The End Of The World As We Know It — Keep Swimming

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First a quick nod of thanks to R.E.M. for the song that’s been playing in my head for nearly a month.  Where would we be without our daily life soundtrack….

A few days ago, I posted a short piece to FaceBook that I later added here as a blog entry, talking about how I’ve finally managed to get past the election of Donald Trump, and get on with my life.  In that post, I said I’d had 2 “ah-ha” moments and I explained what I’d learned, then ended by saying there really was a 3rd big AH-HA — but it would take too long to explain in a FB status update.  After all the comments, Likes, private messages, phone calls etc from my friends & FBcontacts, I now realize that just about everybody I know — including even those who don’t live in the US or have US citizenship —  has been experiencing the same kind of PTSD reaction to this year’s election, and that maybe I should have taken the time and explained all three Ah-Ha’s.  Here we are, nearly five weeks after the fact, and people are still either in denial — still expecting some deus ex machina intervention or catastrophe to prevent the coming inauguration — or so deep into depression that they are considering a visit to their doctor to talk about SSRIs.  Or Valium.  or Xanax.  or medical marijuana.  or how to self-administer a lethal injection.

Not those who voted for the Don, I suppose.  But I don’t actually know anybody who voted for him.  Or who will admit to it, anyway.

The worst reactions are coming from those who have either been in abusive relationships and escaped — or those who have lived and/or worked closely with a narcissist.  (Not a slightly self-absorbed average person — a real, live, clinically pathological narcissist.)  For those people, the post-election season is a little like waking up in one of their own nightmare memories.  The evening news is like watching old home movies — playing out on a global scale.  People who have survived a marriage to a narcissist or a business relationship with a narcissist  know what’s coming.  It’s the Big Reveal.  Or the Big Run-And-Hide.  Enemies lists, revenge, retribution, long-game-I’ll-show-you, spiteful jabs, reputation destroying, enemies-closer, cyber-stalking, power-plays, victory laps, pep rallies, loyalty rewards cards, military parades, membership in Biggest Winner Fan Club, mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together….

And they’re right, of course.  All of that is more than possible.  It’s probable.  Likely.  Coming to a theater near you.  And a market near you.  And a street near you.  Everybody needs to have their exit strategy laid out.  Keep the tank full at all times.   Have at least 3-4 weeks of food and water on hand.  Keep blankets and water and an emergency care kit by the door.

This is not a test.

But here’s the other thing that’s just as true:

The model still holds.

I am not going to explain the model in this post.  That would be like explaining particle physics in 20 words or less.  (lol)  It would be a 50 page (conservatively) snooze-a-thon for most folks.  There is a full explanation of the Graves Model here in my blog (start here, if you want the full monty) – but the essentials are these:

