Systems are good to think, as I believe not only is our world organized upon the basis of systems, but our brains and minds, as part of our bodies and lives, and as part of general systems of the larger world, are also organized systemically, however complicated and complex it may really be. In other words, systems invite themselves to be representationally modeled in terms of symbolic knowledge constructs that pretend to embody and express the core design and components of any such system.

We really only consciously realize systems in nature, including our own human and often quite unnatural (artificial) systems (as well as myriad imaginary, fantasy or make-believe systems), through our awareness and interaction with them as such, as knowledge systems that have a relatively homologous structure with consistency with objectively real or subjectively constructed or imaginary systems. And all this speaks to the primary importance of the fundamental concept of the anthropological relativity of human reality through which all our perception, awareness and experience is filtered as the source of our intelligence. In other words, we cannot but help view and understand our world, including ourselves in that world, except through the conceptual and cognitive constructs of our symbolic representational knowledge of the world.

Granted, this knowledge is selectively filtered and shaped by many different processes. Hence human awareness, information, knowledge and understanding are constrained in basic and fundamental and therefore universal ways. All human knowledge is symbolically representational, even at the level of fundamental percepts as we construct our world through our basic senses. Symbolic knowledge in the human species is specially structured by human language—human language has a basic symbolic structure that we cannot undue or ever hope on a fundamental level to break out of. (Lord knows, many people try to escape their own knowledge constraints on a daily basis even, primarily through drugs, and if not by pharmacological means, then by fantasy, day dreams and wish fulfillment.)

So human intelligence is fundamentally symbolic linguistic, and there are scientific means of looking at, analyzing and sorting these things out. In a previous pre/post dissertation life, I was engaged more or less very directly with this kind of work. Our intelligence grants us great mental strengths to imagine new realities, to learn new things, to explore and discover, and to create entirely new worlds and even new working systems. We were creating new systems well before the development of writing systems. From then forward progress to civilizational systems involving and founded upon basic technologies and alternative human-made systems based on scientific understanding was only a matter of time and historical happenstance. In a very real sense, bronze beat out copper, and iron beat out bronze, and steel beat out iron (and now synthetic plastics and carbon fibers often beat out steel).

But the evolutionary purchase upon our great symbolic powers of human knowledge came at a very steep price. It has been a cost so great that often it has almost undone our world, if not ourselves completely in the world. For as powerful as it has proven historically to become, with the benefits and drawbacks of human civilization now on a global scale, our symbolic intelligence was never unlimited and always constrained by its own inherent, intrinsic structure. We can invent time, build clocks to accurately, precisely tell time, but we cannot control, stop or change time.

This has translated into a basic tendency—a weakness in both belief and behavior, and that is the fundamental anthropological fallacy of confusing the term for the thing that the term names. This leads systematically for mistaking the abstract idea of the name, symbolically invested with all kinds of meaning and memory associations, with the actual concrete reality of the thing being named or symbolically represented. If we can mistake the one thing for the idea or ideal of the thing thus designated, we can also mistake the idea for the thing it represents. This results in a kind of behavioral displacement that in large massive crowds, especially, can lead to very destructive consequences.

We are left then on the horns of a profound developmental-evolutionary and historical dilemma. The very human intelligence that empowers us creatively and constructively to build our civilization and make a better world, is the same intelligence that under constraints leads to equal powers of destructive aggression to tear down the world and human civilization back to total chaos. How this may occur is time and space for another blog. That it occurs and has happened and this design flaw, inevitable with symbolic intelligence, has characterized humankind as much or more than the more desirable and pollyanna qualities, and that it is fundamentally linked to the structural design of our own intelligence, must be the main punch-line to leave off with.

There are popular demagogues today who have figured some of this out on their own, and who are deliberately applying these lessons to their own aggrandizement even if at the expense of all of human civilization. In short, human beings, especially in large crowds, can become easily deluded into believing things to be true, and persuaded to act out upon these false beliefs, even when evidence is dubious and contradictory and the truth otherwise self-evident. This is perhaps the single greatest threat standing in the way of global human development in our contemporary world.

