[FRIAM] Subject: Re: Friam Digest, Vol 180, Issue 3

Steven A Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Wed Jun 6 13:33:26 EDT 2018

> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron
>     /In the year 2081, the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments to the
>     Constitution dictate that all Americans are fully equal and not
>     allowed to be smarter, better-looking, or more physically able
>     than anyone else. The Handicapper General's agents enforce the
>     equality laws, forcing citizens to wear "handicaps": masks for
>     those who are too beautiful, loud radios that disrupt thoughts
>     inside the ears of intelligent people, and heavy weights for the
>     strong or athletic./
> I *personally* think there is room for seemingly contradictory ideas.
> The acknowledgement that many advantages (of birth, circumstance, etc)
> are amplified by our culture... those with the most aptitude for a
> given activity are usually those given the most support (material,
> emotional, financial) to continue to exploit/capitalize/pursue the
> honing and application of said aptitudes.   To those whose parents
> were literate, or were native speakers of the lingua franca of the
> lands they live in, or who were aware of and supported the activities
> and propensities their child(ren) were adept at, and/or were highly
> valued by the community, it is *natural* that they would be much more
> likely to excel (and be rewarded for said excellence) by the community
> which is in some sense selecting for the "good of the group".
> Whether we call it democratization or egalitarianism (I prefer the
> latter, as the former implies the "will of the majority", while the
> latter implies equal opportunity and support to every individual in a
> group),  paying attention to these strong positive feedback loops and
> adjusting them to feed some of the less *obvious* candidates for
> excellence would seem not only like a good strategy in support of pure
> egalitarianism (of which Vonnegut presents the
> background/complement/dark-side) but also potentially a more optimum
> strategy for the "good of the group". 
> If we consider *both* strategies to be something like a search over a
> landscape, the latter has benefits for very rugged landscapes while
> the former would seem to operate best on smooth landscapes.   I
> propose that "ocracies" have generally been put in place (at least
> partially) TO smooth the landscapes and thereby allow for more simple
> (and effective?) search/optimization strategies.  
> The argument of *diversity* is most often used to promote the latter
> strategy, which in my estimation is another way of acknowledging the
> rough landscape as a simple fact, attempting to respond efficiently
> and effectively to it, rather than trying to
> ignore/wish/legislate/regulate the complexity away.
> - Steve Bergeron
> On 6/6/18 10:52 AM, Marcus Daniels wrote:
>> Glen writes:
>> "This reminded me of my (postmodern) criticism of open source (in spite of any of my advocacy of it), that open source *can* be exploited by an elite set of people who are elite by their capability to know how to read, use, and think about code, or design google queries, or SEO. It's only "democratization" IF the skills and resources to use it are available to everyone."
>> How about bicycle racing.   Not everyone can achieve > 80 ml/kg/min VO2 max, but a few people can.    These are biologically gifted people, and then they train like hell too, and/or sometimes use performance enhancing drugs.   There are some people that can train like hell but always be beaten by someone than trains as hard or less.  They just don't have it.   
>> Open source as a meritocracy is attractive to its adherents because it selects for individuals that succeed in developing a particular kind of sustained intellectual productivity, based on nothing else but the fact that they do.    You can't just go through a particular training procedure and come out a productive peer in this community.  It doesn't matter if you are born a citizen of a hypothetical Code Nation.    People from all over the world end-up being recruited to major tech firms who can see the value of their work, and not just the bullet points on a resume.
>> It seems silly to say that one would democratize elite bicycle racing.   
>> Marcus
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