  • There is a developmental pattern shared by all of us.
  • The same pattern of human development is shared by groups — families, societies, species.  From individuals to villages, companies to governments, to the global village — each of us, and each of the cultural groups we belong to, all follow the same pattern of evolution.
  • The level of the model an individual operates at is demonstrated by their motivations, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • When the “tipping point” of any level is reached, the person or society that has reached that tipping point moves on to the next level. (much like a simple game, where the tiny explorer fights all the creatures and solves all the puzzles on one level, then discovers the doorway into the next level and so moves on.)
  • The levels alternate between inward focus and outward focus.  That is, Level 1 is all about my own personal survival.  Once that survival is secured, we look around and say “Is that it?  Is that all there is to life?”  And of course, the answer is always, NO.  There is more to life that just my own survival — but I can’t see that until I’m good enough at surviving to look around my own little 2-square-feet of real estate.  And Level 2 is born — the family group or tribe is born.  Level 1 is inward — just me.  Level 2 is outward and inclusive — US.  WE.  We survive and we do it better together.  We take care of our own.  We share the load.  We help each other.
  • Each progressive step upward reaches its threshold asking a question.  Odd numbered levels ask, “Is that all there is?” before moving up to an even-numbered level.  Even numbers ask, “but what’s in this for me?” and then move up to the next odd-numbered level to do inward/individual focus again.
  • Each progressive level is broader and/or more complex than the previous level.
  • The group — the US — of each progressive even number is bigger than the last.  Level 2 is about protecting and building family and tribe.  Level 4 is about protecting and building social order — church, state, laws, written morals etc.  Level 6 is about protecting and building for all humans and other diverse groups, acting together and for one-another.
  • The individual — the ME — of each progressive odd number exhibits a wider range of power, control, and participation in self advancement than simple survival.  Level 3 is about competition, conquest, and winning on the battlefields of sport, war, and pre-capitalist economics.  Level 5 is about competition, conquest and winning on the bigger playing fields of capitalist economics, science, and technology.  Level 7 does not exist yet on a global scale —  we have not reached this level in the broader evolution of our species, but in individual terms, it is about the competition and conquest of ideas.  We are playing on the bigger field of human ideas and understanding.  It is a world of figuring out bigger questions.  Bigger patterns.  Patterns over time and distance.   L3 is pre-capitalist.  L5 is capitalist.  L7 is — you guessed it — post-capitalist.
  • The Graves Model itself, exists at Level 7.  And yes, there is an 8, but neither L1 nor L8 is really relevant or helpful for this discussion, so we’re just going to drop those for now and move on.
  • In general, the harshest critics of any level are those who have just moved to the next level.  Like someone who has just managed to kick an addiction to cigarettes is the first to insist that smokers are enemies of the state.
  • In general, odd numbers see both the previous even number and the next even number as enemies of all they stand for.  L5 tends to see L4’s laws, regulations, and morals as strangling and ridiculously rule-bound; and L6’s concern with “all-those-not-like-me” as wasting their time, money and energy on things that don’t matter to the bottom line.  L3 felt the same way about L2 and L4.  L7 will, if we last long enough as a species, feel the same way about L6 and L8.
  • In general, regardless of what level we exist at, we are able to operate at other levels when called for.  For example, anyone who has survived (L1) is able to shift into L1 when their survival is at stake.  Anyone who has lived at L2 will return to L2 for family gatherings.  Anyone can play tennis at L3.  Everyone probably attends church or balances their checkbook in L4-mode.  There are certain activities that pull us from our general operating level into a level that works best for that particular activity.
  • We all tend to believe that everyone is just like us — but that some are doing it very badly.  L2s think the entire world exists for them to use for their group’s benefit — but some individuals or countries  just don’t understand.  L3 thinks the whole world is there for them to fight, defeat, and conquer — the one with the biggest stick or gun wins.  L4 thinks the world just needs to follow their rules.  L5 thinks money will fix everything.  L6 thinks we are our brother’s keepers, and everyone is our brother — but (L5 especially) just doesn’t get it.  L7 believes they can fix it if they can just figure it out — and any other pursuit is a waste of time.
  • And — this is the important take-away — Every individual, regardless of level, and every social or cultural entity, regardless of level — has one belief in common:

ANYONE (or any society) NOT OPERATING ON THE SAME LEVEL AS ME IS
CRIMINAL, INSANE, SINFUL, STUPID, USELESS, and/or WEAK.

And that, boys and girls, is where war and aggression come from.


And that’s the shortest explanation of the Graves Theory of Human Evolution I can give you.  It’s not complete.  I’ve made some outrageous simplifications.  But that’s the crux of it.  It’s a really REALLY complicated big picture cut down to a page or two of generalizations.

I thought I’d live to see the shift from Graves Level 5 to 6 as the dominant world system.  After all, we’ve been here at L5 since the Renaissance.  Sure, there have been many individuals who have existed happily and well at L6 and L7 for years — but not enough of those individuals for any but a few tiny countries or organizations to move up into L6 en mas.  Large collections of L7s work in close proximity in  few really forward thinking companies, research institutions or colonies, but in general they are Lone Wolf thinkers who specialize in pattern recognition, theoretical scientific work, and systems analysis and theory.

But since the Renaissance, L5 has been the dominant and overwhelmingly persuasive bully on the pitch.  In many cases, it has persuaded us that it is the only game in town — that if it isn’t working, it’s because it is being played badly — and with enough effort and elbow grease, we can get it working the way we want it to work.

But here’s the truth — the pattern holds.

The next step will be the de-throning of L5 as the dominant social system.

We were closer than we’ve ever been to that flip into L6 in 2016 with the candidacy of Bernie Sander for President of the United States.  With Hillary Clinton, we had a candidate who had split her time going back and forth between L5 and L6.  After all, her social ambitions were based firmly in L6 ambitions, but she spent her entire career fighting from within the L5 establishment.  With Donald Trump, we had a candidate playing solidly in L5 (albeit in a significantly unhealthy way.)  HERE is a write-up on Health at any Level.

But Bernie Sanders was a horse of a different color in this race.  He makes no bones about being post-capitalist in a capitalist dominated world.  And he made no bones about pointing out the flaws in that system — for his entire career in politics.  This made him the ideal candidate for all those who have individually moved to the Graves Level where protecting and building a world where everyone is on equal footing — has equal advantages and opportunities — equal rights and protections under the law.  And for the first time in human history, one of the most powerful nations on the planet came very close to shifting from Level 5 to Level 6.  In fact, if the L5 US had been a healthy version of L5, rather than a panic-driven L5 running without the constraints of L4 morality, he might have succeeded.  But neither the Democratic nor Republican parties felt bound by right over wrong, legal or illegal, truth over lie, or fair and just over self-interest.