Categories General Systems, Hope for the future


I came into General System Theory (or better perhaps System’s Theory in General) through advanced studies in Anthropology. That was now more than thirty years ago. Systems Theory has much to offer to us, even if many scientists tend to look at it all askance down their long noses. I don’t think I could have approached the complexities of anthropological or human-type systems theory in any other manner except through General System Models, of which there is a standard model proposed and developed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy (who was primarily a biologist), as well as many other basic, natural and applied models functioning at different levels, contexts and types of systems explanation. The real paradox today, in our “post-modern” and very global era, is that systems thinking and theory tends still to be eschewed by many informed professionals of the global knowledge community even when and if our contemporary civilization is and has always been constructed and operated by numerous and various kinds of systems. The paradox is even greater if we realize that just a semester or two of basic and advanced systems theory and method would be for most all that would be required to reconcile sciences and systems approaches and to form the foundation for building a healthy and respectable “science of general systems.”

In this regard I could not possibly underestimate the importance of a systems-based worldview, not in replacement of general scientific worldview, but complementary to and in support of scientific perspectives. The main reason I make this argument is the observation that the human pursuit of development has always been systems-based development, but mostly people have made discoveries and inventions and extended streamlining applications and innovations, not because of systems direct insight or intelligence, but often serendipitously in spite of systems awareness and understanding or not. It has been our myopic and short-sighted pursuit of systems largely on an ad hoc basis that now will lead us down a blind alley toward global climax and an unlimited plethora of possible post-climax global scenarios.

I began my blogging at a time when I thought what we needed most in the world was a system of systems, that if well organized and used in a scientifically informed manner, could provide much of the context and insight we need to generate long-term and sustainable solutions in an inherently super-complex world. I thought to myself what better system framework than the Internet to create a foundation for global integration and organization and mobilization of humankind above and beyond the ethno-linguistic and ethno-national horizons within which most people still dwell. Needless to comment, I never got past the first level of producing a few dozen manuscripts about general systems, and ultimately, in desperation of existential failure, abandoning and giving up almost everything I had been working on and for.

That was twenty years ago and both the world and I have moved on since then. Today, with global climate change and global circumscription of living systems and natural resource reservoirs, we perhaps need a bona fide systems framework more desperately than ever before, and I am still writing upon and even now on the verge of publishing on general systems thinking and theory. Our primary strategic national adversaries, the Chinese, appear to culturally take more to systems and systems type thinking than their American or perhaps European counterparts, who are more culturally oriented to causal models of direct linear actions and reactions. But in truth there is not an area of broader science today in the contemporary global era that does not adopt and depend upon many systems models and perspectives even in their analytical methodologies and applied procedures, even if discussion of the systems-based aspects of much of this work may seem implicitly somewhat verboten if not downright taboo as a professional career killer.

I have died many cowardly social deaths and have been resurrected from a professional death more than once, and I am still around and going strong even in my senior years. I can call myself an anthropologist with some serious intent behind that title, even if most others at best use it tongue in cheek when either addressing or ignoring me. My work is my own, I do not depend upon graduate students for my ego or for my professional development, and I have carried a human systems framework effectively into important applied areas. We all face a central challenge in the contemporary and future world. Earth remains our’s, humankind’s, to steward, protect and preserve (or, failing, not), and general systems theory and its consistent, broad-based, informed scientific application is the best way of accomplishing that through human civilization. Of all things possible between heaven and earth, this truth I do not doubt one dot or iota.



We are yet in the process of forming a cosmological worldview that is “universal” at least in relative scale. In my own solitary opinion this universal worldview has been limited by an incomplete and insufficient Big Bang cosmological paradigm that asks fewer questions than it answers—but that is a blog for a different day.

The central question on the line here and now is Fermi’s paradox intelligently posed as an as yet unanswered question—“If they are out there, then where are they?”

Just to cast this question as it has mainly been posed as a SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) type problem, may be restrictive in itself, as SETI research and theory has been part of a larger theoretical research set of the applied search for extra-terrestrial life ultimately of any form or kind, however possibly intelligent. Even more, it is important to understand how critically significant answering this question may be, not just from the standpoint of our interest in space, space travel and colonization, to include the reasonable transferability of earthbound biomes in relatively permanent, long-lasting space-bound biospheres (think at least Winogradsky columns or even extreme cancer cell cultures on petri-dishes.) The search for extra-terrestrial life, especially ET intelligent civilization, is a huge driver of space-directed scientific curiosity, and actual discovery of ET lifeforms will surely lead to more questions than answers, but that is the basis and goal of good science.

