January 12, 1997

1. What is the purpose of this note?

It is to try to illuminate an important feature of how we form ideas through our experiencing of the world around us; a feature which is part of our "philosophy" though we may rarely focus in on it. Our philosophy and experience, whether explicit or implicit, shape our behaviors, and thus our experience and thence the behaviors and experience of those around us. In this way we "co-evolve" our personal culture (our "self"), the culture of our circle of friends and family, and the culture of our broader cultural grouping. The feature addressed by this note is the concept of "now".

2. What exactly is "now" and why is our impression of it so influential?

As Plato has said, in speaking of time and motion; " ... and from this source [time and motion] we have derived philosophy, than which no greater good ever was or will be given by the gods to mortal man."

His point is that the concepts of time and motion are fundamental to living and consciousness, to how we make sense out of our experiences both physical and imagined.

Our mind, knowing that there is a distinct difference between what is past and what is yet to come, must assume some kind of nature for the "present" or "now", the point of confluence of past and future. And such an assumed or explicit nature of "now" becomes a cornerstone of our philosophy and shapes our interpretation of the behaviors of the world around us perceived through our senses.

3. Is there a common view of the "now", and if so, what is it?

History has evolved two very different views of the "now", which we can call for convenience, the static_now and the active_now.

To get to a view of the "now", one naturally thinks in terms of putting a microscope along the zone where the past and future meet so that we can see exactly what goes on in the present as the past is transformed into the future. Here's where there is a split in process, based on an even lower level assumption; i.e. whether the world is intrinsically a world of "things" or a world of "energy flow". This was a great historical argument in the 6th and 5th century BC with Heraclitus "emphasizing the absolute continuity of change in every single thing: everything is in perpetual flux like a river." [1] The opposing view, pursued by Parmenides, that nature was inherently composed of "being" (immutable things) rather than "becoming" (flux) found synergy with the later emergence of Aristotle's syllogistic logic, and also with the emergence of the religious concept of a transcendent God. The religious belief of all ancient cultures up until this period, was that God (i.e. the Gods) were the divinity in nature and were continually "metamorphosing" into different shapes or forms. The removal of this "divine flux" from nature and sitting it on a heavenly throne was powerful support for kicking the "flux" out of the concept of the earthly "now". This key "choice" in man's thinking is described via the integrated views of Henri Frankfort, H. A. Frankfort, John A. Wilson, Thorkild Jacobsen and WIlliam A. Irwin in their joint book "The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man" [2].

Thus the idea that the world is composed of immutable things (atoms or etc.) is a cultural "ROM" routine which has persisted in our mental "read-only-memory" for the past 2500 years. Given this view, a raising of the power of our microscope as we focus it at the transition between past and future, equates to selecting short and shorter intervals of time. "static_now" is therefore the limit, as time goes to zero and all motion ceases, and represents a frozen world of "things". In this model, the future is born very simply out of the past, as we "unfreeze" this world of things and let them continue banging into each other, "causing" new physical geometries to come into being.

Heraclitus' idea, however, was as mentioned above, that all "things" were ephemeral, forming out of opposites unifying and converting one into the other through harmonic attunement, and that nature was in its limiting essence "flux" or "fire". The "things" which we perceive being simply shapes and forms analogous to "flames" while the true reality was the underlying fire, the process of continual metamorphosis of the forms of energy and order; "kindled in measures and in measures going out".

Thus Heraclitus' idea of the limiting nature of the world (kosmos) was consistent with the modern quantum mechanical view. As Denis Gabor (Nobel Laureate who discovered holography) has pointed out, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle (the cornerstone principle of quantum physics) implies that time and motion are inherently bound together, counter to our culture-induced intuitions. That is, to reduce time to zero and to freeze motion at the same time would be impossible in the quantum mechanical world, and it is this quantum model of the world which most fully matches our experiences of the physical world.

Gabor's observations on the extensive implications of this flaw in our thinking can be found in his 1945 paper "The Theory of Communications" [3]. Gabor proposes that we envisage [informational] things, not in terms of time and frequency being orthogonal dimensions, but instead, that we think of time and frequency (time and motion) as being inherently bound together in "dt-df" "cells". In this "Heraclitean" view, raising the power of our microscope to look at the boundary between the past and the future would equate to shrinking the "Gabor Cells". In the limit, we would get a very different "now" which we can, for convenience, term the "active_now" of the flux-based view of the world, to differentiate it from the static_now of the thing-based view of the world.

