Civgene, why now?


Why me?

I’ve been asking myself this question since about since the civgene first dawned on me in about 2011 or so.  Most ‘leaders’ are simply in the right place at the right time.  The person will need certain skills, but they always need to be ‘lucky’ in the timing of their role.  I am no exception.  The closer I look the more I realize that everything was set up just right, and I very nearly just had to be present.  The moment of inception the tiniest breeze.  Had things been even slightly less well timed I would have noticed, and contributed, nothing.  I am merely the envoy between civilization, and it’s readiness for a new idea.

I have an associates degree in computer science.   My mother had a masters degree.  My wife has two!  I know I am capable of furthering my education, but never elected to.  With some irony, this may have been the key to having all the pieces I needed to discover something new in science.  A good monthly salary was my goal, when I recognized the need for intelligence and natural skill in system administration.  I was about to begin my bachelors degree, when the dot com bubble swept me into a professional role.

Making myself into a Linux specialist, suited the needs in three separate scientific research institutions.  This along with my non-profit Linux work gave me a broad base in both diverse computing environments and the social wonders of open source.  My wife studied psychology.  My mother studied and eventually taught business and economics after obtaining her MBA.  I was exposed to disciplines that would rarely or never be placed together in a college environment.  I am ‘passionately curious’ but in the past this manifested as an interest in viewing, reading and writing science fiction, not pushing the boundaries of hard science

Ultimately it was some rough events in my personal life that drove me to look deeper into psychopaths.  I wanted to find an angle to protect myself and others.  Hare estimates that 1-5% of population are psychopaths.  This is not small and made this the most likely part of my unlikely journey.  It was inevitable that I would have a hard run in with a psychopath.  That is everyone’s reality.

I’ve long since struggled with the huge leaps that economics takes to explain civilization, or money.  For years I was at a loss to explain why anyone would anyone would help Linux for free.  I’ve struggled to understand why artificial intelligence was so icy cold.  How people can trust each other in the face of thousands or even tens of thousands of risks a day, seemingly unaware, and survive.  In my desperation it all gelled together.

The civilization gene is obvious in hindsight.  Once I knew roughly how psychopaths acted what was missing jumped out.  My logical training made me look in both directions, spotting the absence of behavior, the negative instead of the positive.  As if debugging a program.  I had a rough idea that game theory failed in the real world from my own disappointment with AI, and from science studies.  It connected to my cynicism about the foolish trust people but not animals seemed to display.  Without every piece of my background I could not have connected the clues.  The lynchpin was real world tuning of computers. Unassuming, unforgiving computers.

I would watch PBS as a child.  For decades shows like ‘Nature’ were the best entertainment on the television.  Years of programming just discussing, filming and studying animal behaviour.  Monkeys, primates, any of them.  They move around.  No animal with legs or wings longer than a centimeter stays put.  They can have territories, but not properties.  Only mankind, and only at the beginning of civilization, had such a distinction.  That’s a big change.  It doesn’t just happen for no reason.

Psychopaths are cavemen.  Currency and investment, the cornerstones of civilization, are just huge bags of trust.  Something you can’t have without empathy.  The realization flashed into existence.  The solution to the chicken and the egg problem of economics.  Who trusted first and why.  It wasn’t a choice.  Empathy, at least at the scale only humans display, is a mutation.  The very last one most of us shared.  Everything after, as they say, is history.

Why now?

This is an easier question.  The easy answer is one acronym.  MRI.  And all the technologies that led up to it.  Dr. Robert Hare demonstrated a clear pattern of different brain activity between a psychopath and empath.  That would not have been possible without the MRI.

The same scans that helped me to recognize, combined with civgene, how the conscience actually works.  Body part and body function archetype thoughts light up the brain.  I recognized the signature for the empath from computing.  A computer database thrashing a computers hard drive on a wildcard search.   The physical structure wasn’t important, but what it was doing.  Accessing every memory at once.  All connected.  A passively driven database connected by emotion.  A metamind.

I’d also say the Internet.  It is both responsible for a growing breadth of knowlage, dissemination of it, and for open source and Linux themselves.  I can’t deny the impact of watching a hobby grow into the most important operating system in the world without a single line of code written under threat of hard power.  Massive cooperation, investment, and economy of scale without any psychopathic behaviour driving it.  Open source is what science aspires to be.  Pragmatic but testable and repeatable.  Open both to innovation and scrutiny by anyone.  Perhaps someone else could have put it together without the society behind open source, but I could not.

I wanted to write this so that people can understand how it is possible that I without a grant, a PHD, or even more than a passing interest until a few years ago could be the one to discover something so fundamentally important to humanity, it’s origin.  Why not someone who is smarter, or more schooled?   This is the right time.  Had I not found it someone else would have.  The MRI and the Internet and open source were all in place by about the mid 1990s.  A whole sixteen years passed before I finally pieced it together.  The background was there, but I was missing something.  The study of psychopathy.   A few well written books and civgene snapped into place.

Thanks to Dr Whitney Winter for suggesting I write this.

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