HUMINT: The flag of the United States of America is a powerful symbol. It is known by many names. The Stars and Stripes and Old Glory are just a few. The flag as we know it today is the product of our nation’s evolution. The number of white stars on a blue background in the upper left corner represents the number of states in the Union at any given moment in the nation’s history. Originally, there were thirteen states and thus, thirteen stars. There have been 27 permutations of the official American flag. The red and white stripes represent the original thirteen American colonies. The original 13 stripes have not changed. To me, the stars have always represented transcendence from colonial serfdom to independent citizenship.
The flag of the United States of America is rare among national flags. Symbols within the U.S. flag symbolize other sovereign governments. In other words, we are talking about dimensions of symbolism when we talk about the American flag. There is the symbolic surface layer, which represents a united country, held together not by a specific religion, race or personality but by a cohesive idea. That idea, symbolized most accurately by the American flag, is a philosophical amalgam of freedom, liberty and democracy. The idea has taken on a spiritual dimension virtually impervious to academic inspection.
The subjugation of Americans to an empire is symbolically represented in the Star Spangled Banner. The stripes tell Americans who they were. The stars tell Americans who they are. Within the flag, each star is a sovereign state. The depth of nationalistic meaning is incredible. Each sub-symbol is a reference to groups of people who govern themselves by popular sovereignty. The fact that the American flag is a symbol makes it a communicative device. All flags are symbols but the fact that the American flag is comprised of layers of symbolism tells us that its communicative value is higher than other national flags with less meaning. Consider the difference between the U.S. flag and the flag of Iran. The American flag has 50 stars, 13 stripes and 3 colors for a communicative score of 66. The Iranian flag has 1 symbol of Allah, 3 stripes and 22 repetitions of the saying “Allah Akbar”, “God is Great” for a communicative score of 26. These metrics are by no means scientific. Their purpose is to encourage citizens to think about the inherent symbolism of the American flag and the flags of other nations.
Regardless of its symbolic value the American flag should never be raised up as a sacred symbol in American society. Many nationalists around the world make themselves idolaters by worshiping their nation’s flag. If you’ve never seen it, it is a repugnant scene to behold. In the case of the Iranian flag merging spiritualism and nationalism forces Iranians to accept or reject both God and the State, at the same time. The sectarian nature of the Iranian flag is indicative of Iran’s national character. Alternatively, acts of desecration cannot destroy a symbol. Burning the American flag, for example, is a communicative assertion against popular sovereignty. While the flag burner may or may not perceive the symbolic meaning in the same way a patriotic American does, the definition of any flag is endowed by its creator. In other words, the perception that the U.S. flag represents anything other than what its creator intended it to represent is an illusion.
If an individual were to burn the American flag in protest, because they perceive it represents “imperialism” for example, they would be mis-communicating. By analogy, it would be as if that person were to point at a black surface and scream “WHITE!” The word “black” and the word “white” are widely recognized symbols of familiar colors. It would be stupefying to swap the two symbols. The act of assigning opposite meaning to symbols is disconcerting behavior to say the least. While each individual should discourage the practice of flag burning, I do not believe it should be illegal to do so. Legislating symbol usage, particularly when it is profane, tends to create more problems without solving anything. The concept is complex but not inaccessible.
For some reason, however, many enemies of these United States just don’t get it. Iran for example, regularly holds state supported demonstrations where the American flag is burnt to the sounds of crowds chanting “Death to America!” These demonstrations show that the government of Iran is using anti-Americanism as a cohesive social agent. Why are they doing it? They are getting away with swapping the symbolic representation of the American flag for an alternative meaning they control. For the sake of discussion, let’s say the symbolism contained in our Old Glory is too abstract a symbol for the Iranian government to understand. Americans, their allies and their enemies might benefit from a clearer symbol of what the United States represents. Imagine you want to show the people of the world what the United States of America represents – what would your New Glory look like?
Do you believe the root cause of human behavior is the result of an individual’s genetics or is behavior a product of an environment? Is there a gene that makes us ask, “why?” or is curiosity about interacting with our environment and having access to good answers? In determining the success or failure of an individual in their environment, we now know the “nature versus nurture” debate is bunk. The question is misleading. It implies the influence of nature can be isolated and subsequently separated from the influences of nurture. The entire purpose of the “nature versus nurture” debate is to optimize our successes while mitigating our failures. Unfortunately, when the foundation of any debate makes false presumption it is irreparably flawed. The results of argumentation will be flawed as well.
These days, it is commonly accepted that “nature and nurture” interact symbiotically to determine success or failure. In other words, a successful individual is an elemental expression within their own competitive ecosystem. As a result, mankind constantly experiments with his or her “natural ecosystems” and creates new “nurture ecosystems.” The universally accepted “natural ecosystem” for human beings has become an appropriately sized house or apartment with; potable water, electricity and air conditioning. At this time however, there is no universally accepted “nurture ecosystem”.
HUMINT: Market dynamics, government policy and familial habits (in order of maximum influence to minimum) all influence our unique “nurture ecosystems”. By observation; great market dynamics can artificially sustain bad government policies and bad familial habits, but this process is a vector. In other words, this observation reveals a trajectory. The influence of a system within an ecosystem of nurturing systems appears to a function of its size. Markets are demonstrably bigger systems than governments and governments are demonstrably bigger systems than families.
Looking at it from the other direction; great familial habits cannot sustain bad government policy and bad market dynamics. Under the thumb of bad markets and bad governments, families tend to demonstrate their unwillingness to live. Individuals either emigrate or stop reproducing. Nevertheless, each system within an ecosystem has a stake in the success or failure of the other. Likewise, a dysfunctional “nurturing ecosystem” may attempt to manipulate or crash a neighboring ecosystem.
