contained.

Whenever you see your two year old son striking the baby, pick him up immediately and remove him from striking distance of his sister, then sit down and hold him on your lap. Wrap your arms around his shoulders, but no tighter than necessary to physically restrain him. Do not raise your voice or berate the child in any way. Do not strike him or inflict pain in any way.

You must contain him. You must absolutely stop him from getting down off your lap. If he struggles, increase the physical restraint of your embrace. Your son may struggle and cry, but this should not win his release. You will have to hold him until he quiets down. This may take a while. Be patient. You cannot successfully talk with him until he is calm.

Your goal is to restrain the child, but not send the message, “You are bad!” You want him to understand that you are afraid for the baby. You want him to understand that hitting the baby is dangerous. Once he is calm, in simple language express your fear for the baby. If another parent or adult is there ask them to attend the baby with create concern. Once the baby is calm, have them pantomime, raising one hand into a position as if they might strike the baby, but then deliberately grabbing their raised hand with their other hand and pulling it down. Repeatedly stating in a calm voice. “I am afraid for the baby.” “Don’t hit the baby.”

This is not a technique to be used lightly. It is serious medicine. Children should be allowed to get angry. Containment is not to be used to control anger. Containment is not to be used to stop evenly matched boys from wrestling or rough housing. Containment is to stop DANGEROUS behavior. Containment of an aggressive child should only occur if the child himself or someone else is in danger.


When you use containment, you are limiting your child’s freedom of action. The child may process this as if they are being punished. They may misunderstand the act of containment as punishment. This is why it must be done with love and compassion. Certainly, the parents love their child. They just don’t like his dangerous behavior. The goal is to make that behavior less likely to occur in the future. Synergic containment must do more than stop the dangerous behavior, it must educate the aggressor.

Most adults can easily contain a two year old child. Once your son quiets down and becomes calm, and this might take 15 to 20 minutes. You would then try to communicate with him that hitting his baby sister is prohibited. His ability to understand of course would be limited by his age and level of maturity. The human mind develops during childhood. The ability to understand consequence does not develop until about age four. You don’t over explain or discuss your concerns, you just state them in the way that you feel your child will best understand. Simpler is always better. “I am afraid for the baby!” “Don’t hit the baby!” With very small children, use pantomime when possible.

At this point, you let the child down from your lap to return to his activities. You immediately attend the baby. Showing him your concern. You try to enlist his help in comforting the baby, and in demonstrating love and caring for his sister.You don’t insist that he help, but you let him see your concern.

Synergic containment only occurs to stop dangerous behavior. If the adversary act recurs, the synergic containment recurs.

Every episode of synergic containment is an opportunity to communicate with your child. As the child grows, his ability to reason and to understand consequence grows. Since all humans do not like being on the receiving end of adversary acts, they soon learn that adversity is an inappropriate behavior. Teach them that they need to work together and act responsibly to be successful within the family.

Allowing children of any age to profit from adversary behavior is a mistake. Ideally, the use of synergic containment begins early. A single parent can contain a small child. It may take two parents to contain a 10 year old. It may take three or four adults to contain a 14 year old. And, it may take a SWAT team to contain an armed 18 year old.

Front Page

Monday, March 7th, 2011

From the 2002 SynEARTH Archives: It’s time to move beyond crime and punishment. In our present world, it is widely believed that mistakes are the result of badness. So when mistakes occur, we investigate, blame and punish. This belief has resulted in a world where violence, hate and judgment are common.

Synergic science reveals that mistakes are in fact the result of ignorance. If we understand this, then when a mistake occurs, we would analyze, determine responsibility, and educate. This could soon lead to a world where public safety, love and compassion are common.

The Uncertainty of Human Knowing

Timothy Wilken, MD

We can never know all there is to know about anything — this is a fundamental ‘law’ of Nature. This is in fact is the only cause of mistakes.