I cannot but approach the problem from a General Systems Theoretic approach as an anthropologist interested in the possibilities and limitations of space-culture and civilization. Extraterrestrial life is possible not just because it is imaginable, but also because we know it actually exists, if only upon earth. Stochastically speaking, with an infinitely open system, infinite possibilities entails in the structure of the large and long-run the near certain likelihood of the rarest of extreme possibilities. In short, given the right conditions, life will emerge and intelligent civilization will evolve, however unlikely its odds of survival in the large and the long run.

Several conditions must be met or dealt with if we are to perchance discover ET sooner than later, if ever at all. These conditions include:

1. The presumption of an infinite and open universe, permitting ages of star-systems well beyond those cosmogenic models delimited by Big Bang theory (They are probably out there, but most likely too, too far away to be immediately contacted much less reciprocated within two-way communication.)
2. A realistic rendering of the Drake Equation based upon increasing observation of Extra-Solar planetary bodies and systems well beyond our immediate Solar compass must come from our exploratory discoveries and adjustments as they happen and have happened. Already, we are coming to realize a Milky Way far more populated with diverse planets and other kinds of star systems than we ever could previously imagine or credibly believe. We may well yet find ET life forms very common in different forms of adaptation within many proximate star systems.
3. A realistic accounting of general relativity that entails our incomplete knowledge of a contemporaneous, instantaneous Universe beyond our relative sphere of the observable universe (the likelihood that intelligent civilizations probably exist but are too far away to readily contact without prolonged “delay” or with reasonable simultaneity.)
4. A realistic accounting of advanced civilizations on the higher end of the Kardashev Scale, which by chance may exist relatively proximate to our Solar system and that have enough curiosity and capability of signaling to be detectable from our Solar System.
5. Last, but certainly not least, is the expansion of our sphere of observability by our increasing technical and technological capacity to send out long-term “un-humaned” robotic, relatively autonomous, space vehicles with increasing capacity for long-distance and fine-scaled observation, for advanced communication, both back home—to earth—and to other mission vehicles, as well as also for targeted broadcasts well beyond into the greater depths of extra-Solar space.

By way of refrain, our interest in space exploration, observation and discovery, in large measure driven by the quest for ET life-forms, parallels both our human-interest based quest for long-distance and long-term space travel and space-colonization, and our growing earthbound global circumscription by human civilization, impacting global ecologies on all levels, in all ways, and in all places. However small or large we see our living planet, it is ultimately finite within an otherwise infinite universe, wherein exists all the stochastic possibilities, long-run likelihoods and potentials for ET life-forms.

We must remember finally that all systems have their beginning and their end, and our only ultimate hope of survival rests with the stars.
In regard to Fermi’s profound Paradox, the solution may be to answer the question with another hopefully profound question: Of all the stars in our nighttime skies, which is not home? It is only in and among the stars that we will find our full humanity.



I can imagine multiple reasons making up the complex motivation to blog. Blogging itself may be a somewhat passe’ thing on the Internet anyway. Facebook, Chat-bots, and content management systems may all have some degree of blogging potential, but the purpose and function for blogging may be usurped for other purposes like news dissemination, social networking, constructing social solidarity with some group or network, persuasive influence of a target audience, or just plain old simple egotistical and personal vanity. Certainly blogging by itself cannot compete with the power and pace of the “intelligent” development of the Internet.

I like to think I blog for two or three main intersecting reasons. First is the use of the blog as a new writing forum and framework for the rapid reconnaissance and exploration of new ideas, especially ones that collide in a fertile manner across semantic and cognitive domains. Secondly, it is to continue to exercise what’s left of my old writing muscles to keep tone and fitness of those muscles. Third, I simply like to blog for blogging’s sake, because I have long written just for the sake of writing. Beyond those simple reasons, I do not attempt to justify this line of effort on any grander or global scale.