In short, Bernie Sanders felt bound by the rule of law and the fairness he was running to create.  Neither of the other two major candidates or their parties felt the same way.  Hillary and Trump were running in and for an L5 world.  Bernie was running in hope of an L6 emergence.

So again, THE PATTERN HOLDS.  L6 is where we are all heading, both as individuals and as a species.

One of the biggest bluffs L5 has run on humanity is the hyper-quotable: “Nobody ever said life was going to be fair.”

Really?

The idea that life isn’t fair  makes it easy for L5 to take what it wants, regardless of who it hurts.  So long as life isn’t fair — bullies reign.  If we start with the presupposition that there are winners and losers — then it’s okay within that presupposition for most of the population to be losers.  And it’s okay for winners to gloat.  And kick the losers in the butt to make sure they remember their place.

But the presupposition is a lie.  If life is sometimes unfair, it’s because its really really hard, not because it’s impossible.  And creating something that is really really hard and complicated and complex and far-reaching requires a higher Graves Level of complexity than L5 could manage.  It will take L6 — fully formed and reveling in the complications and tangles — to created fairness.

Expect justice to be the motive from healthy L4.

But expect fairness to be the motivation from healthy L6.

So if you are waiting for the  deus ex machina to drop down and save you from Donald Drumph, you can stop waiting.  This is all real and it is all going to happen.  His narcissism is going to be dangerous.  His ignorance is going to be a challenge.  But his presence is going to be.  Period.  The trick is going to be to survive it — both individually, and collectively as a country.  If there is homework, it will be waiting to see how far we can get the pendulum to swing.  Never mind “don’t let that pendulum hit you in the butt as you leave the White House, Donald!”  We want it to hit him so hard that L5 leaves with him as the dominant system in the US, and L6 is the only logical and reasonable step forward anybody can see.

So to all my friends that are still having trouble figuring out how to move on with their lives in a Trumpocracy — just know we are all still here, and the pattern holds.  We may not live to see it, but our children and grandchildren may yet discover that the world really can be a fair place.  A just place.  An honorable place.  A complex puzzle of life rather than a jack-bo0ted torture of a life.

The task ahead — the one that really gets us ahead, rather than earning us a spot in the loony-bin — is to do our best to live lives of fairness and hope, rather than lives of fear and victim-hood.  Do your L6 best — volunteer.  March.  Protest.  Give things away to people who need them.  Donate to organizations with a clear L6 focus and structure.  Support random acts of kindness and fairness.  Participate in your community and group and religion and school.  Feed somebody who’s hungry.  Learn constantly.  Reinvent yourself daily.  Save the planet.  Save the animals.  Save yourself.

In evolutionary terms, the only resolution to advancing complexity is to move to a higher level of existence.   Problems cannot be addressed from the level that created them.  It took L2 to create a place for L1 to live out their survival.  And it took L3 to progress beyond the boundary of the village.  It took L4 to stop L3’s conquests.  It took L5 to reign in L4’s structure.  Similarly, L5 can’t fix L5’s hoarding and bullying.  Only L6 can fix L5 problems.  And only L7 can harness the energy of all those minds and ideas held dear by so many people thinking and creating together.

If we can keep the planet alive long enough, we might be able to all live here together.  The pattern holds, and the pattern is bigger than this election.  It’s also bigger than the US.  Certainly bigger than any one mewling politician or disrupted event.  If you’re still stuck in the politics, pull up higher so you can see the bigger picture.  — and hold on to that bigger picture.  It’s the one that matters.

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Graves Model Time Tables – L7

TIME TABLES

As we said earlier, this developmental model is not only a useful map to tell us where we have come from, and where we are now, but it also has predictive qualities. One area where the predictive nature of the model is interesting has to do with our perception of time.

First of all, let me provide a key to the tables that will follow:

Ø this is unconscious awareness.
:: and this is conscious awareness. The ability to see and understand.
-o- and this is conscious awareness, the ability to see and understand, combined with the ability to use what you see. You see it, understand it, and use it.
<> and this is something else. Like incorporated or congruent use. It’s not new or novel. It’s become part of the structural makeup. It’ not even use any more as much as it is a part of the person’s structure. It’s more like breathing. We do it naturally more than it being something we use deliberately.

At L1, there is only awareness – conscious or otherwise – of the present moment. Like this:

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST
FUTURE

But for every level after that, the present is a given. We all presuppose the present in everything we do.

