india also has bagpipes (the mashak), and had them before the arrival of the british. they then incorporated the more advanced scottish bagpipe into their traditional music. here is an old recording of it.
i’ve been writing online for a long time, and every now and then i’d mention “exuberantism” without really explaining what it is. i’ve also been defining a lot of abstract arbitrary models for things in order to provide some background to how the concepts i will use. these months have been a set up, because now there will be a jump from the objective to the subjective. we will take the ideas developed previously and apply them on a biased principle framework.
so far, all that i wrote was pretty much vague, but overall somewhat objective. it was about measurable quantities, organizing features of the world around us, and how things themselves appear to be structured. but there is a fundamental part missing here, and that is what principles guide these texts, or better, why are models and metrics being defined versus being defined for the sake of themselves. this is my move from a scientific way of dealing with concepts to a political way of dealing with concepts. first i will explain why, and then explain what these principles really are.
for the whole time i’ve done science, worked in technical fields and so on, there seems to be a kind of hidden hypocrisy in the scientific and technical activity in general. the power structures around us are corrupt and use technically skilled people like me to advance their agenda. the examples of this are everywhere, and science has been overwhelmingly successful at developing weaponry, surveilance techniques, mind control and brainwashing techniques and so on. it’s not that all of the scientists and technicians involved wanted this exploitation, but in my opinion, they were naive to believe they were doing a good thing by researching under the wrong power structure. my criticism is broader than this. i believe it’s time to end the idea that knowledge can’t be biased by anything so it can’t make any claims of principles. it’s not that i’m arguing for knowledge to advance according to its own goals (that would violate the principles of the scientific method). i’m arguing that it’s time we abandon the idea that knowledge is something good regardless of whose hands it is in.
it is my belief that no scientist should be doing research under private, patent protected or corporately owned frameworks whose only goal is to profit. no technically skilled professional should be an accomplice to mass corporate and state murderers. it is not acceptable to promote free and critical thinking while selling your own work for it to be used exactly against those principles.
i’m talking about software engineers that break privacy and sell personal information, about engineers that design to fail, about technicians that refuse to repair, about teachers that submit to flawed economicist school policies. i’m talking about discoveries locked in corporate patents and laws that could otherwise benefit us all, and instead are used as a domination weapon for the sake of profit.
but as it might be obvious by now, that makes me biased. i do not believe research should be done for the sake of research. that is cowardice on the part of the researcher. anyone who worked at the manhattan project surely knew bombs were made to kill people and to exert oppression. yet for the sake of the advancement of “science”, they were bullied into providing states with overwhelming destructive capabilities. just like wernher von braun, the guy that made nazi rockets and then made rockets for nasa, technically skilled individuals seem to believe their work is above moral judgment, which in turn makes them directly exploitable. this is a naive view of knowledge and rational inquiry and especially, a very naive notion of politics and society. knowledge is not above the power structures that own it.
but forcing everyone to change that would require great courage from all the bullied technical staff of all these companies, many of which do not share my view. in fact, today there are fully trained engineers and scientists that are religious fundamentalists or plain bigots. white hat hackers that are offsetting black hat ops. the technical abilities are a tool of oppression and the technically literate are beginning to become part of the oppressing class. consider google or facebook with their guru like internet knowledge. consider the world bank, the imf or the federal reserve with their guru like knowledge of finance. the technically able, though pawns of a power structure that directs them, are directly responsible for much of the current issues we face. be it combustion engines, factories, farming, extraction, you name it. some engineer designed those machines, some scientist demonstrated how to process the materials. some highly educated human being accepted that the knowledge s/he developed would be used for the ultimate destruction of the biosphere.
so what is my proposal? as a technically literate human being, i too have been a tool of companies. i feel a bit hypocritical writing all this since i have done corporate espionage myself, and developed tracking software that gets people fired and violates their privacy. but i am tired. i am tired of seeing open source software being used for goals that violate its principles, of seeing beautiful discoveries of science and engineering being immediately thrown into the next generation weapon.
my proposal comes in many levels, and exuberantism is the name i give this holistic view for
the advancement of our species saving my own ass and not feel like a hypocrite. obviously, since i am no longer following the scientific method, the base principle i will present must therefore be taken on the basis of faith. accepting it on faith will be the most irrational thing this proposal will ask of anyone. everything else i put to scrutiny to the scientific method.
the guiding principle of exuberantism
the guiding principle of exuberantism is simple.
to maximize through work the exuberance of a system
let’s define these terms clearly.
