June 26, 2018

Open Threads

This is a brief overview of our current open threads in research. These are articles we would like to write, thoughts we would like to expand, and things we would like to do, to drive this project forward.

While we’d like to do all of this, we don’t think we will get to all of it, and we expect much of it to be obsolete by the time we do get to it.

As planned last time we looked into scope, our immediate research is broken into two avenues: Science, and State. This article further breaks down “science” into a theoretical scientific part and a practical engineering part.

Additionally, we have a few meta threads to pull on.

Theory and Science

The objective of our theoretical research is to produce understanding of social phenomena to the point of being able to back up an engineering discipline.

Our basic approach here is to pull on threads to learn more, guided mostly intuitively towards our goal of a proper science.

  1. Objections to a science of social technology. We have a list of reasons that scientific sociology is not supposed to work. We believe that these reasons do not in fact hold up in practice, but that they do carry useful information. The debunking of each objection will produce valuable insight about the shape of our science.

  2. Differences from other sciences. Even if scientific sociology is possible, social systems are very different from the subject matter of the physical sciences. For example, social systems are organic ecosystems, and are intelligent and purposeful, whereas other sciences tend to deal with sterile mechanistic phenomena. From these differences, we might be able to pin down some necessary features of our science.

  3. Relation of social technology to truth. Nature of social technology. Social technology involves beliefs. Those beliefs can be true or false. We have some thoughts on how this relates to types of social technology, and the nature of social technology. We expect some small upgrades to our paradigm by exploring this.

  4. Social Technology and the “Organic” paradigm. We are slowly lurching towards a formalized paradigm of how we understand social technology. We want to attempt some explication of this paradigm with the notion of natural “organic” social phenomena, and how we can stabilize, manipulate, and compose said phenoma to build useful social systems.

  5. Enumeration and examination of common fundamental phenomena. There are a large number of key phenoma to understand in order to understand social systems scientifically. We want to start crunching through these basic phenomena, fitting them into our paradigm. For example: Power, empires, groups, conflict, relationships, trade, actions, resources, etc.

  6. Explication of core working assumptions. To think about social systems at all rigorously, we need to make assumptions about how people work, how social ecosystems work, and related parts of reality. We would like to try to make some of these assumptions more explicit, and examine them.

  7. Updating a bit on theory of mind. We recently found some weakness in our models around how beliefs and actions relate, especially socially. We need to flesh out more concepts here and exercise our models.

  8. History of major sciences and scientific figures. Examination of past scientific revolutions and pioneering should be able to shed some light on how we might want to approach our own project. In particular, Boyle, the father of Chemistry catches our eye, though of course there are many others.

Practical Capability-Building and Reverse-Engineering

We recently identified the need for a practical discipline of engineering to complement and drive our science of social technology. The objective here is to produce both ability and understanding by reverse engineering simple pieces of social technology, and building such.

We have fewer threads to pull on here, but they are comparatively heavier:

  1. Do a dozen or so “micro-studies”, reverse engineering simple and key social technologies, to build up intuitive grasp of what social technologies look like inside and out, and build up principles for understanding them. Examples: Loyalty and Honor, Monogamy, etc.

  2. The problem of modern urban healthy community. The problem of healthy urban community would well fit our requirements for something real, useful, and challenging, but doable. We and many of our friends are very interested in possible solutions. We need to write up the details of the problem and what we know of possible solutions.

  3. The idea of the Weremoot. We’ve been running an experiment in masculine community creation over the past few months, called the “weremoot”. We’ve alluded to this in past, but need a proper write-up of the idea, our plans, and preliminary lessons.

  4. Plan more about how to get apprentices interested, and what they would do and why. As we scale up experimental efforts, we will need apprentices to run these experiments. We need to think and write about this.

Theory and Engineering of State

Our ultimate objective, which we should always keep our eye on, is the creation of a superior practice of statecraft which can fix the problems of America and the Western world. This requires deep understanding of the state as an institution, and a deep program of practical statecraft and backing philosophy that can become the new basis of our society. If we don’t acheive this, we at least hope to shed light on some interesting questions.

We have another list of threads to pull on here:

  1. Critiques and examination of forms of government: Democracy, Separation of Powers, Joint-Stock Government, Absolute Monarchy, Feudal Monarchy, Anarcho Capitalism, Theocracy, etc. We’ve had many good discussions with collaborators and associates on various forms of government and their failure modes. We need to write these up.

  2. Enumeration of key problems of state. From examination of particular forms and their failure modes, and general history and theory, we can identify and formalize a few key problems which need to be solved.

  3. The state as a community. We have a radical notion to investigate that the state is best constituted as a kind of community. This implies something like aristocracy. But we have to work through details to see.

  4. Relations of church and state. We’ve previously commented on the relation between “church” and state, which we believe is one of the most important questions in long-term statecraft.

  5. Concept of axioms of state. We previously alluded to the idea of axioms of the state, or more generally of social technological systems. This concept might be very useful, and needs more in-depth treatment.

  6. Macro-phenomena relating to state: empire, power, elites, castes, etc. There are many important natural phenomena of social systems which directly relate to the state. We need a strong handle on all of them and their implications for conception and structure of the state.

Edited and curated by Wolf Tivy

Comments? Email comments@newstatecraft.org