4. What are some of the differing aspects of these two "nows" in scientific terms?

The static_now and the active_now align themselves, respectively with linear and nonlinear scientific theory.

The static_now implies that the future is born out of the collisions amongst things. This is what is often termed a "causal" view. That is, the story, as seen through the static_now is very simple; "now" is nothing more than a line which separates the past from the future. Mathematically, we would say that the transition was a "linear" transition in that the future (the "output") was a simple sum of all of the inputs from the past. That is, this black box we call the "static_now" is behaves very simply and doesn't do anything weird like inter-relate groups of events in the past to create new future versions, or set up feedback loops between the future and the past. This simple view has major philosophical ramifications, as will be discussed in a moment, since it implies that the future is completely described by a linear operation on the immediate past; i.e. by allowing each individual motional thing of the past to cross the "line" into the future without being seriously messed with (i.e. each individual event could be attenuated or amplified)

The active_now model, on the other hand, implies that even in the limiting "nowness" of the "now", there is motion or flux. If we envisage the "essential active_now" through Heraclitus eyes (why not? his theory is very self-consistent and a surprisingly good precursor of modern day quantum physics), we would see a world in metamorphosis, as if the worm of the past was in the chrysalis of the now, with the future blossoming forth from this chrysalis much as the butterfly breaks out of the cocoon. In mathematical terms, this transformation is "nonlinear". In dealing with the "nonlinear", according to definitions coming from the Santa Fe Institute (Research Institute for the Sciences of Complexity), "... one must consider a nonlinear problem 'in toto'; one cannot --- at least not obviously --- break the problem into small subproblems and add their solutions." This nonlinear, metamorphosis view of the "now" in which the whole can interfere with the parts and vice versa, is a very different "ROM" to put into one's mental modeling "software".

The concept of active_now is more akin to the thinking of Zen Buddhism, which holds consciousness to be real, but not its objects (things). The idea of a metamorphosis between the past and present parallels the Zen concept of a sudden enlightenment while the idea of new meaning coming through an enfoldment of familiar meaning parallels the Zen "koan" in which once draws hidden meaning from meditating on a paradoxical literal saying. The sayings of Heraclitus and Zeno, and purportedly the Delphi oracles in presocratic times were very much in the manner of the Zen koan, and the idea that the intended meaning is beyond the familiar (past) literal meaning, but unfolds from it (e.g. "the sound of one hand clapping"). Wittgenstein has also noted that much deep insight into the nature of things cannot come through language and language and logic must be used simply as an expedient device to engender unspeakably complex meaning in the mind of another (i.e. one must throw away the ladder of Wittgenstein's propositions, as they are no more than nonsense, once one has 'seen the light'). The point here is that the nonlinear transforms implicit in the Heraclitean and quantum physics concepts of "now" as "flux" or "becoming" are difficult to communicate.

5. If we assume that the "now" is an active_now, "who" or "what" possesses the information of the whole and intervenes to perform this nonlinear transform?

To attempt a response to this question takes us into the domain of fundamental philosophical thought (i.e. time and motion thought) and theology (whether Christian or Orphic-Neoplatonic). The "thing"-based ROM in our mental modeling software includes a little branching statement, should this question of nonlinear change ever crop up. It is implicit in Newton's comment; "the growth of new systems out of old ones, without the mediation of a divine power, seems to me apparently absurd." [3] That is, we hit the limits of current understanding with this question; some people invoke God in the heavens, and some people invoke a godlike divinity in nature. As Kepler said in his "Harmonice Mundi"; "Geometry existed before the Creation, is coeternal with the mind of God, 'is God himself'.", echoing the earlier thoughts of Heraclitus; "The ordering, the same for all, no god or man has made, but it ever was and is, and will be: fire everliving, kindled in measures and in measures going out."

Heraclitus also felt that this question was THE most important for man,; "Wisdom consists in understanding the way the world works" and that the ultimate wisdom equated to the divine; "One thing, the only truly wise, does not and does consent to be called by the name of Zeus."

As one probes this subject from various angles, however, one realizes that our static_now based thinking automatically discards much information which is insightful to this process of an active_now. This is discussed in other essays on this webpage, including; "The Mathematics of Motion: a Christmas Corollary", "Newton's Error", and "Of Moths and Men".

