26 January, 2022

Taking SHAPE I: Denis Noble and Systems Level Approach


New video from SHAPE films, Taking SHAPE I, is part of new series looking at a nascent holistic science and attempting to take SHAPE Journal and these radical ideas to a new audience.

Top down or bottom up? Which method best helps us understand complex natural systems? We look at Denis Noble's "The Music of Life" and the argument that reductionism misses the vital role of multi-level systems in organising reality... But what happens when these systems fail? 

This contribution begins a new series of experimental videos on the philosophy of science from SHAPE Films. Each episode features theorist Jim Schofield discussing a different key thinker or researcher, and how their work may help the development of a new holist scientific method.

15 January, 2022

The Political Conditions Necessary for Revolution

The major problems are, by now, well-entrenched, and seem to make successful revolutionary activities impossible. 

It is over a century since the Russian Revolution - the only successful one of its type - and that was, surprisingly, in a relatively backward, predominantly peasant country, spread over two continents! And, it occurred in the midst of a World War, having effects absolutely everywhere, and one in which millions of ordinary people were extensively involved in combat - to supposedly "Defend Their Country". And, Surprise Surprise! - occasionally, the masses-in-arms sometimes kill their oppressors at home, rather than the "identified enemies" abroad!

Red Guard during the July Days

They were dangerous times - all-round! 

Indeed, subsequently, within a defeated Germany, there still were the most developed Working Class Political Parties in the World: BUT inter-rivalries between them, along with the major injustices of the Imposed Peace via The Treaty of Versailles, convinced sections of that affected population, and particularly the Ruling Class, to turn dramatically to the Extreme Right - leading to the rise of a major Fascist Party in the form of Nazis, and the German Working Class Parties were systematically dismantled!

And Red Menace Hysteria converted most Working Class Parties into mere agitators for a better deal under Capitalism. And Revolutionary aspirations faded from continuing to move significant sections into any sorts of effective political action.

Indeed, it appears as if The Working Class requires Major and Devastating Crises for them to even begin to consider such actions: but, perhaps the current Covid Crisis, the inappropriate actions of the Ruling Class to deal with it, and the consequent upheavals in Employment, could indeed finally produce enough growing deprivation to precipitate constantly increasing action on the streets.

So, vitally, any remaining Revolutionaries simply MUST be both clearly-and-loudly predicting the Coming Inevitable Trajectory of Future Events, AND be ready to rejuvenate the only kind of radical Politics that will ever deal with such a Mounting Avalanche of Crises, which had been clearly building up for some time! And, these must be both well prepared for - and consisting mainly of Working Class Youth, organised from Working Class Areas - to prepare a major and noise-assisted Massive Set of Socialist Demands, alongside extensive Action to aid the most Deprived with Vital Help and Collections of what they will most certainly desperately need.

And perhaps the most devastating area will be in Housing, which will rocket well beyond the means of the Deprived Poor! Places must be found and taken over for them - AND DEFENDED TOO!

We must get the Working Class doing what they are best at, using their skills directly for Their Own Class! So, how do we do it?

We fight fot Local District Collectives, where all who want to help, AND, indeed those who Need Help, can attend and make their suggestions! Organise collections, and prepare to help the increasing numbers of Homeless, as the Crisis develops too!

This may seem premature - but it isn't!

Starting Now, with Class Help, will show who really cares!

Begin now in all ways possible to build our own version of Social Responsibility and Support!

03 January, 2022

The Fateful Wrong Turning

Many millennia ago, the most advanced organism upon Planet Earth collectively made a fateful decision as to how they would attempt to both grasp their given Reality, and make full use of it, in order to both further Prosper and also Develop.

It was by no means a totally incorrect decision, for it was based upon a clearly Pragmatic Premise, which at that time was both unassailable, and indeed capable of delivering a sizeable measure of success in their consequent endeavours, considering their then achieved understanding. The Premise was, in a nutshell:

If it works, it is right!

This positioned Mankind's priorities totally within what they could gain from their experience of, and consequent actions within, the World as it definitely appeared to be.

Of course, at that particular stage in their development, it could not be anything other than that, for, though, they were the most successful organism, they were still at a very primitive stage in what they could possibly be, and indeed do - so, in order to to continue to make any further progress, that approach would be the only way: and hence both the Means and the unavoidable Limiting Restriction upon what they could achieve!

It meant, primarily, that they should continually be trying new interventions, with the diverse elements of Reality, and in consequence, thereafter, only sticking-to the ones that actually-and-reliably seemed to work. But, it was never at all likely to increase their actual Understanding as to why they worked at all!

But, nevertheless, in the hands of Mankind, it very quickly promoted this fairly physically-weak species, into a privileged position, among all the other animals of Planet Earth, and the advantages that culminated in this development had actually commenced when Mankind abandoned the Trees to become a purely bipedal creature of the Ground.

Indeed, their ancestry is clear, even now, that they were members of the Great Ape Subgroup (including Gorillas and Chimpanzees), who were all highly competent, swinging about within the branches of the trees, which dramatically modified their fore limbs into Arms and Hands, and even did a similar job upon their hind limbs! They could grip onto branches with all of their limbs: but the Hands, co-ordinated with their binocular-vision eyes, could also manipulate and study things extremely well!

So, when Climate Change within their traditional areas began to clear away the extensive forests, and replace them with vast grasslands, most of Mankind had to radically alter their means of Life, and learn wholly new skills and physical natures too! There was little or no cover in the Grasslands so hiding and surprising potential prey was impossible, so even staying in contact with them, meant that Mankind, as hunters, had to become long distance runners with greater stamina than their prey species.

