Recognize Perils – The Perils of Ignoring Ignorance

In H. G. Wells view knowledge is “unused and misapplied” so that policy makers are ill-equipped “to be aware of or fully appreciate” the knowledge available to solve their (our – Ed]. problems. He quotes John Maynard Keynes warning that they are “so ignorant that there is knowledge and of what knowledge is, that they do not understand that it matters.” All these problems are despite policy makers being “overworked”  and “overloaded with information”.

Wells blames “intellectual impatience” for “disastrously making discordance’s worse” due to what he calls a “particular spasmodic conception of the change needful.” Other commentators are cited blaming the content of education and the unorganised flood of information as being particularly limiting factors.

Recognize Urgency – Do or Die

from “Global Learning – Constructing the World Mind”

In H. G. Wells’ view, the world is in a race between education and catastrophe and “catastrophe is winning.” He laments that the “urgency of adaptation has still to be grasped” now that humankind has become what he called “a new animal”, so much more “incredibly swift and strong — except in the head”. For Wells it was a case of either “the evolution of a new more powerful type of man” or “the extinction of our species.”

“Clear and simple words against ignorance”

from “Global Learning – Constructing the World Mind”

James Lovelock echoes H. G. Wells in his plea for “a guidebook written in clear and simple words.” According to Lovelock, this book would counteract the influence of “books and television programmes that present, either the single minded view of the specialist or persuasion from a talented lobbyist”. He laments that the 1990s are “adversarial not thoughtful times,” hearing only the partial arguments of special interest groups.
They agree on the urgent do-or-die nature of the problem, as well as on the perils of ignorance. To quote Lovelock on this point: “We are so ignorant of those individual acts of genius [which] established civilisation that we now give equal place on our bookshelves to astrology, creationism and homeopathy. Imagine trying to cope with a cholera epidemic using knowledge gathered from a tattered book on alternative medicine.”
However, despite Lovelock’s misgivings, there is growing evidence that collaboration, as opposed to competition, is becoming increasingly part of 1990s rhetoric, and sometimes part of the practice in the spheres of management and

Goal oriented self-organisation, not ideology

The problem with believing that evolutionary processes will be sufficient to bring about the emergence of a World Brain is that they know no purpose or deadline. People, on the other hand, do require purposes and deadlines if they are to accomplish anything, especially the near miracles which are actually necessary. Without entering too far into philosophical speculation about the level of organization in which our consciousness exists, self-organization requires acts of will and intention which imply political action. Wells expressed frank loathing for political ideologies of any description as the means of implementing a collective human will and intention. He did his personal utmost to amass and organize a collection of knowledge as a prototype, but he refused, perhaps wisely, to set up an implementation process in the face of the overwhelming need to defeat first the Nazi ideology, then the Communist one. The time was obviously wrong and the technology did not yet exist. A small group of dedicated people, informally led by Professor Abe Goodman, have worked since the late 1930s to keep H G Wells’ World Brain ideas alive in inhospitable times of techno-triumphalism and economic greed.
Now the technology does exist. So does the knowledge of how to use it to organize Wells’ World Encyclopedia. But where is the will? It is here. Now. These pages have been designed and written to be a first iteration of an attempt to create a self-conscious World Brain thinking process. When it is established, its first task must be to gather and disseminate — possibly by trading information on a really open market — the knowledge necessary for local people to organize their own economies and communities, the knowledge necessary for them to grow enough food without poisoning themselves and the environment, the knowledge necessary to manufacture high tech equipment, the knowledge needed by people to govern  and take responsibility for themselves. All this knowledge exists. Most of it is in the public domain already. First, though, it must be collected and organized. Then, it must be synthesized and communicated.

Building One Big Brain

Does being a part of a giant superorganism scare you? (DD)

Failing to focus — succumbing to digital distraction — can make you lose your mind, fears Nicholas Carr, author of the much-discussed book “The Shallows.” At least, it can make you lose little parts of your mind. The Internet, Carr suspects, “is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.”
But maybe the terms of the debate — good for us or bad for us? — are a sign that we’re missing the point. Maybe the essential thing about technological evolution is that it’s not about us. Maybe it’s about something bigger than us — maybe something big and wonderful, maybe something big and spooky, but in any event something really, really big.
it might help to understand what technology is marching toward.
On balance, technology is letting people link up with more and more people who share a vocational or avocational interest. And it’s at this level, the social level, that the new efficiencies reside. The fact that we don’t feel efficient — that we feel, as Carr puts it, like “chronic scatterbrains” — is in a sense the source of the new efficiencies; the scattering of attention among lots of tasks is what allows us to add value to lots of social endeavors. The incoherence of the individual mind lends coherence to group minds.
Could it be that, in some sense, the point of evolution — both the biological evolution that created an intelligent species and the technological evolution that a sufficiently intelligent species is bound to unleash — has been to create these social brains, and maybe even to weave them into a giant, loosely organized planetary brain? Kind of in the way that the point of the maturation of an organism is to create an adult organism?
If we grant the superorganism scenario for the sake of argument, is it spooky? Is it bad news for humans if in some sense the “point” of the evolutionary process is something bigger than us, something that subsumes us?Read more at