Ignorance is the word that best describes the human condition. Alfred Korzybski explained this condition scientifically as the  Principle of Non-Allness. By this he meant that we humans make all of our decisions with incomplete and imperfect knowing. We make every choice without all the information. All humans live and act in state of ignorance. Korzybski felt that developing an awareness of this ‘law’ of Nature was so fundamentally important to all humans, that he developed a lesson especially for children. Korzybski would explain:

“Children, today we want to learn all about the apple.”

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He would place an apple in view of the children, “Do you children know about the apple?”

“I do!”, “I do!”, “Yes, I know about apples!”

“Good” Korzybski moved to the blackboard. , “Come, tell me about the apple?”

“The Apple is a fruit.”, “The apple is red.”, “The apple grows on a tree.”

Korzybski would begin to list the characteristics described by the children on the blackboard.

The children continued, “An apple a day keeps the Doctor away.”

Korzybski continued listing the children’s answers until they run out of ideas, then he would ask, “Is that all we can say about the apple?

When the children answered in the affirmative, Korzybski would remove his pocket-knife and cut the apple in half, passing the parts among the children.

“Now, children can we say more about the apple?

“The apple smells good.” “The juices are sweet.” “The apple has seeds.” “Its pulp is white.” “Mother makes apple pie.

Finally when the children had again run out of answers, Korzybski would ask, “Now, is that all-we can say about the apple?” When the children agreed that it was all that could be said, he would again go into his pocket only this time he removed a ten power magnifying lens and passed it to the children. The children would examine the apple, and again respond:

“The apple pulp has a pattern and a structure.” “The skin of the apple has pores.” “The leaves have fuzz on them.” “The seeds have coats.”

Thus Korzybski would teach the children the lesson of Non-ALLness.

Now we could continue to examine the apple—with a light microscope, x-ray crystallography, and eventually the electron microscope. We would continue to discover more to say about the apple. However, we can never know ALL there is to know about anything in Nature. We humans have the power to know about Nature, but not to know ALL.

Knowing is without limit, but knowing is not total. Universe is our human model of Nature. Our ‘knowing’ can grow evermore complete. It can grow closer and closer to the ‘Truth’, but it cannot equal the ‘Truth’. It must always be incomplete. We are not ‘GOD’. We cannot see and know ALL.

Jacob Bronowski speaking in 1976 his famous public television series the Ascent of Man said:

“One aim of the physical sciences has been to give an exact picture of the material world. One achievement of physics in the Twentieth Century has been to prove that that aim is unattainable. There is no absolute knowledge and those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility. This is the human condition; and that is what Quantum Physics says. I mean that literally.

“Let us examine an object with the best tool we have today, the electron microscope, where the rays are so concentrated that we no longer know whether to call them waves or particles. Electrons are fired at an object, and they trace its outline like a knife-thrower at a fair. The smallest object that has ever been seen is a single atom of thorium. It is spectacular.

And yet the soft image confirms that, like the knives that graze the girl at the fair, even the hardest electrons do not give a hard outline. The perfect image is still as remote as the distant stars.

“We are here face to face with the crucial paradox of knowledge. Year by year we devise more precise instruments with which to observe nature with more fineness and when we look at the observations, we are discomfited to see that they are still fuzzy, and we feel that we are as uncertain as ever.

“We had hoped that the human errors would disappear, and that we would ourselves have God’s view. But it turns out that the errors cannot be taken out of the observations. And that is true of stars, or atoms, or just looking at somebody’s picture, or hearing the report of somebody’s speech.”

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“We seem to be running after a goal which lurches away from us to infinity every time we come within sight of it.

“The paradox of knowledge is not confined to the small, atomic scale; on the contrary, it is as cogent on the scale of man, and even of the stars.

“Let me put it in the context of an astronomical observatory. Karl Freidrich Gauss’ observatory at Gˆttingen was built about 1807. Throughout his life and ever since (the best part of 200 years) astronomical instruments have been improved.

“We look at the position of a star as it was determined then and now, and it seems to us that we are closer and closer to finding it precisely. But when we actually compare our individual observations today, we are astonished and chagrined to find them as scattered within themselves as ever.