exuberance is a quantity measured to the degree of uncertainty available to whoever is doing the calculation. the metric for exuberance of a system is the total information of that system, measured in bits, as it was previously discussed. this might sound shocking to all the non-tech types, so i’ll illustrate. what is the difference between a blank canvas and a painted canvas? the second has more information in it, measured by quantifying all the local arrangements of the matter in it. considering the canvas+paint has more mass than just the canvas, the system has more information because the particles are more numerous and therefore, their specific arrangement is less likely than just the canvas. this is not intuitive, you can’t see it clearly at first, and i will not try to explain it any further. i’m still studying this subject to make it even simpler, but so far, i think this is somewhat straightforward: the more unlikely/surprising something is, the more exuberant it is. it is important to draw the right boundary for the math, that is clarified in the next item. a counter intuitive consequence of this is that depending on the boundary, the above example might be a good or bad one (for example, if we extend the boundary and consider the production of paint, the wood for the tools, and so on)
definition of system
a system is an arbitrary boundary drawn around a contiguous portion of spacetime which will be used to measure the exchanges of exuberance in it and with other systems. this definition is compatible with general thermodynamics boundaries, but it is generalized to bigger systems. since the boundary is arbitrary, one must always make sure the boundary is not drawn to prove one’s own opinion, but it is drawn according to the highest rational justification found by whoever is doing the math. this might involve debates, which is fine. evidence of unscientific reasoning in drawing these boundaries should be discouraged, since this undermines the definitions used.
a maximization means that through whatever means chosen the system will be in a positive gradient of exuberance. this does not mean it should be so at all times, because optimization using time means local minimums might cause bigger future maximums. this means that greedy techniques should be avoided, and careful rational examination of the possible outcomes should be preferred. this also means that it is acceptable to sacrifice present exuberance for future exuberance, but never on false premises and especially not unless it is ground on solid evidence
work is the expression of energy that causes changes in the exuberance of a system. like the work done by the painter on the canvas, work is a necessary part of this definition. in rigor, it is useful work that is encouraged, work that increases e (i will use e for exuberance from now on). therefore, work can be done by humans, plants, animals, stars or even planets. all work is treated equally and quantitatively. there are no distinctions between work done by machines, humans or geological events. work is treated in its purest physical definition
to summarize and put it succinctly, an exuberantist is someone who believes they should maximize exuberance in their system. i encourage people to consider their boundaries the most effective one to avoid impossible problems and to avoid falling back to individualism. but obviously, since the metric is e, there is no requirement to follow any of these
one of the main properties of this ideology (it is an ideology after all), is that even though it has a guiding principle, its guiding principle is by definition relativistic. a painted canvas, no matter the color or shape, is better than an empty one. it doesn’t matter if it is a religious figure, a pretty portrait or an ugly post modern blob. what matters is that there is an effort (work done) by something to increase e in their system.
this means that there is no way of objectively distinguishing two human beings based on their physical attributes: they are roughly the same value of e. they can only be distinguished by their work, which can be seen under the light of this metric. people with a high entropic tendency (to break shit, to kill, etc) have a very low or even negative e gradient. their activity should be contained. but since there is intrinsic value (e) in every thing, they should not be destroyed (which would decrease e). instead, the effort should be to direct, contain, educate in order to allow for a mutual coexistence of these two systems.
this is also valid for bigger systems like cities, countries and so on. vast systems are not distinguishable qualitatively because the quantity e is quality agnostic. exuberance is only concerned with the unlikelihood of the arrangements, not the particular arrangements themselves.
this is the core of the moral and ethical consequences of exuberantism, which i will explore. i will also explore exuberantism in all its levels, from the basic every day life to the broad way groups and societies could organize themselves.
this is a work in progress, and the metric is still being worked on since it is the most sensitive part of this model. for now, i think it’s a lot to read. i am an exuberantist, and luckily i’m not trying to convert anyone, since it is part of the exuberantist ideology to avoid its own expansion, in order to avoid intellectual monochromatism.
this is my answer to the “valueless” life as an educated individual. a life according to a rationally defined, but not easily exploitable, moral framework. this is meant to give peace of mind when avoiding the every day cowardice. the idea that we are part of a local/global effort to make our life/home/city/world a more exuberant place.
to the people that know my work, this probably makes a lot of sense and might even “click” certain unanswered “why”s. the documentary on SPCC is a good example of some ideas of exuberantism in practice (in the end even i failed at some of these principles for personal cowardice). i hope to continue providing good examples of it.
thank you for reading and have an exuberant day!