May 10, 2018

The Problem of Psychological Refinement

We’ve said previously that our overall direction right now is to focus on two things:

  1. Building the engineering-grade science of social technology, and its methodology.

  2. Building background understanding of the state within this paradigm.

We have much to say on the topic of the state, but the first thing seems best to focus on for now. It’s a big topic with many of subtopics and much work to do, and really is prior to subsequent stuff like theory of state.

Within the problem of building the science, we have identified that we need to become or build an institution building institution. That is, we need to be able to build social technologies, and we need to be able to train people to build social technologies.

We have also noted that the people we must train to build social technology need the particular skillsets of political maneuvering, and leadership.

Within the problem of leadership, or perhaps an additional related problem, is the problem of putting people into the right psychological shape to participate in a social technology. Engineering requires not just science and good technology designs, but also engineering materials, and engineering tools.

Since social technology is ultimately built out of the beliefs and plans in people’s minds, actually building social technology, as opposed to just designing it, will have a strong hands-on psychological component. We need to be able to do emotional engineering, belief engineering, plan engineering, etc.

Ideally, people would be able to organize themselves into whatever shape was necessary to implement the social technology dictated by their leaders. This is unfortunately not the case; people are generally a mess, and need lots of emotionally skilled outside help and particular structure to be able to improve how they act. This outside help and additional structure needs to be accounted for in deisgn and implemented by leaders.

The emotional and belief rewiring support stuff itself contains a substantial technical component; it is it’s own whole discipline. So there’s the problem of psychological engineering and debugging itself, besides the social technology problems. Fortunately we know some folks who have been working on this.

In practice it seems that the problem of engineering the mind is less a process of rewiring to be compatable with this or that social technology, and more a process of fixing irrationalities and skill problems that prevent one from being usefully organized at all.

It seems that the problem is one of refinement and upgrading. The default is that people are unrefined, undisciplined, unskilled, and psychologically broken. The equivalent of low quality ore. Fix these problems, and shaping people for particular social technologies is much easier and smaller of an operation. Once refined, we would have the human equivalent of engineering grade material like high quality steel.

So the problem of psyschological refinement and engineering is an additional target to add to the problem of an engineering grade science of social technology. All told, our current count of necessary subproblems for any engineering at all looks like this:

  1. Theory of psychology, enough that one can theoretically back up good psychological refinement and shaping technology.

  2. Psychological refinement and shaping technology, so that people can be fixed up and made into engineering-grade materials that are easy to work with.

  3. Leadership skill, so that one can organize and arrange one’s people.

  4. Power skill, so that one can defend one’s hold over one’s own people and materials, and grab more.

  5. Theory of social technology, to back up a practical discipline of social technology engineering, telling us how the stuff works, and what will work and what won’t.

  6. Practical discipline of social technology engineering, based on the theory, using the psychology, oriented for leaders to build useful social structure. This ideally includes a library of solutions to common problems, and methods to fund solutions.

With these things in place, and experience applying them, many areas of social technology would become tractable.

Edited and curated by Wolf Tivy

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