And you could make a case for L1 not really being consciously using anything. L1 may be purely reactive. But that’s somebody else’s research and doesn’t really have any effect on time. Now. At L2, we pick up the ability to see the past. Tribes may worship ancestors. Families may revere elders for their wisdom. Wisdom itself is accumulated past. So to be consciously aware of the past at L2, leads to L3, where we can not only see the past, but we can use it, too. All those conquerors don’t conquer without learning from past mistakes and inventing strategy based on that past. They use the past to get the present they’re wanting. After the new wears off at L3, then at L4 it becomes a given. Like this:

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE

The L4’s get to see the future. The conscious awareness of the future is what makes law work. Anticipated punishment and reward. It’s what makes the concept of heaven work. Delayed gratification only works if you’re conscious of the future, but incapable of actually altering it.

But something else happens at L3. L3’s conquer the known world and build monuments to themselves. Pyramids. Statues. Coliseums. They want to proclaim their own greatness. Cast everything in the gold they’ve plundered. Use the slaves they’ve amassed to build these Ozymandius tributes. ‘Behold ye mighty and dispair,’ they say. But why do they expend all this energy and wealth to build monuments to be seen by the future, if they can’t see the future until L4?

Unconscious awareness. Even if not consciously aware of the future, there is an unconscious “sense” of something more. Both L2 and L3 have a perception of the future as a repeating seasonal cycle, and as the birth of the new accompanied by the death of the old. This unconscious awareness is all that is required of L3 to leave its markers on the landscape.

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE Ø :: -o- <> <> <>

At L5, the future stops being something that we just see, and begins to be something we use. All of capitalism is based on the ability to use the future to build a better now. We have financial forecasts. We use poles and demographics to predict trends. We map the future and use the map to decide who to hire and who to fire, how to invest our money, and where to buy a house. By the time we hit L6, the future is the given. ‘Of course there’s a future,’ L6 says. ‘Of course there’s a future.’

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE Ø :: -o- <> <> <>
Ø :: -o- <>

The unlabeled line represents other people’s time lines.

There’s Past—-Present—-Future. We draw it like this:

-o-– •–• – • – •–• – •– •– • –-o-– •–• – • – •–• – •– •– • –-o-

And at some point in L5, we start to get the feeling that everything we do and experience isn’t just points on our timeline. Every point is actually an intersection. And at every intersection there are other people’s timelines intersecting ours so that our actions and decisions effect not only our future, but other futures. If a supervisor pulls out his back and stays at work even though he is in pain, at L4 that would be a selfless act of loyalty to the company. He would be doing the right L4 thing. But at L5, if he stays at work even though he is in pain, and then snaps at one of his people and they feel like their job is in danger because they did so badly that they got yelled at – and they go home and snap at their children and kick the dog or get in a car wreck because they are so upset about their employment – the L5 won’t do the L6 thing and take care of his people. He may not feel sympathetically for their plight, or consciously recognize the part he plays in it. But there will be an unconscious awareness of the interconnectedness. He’ll probably feel guilt, and then go to a therapist who will let him justify it or ignore it.

But wouldn’t the same thing happen at L4? If he stayed at work in L4, wouldn’t it have the same effect? The people under him still suffer the same consequences whether he knows it or not.

Probably, but he wouldn’t be able to know that at L4 because there’s not even an unconscious awareness at L4 of other people’s timelines. Especially not of intersections. Even at L5 it’s not awareness. At L4, he’d never feel any guilt, and if the people under him are L4, then they’d never think to blame him. The problem for L5, as if L5 needed any more problems, is that there’s a sort of gnawing suspicion that things are not as rosy and simple as just using the future map to make decisions. By L6, multiple timelines is a full blown conscious awareness. All those predictive L5 models of the future become worthless because they don’t take into account all the myriad timelines of everyone involved. Where an L4 wouldn’t think to blame his boss, an L5 to some extent, and an L6 to the fullest extent, sees very clearly that everyone in his life has contributed to his problems and thus begins assigning blame and fault like numbers in a bakery. It’s only after the initial shock of recognition that a mature L6 steps back and takes responsibility for their own life again.

Then, by extension, the L7 must be able to use those multiple timelines . That’s the very definition of collaboration in the scientific community. And so we get people who make it their business to step into other timelines and use that information. That’s what this profession of profiling criminals is all about. And for that matter, that’s all those people who help lawyers select juries are doing. They’re looking into another timelines to see what that individual is likely to do in a given circumstance. And in a way, that may be what distinguishes L5 actors from L7 actors. The L5’s draw a map of what a character would do and they just follow the map. L7 actors actually step into an alternative timeline and become the part they’re playing. They don’t predict what a character would do, they just do it. That is the very definition of “method acting.”

