Monthly Archives: June 2015

Trust markets to a fault? Ask an ad man for the facts about behavior.


Great Interview with Rory Sutherland.  Turns out he, armed with some ideas from Richard H. Thaler has rather scathing (and pleasantly veiled) criticism of modern economics.   I have some reading to do, but it sure seems the Thaler’s ‘econs’ are EXACTLY like civgene’s economic view of psychopaths.  Logic or rational thought being the only thing making decisions for people in an economy is an absurd idea.

Marketing if you didn’t know finds it’s start with people like Edward Barnays,  Sigmand Freud’s nephew.  It, like a dead man’s switch, is a morally neutral tool.   Ranging from useful public service announcements, to nazi propaganda.   Rory certainly seems to want to do some good in the world, sharing his secrets.   Not only does this help us understand his trade, but ourselves.

Some quotes follow if you prefer to read.   Enjoy.

“One of the fantastic things, I always say, is that the digital world is like Galapagos Islands for the understanding of evolutionary psychology.  The little foibles of human behavior that crop up online.   Are very very telling in what the what deeper human mind really cares about.   What it finds attractive, more important what it finds repellent.  The system one brain (Earlier quote “primarily the subconscious”) is more about the avoidance of catastrophe than the attainment of perfection.”
“System one resides in the darker part of the brain.  System two(the logical conscious brain) is post rationalizing decisions taken by system one.”
“When we design experiences, or when we design choices , or when we design websites, it makes perfectly good sense to design them to work with our evolved psychology.  What we somtimes do is design products for what Richard Thaler calls ‘econs.’  Which is a completely imaginary species which has never existed.  That probably wouldn’t would have survived had it sprung up by chance which is that completely rational man beloved of economic models.  Which would be comepltely hopeless in any real world situation.”


Defense against a psychopath: The dead man’s switch



While psychopaths and other animals share behavioral traits, the smartest psychopaths can be nearly as intelligent as the smartest emapths.  Here is the danger in thinking that psychopaths are illogical, hateful or cruel for fun.  Every human is different, but for the most part they are using the tools they have, the best they can.  They don’t want to lose the competitions they create, they just aren’t as good at deciphering complex or distant outcomes as empaths are.  With too many variables, every choice looks like a roll of the dice to them.  Logic breaks down with scale.

Fortunately there is a way to express natural long term risk to them in an immediate way.  The dead man’s switch.  Simply model the predictable negative outcome, and create a switch that with the absence of your attention will create the appropriate response.  You have created a contest and won it before they even knew it existed.  Now they are allied to you in preventing the negative outcome for them which is a foregone conclusion should you become incapacitated.  Don’t feel guilty about this.  They have no real concept of how friendship works, and are most comfortable operating as transitory allies.  Something that is now possible with less fear of seemingly random aggression.

Here are some examples of dead mans switches for illustration.

An informational dead man’s switch.

A physical dead man’s switch.

A warning.  Unlike shunning, reserving judgement, or forgiveness this tool isn’t inherently moral.  It can be used in very immoral ways.  It is up to you to determine a technically accurate switch, resulting action, and impact should the switch be triggered.  As a rule using general moral principles (murder is wrong, envy is usually self destructive, etc…) should minimize collateral damage and create a positive outcome for moral agents left behind.  As a good test, should you be incorrect about their intentions or psychopathy, there should minimal negative consequences for them when the switch is triggered.  Ideally in the case of a incorrectly aimed switch, any damage should be reversible.

The key to successful use is to implement multiple switches.  Do not indicate exactly how many switches there are.  That way there is no sudden jeopardy should a switch be discovered, and the existence of some switches can be announced if needed.  Informational switches are the best like simply indicating a negative on a web page and that the web page may be removed some day (implying the positive)  Remember Narcissists and ASPD stage psychopaths already face a formidable enemy in the legal system (paying taxes in a city with a capable homicide detective is a dead mans switch) so the real problem is sociopaths.

Sociopaths are psychopaths who dedicate themselves to not getting caught (acting like a psychopath) so this indicates a remedy.  Presenting clear evidence of their sociopathy or makes an excellent dead mans switch.  Also such a switch could create new evidence, for instance, jealousy in your aggressing sociopath demonstrating their nature in public.  A well designed situational switch is superior to a static informational one as the fresher the data, the less likely the sociopath has concocted a script, or accumulated the favour, territory, or allies to counter it.

Is the civilization gene just the ‘pack gene’ plus intelligence?


With 24+ human brain related genetic changes (compared to a handful among other animals) it may be that civgene was second to last genetic change and the pack gene reactivation the final step.  It may be that the pack gene, not civgene that is not dominant.  This makes sense if early man was hostile to non kin, making the ‘pack gene’ a disadvantage, until the civilization gene suddenly gave those with a ‘pack gene’ all the advantages of the conscience, making the pack gene in turn an advantage.

In most other animals looking for a common behavior between two species is a strong indicator, but animals have a tall cliff of genetic change to climb to reach human intelligence levels.  When the civilization gene is found, it may yet be discovered it is switched on and off by gene held in common with other animals.  This has no behavioral implications, but might make finding the civilization gene a two part job.  Namely with the pack gene being found first.

Interestingly, if a human pack gene exists, and both the pack gene and civgene are not dominant, it may be that lacking either one results in psychopathy.