[This is evident, even today, with literally all the World's best Distance Runners coming from that same area in Africa]

And, that change resulted in other major changes too, as long distance hunters had often to chase and even Track their prey at a run for days so keeping cool led to losing most bodily hair, and developing sweating to reduce consequent body heat: as well as the natural skin colour being Brown for the same reasons!

Now, in another direction these Prarie-dwellers also came across Lightning-caused-Fires, that swept across the Grasslands killing the prey it overtook. And the human hunters noticed birds eating the killed-and-cooked animals, and trying it for themselves, found it delicious for them too! So, if they could transport a small fire, perhaps moved onto a flat piece of rock, then keep it supplied with further fuel, they could have their own means of cooking prey, as well as also frightening-off threatening predators from attacking them.

Now, Mankind has no enormous teeth nor big claws, so weapons had to be added to Man's means of killing Prey animals, as well as fending-off predators. They discovered Flint, a hard-but-brittle rock, which when easily shattered, was capable of delivering both sharp edges and piercing points.

So, for literally thousands of years our ancestors Knapped Flint, with increasing skill, to produce Knives, and ultimately Spears, and later Arrows (propelled by flexible wooden Bows, with strings made of animal sinews). And the Flint Knives enabled the butchering of their kills, and the extraction of skins and hides as clothing, as well as anything else they could make use of. A group of well-armed and skilful users of their weapons, were soon a formidable threat to individual animals and even small herds!

Mankind, with its simple pragmatic ideas, and effective learned means were beginning to succeed surprisingly well. And their Flint Knives became effecting tools for working Wood into desireable implements and even constructed dwellings, especially if taking advantage of naturally-occurring Rocks or even Caves.

Surprisingly early-on in the caves of Lascaux, in a valley regularly traversed by herds moving between different seasonal feeding grounds, groups of humans lived, for long periods with semi-permanent self-built Dwellings. And they drew images of their prey on the walls of their caves!

But, the Hunter/Gatherer Existence - later called Savagery - certainly had its limits, and Natural Disaster Events could easily wipe out many Family Bands, and ultimately a Social Revolution transformed many human groups, via a wholly new means of dealing with required resources. A much more static way of living, especially in conducive areas - such as adjacent to Major Rivers, and with Planted crops in protected Fields, along with prey animals also fenced-in and cared-for, for easy access.

It was the Social Revolution to Barbarian!

Significantly, though many other innovations were constantly added to Mankind's Skills and Methods including the weaving of Cloth and even winning metals from Rock Ores - the basic Pragmatist Approach didn't change, in spite of Empires being built upon Wars and the enslavement of conquered peoples, involving yet another Social Revolution!

But the complications of these new Social Forms demanded that Records be kept and written Orders required. Writing became increasingly important and regularised Speech too. The Languages of peoples had to develop along with the Social Changes:and the development of explanations and even Discussions grew very quickly among a Literate Class. Language became an alternative to "suck-it-and-see" pragmatism!

Could Solutions be found via Discussion too?

So, in the leading Civilisation of the time - The Greeks, they began the attempt to formalise the most important area of Mathematics (the Study of Number), with its extension into Geometry. And via the invention of abstract relations between the various Forms encountered, began to Rationally build a Formal System - Euclidian Geometry. And via this System of Formal Relations using Theorems and Proofs, a coherent, consistent and comprehensive Rationaliy was legitimately built.

BUT, the new rationality was only true of the relations between Forms: it was NOT true for anything else! And yet, the Greeks (and ultimately everyone else) believed that these discoveries were universally true, and applied them as a Rational Cure - to absolutely everything else!

And that was wholly illegitimate. For, all the relations revealed were Wholly Fixed - as relations between Formal Descriptions only: they would certainly have to be so, for Forms are a human invention to facilitate a reliable Naming between Fixed entities alone: while most of the relations within Reality-as-is are certainly NOT Fixed: they most definitely vary, and as such produce all actual changes.

Indeed, literally the only area where these assumptions are true, is within Mathematics, and hence in Absolutely All Equations too!

BUT, these forms are precisely what are used in The Sciences, as determining all possible circumstances, including all actually Qualitative, as well as Quantitative changes, whereas with Qualitative changes they CAN NEVER be so legitimately used. And, to undermine the whole of the usual assumptions, individual Laws (and hence their Equations) are NOT totally independent of one another,

The only way that such Laws, and their Equations can ever be used, is with very limited contexts and contents, in order to totally exclude such effects! We have assumed that such rigid restrictions, along with tightly controlled environments are merely to separate out individual Laws: but they never actually achieve such isolations, and, even at best, only limit divergences to deliver approximations to the actual relations, and never give the supposed truth!

Due to this wrong turning, Experimental Science is majorly mistaken.

The incessantly-used substitutions between different Equations in order to produce other Equations, are always wholly invalid! And the almost-entirely mathematical manipulations that are the backbone of Theory in Science are completely invalid too!

[Leonard Susskind should take note]

And, finally, the whole mathematical approach conceptually wrongly isolates simultaneously-acting Laws, as if they act wholly Singly-and-Separately, which they certainly don't! Indeed lt is only beginning to be addressed in new The Systems Approach to Science, where they influence one another in various ways, including Selective Eliminations of the rarest interlopers in the mix.

Indeed most apparent Stabilities within Reality are both temporary yet long-lasting, so give the wrong impression of being Wholly Permanent, and hence a basis for all our assumptions about "Natural Laws"!

Once again we must return to Karl Marx's Analysis of Social Revolutions, to correct this mistake. For only there, in the total turnover of many apparently Permanent Laws, are they discarded and replaced by wholly New Alternatives, in the establishment of a different and better Overall System!