We’re drawing a pattern that implies a continuing developmental structure. There should be another unconscious awareness here at L7 because it is a very consistent pattern.

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST (LINEAR) :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE (LINEAR) Ø :: -o- <> <> <>
MULTI-LINEAR Ø :: -o- <>
NON-LINEAR Ø ::

Non-linear time?

L7’s are the first ones to have even an inkling that there’s some other way to do time than in a linear stream. Maybe it’s that the particles of time – the millions and billions of intersections out there between all the millions of timelines and events – aren’t the deep and wide grid of static events that we think they are. Here’s one drawing of multi-linear time:

The space between each of the intersections is so small that it’s really no space at all except for the ease of drawing. There is no distance between one moment and the next. In reality, this model should be a solid mass of particles pressed up against each other and with infinite intersecting points – which wouldn’t then be intersecting points at all, but just links of close proximity. And if you make the leap that it isn’t, therefore, linear at all – it isn’t static – it can be seen as linear if it needs to be, but it isn’t by nature linear – then movement across to a different timeline as the L6 and L7 temporal model allows is only one step away from movement across in a non-linear way. If all the particles of time are in some great soup-pot full of this liquid, a constantly bubbling broth of time and events, then what I step across to may just as well be Henry V’s England or Lao Tse’s palace as the office of a physicist in Geneva. If time is fluid, as matter is fluid, then linear is just a structure we impose upon it. It can be linear. Or it can not.

In the same way that light can be seen as particle or wave, – And depending on what you need to know about it, you can study it and how it behaves in either construct. You can use it and see it clearly in both constructs. You can understand it in both ways at once – and it still works.”
And what does this mean?

It means there is a logical deduction to be made when you see a pattern this solidly repetitive. It means there is predictive value to the pattern. It means we can be sure that there are no L9’s because there is no inkling, no hint and no clue what the next temporal construct would be.

But how do we know?

Because it starts to show up in similar places every time. In art. In literature and music. In the behavior of crowds. Think about the Renaissance. We’d just come out of the long, dark ages. The extreme unhealthyness of L3 and L4 gone sour. People were chattel. Slaves. Disposable and expendable. Then suddenly, there was the printing press.

Individuals began to read and learn. Universities came back into existence. People began to acquire property – not purely by conquest. Sometimes by purchase. Or barter. And they became the subjects of painting. Prior to that time, most of the paintings and sculpture were either L2 totems, L3 political tributes, or L4 organized religious tributes. But for the Renaissance when the first blossom of L5 kicked in, individuals suddenly became worth recognizing. Even in the first decks of playing cards in Italy, the face cards were small portraits of members of the household who paid the artist to paint the cards. We were, in our rush to enjoy our L5 wealth and success, already – albeit unconsciously – recognizing each other. We recognized what we were each experiencing. And it had never happened in that way before. At least never acknowledged.

And even though L5 didn’t really take hold in the world as a dominant force until centuries later, we had the history of having recognized each other’s value hiding in our collective memory. L6 made it’s appearance in the 19th century with the first true multi-linear jazz and with movies that could be shot from any point of view; with Charles Dickens literary protests of forced child labor and his Scrooge transitioning from L5 to L6; and with the most savage war in history being fought in the states to end slavery. The next great ‘inkling’ didn’t come until the early years of the 20th century when we saw the first glimmers of L7 and quantum physics. It is impossible to theorize quantum mechanics or Special Relativity without the ability to use multi-linear time. And at the same time we began to use multi-linear time, we began to recognize the possibility of something else. The possibility of non-linear time crept into literature in the form of science fiction. There had never been science fiction before L7’s emergence. In music it appeared as American experimental jazz, and in poetry it transformed into concrete and free form poems. Movies are shot as a non-linear collection of bits and then assembled like puzzle pieces.

Then Marshal McCluhan comes along and proclaims that the medium is the message in the global village. In one stroke he takes a handful of L8 fragments and forms them into a cohesive developmental step. He gives us all the L8 insight to bypass form and structure. He understands and explains that the L6L7 pattern – the medium – is both means and end. That if you can see and understand the pattern – then you can model it. Duplicate it. Borrow it and use it. Even manipulate it. But beyond that, he invents the popular concept of the global village. It’s a village full of presupposed and useable L7 patterns, but with the ability to see the village as temporally non-linear, all the L2 through L7 skills and abilities become a greater responsibility, because their impact is no longer a matter of effecting this time line or that time line. An action at L8 seasons the whole pot of temporal soup. It is a global village, but it’s even more than a global village. It’s a – something. A body. A single living organism and we are the cells. A cut on the hand can cause enough bloodshed to kill the whole. Pollution in the lungs can deny the brain of its necessary oxygen. A build-up of cholesterol in the arteries can put so much stress on the heart that it bursts – or decrease circulation to the point that a limb could die. And pleasure. And joy. And contentment. They spread through the body like tonic. We all feel victories together. We all feel sympathy together.