The key point here is that nature can be thought of in terms of harmonies and flow as opposed to things and force. Kepler's laws were about the former while Newton's laws were about the latter. Newtonian thinking is dependent on fluxions and fields (don't forget that a fluxion or time-derivative is based on a world of "things" and depends on the frozen imagery one gets when one "stops the clock" being valid). Kepler's ideas of an overall "harmony" of the whole were based on direct observations of nature and did not rely on any clock-stopping, thing-freezing assumptions.

Kepler looked at the relative trajectories of the planetary orbits and the relative cycle-times of these orbitals and found a pervasive harmonic pattern in which the ratio of the square of the cycle-time to the cube of the relative distance of attracting body to attracted body was a constant (T**2/R**3 = C). Thus, the "things" in Kepler's world were shapes which mapped out a Heraclitean flow and harmony. His laws were thus about "thing-free" "information"; the interrelated shapes and periodic motions of the orbitals, reminiscent of Gabor's dt-df informational cells.

[Though Kepler was a Christian and suffered in Catholic Germany for his family's Lutheran beliefs, he was very unlike the Puritan Newton, who encapsulated the "correct" interpretation of the scriptures in 15 logical propositions, very much as he'd done with his mathematical philosophy of nature in Principia. In fact, Kepler also had "Neoplatonist" views which would have exposed him to the "Orphic" origins of nature of the ancients; bisexual, self-fertilizing, the future orchestrated out of the past by the music of Orpheus etc., views very much reminiscent of the "autonomous co-evolution" of today complexity researchers. ]

So, the models of motion, past, present and future that come into one's mind are very different depending on whether you've got Keplerian or Newtonian "ROM" loaded. For example, with the Keplerian ROM in, you are in the domain of harmonies and attractors where the relationships between the whole and the parts is very important. In this case, inertia is not just a convenient property of matter to allow you to measure its bulk, it is a memory of the past. That inertial memory keeps "thing-shapes" tending to persist in the historic speed and direction, and tending to resist the attractive presence of other "thing-shapes". Now it is clear that this memory is not totally unconnected with the memory of yet other "thing-shapes" since all "thing-shapes" must have "exchanged interactions" with many others in the past, with each modifying their inertial memories in a manner consistent with the nature of their encounter.

Thus inertia is the property which endows all parts of the whole with a memory (of some sort) of all historic encounters [again, this is reminiscent of complexity research where; "the structure of the organization is also the record of the embodied 'know-how'].

Now, as we look at all these "thing-shapes", connected by some common aspect of memory, speeding along out of the past towards their future encounters, we anticipate that some will deviate from their course more or less, depending on the closeness of encounter with other "thing-shapes", and others will be "captured" by the force of the attractors they pass too closely by, and will remain in orbit around them. The threshold of capture is when the attractive force, acting directly between the two "thing-shapes", is strong enough to equal the opposing inertial force.

From relativity, it follows that attractor and attractee are one and the same (i.e. each thing-shape acts as both a reluctant attractee and an eager attractor, with all parts of the whole being both eager to "reel in" the future and resistant to let go of the past. Thus in Kepler's world, the "now" is indeed a chrysalis of the whole which metamorphoses the past to give birth to the future. The imagery coming from this "harmony-and-geometry" view of the world is consistent with the concepts of enfolding in nonlinear dynamics. In this case the whole "self-enfolds" in a kind of "autonomous co-evolution" as a Kauffman (Santa Fe Institute, and author of "At Home in the Universe") might say. Thus, gravity would appear to play the role of the transformative "song of the siren" or "music of orpheus" which draws us out of our past memories (inertia) into the future, re-making us in the process.

6. Is there other reasoned argument which supports the correctness of one over the other of these two models of the "now?"

The argument which stands out, in favor of the active_now model, is one given by Zeno of Elea. Zeno was born in about 490 BC and thus lived in a period between Heraclitus (ca. 540 - 480 BC) and Aristotle (384 - 322 BC). Zeno, like Heraclitus and the oracles (and the Zen koan tradition), tended to speak in paradoxes. Because these philosophers did not elaborate on the literal meaning of the paradoxes (the complex "wisdom" was necessarily encrypted in the message), their writings were often viewed as nonsensical (even by many of today's philosophers), yet the content is seen by the minority as being both deep and meaningful (e.g. see "The Art and Thought of Heraclitus", by Charles Kahn).