Uncertainty is the Human Condition

Incomplete and imperfect knowing means that every human belief is an assumption. We can never know for sure. We can never know ALL.

As you sit in your chair reading these words, you assumed the chair would hold you. You did not check under the chair to see if it had broken since its last use. When you ate lunch at your favorite restaurant last week, you assumed the waitress had washed her hands. You assumed the cook did not have hepatitis. If you had assumed otherwise, you would not have walked into that restaurant. You would not have eaten your lunch. We humans assume. Herein lies our uncertainty — that’s all we humans can do. There is nothing wrong in our assuming, we are simply obeying a fundamental ‘law’ of Nature.

We humans have always believed that mistakes are bad. We have always believed that those who make mistakes are bad. They are stupid or careless — lazy or incompetent — just no damn good. If they were good, they wouldn’t make mistakes. Everyone knows that. Decent people don’t make mistakes. This is nearly a universal belief.

Mistakes = Badness

Korzybski coined the word space-binding to describe the world of the animal. In the world of the animal, cause and effect can not be distinguished from each other. They are the same — they equal each other — they are identical. If the effect of a mistake is bad, then the cause of a mistake is also bad. Human intelligence is build on animal intelligence. All humans have a space-mind. It is a powerful and often dominant part of our human intelligence. As children the space-mind is primary. The uniquely human mind creates what Korzybski called the world of Time-binding. The time-mind doesn’t even begin to become operational in children until they reach the age of four.

So our human belief that mistakes are ‘bad’ is legitimate. Most of us learn about mistakes as small children. If I stumble while running, I get hurt and that is bad. If an animal is running for its life and stumbles, it dies and that is bad. For space-binders, mistakes are a part of bad space.

In the world of space-binding, a mistake can cost not only the life of the individual space-binder, but also the lives of others in the group — pack, pride, herd, or troop. Therefore the result of a mistake was often bad, and not just for the individual, but for others in the group as well. Since 99.9% of all human history has been adversary — 99.9% of our history dominated by space-binding, it is no wonder that we humans have believed for countless centuries that mistakes are bad.

The belief in the badness of mistakes was further reinforced and given Divine sanction by our human religions. God is good. God is omniscience — ALL knowing. God makes no mistakes. He is perfect. We humans are admonished to be as God-like as possible. If making no mistakes is ‘good’, then obviously making mistakes is ‘bad’. Our religions institutionalized the adversary processing of mistakes — Sin, Hellfire, and Damnation.

Science has also added credence to the ‘badness’ of mistakes. The world view created by the ‘objective science’ of Galileo, Kepler, Hooke, and Newton was a ‘perfect’ Universe. Newton’s System of the Worlds described a precision clockwork perfection that controlled all in Universe. If the Universe is perfect, then humans too must evolve towards perfection.

Dealing with badness

Since mistakes are bad, when one occurs, we investigate to determine who is at fault. Who made the mistake? Once that is determined, we blame those responsible. Following blame, we are ready to punish. More pain and suffering has been inflicted on humankind for making mistakes than for any other cause. This should not surprise us.

Punishment is the proper way to deal with ‘badness’. And,if we are anything, we are fair. So when we are the one who made the mistake, we self-punish. Self-punishment is called “guilt”. Humans are the only class of living systems that feels guilty. The only class of living systems that teaches their pets to feel guilty.

MISTAKES = Badness
PUNISH —> self punish

Korzybski’s Error of Identity

When humans rely only on their spacial intelligence, they see cause as being identical to effect. They are in essence time-blind, and so they confuse cause with effect.

Korzybski explained that when humans see things as being identical that are not identical, they are making an identification that is false to facts. Korzybski called this the Error of Identity.

When we confuse cause with effect, we are making the error of identity. Today most humans make this error. We assume without analysis that cause and effect are the same — that they are equal — that they are identical. If the effect of a mistake is bad then the cause of that mistake must also be bad.