And look at the patterns L7 works with. The global village where an L8 action seasons the whole pot. Where a cut on the finger endangers the whole body. Where a butterfly flapping its wings in China changes weather systems all over the world. All of chaos theory is nothing but another L7 pattern where every action effects every other action and every idea effects every other idea. Where every observation effects every outcome. Where everything effects everything else.

And it is that realization at L7 which either paralyzes you or sends you straight into L8.

In the bigger Gravesean picture, the odd numbers, which have more to do with acquiring something new for the individual, gain a new set of personal skills. Then as they move to their next even number, they use those new skills for whatever group is next. L7’s acquire data, knowledge, technology, the ability to see patterns – and then those who go on to L8 somehow use that gain for the group. In this case, the global village. But temporal shifts are just the opposite. Acquisition of the new temporal knowledge happens at the even numbers, while the ability to use the new construct comes at the next odd level. L7’s are using multi-linear time as they are acquiring the ability to see patterns. L8’s are getting the ability to see and understand non-linear time as they begin to use patterning and modeling to help the global village. L9’s will be acquiring the next set of individual skills as they are learning to use non-linear time, and begin to sense the next temporal construct.

So by L8, past, present, and future linear time, as well as multi-linear time, are as natural as breathing. They’re all presuppositions of everyday life. Plus, there’s the added conscious awareness of non-linear time.

And would we know the new temporal construct if we saw it? Probably only from the L7 and L8.

It’s important to notice how rapidly the new systems are emerging. It is now possible, for the first time in history, for one individual to have been alive for the emergence of two new systems. If we count L7 from the first glimmers of existentialism, and L8 from the words of Marshal McCluhan, an individual could have been alive and able to observe both. The lesson here is that while it took thousands of years to get from L1 to L2, and then hundreds more to get to L3 and then to L4; a few hundred more to reach L5, and even fewer to get to L6 – the total time span from the emergence of L6 to the emergence of L8 is less than two hundred years. It is safe to assume that barring some natural catastrophe, if there is an L9, we will see it emerge within our lifetime.

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8
PRESENT -o- <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
PAST (LINEAR) :: -o- <> <> <> <> <>
FUTURE (LINEAR) Ø :: -o- <> <> <>
MULTI-LINEAR Ø :: -o- <>
NON-LINEAR Ø ::
X-TIME

Where X is the unknown.

Ham Salad — Then and Now

The old City Drug Store in the tiny town where both my parents grew up had a soda fountain that served real cherry limes made with carbonated water, simple syrup, fresh limes, and maraschino cherry syrup and cherries.

That’s what I always ordered.  My grandfather, who took me by the hand and helped me up onto the tall fountain stools with the red seats, ordered a “dry lime,” which cost a nickel and was a small fountain glass of iced carbonated water with a quarter of a lime squeezed into it — a long time before and many miles away from Perrier with a twist.

They also served ham salad sandwiches on toasted Wonderbread.

I never ordered this sandwich because I didn’t like the onions — but because my father’s mother sometimes worked at the fountain, I knew what was in it:

CITY DRUG STORE HAM SALAD

12 oz Spam
6 oz Velveta
1 hard boiled egg

1/2 small onion (about 3 ounces)
1 med. dill pickle (about 3 ounces)
1/2 c Miracle Whip

– You run it all through a meat grinder (or today, through a food processor); chill it; and slather it on toasted white bread.

Yes.  I know.  There’s a reason heart disease is so prevalent in the US.

And actually, it wasn’t quite as bad as it sounds — since the word “slather” is misleading. These sandwiches were not super-sized or in any way a reflection of latter 20th century fast food portion size.  They were modest 2 1/2-3oz servings of ham salad with a wilted piece of lettuce and 2 vapor-thin pieces of good old American best-thing-since-sliced bread.  If this sandwich and a bag of chips was all you ate for lunch — then you probably still came in under 400 calories.  Easy.  It just wasn’t the best-for-you 400 calories.  Even with a “tall” 10-cent Coke from the fountain — the tall glass held 10 ounces and the short glass held 5 — then with the ice, you added a max of 75 calories. This meal had a lot of flavor, it was filling, and it was simple and fast to make at the local lunch counter.