Zeno formulated four paradoxes of motion which are known by the titles; "The Stadium", "Achilles and the tortoise", "The Arrow" and "The Moving Rows". All of these paradoxes start from a "thing-based" view and all aim to prove that motion is impossible. [i.e. that it is impossible for "bodies" to move].

In "the Arrow", Zeno proves that motion cannot exist because; "What is in motion moves neither in the place it is in nor in one in which it is not."

Stated in terms of propositions, Zeno's "Arrow" paradox goes like this;

1. Anything occupying a place just its own size is at rest.

2. In the present, what is moving occupies a place just its own size.

So, 3. In the present, what is moving is at rest.

Now, 4. What is moving always moves in the present.

So, 5. What is moving is always --- throughout its movement --- at rest.

The implications, in the views of Kirk et al [1] are as follows; "The paradox in fact poses an incisive challenge to the attractive idea that motion must occur --- if it occurs at all --- in the present. It shows that it is hard to reconcile this idea with the equally attractive notion that in the present what moves cannot be traversing any distance. Perhaps there are two incompatible conceptions of the 'now' at work here --- one that of a present duration, the other that of an indivisible instant, as it were a line dividing past from future. If so, that does not make Zeno's argument any less impressive. For it is such arguments which force the distinction upon us. And the choice between the alternatives hinges on one's deep-seated predilections in the philosophy of time, as is shown by J. D. Lear (Phronesis 26 (1981), 91-94)."

One might imply from "the Arrow" that Zeno is rejecting the ideas of Parmenides, of a thing-based reality and embracing the ideas of Heraclitus (a flux-based reality) in these motion paradoxes. Unfortunately, the historical records on Zeno are too sparse to validate or disconfirm any such hypothesis.

Without actually speaking to the author of the above remarks, I have no way of knowing whether he has delved into quantum physics and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, however, I suspect he has not or he would've mentioned it at this point.

In any case, Zeno's "Arrow" raises some serious questions as to the consistency of a "static_now" (i.e. thing-based) assumption with our experiential reality.

7. How are the effects of these two different models of "now" manifest in our current culture?

These two models lead to profound and fundamental differences in our cultural outlook and habitudes.

The static_now implies that the "now" is a simple line separating the past from the future and that the passage of "things" from the past to the future is a linear one. This means that we can fully describe the future by looking at each thing coming out of the past on a one-by-one basis (out of the context of the whole). That is, each act, each event, each behavior can be looked upon as a thing in its own right as it passes from the past into the future, since nothing messy and nonlinear (i.e. involving interactions between many parts), is going on in the "now".

The taking of things on an "issue-by-issue", "one-day-at-a-time", "point-by-point", bulletized, "bottom-line" and structured way, cornerstone approaches of western culture and organization, follows directly from the static_now assumption, since if the "now" formed the future out of a nonlinear interacting mix of aspects of the past, the whole "in toto" problem, rather than separate parts, would have to be considered simultaneously (i.e. in the "now").

In constrast, the active_now assumption leads one to consider the interrelationships amongst the whole, as well as one can, to come up with a viewpoint. This has been described by Heraclitus, Kepler, Einstein and Wittgenstein. In Einstein's words [4]; "A geometrical-physical theory [i.e. a self-consistent view of the whole and the parts] as such is incapable of being directly pictured, being merely a system of concepts. But these concepts serve the purpose of bringing a mnltiplicity of real or imaginary sensory experiences into connection in the mind. To 'visualize' a theory, or bring it home to one's mind, therefore means to give a representation to that abundance of experiences for which the theory supplies the schematic arrangement."

Thus, in using the active_now assumption, one would consider the relevant information "in toto" (as is the nonlinear mathematical approach) and mentally seek a "theory" or "solution" which most consistently reconciles the relationships between all of the data. The idea of taking things one point at a time, issue-by-issue, is anathema to those who embrace an active_now assumption. Wittgenstein, in response to pressures from those around him to expound his thoughts in a clearly structured (linear presentation style) book said [5]; "I am not quite sure how I should start a book, this because I am still unclear about something. For I should like to start with the original data of philosophy, written and spoken sentences, with books as it were. ..... And here we meet with the difficulty that 'all is in flux' ('alles fliesst'). Perhaps that is the very point at which to start."

