Sunday, May 26, 2013

the programmer's stone...,

When people become focused on the part of a shared problem that they are dealing with, and shift their attention from avoiding blame to achieving success, jelled teams can form. Because the problem has its own deep structure, the whole team grows an authentic structure by mirroring the problem that does not need to be imposed arbitrarily by management. Effectiveness increases, and innovative products are designed and built at lightning speed. Turning the focus on avoiding blame inside out so that it becomes achieving success removes the system boundaries between workers and that turns everything else inside out:
buildfreedom | This project began as a bit of practical industrial psychology, and ended up unfolding into an understanding of how most people in most human societies have a consistently distorted view of everything. Not everyone is caught in the confusion, and as the picture emerged, an alternative model of relationships between observable phenomena that seems to be experienced by creative programmers in software engineering, star diagnosticians in medicine, great physicists and mathematicians, so-called ADHD children, people who "Know Quality" in industry, poets, painters, sculptors and mystics became describable - but only in its own terms. The alternative picture is wholly rational, but not reductionistic. Best of all, it is scientifically grounded and experimentally testable. If the experiments fail we can junk it. If they work, we've learned something important. 

By watching creative software engineers I learned how to teach the necessary state of mind to people who thought they couldn't do it. Then the similarity between creative engineers and children diagnosed as ADHD led to a remarkable idea. Important features of our culture put most people into a state where their brain chemistry is out of balance by age six, and this actually turns part of their awareness off. Get a whole society in this state, and they create a powerful logical blindspot that stops anyone seeing what is happening. The two effects protect each other and cause an awful lot of trouble. 

I tested the blindspot idea by applying it to some profound mysteries in current physics, and answers came rolling out! The sums remain the same, but the underlying assumptions are different. This is all about awareness, so I applied the new physical model to the question of what consciousness is, and got an answer quite different to anything suggested to date. Bundle it all up, and I got a concrete picture of how the physical processes in the universe - including consciousness - fit together, and how they look from our point of view.
Then things got very Indiana Jones. I discovered that mystical or religious records from several traditions all contain unambiguous discussion of the same logical and physical concepts. It seems that many other people have seen this picture at different times and places. Since they couldn't directly communicate the picture to others because of the brain chemistry and logic problems defined here, they all contributed to creating a situation where it could be communicated. These people thought big. They used their understanding of the situation to make adjustments and create work oriented cultures that study science! Humanity would still be stuck in a social and cognitive tornado, but it would be gathering clues like crazy and eventually the penny would have to drop. Some of the parts of the solution are more obvious than others although one needs the big picture to tell the difference between payloads, transport mechanisms and side-effects. 

The new physical model describes concrete processes that up until now have only been identified vaguely and intuitively by a minority of individuals with healthy brain chemistry but confused by their very language. This scientific treatment of spiritual experience resolves the disagreement between the two mindsets in the same way that an atom bomb would seem impossible unless one knew about fission and e = mc2, but with the physical theory one knows that the bomb can be built with uranium but not peanut butter. 

By the time the papers were written, a review of the Programers' Stone transcripts had appeared on Slashdot. This led to the creation of the progstone mailing list at eGroups, and the support that has built this website. Here is the Irregular Activities page, and here is the News page at Melloworld. 

The short text sections on this page are summaries of the ideas explored within each paper. All the papers themselves are hyperlinked to the underlined, bold section titles. At the end of each summary, there is a link to the full collection of additional materials, links and references for that paper. The project started by collecting practical teaching materials, and continued in that style. Here is an index of funny bits.


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