Compare this with the super-sized 1250 calorie burger, lg fries and 32oz Coke lunch at fast food joints, and even the Spam Salad Blue Plate Special at the City Drug was a nutritional bargain.  Half a pound of french fries, half a pound of hamburger meat, 2 slices of American cheese (Velveta’s 1st cousin), a bun the size of E.T.’s spaceship, and 32 ounces — a full quart — of 12-calorie-per ounce high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and preservatives — and that thin, droopy ham salad sandwich and bag-o-chips starts to look like a religious fast.

Today, however, I’d make a few changes.  My adult tastes do now accept hard boiled eggs, onions, and pickles as acceptable ingredients.  In fact, Those 3 ingredients plus a dab of low fat mayo and a spoonful of mustard would make a darn good egg salad.

But I’m digressing from the ham at hand.  Pork in general is about 40% leaner than it was in the days of the City Drug Soda Fountain.  Pigs have been re-engineered into lean, truck-sized, critters that sometimes look like a WWII pig and taste like a WWII pig — but are outrageously better for you. They are the new and improved other white meat.  So Ham Salad it is.

In 2010, we want purer ingredients.  Bigger flavors.  Recognizable bits of real foods and real spices.  If I were going to make ham salad today for lunch, here’s what I’d use:

LYNN’S 21ST CENTURY HAM SALAD

-12 oz Smithfield Ham, trimmed and diced to  1/4″ (use a food processor)
-12 oz pork tenderloin, roasted and diced to 1/4″
-4 oz shallots, minced
-1/4 c minced parsley
-8 oz Neuchâtel cheese (low fat cream cheese), softened
-fresh ground black pepper, generous

-1/2 t ground clove

-4 oz minced dried apricots
-2 T orange juice
-1 t orange zest
-1 1/2-2 ounces strong flavored maple syrup
-4 oz chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/4 c lowfat mayo

The trick here is to cream the orange juice, maple syrup, zest, shallots, cloves, black pepper, mayo, and cream cheese together first, then add the apricots.   Because they are dried, they will immediately begin to soak up any liquid they can latch onto.  Fold in the meats and chopped nuts in and try to preserve a chuncy consistency.  A food processor would work for this, but I think it’s important for there to be chunks of ham, pork, apricot, and hazelnuts in this salad.

Again, I’d say there are healthier carriers for this ham salad — whole wheat toast, or a big slab of artisnal breat is always good.  But also consider serving it

  1. as a stuffing for a luscious red tomato — or
  2. scooped into cored and halved apples, or
  3. on top of 1″ thick rings of fresh pineapple.
  4. In the autumn, I’d probably spoon it into baked sweet potatoes the way we sometimes put sour cream, bacon, and cheddar cheese in a russet potato.  If you go the sweet potato route — You might consider dusting it with brown sugar mixed with cinnamon and sliding it under the broiler before serving.
  5. for a breakfast meal, I’d probably take about a 6 oz scoop and mix it with 3 whole beaten eggs, a little milk, and a cup of shredded potatoes plus half a cup of chopped fresh spinach, and bake it up in 2 small casseroles as a fritatta for 2.

When the City Drug Store made its post WWII ham salad sandwiches, Spam was the wunderkind of the corner market.  And it still has its uses.  But in its origins, it was a marvel of shelf stability, savory consistentcy, and fast meals for a busy family.  Now — it’s just one of 7000 choices on the supermarket shelves.

But we’ve all learned to cook and eat from Julia Child, Emeril, Alton Brown, and Anthony Bourdain.  AND — we all know words and names like gateaux, molecular gastronomy, quiche, cassoulet, foodies, filo, Cuisinart, HFCS, Ferran Adria, stick blenders, organics, bread machines, rice cookers, Atlas Pasta Machines, Kobe beef ,glutton-free diets, lactose-intolerance, tree-nut allergies, LDL, HDL, good carbs, glycemic index, the James Beard Award, the Food Network, El Bulli, the French Laundry, Chez Panisse, Les Halles, vegetarian, vegan, the raw food movement, the slow food movement, fast food guilt, and the Iron Chef.  This is the legacy of Julia Chid.

So over-processing Spam, Velveta and Miracle Whip — the original Holy Trinity of processed food — into “ham salad” — is probably not as good an idea as it once was.  We’ve swung from starvation during the depression and food ration stamps during WWII; to the TV-Dinner 1960’s and the Super-Size-Me turn of the century; all the way to a nation where 2 of every 3 people is overweight by at least 10% and fully half the population is medically obese.  We starved, we learned to cook, we learned to love the new and exotic, and now we take for granted Argentinian clementines, white asparagus, Hatch chilis, and Thai coconut and peanut ice cream, even if we live in Joplin, Butte, or Amarillo.