As Wittgenstein, Kepler, Heraclitus and others who embrace the active_now model have observed, [1] "But if the universe changes continually according to the tensions between opposites, it is senseless to ask for its origin in the manner of myth. There is no beginning and no end; there is only existence, Heraclitus states magnificently; 'This world (kosmos) which is the same for all, no one of the gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out.'" Thus are Wittgenstein and Kepler's writing often in the form of question and answers which promote understanding through idea evolution and metamorphosis, an approach alluded to above in Einstein's comment and termed by modern physicists "bootstrapping". Newton's writings, on the other hand, presume a solid axiomatic base upon which may be built a static and immutable structure.

8. What are some of the specific manifestations of these differing "mental ROMs" in our cultural habitudes?

The cultural intuition which comes from the static_now model is, as mentioned, that each issue can be properly handled separately. From this intuition comes the idea that we can control the future by attenuating or amplifying specific events according to our values, as they transition from the past to the future. Thus this model gives rise to our great faith in "legislation", not just as guidelines, but as actual shaping filters to shape a desired future out of the past. It is interesting to note in this regard, that the "Bill of Rights" was signed in 1689, just two years subsequent to Principia, and this Bill signaled a transfer of power to the middle classes which prevails to this day.

In addition to "legislation", we can see the static_now model imbued in the economic processes of command-and-control management theory and in the "unconscious" investment processes which prevail on Wall Street and the World's financial markets. Again, the assumption is that by attenuating or amplifying a given thing or motion of the past according to our values, we can shape the overall future. In the case of business, our values are to grow earnings, dividends and share value. This linear theory has appealed, not only because of its "apparent" simplicity (the deception in this assumption will be discussed in the response to question 10), but also because the embrace of simplicity has been part of our cultural value set. As discussed elsewhere on this webpage (e.g. "The Mathematics of Motion: A Christmas Corollary"), associating virtue with simplicity goes back as far as Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics where he summarizes his definition of "virtue" with the following words; 'Goodness is simple, evil takes any shape.'"

Throughout western culture to this day, there is an "irrational" fear of the complex, and modern politicians have been known to resurrect the expression, "the devil is in the detail" in suggesting devious behavior on the part of their opponents. In Newton's biblical works, (e.g. "Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalyse of St. John"), [3] according to John Brooke, "Evil spirits became mental disorders, and devils became the imaginary ghosts of the departed, whom the heathen characteristically worshipped as gods." Of course, Kepler's mother barely escaped burning at the stake and papers had been prepared in Wuerttemberg charging Kepler himself with practicing the "forbidden arts", but his politically-connected status as 'Imperial Mathematician' gave him some protection, and helped him to secure his mother's freedom." The association of evil with complexity was thus still strong in seventeenth century Europe.

Thus the espousing of a static_now leads directly to a stress on simplicity, legislation, bullet communications, and clear rule-based instructions and controls. The fact that these are applied on an issue by issue basis, though nature is operating on the basis of metamorphosis, implies that the "response" of these linear shaping filters, on the future will be very different from what was envisaged. Thus do we see rising crime, violence and mental problems even as we restrengthen our linear filtering efforts, often arguing that the problem is one of INSUFFICIENT simplicity, clarity, severity of application of the rules.

It does not follow from the embrace of the active_now model, that one would eschew all legislation and simple rules etc. and embrace chaos and anarchy. For the active_now model users, rules, legislation and grids are "Wittgensteinian Ladders" whose value, rather than being innate, is in their usefulness as a way to monitor things. Thus if a Winston Churchill gets a failing mark on his English exam, it is interpreted by the active_now model users as a device to raise one's awareness of a problem, to prompt a closer look at the situation, rather than to take the rule literally and judge Winston incompetent in English and expel him. The active_now based judgment on Winston would come from consideration of the overall context.

Similarly in the case of investments, the common formula is to buy the shares of companies whose earnings and dividend forecast is strong and whose shareprice is temporarily low with respect to share value. This is the simple formula which guides a major portion of today's investment money. If one embraces an active_now model, it would suggest that this formula be used as a guide to monitor potential investment candidates and that the overall context of the company be considered prior to making the determination. This is in fact the model which underlies the intent of Good$hare International. Otherwise, our blind rule-based investments will include companies guilty of neglect, willful disregard or malicious intent with respect to the welfare of their employees, host community and the environment. Thus does the static_now shaping filter shape a future which may rapidly diverge from intended social purpose, leaving a legacy of pain and destruction to the following generation.