We don’t analyze the event for sequence. We don’t use our time-binding power to understand. And so,we act without hesitation, without doubt on our belief. We act in certainty. And, certainty as explained earlier by Korzybski, Heisenberg, Eddington and Bronowski is not possible, because knowing is uncertain.


We humans always act without all the information. We humans are always assuming. If we are unaware that we are assuming, then we are ignorant of our ignorance. Certainty means that we don’t know that we don’t know. We cannot seek knowing when we believe our ignorance is knowing. Ignorance of ignorance is leveraged ignorance — ignorance masquerading as knowledge. Ignorance of ignorance is certainty.

When we are certain, we are surprised and disheartened by our mistakes. This attitude toward human error is the most damaging of human ignorances. We humans make mistakes because, we make all our decisions without ALL the information. This is a major point that all humans must understand. The only cause of mistakes is ignorance.

We humans must become aware of our ignorance. When we humans have knowledge of our ignorance, we can learn from our mistakes and protect ourselves in the future. When an individual knows he doesn’t know, he is wise. Wisdom is the opposite of certainty. The knowledge of our ignorance is wisdom.

To error is the human condition

This truth, whether we call it the Principle of Non-Allness, the Principle of Uncertainty, the Principle of Indeterminacy, or the Principle of Tolerance, leads us to the conclusion that to error is human, and there is no need too ask forgiveness. All mistakes are innocent.

Universe is not certain — it is not structured as we humans have believed for countless centuries. Religion and the objective scientists were wrong. The physics of relativity and quantum mechanics describe a Universe in which things are not and cannot be perfect. A Universe in which, we humans are constrained to make all our choices without ALL the information. Mistakes are simply holes or gaps in our knowing — lapses in our understanding.

I am often asked, “But, what if I knew better?” If I knew better and then make a mistake. Isn’t that the result of stupidity. If I knew better, but still made an error, then surely that is my fault and not the result of ignorance.

What if I knew better?

I recall a young women I once treated. She had opened her hotel room door to a man claiming to be a maintenance worker, who then attacked and raped her. The attacker has stolen a hotel uniform from a laundry hamper and so seemed legitimate. However, something about his appearance disturbed her, but on second thought, she assumed she was just being silly and so unlocked her door. When I saw her several months later she was still struggling with guilt.

“Doctor, it was my own fault. I was so stupid. I shouldn’t have opened the door. I knew something was wrong. I was so stupid. I knew better, but I opened the door anyway.”

I responded, “You weren’t stupid. You were only ignorant.”

She replied, “No, Dr. Wilken, I knew better, I should never have opened the door, I was just so stupid.”

“NO!”, I told her, “You weren’t stupid, you were only ignorant and I can prove it with one simple question. She looked deep into my eyes desperate to know what I meant.

I asked: “If you had known that the man behind the door intended to rape you, would you have opened it?”

“No, of course not.”

No of course not. None of us would make a mistake if we knew we were about to make a mistake. Even when we humans repeat our mistakes, it is because we assume the mistake will not happen this time. We are ignorant of what will happen this time. As I have stated, the only cause of human error — the only cause of human mistakes is ignorance.

Scientists as well as non-scientists who seek to know must therefore embrace humility when we stand before the totality of Nature.

The Principle of Non-Allness is a fundamental law of Nature. And the first corollary to the Principle of Non-Allness is what I call the Principle of Innocence.

Principle of Innocence

All actions occur in ignorance. All human actions and all human choices are made without all the information. We are always acting and choosing without ALL the information. What we don’t know we must ignore and what we ignore may hurt us. Therefore all errors and and all mistakes are made in innocence.

Good news

I don’t mean that mistakes are good things or that getting hurt is a good thing. I mean that since the cause of mistakes is ignorance and the proper response to ignorance is education, then we can learn from our mistakes.

We can acknowledge the mistakes of history and those that are occurring in our present world and work to correct them. This is good news. It will make it infinitely easier to build a better world.