I realize that there is an issue of hunger in America, and there are countries where enough is not even a concept.  But in 80% of kitchens in 1st world countries, food has gone from being barely enough to so plentiful that we experiment, practice, invent, and savor.  In so many of our lives, food is no more a matter of scrapping survival than sex is a matter of reproduction.  It’s the 21st century.

Is it any surprise we’re throwing out fast food in favor of the slow, careful, thoughtful, and hopefully healthier kitchen?  As we green up our lives in relation to the planet, we are also greening up our oven and table.

Welcome to the new century.

(This is Anthony Bourdain, showing everyone
how he feels about food and the fine art of eating, and cooking.)

Nomics Pt. 3

Nomics in the real world; a real question
Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 12:48pm

A nomic system is a self-amending system. Peter Suber started out by using nomics to understand our Constitutional system — an ongoing, evolving, self-amending system of government, where Congress is the amending arm which produces the changes, amendments and applications of law.

As Suber developed his book/research: “The Paradox of Self Amendment”, he used the boundaries he identified as part of the nomic system to construct a game which he called Nomic. The game is a mythical construct in so far as it bears only modest resemblance to what we normally think of as games. In laboratory type settings, a group of people assemble and begin constructing the rules by which they will play. They debate the merits and faults of each rule, then pass or reject each rule. Each passed rule must be examined to determine its scope, applications, and contradictions to other rules. Each time a new rule is added, exceptions and applications have to be identified and harmonized with existing rules.

That’s the short form, but you get the idea. Nomic – The Game is not a chess, monopoly, or poker kind of game. It is an intellectual exercise. In fact, the characteristic of Nomic-The Game which most separates it from other games is that a true nomic has no winner and has no end. It is ongoing, evolving, and self-amending. The card game called Fluxx is the most nomic of what we consider to be “normal” games, in that it does produce a winner and does have an endpoint. Aside from Fluxx, other games are “partially nomic” or may have “nomic-like elements” — but are not truely nomic.

Aside from Nomic-The Game, and our system of government, there are other things that are nomic.
(ongoing, evolving, and self-amending.)
The Environment as a whole / eco-systems independently
The Human Mind (though the ongoing part is hard to know/prove from our perspective)
The Human Body*
“Life”
And, strangely enough, “the system” as we have been referring to it for the last 15 years. Not the Gravesean system, but the system exposed by understanding the Graves system. (Language is a bit of a jungle-gym at this point.)

Jim, Rebecca and I were discussing nomics last night when we suddenly realized that “the system” we had presumed to be fixed, is actually nomic in nature. Which led to another discussion on self-reflexivity (which both tests for nomic nature, and serves as the trigger for a nomic’s change.

The relationship between self-reflexivity and nomic behavior is inseperable in that only those systems that are self-reflexive can identify the incongruities which trigger the demand for self-amendment/change; and any system without a self-reflexive componant will never self-amend or evolve.

For those keeping score — this explains why some individuals, cultures, and other entities never change or even acknowledge the existence of change; and why others seem to have self-amendment and change woven into their DNA and experience it as so common that they cannot fathom those who do not.

Without self-reflexivity, change does not exist.

However, we also know that some entities are self reflexive up to the point where the change would have to occur for the entity to experience forward movement. If, however, there is fear or anger that causes resistance or and unwillingness to leap blindly into the unknown of a new existence, then that is a choice of “not-nomic” existence.

The very word “evolving” has baggage that implies that the newly evolved state is somehow superior to the evolved-from state. But is this true?

For a lot of my life, I’ve heard a saying which in so many words says, “either you’re going forward, or you’re going back — but there is no standing still.” I’m not so certain that is true. I believe it is possible to choose “against” change and to stay in the same spot. I’m not sure that staying still can ever be “happy” or “fulfilling” — but it can mean less fear, and less responsibility. For some people, that is more important than blazing ahead. It wouldn’t be my choice —

The logical extension of what I just said has to be that there may be cultures for which “not-nomic” existence is the choice. If we cannot demand that individuals choose change (nomics) as a way of life, how can we demand that cultures become nomic? If a second or third world culture is determined to continue the same social norms and rules — are we really justified in requiring them to evolve before we establish a relationship with them?

In Graves terms, we have always said that there is a place for healthy manifestations of all levels. At the same time, the model itself seems to indicate that movement forward is the most natural and healthy state. Maybe the biggest paradox of self amendment is that it does, and has to, exist simultaneously with non-self-amendment.