9. How is it possible that this suboptimum static_now model has persisted for 2500 years if it is so much inferior, with respect to our actual experiencing of nature, to the active_now model?

The static_now model has been firmly anchored to the "doctrinal norms" of western Judeo-Christian religions, business, economic, educational, regulatory and social hierarchical structures.


Thus, the Judeo-Christian religious practitioner may well ignore the doctrine and practice according to overall context as he/she sees it. Similarly for the business person, the investor, the policeman, the teacher and the high-society type.

Thus, there is a divergence between the defined "cultural norm" and the actual practice. In the past, if you decided, on the basis of overall context (active_now) that it was ok to smoke a joint, even though it was formally illegal and could prevent you from holding public office, you might have done it anyway. In other words, many people allowed their active_now models to pre-empt the specified cultural norm based on the static_now model.

For those unfortunates, particularly the young and innocent, who fail to interpret this hidden double standard, and try to live according to the facade of static_now model based rules, they end up denying their own experience and that of others (by focusing in solely on behaviors and rules). The psychological damage which results from this double bind is the subject of R. D. Laing's book "The Politics of Experience".

In two recent "Wellspring" sessions with retired Petroleum Industry employees, the insight emerged that the management of many companies is moving to tighten up the static_now model approach. That is they are putting increasing faith in rule-based management theories, often brought in by consultants, and denying the experience of their employees. As they do so, they warp the future in an unpredictable way and induce progressively higher levels of pain and destruction.

Experience shows that those who uphold the static_now model based approach are likely to predominate in positions of power. [Exceptions to this generality are where businesses or other "colonies" of active_now practitioners have grown from seedlings into maturity.] If you invest blindly on the basis of simple short term rules, all other things being equal, you will definitely make more money, and at the same time you will encourage those whom you invest in to prostitute themselves to deliver ever greater results irrespective of the impact on employee, host community or environment. It's the old "Trip to Abilene" syndrome where nobody really wants to go to Abilene, but it's a lot easier to go along with the crowd, than it is to speak out against a systemic trend.

The static_now model is a linear model which leads naturally to optimization by parts, as opposed to nonlinear, systemic optimization in the case of the active_now model. Thus "division of labor" and "specialization" have progressed steadily throughout the industrial age. As the Philosopher George Berkeley complained, in the context of Newtonian fluxions, once specialization proceeds towards abstract levels which are not accessible to the lay person through normal common sense, we are in the domain of religious faith. Whosoever believes in the truth of a third order fluxion has a religious faith in it. Thus have we progressively established families of "high priests" in each area of specialization; business, religion, investment, regulatory, education etc. who control the acceptance or rejection of new ideas.

Each of these "religions" sets up their own cultural norms, taken out of the context of the whole. Thus neo-classical economics, based on the flawed concept of the "rational investor", came to be an entire industry in itself, of educators, consultants, experts and practitioners, along with high priests, cultural norms, the whole caboodle. When it was shown that the basic premise of neo-classical economics was flawed, did this system collapse? Clearly not, because economies are "life-forms" in their own right and are not easily subdued. There are no rules in nature to say that BS is not a good core product to build an economy around. This point is in fact proven by nature in that evolution has given us such examples as the tasty moth (to birds) which came back from the threat of extinction to thrive because it evolved the same markings as a bitter moth which was avoided by the birds. If my boss gave me a job as head of the financial department because I am an expert neo-classical economist, am I going to resign when I hear of the fatal flaw in the ointment? Is he going to fire me? How long will it take for the adjustment to be made? Or, will it ever be made?

A friend who is an Accounting Professor at a local university argues that the profession of accounting should not exist as a specialty in its own right. He is openly trying to do himself out of a job, however, the future of his unnecessary and damaging specialty appears to be a long and promising one.

When the government of the US was formed, it was formed by people with an overall context driven by a vision of liberty and freedom. This was not a linear shaping of the past into the future. It was a new deal. The representatives in the government were initially more focused on unities and harmonies which would engender and sustain the vision. But as numerous economic realities came into being and specialization emerged, the static_now model presumed that the future could be shaped from the linear filtering of past initiatives taken separately. Thus do we see the development of more "religious ecologies" and high priests, and begin to wish that holist visionaries could once again be recruited into government. Unfortunately, the recourse is often to think in terms of adding more rules, applied on a linear basis, such as "term limits".

