How Does the World Work?

  • See the About page for a description of the subjects of interest covered in this blog.

Series Indexes

Global Issues Blogroll

Blog powered by Typepad

Comment Policy

  • Comments
    Comments are open and welcome as long as they are not offensive or hateful. Also this site is commercial free so any comments that are offensive or promotional will be removed. Good questions are always welcome!

« Sapience - Introduction | Main | The biophysical economy - the only model of reality »

December 31, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Hi George Currently digesting your piece-thats a lot of information!One thing you may shed light on is those 'Eureka moments'..when one is struggling with an intractable problem for days or weeks then suddenly, as if by magic, the problem is resolved in seconds(one famous example is Astronomer Fred Hoyles nucleosynthesis resolution whilst driving over Bowes moor)
On a general point is your prescription for a sapience governance intended(& hoped)to be adopted before, during, or after 'the crash'?
Personally I can only see a chance during escalating backs-against-the-wall last minute despair forcing radical thinking & adoption among any elite we have at present.
One more thing George, I have not seen any reference to Dunbars number in any of your writings (apologies If I'm wrong)

Does it form any part of your strategic thinking?
I'm asking because it forms an important part of my struggling ideas how to integrate small(<150) scale local social groupings into larger entities without corruption.....
Thanks again for your insights which are inspiring!

George Mobus


Re: 'Eureka moments', I haven't got anything specific, but as I understand the 'explanations' given in several of the books on creativity, it is part of that massive subconscious model working going on pretty much all the time (even during sleep). One possibility is that your brain (parietal and temporal lobes primarily) takes on the task given it by the prefrontal cortex (the active thinking about the problem experience). Then it goes on automatic and keeps churning looking for the solution (pattern that fits) and when it has it, it announces such to the prefrontal cortex - your consciousness - giving rise to this feeling that the solution just pops out of nowhere.

My work on sapient governance can be picked up anytime those in power start realizing that the way we are going about things now isn't working! Given that the Obama economics team is made up of neo-classical economists and Obama is, himself, a lawyer (even if well-intentioned re: science) I don't really expect to see any movement in this direction until our backs are against the wall. What I hope will happen is that I can form a nucleus of thinkers who grasp sapience and the need to 'concentrate' it. That group will be prepared to pick up the pieces after a crash.

I have been a little successful in getting a voice into those advising Obama (see: for an argument map of 'What Obama should do next' and for an explanation. Also see: Dot Earth - scroll down to number 10). But, frankly, I am not holding my breath. He is a smart man, but our political system in the US is so broken that I doubt he will have much success even if he understood that we have to scrap the old notions about economics and governance.

Re: Dunbar's number, I have run into the concept through various anthropology and evolutionary psychology texts. But I haven't read Dunbar's work directly. AFA how it might play into hierarchical governance for larger groups I think you are on the right track. Small local groups (intentional communities) can be coordinated under a larger umbrella organization as long as the latter is operated by sapient principles! That is always the catch. If the majority of those who would be king tend not to be sapient (and definitely not eusapient!) we always end up with the corruption. I certainly encourage you to think more on this, it is a necessary piece of any future governance that will provide cross group and regional coordination.




Thanks for that....I'm afraid I share your scepticism of Obama, we would all like to believe in anyone willing to knock heads together but the extent of his corporate backing, the antiwar objectors locked out of his administration and the appointment of Tom Vilsack, an avid supporter of agribusiness giant Monsanto
suggests to me its going to be (attempted) 'business as usual' as first priority.
I have a shrewd feeling that its going to be a mirror image of the hopes some had for Tony Blair in '97 here in the UK.
I hope I am wrong.....


Incidently, any readers interested in a non-technical, informative and highly amusing introduction to Dunbars number see David Wongs "The Monkeysphere".

The comments to this entry are closed.