When we understand the truth of “to error is human”, we can then begin to process our mistakes in a synergic manner. The human who understands that mistakes are a natural part of life does not investigate the mistakes like a detective, he analyzes the mistake as a scientist. He does not blame when a mistake occurs, he seeks to learn from the mistake and to learn he must accept responsibility and seek responsibility in others for their mistakes. Once he knows who is responsible for the mistake he educates.


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Education is the proper response to ignorance. Education and learning is the synergic alternative to adversary punishment and guilt. However there is something in guilt worth keeping. It is certainly not the badness, it is certainly not the blame, and of course it is not the punishment.

Guilt also contains regret and this is worth keeping. When a mistake happens there is always regret. In the adversary world where there is blame and punishment of course I might regret being blamed and punished. I also might regret being considered bad by those who are blaming and punishing me. But there is almost always another component of regret. When I make a mistake that hurts someone else, I regret that as well. This is the regret worth keeping.

And, this is often why we humans tend to hang onto our guilt feelings when we make a mistake. We regret injuring others. We can solve this dilemma by moving regret over into the synergic processing of mistakes, where it is called restitution. Restitution means to restore, to repair the damage caused by the ignorance of our behavior.

The synergist does not feel guilty when he makes a mistake, but he is sorry if his ignorance injured other. As a synergist, he will freely try to repair things. He will freely offer restitution.




MISTAKES = Badness MISTAKES = Ignorance

—> self-punish


—> self-educate






We humans have a choice as to how to deal with mistakes. If we process our mistakes adversarily we get pain and no learning. If we process our mistakes synergically, we get learning and no pain.

In fact, you cannot learn when you adversarily process mistakes. We humans cannot tolerate the pain of blame, punishment, and guilt. We will deny that we make a mistake. We will project the blame for the mistake onto others. “I didn’t do it.” — “It wasn’t my fault.” — “And, if it isn’t my fault, why should I have to learn anything.”

In fact, if I am to learn from a mistake, I must first admit it was my fault. This is the real force behind what I call the “anti-learning barrier”. If I am to learn from my mistake I am trapped into accepting responsibility for my error. If I am adversarily processing the mistake, I cannot accept responsibility without feeling guilty. To avoid guilt I must deny responsibility. And if I wasn’t responsible then I have nothing to learn.

The “anti-learning barrier”

This barrier became evident to me by another one of my patients. I once had the occasion to treat a young woman in the early stages of her fifth pregnancy. She informed me she had had four abortions previously and was pregnant and planning to abort this pregnancy as well. I thought to myself, why can’t she learn to use birth control?

If we examine her situation in light of our new understanding, we see that for her to use birth control, she would have to admit that it is her responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That admission would lead her to the further conclusion that she was then also responsible for her previous unwanted pregnancies and their abortions.

This young woman was a Catholic and to admit responsibility for unwanted pregnancies and abortions were far too painful for her. She opted to deny any responsibility. “My boy friend got me drunk, and made me pregnant. It wasn’t my fault, so I don’t need to take birth control. Besides using birth control is a sin, I would never do that.”

The human brain is the most powerfully precise computer in the Universe. If we program it to believe mistakes are bad, it will function to prove it does not make mistakes. The human brain rebels at the idea that mistakes are bad. It will defend itself in any way possible, it will defend itself by lying. When I am accused of badness, I must lie to protect myself — to protect myself from blame and punishment — to protect myself from guilt. Confronted with an adversary reality that we live with today, it is rational to lie. Lying leads to distrust — “I assume you are my enemy”. Thus, the processing of mistakes as bad always leads to conflict and adversary behavior.

If on the other hand, I process my mistakes in a more scientific manner — as simply ignorant — choices made without all the information, then I must tell the truth to protect myself — to protect myself from repeating the mistake — to protect myself and others from further injury — to protect myself from paying unnecessary restitution.

Telling the truth leads to trust — “I assume you are my friend”. Processing mistakes as ignorance leads to co-Operation and synergic behavior.