The reason why the static_now model has sustained itself for so long in spite of its discordancy relative to our experiencing of nature is that its linear processes spawn specialization which in turn spawn "religious economies" led by the most "literal" of the static_now practitioners. While many, if not the majority of people (the majority are not in power) use the static_now model as a Wittgensteinian ladder, the official cultural norm's are specified in terms of discrete static_now rule structures. Thus if I smoked a joint or two (or admit to haven smoked, or am shown to have done it), I do not get to be a high priest in the Supreme Court. Thus the majority who value holistic context over discrete rules, i.e. those who subordinate their static_now models to their active_now models, are not going to rise to power THROUGH rule-based social structures; they are going to have to "grow their own". Thus have the high priests of the static_now, by leveraging rule-based structures to their advantage, kept the middle-class economic powerbase in control since 1689.

10. Are there any factors emerging which might influence the resurgence of the active_now model and the subordinating of the static-now?

As mentioned earlier, the "simplicity" in thing-based and rule-based structures is a deception (see "Of Moths and Men" and other recent essays on this webpage). While Aristotle associated virtue with simplicity and evil with complexity, history and the literature has informed us that what we gain in simple rules is lost in the application of these "simple" rules. Les Miserables gives testimony to this. If one makes a simple rule then there's an infinity of ways to go wrong. While the rule-based shaping filter or "fishnet" may be intended to attenuate evil and amplify good, it's clear that an industrious static_now model practitioner like "Javert", using the rules literally, can find an infinity of situations to prosecute.

At the same time, the honest active_now model practitioners, the Jean Valjeans of the world, will plead "nolo contendere" to their violations, claiming (quite legitimately) that they acted for the overall good (or to prevent a worse ill from occurring). Thus does the active_now ethic come into direct conflict with the static_now ethic and, of course, if the majority of Judges (legal high priests) believe in a rule-based society (rather than a rule-guided society), they will listen to and hear such arguments as "we mustn't use our prisons as revolving doors" and "the few must suffer for the good of all" and the static_now view will prevail. As suggested in another essay on this web-page, the ultimate result of industrious rule-oriented plaintiffs chasing honest context-oriented defendants is a world of liars and lawyers.

Against this setting, it is clear that there is a heavy burden associated with the administration of the simple rule structures which come out of the static_now assumption. There is indeed an infinity of ways to miss the mark, as Aristotle has said. This is the "burden of concreteness" which thing-based models bring with them. In a world of information overload, the economics of administering rule-based structures is getting out of hand (consider the O. J. Simpson trial). In a society that does not embrace liberty, equality, fraternity, there is recourse to simple authoritarianism and arbitrary judgment, to reduce these costs. However, in a society that deeply embraces these three values, the alternative of an active_now model, in which rules are only guidelines emerges as a prime economic alternative.

According to the wellspring sessions I've recently participated in, the subordinating of static-now models and their discrete rule structures to "common sense" or "holistic context" was much more the way of the past, in any case. As is indicated in the book "Trust" by Francis Fukuyama, the "keiretsu" or moral network structure has been responsible for much business success, not only in Japan but in other successful organizational systems. According to the Wellspring groups, these networks based on high level unwritten understandings between people were, in the past, the true but hidden source of organizational success and personal fulfillment IN SPITE of the official written norms of command-and-control authority structure and procedures. It is a lot cheaper and more effective to use human consciousness to examine overall context and move into the future on that basis, according to the Wellspring retirees. It's unfortunate, however, that the high priesthood in business is nevertheless often dominated by those who subordinate consciousness and experience to mechanical rule-based management theory.

However, as it becomes more overtly obvious how cheap and effective human consciousness and experience is compared with "the burden of concreteness", and this is what appears to be happening in smaller firms and a minority of larger ones, processes like "autonomous co-evolution" based on a subordination of the static_now to the active_now will be understood and deployed without ever having to be pronounced.

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[1] Kirk, G. S. et al, "The Presocratic Philosophers", Cambridge University Press, 1957, rev. 1983

[2] Frankfort, Henri et al, "The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man", The University of Chicago Press, 1946

[3] Editors; Fauvel, Flood, Shortland and Wilson, "Let Newton Be", Oxford University Press, 1988

[4] Einstein, Albert, "Geometry and Experience", Address to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin on January 27th, 1921

[5] Wittgenstein, Ludwig, "Vermischte Bemerkungen" 1931, published 1977, reference courtesy of Ilsa Somavilla