Certainly the potential power of the blog is its global reach and potentially global influence. I’m sure “going viral” has its own advantages and disadvantages, but remaining low key, “just doing one’s own thing,” is not one of them. If I were truly blogging just to blog, for M. (un-gendered Mr./Ms.) Blog’s sake, then it would be enough to sit in my small lonely office and just compose letters to myself. If I could afford the postage and envelopes I might even mail them back to myself and claim poor-“person’s” copyright. What a way to practice my “dis-cursive” penmanship at least.

For myself writing has been a solitary endeavor, but publishing has been even lonelier. Writing all my life has been a vehicle to escape the world and to create a world primarily of my own imagination. I have written many manuscripts to have them pile up in out of the way corners of the house or to stack up in banker’s boxes over the years, inviting cobwebs, mildew and sometime even rodents. I kind of feel like blogging eliminates somewhat the remaining debitage of my yet active years on earth, during which time I can slowly and carefully, gradually, begin tossing a bunch of old paper work into my fire-pit in the backyard.

So now I blog primarily for M. Blog’s and my own sake. We make a least a good if strange “schizoid” duo. Though I have repeatedly lost several blog efforts with a substantial quantity of content, I miss the tune-up and toning that working out with M. Blog on a daily basis brings to my authorial persona. Now all we probably need is some new 3-B (Bureaucratic Big Brother) or perhaps some “Uncle X” to monitor what M. Blog and myself might digitally “dis-curse” about.

Categories Blogging


Human intelligence takes over where machine intelligence leaves off. Machine intelligence takes over where human intelligence leaves off. The two systems are at least in theory if not always in practice mutually complementary to one another, except when people begin mixing their metaphors of “Artificial” and “Intelligence,” which we have a strong tendency to do given the nature and structure of our linguistic intelligence. However powerful an A.I. algorithm or system might be, it is left to people to distinguish between real intuitive sentience and the simulation, however complex and sophisticated seeming, of such seemingly intuitive sentience.

I know my competition on this “Bloggishing” web-site. It is not the potential time of potentially interested readership who are too busy surfing and now “X-ing” the rest of web-world to bother with my Internet-conventional and mostly anachronistic “pages.” It is not even other Bloggers most of whom are both better writers and better published than myself. It is in fact not even the big Internet companies that are building these new “Chat” A.I. systems that purportedly can do miracles in simulating productive human consciousness. The competition is in fact these third and forth generation ELIZA like machine learning systems based upon advanced AI systems and technologies. My competition are machines, and most people today would prefer interacting with a seemingly alive and semi-intelligent machine than with a real other person, however dull or interesting the latter may really be.

My real competition for this aging doddering fool is a bloody sophisticated machine owned by a modern capitalist Ayn Randian “Howard Roark.” And it is really no competition at all because it is a game that someone like myself, of my age set, cannot even play well, much less expect to win. When and if I read someone else’s blog, I want to know and be sure that the blog was actually written by a real person on the other end of a two way computer terminal system, and not the plagiarized knock-off work of some Cyber “bot” or some criminal human cyber freak.

So perhaps we must again take heed Joseph Weizenbaum’s warning to the modern world made almost a half Century ago (“Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation,” Freeman & Company, 1976.) ELIZA was the epitome of simulated “true” artificial intelligence, functioning upon a seemingly intuitive and largely tacit level, but only projectively simulated in as much as it was received by and deceiving of sentient others who for a moment at least lapse in their own sentient judgment. The development of sophisticated and power modern AI will continue to leap light-years ahead, but it should not obscure as a developmental priority the fact or the facticity of human development.

What I have celebrated through my life’s work, however mediocre by modern standards, has been the basic honesty and value of human development and the development of truly human systems as a fundamental priority of our modern world, divested of any other “technological” considerations. In this regard, there is no other significant competition at all in my own little world at least, as this Blog will evidentially attest, except with my own self and my own limitations and weaknesses, of which there have been many.

The ultimate paradox perhaps is that I am all for Artificial Intelligence and advanced Robotics, as long as we do not over anthropomorphize it all. Advanced A.I. has its place, but that is not in substitution of or for human intelligence. A.I. as part of a larger human system, increasingly autonomous in function, has a critical role to play in the future development and facilitation of human systems, especially in terms of real working systems, except when it may potentially interfere with or promote technological development in lieu of the greater realization of human development.