Complex behaviour CAN occur from simple rules, but, if pack behaviour and raw intelligence alone can create conscionable behaviour, selfish game theory should demonstratively fail for most intelligent primate species.  Just make the test simple enough.   Inclusively property, freedom, and friendship (the core conscionable behaviours) need to defy strictly selfish game theory in a modelable way.  I am leaving currency, investment and civilization out because they require some intelligence as part of the model.  That may not even be strictly the case though as monkeys have demonstrated the ability to abstractly grasp currency (making markets), after being taught to use a (human invented) currency.  They are intelligent enough to use it, but have no motivation to attempt to do so.

Part of the civgene theory is that it overshoots past sympathy and into and irrational level of trust or empathy.  Sympathy is logical, but empathy can be very self destructive and can be illogical.  Like the battered wife who stays for life or the soldier who dies for his country.  Why is that promise(a currency) so important?  So important that humans project loving behaviours on all animals?  What other animal actively tries to protect every creature they encounter?  None.  No intelligence is needed to display this behaviour.  Yet no other animal does it.

Human IQ and EQ (metamind quotient) are rarely separable.  Only in the case of psychopaths where EQ is catastrophically lower if not zero.  The metamind acts like an automotive supercharger, inherently dependent on the displacement of it’s engine (IQ) to determine it’s total power.  EQ can be a productive part of the most complex and technical decision making.  You can’t separate higher intelligence from the change that made it happen.   It’s an architecture dependent feedback loop.  The same way two unique pieces of software running on duplicate hardware processing the same data can perform very differently.  Likewise for logically identical software adapted to run on different computer architectures.  Parts of the system are specialized with different compromises.  In nature a  randomly generated, environment tested, specialization in animals IS evolution.  In specialization, intelligence isn’t just smarter, it’s smarter at something.  A trade off.

People with a conscience aren’t just smarter, they are smarter at long term risk management.  This is consistent with the specialization view of evolution.

In addition I think most of those those genetic mutations will turn out to be a brain platform change, possibly changing the way the entire brain works.  Effecting the entire range of behaviours of early man each time.  But even if this turns out to be bunk, we know a major platform change happened at least once.  By it’s accompanying behaviour change.  When property, friendship and freedom first appeared as civilization.  When suddenly competition took a back seat to cooperation.  Human intelligence is thought to have slowly increased over time.  If intelligence plus pack instincts defined conscience, homo sapiens entire one to two hundred thousand year history would be dotted with the slowly improving remnants of failed civilizations.  Not the sudden appearance in the past ten to twenty thousand years.  Specifically, structures, and property.

I will revisit this question if the data changes!

When is money just favour?


Money is currency with the additional simultaneous attributes of property.  Inherent value and therefore purchasing power beyond the lone trust of either set of attributes.  An insurance policy against corruption of either.  It likely came about from attempts at corruption from psychopathic forces.  Creating a dual trap of the conscience to block animalistic regression back to territory or favour.  Each element protecting the other.  Money was invented to make both property and currency resistant to corruption from short term thinkers.

As discussed property and currency are derived from the conscience.  This stems from our discussion of the behavioural differences between animals (and psychopaths) and conscionable human beings.  As a a result we can assert what property and currency can not be.

Property can not be a territory.  Currency can not be favour.  The primary difference between both is the internalized will of the conscionable human being to respect both ownership and accomplishment in the present and future without further work.  In the case of property and currency, if you add the work of defense back in the result is, territory and favour.

This is why debt based money is a fallacy.  It functions on the premise that any currency can be made into money simply by promising it in the future.   ‘Money’ is created by saying the property is the promise of future human labor.  Money can never be debt because it completely undermines a conscionable construct and replaces it with it’s psychopathic social structure.  Debt based money is based on the concept that human beings, or at least their labor can be property.  Unreasonable on it’s face.

A debt based money turns property into territory.  Currency into favour.  Property and currency, which long term risk weighs as beneficial to the whole, becomes more subject to the whims of nature and man.  They are no longer the pillars of investment and economy of scale, but a transient permission to persue them.  A favour.  In a way debt-money is psychopathic commentary on the conscience itself.  The lender with a short term jealousy based risk management borrows the wisdom of a holistic conscience long term risk management system in exchange for the only thing they can give, territory and favour.  ‘You may continue to produce widgets to pay off your business debt.  You may continue to maintain the banks house.  You thought you were so smart about risk.  I don’t care what happened, your labor is mine.  Pay me.’

Systemically the reason the self contradicting nature of debt as money is not detected earlier is the competition it inspires.  During the transition from property and currency to territory and favour society can benefit from the attributes of both cooperation and competition.  Guiding and applying each to a perpetually lessening degree.

Eventually cooperation fails.  The mechanism is simple.  Compound interest, once introduced, demands growing competition.  Investment itself becomes no longer wise and eventually no longer possible.  Currencies and property begin to evolve outside of the system.  The debt-money loses trust, and the economies of scale, which need some degree of systemic cooperation, collapse.

I know of the properties that couple well with currencies now, but can’t imagine what they will be in the future.  I do know they need little defense.  I know true currency forces no hierarchy, and fiat can never be money.  I know people, and their labor can never be property.  Money was imagined to resist reversion to an animalistic society.  The day we discover the perfect money, will be the day we no longer need it.

Edit 6/10/15: Added a link.