MISTAKES = Badness MISTAKES = Ignorance

—> self-punish


—> self-educate





I must lie to protect myself.

I must tell the truth to protect myself.

I assume you are my enemy.

I assume you are my friend.






Scientists and all humans who seek to know must embrace humility when they stand before the totality of Nature. The principle of Non-Allness is a fundamental law of nature.

The fact that all actions occur in ignorance is a fundamental ‘knowing’ derived from the Principle of Non-Allness.

And the first corollary of that principle — the Principle of Innocence is an even more important extension of our human ‘knowing’. If we understand that all errors are committed in innocence, then how we treat those who err will change forever.

What about Bin Laden ?

How could the attack on the World Trade Towers have resulted from ignorance. How could those behind the murder of 3000+ thousand innocents themselves be innocent?

What don’t they know?

They don’t know that “As you sow, so shall you reap”. They don’t know that:

Adversary action usually provokes adversary reaction ending in an adversary resultant or loss.

They don’t know how powerful the United States really is. They have forgotten the lessons learned by Japan and Germany by the end of World War II. They to have wakened the sleeping Giant. Their acts will not make the world better and safer for themselves or for those they claim to represent. They don’t know that the end never justifies the means. In fact, the means always end up becoming the ends.

They don’t know that there is no heaven for murderers. They don’t know that an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, ends up with no winners only losers in a modern world with high technology and knowledge.

They don’t know that:

Progress + Warfare = Human Extinction

We humans are Time-binders, we have the power to create knowledge without limit. When knowledge is incorporated into matter-energy, it becomes a tool. As Andrew J. Galambos explained:

“Humans develop evermore powerful knowledge and therefore evermore powerful tools. When tools are used to harm other humans they are called weapons. Since human knowledge can grow without limit then tools themselves can be made without limit. And limitless tools can will produce limitless weapons.”

And, limitless weapons (progress) combined with leveraged adversity (warfare) must by all definitions and understanding of science produce human extinction.

All of today’s law enforcement agencies use adversary processing in an attempt to protect the public safety. Unfortunately, adversary processing results only in pain and no learning. The war on crime has been lost and always will be lost. Adversary behavior cannot be stopped with adversary behavior. The means always become the ends. The abolition of crime will require the abolition of punishment.

Only then can we move towards a world where, love, wisdom and compassion will replace hate, ignorance and judgment. Only then can we move beyond crime and punishment.

Read Timothy Wilken’s A Limit to Knowing.

Read Timothy Wilken’s Protecting Humanity.

Front Page

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

In the study of Religious Science, you learn a powerful form of affirmative prayer called treatment. The following treatment was created to help increase your personal wealth. Try it, it can change your life.

A Wealth Treatment

Timothy Wilken, MD

ALL is ONE — ONE is ALL.

Reality is whole — both physical and metaphysical.
Reality is UNITY — both recognized and unrecognized
One Love — One Consciousness — One God.

I am the Individualization of that Oneness.
Right Here, Right Now.
Love in me, as me, is me.
Consciousness in me, as me, is me.
God in me, as me, is me.

I am awake now and know who I am.
I am awake now and know who you are.
We are the same. I am you and you are me.
I am self and I am other.
I am one and I am all.
I am me and I am you.

When I help you, I help myself.
When I help myself, I help you.
When you help me, you help yourself.
When you help yourself, you help me.

Wealth comes to us without effort and without limit.
We place that wealth in service to helping you and to helping me.
We place that wealth in service to the higher good.
That wealth levers our efforts to the benefit of ALL.

That Wealth frees us to serve the One Love,
to serve the One Consciousness,
to serve the One God.

The One Love, the One Consciousness and the One God, are without limit,
and so Wealth comes to us without limit.

For this truth, we are deeply grateful.
We accept our oneness as true and valid.
We accept our unity as here and now.
We accept our wholeness as natural and necessary.

We will do nothing to make this happen.
We trust the One God.

And, so it is. …

Read or speak this treatment,
out loud three times, once a day,
as you do think about those you want to help,