Why hasn’t humanity adopted a “universally nurturing ecosystem”? Certain individuals have tried. The fact is we don’t know if there is a “universally nurturing ecosystem”. Through false faith, humanity may just believe it exists. The cross cultural pursuit of such a system is so common; it may just be a universal dream. Unfortunately, every conscious attempt to manufacture (“universally nurturing ecosystem”) utopian empires resulted in the opposite. What we do know is that perfection is inherently unattainable. Sociopaths tend to promise utopia, while claiming that they are uniquely capable of delivering it to the masses. It makes little difference if they believe they can deliver utopia or not. The acquisition of power is their primary objective. When they have power but can’t deliver utopia, they invariably blame others; their own followers and outsiders. Sociopaths are never sincere when they ask the question “why?” they are failing because they are incapable of blaming themselves.
It should be a common objective of every free society to prevent sociopaths from attaining power over markets and governments. Through the lens of history, we are all witnesses to the deadly social experiments of sociopaths. Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot, and Khomeini are just a few examples. These days, free citizens around the world must guard their freedoms against sociopaths in power more than they ever had to in the past. Globalization represents an unprecedented opening of our planet’s cultural floodgates. I believe Globalization is a predominantly positive trend that will continue to improve the quality of life for billions of people. Globalization is the free market expansion of success and it will strongly influence governments and families around the world.
Presumably the world will achieve social equilibrium one day. Until that day, cultures will confront each other; some will merge and some will die. Among neighboring ecosystems, “nurturing ecosystems” are also merging and dying. Instead of defining “universally nurturing ecosystems”, which may be an unattainable goal anyway, humanity will instead continue its experiments with universal values. It is a fact that a relatively simple set of individual values, if allowed to propagate throughout society, is capable of sustaining a comprehensive “nurturing ecosystem” while maintaining benign cultural identities. Individual liberty, freedom of [religion assembly press speech] are values that demonstratively develop healthy families, governments and markets. The common denominator across all cultures, regardless of the way their markets, governments or families nurture individuals, is the question “why?”
Every “nurturing ecosystem” approaches critical questions differently. Some answer honestly. Some answer “why?” with a lie. Other systems try avoiding the question by not answering “why?” at all. But the question is always there. It’s as if there is an irrepressible “why?” gene embedded in our DNA. The success or failure of societies around the world has everything to do with whether or not they nurture the question “why?” or if they repress it.
The question “why?” cannot be surgically removed from society. “Why?” cannot be ethnically cleansed. “Why?” is an inquisitive force that cannot and will not remain suppressed. The fact that individual members of all cultures universally ask “why?” makes the behavior a natural phenomenon blessed by God. If we’re all genetically predisposed to ask “why?” it is in our spiritual, market, national, family and individual interests to nurture our “why?” gene. Those that don’t will continue to fall behind those that do.
Merit is in style this year, but it's not a fad. Merit will be fashionable for more than a season or two. It’s beautiful and it’s here to stay. Why?!... Because merit is a lifestyle! What’s amazing about merit is how those who own it flaunt it. You can see it in their eyes and their smiles. Their lives are happier with merit than the rest of us without it.
But you won’t see merit paraded on a Parisian cat walk. You won’t see it on the dance floor of a nightclub either. It might be hidden inside the boardroom’s best groomed metro-sexual or hiding inside a gorgeous super-model… or not. Merit is about expressions of one’s inner beauty.
Described by its most mundane definition, merit is an “admirable quality”. Buddhists tend to think of merit as “insight, power or energy bestowed on the mind when one performs virtuous actions”. In other words, it’s not about who you are, merit is about what you do and who you become after you do it. Having merit is like having universal beauty. Those that pursue it, emulate the actions of Mary Curie, Mother Teresa, or Melinda Gates.
Ideally we would all have tons of merit and simultaneously look as appealing as our own cultural archetype. Dolly Parton for instance, enjoys a spectacular career as a musician (I’m a fan) while simultaneously looking like the model for the American cultural archetype, the Barbie Doll. Fortunately for Americans, the Barbie “look” is at least attainable. If you’re not born with it, the “look” may require a series of painful surgeries to get. Modern medicine has made looking like a cheap plastic action figure with blond hair a possibility.
HUMINT: Throughout history, not all cultural archetypes have been attainable. Michelangelo sculptures of exaggerated musculature size and perfectly symmetrical facial features are an important example. As an artistic genius, Michelangelo and artists like him were able to set a new aesthetic standard for mankind that remains entrenched in Western Culture. I doubt however that he or the toy maker that invented Barbie expected to be so culturally influential.
If the West is seemingly mired in aesthetic cultural archetypes, do Easterners, Middle Easterners or Africans have aesthetic targets to strive for? Of course they do. However there is a kind of beauty that transcends culture. I believe it is merit.
Try it. For the sake of experience, consider each individual you know aesthetically naked. Now look at their merit. Designer cloths are transparent from this perspective. So is makeup, a $400 hair cut, a nose job, breast implants, tummy tucks and toe twisting high healed Italian shoes. We all know the storybook narrative of the “Ugly Duckling”. According to it, inside every ugly duckling there must be a beautiful swan desperate to reveal itself. Really?! The pedigree of our feathers has little to do with who we really are. You’ve got to be naive, stupid or four years old to believe the “Ugly Duckling” narrative. The truth is, most of us are just average ugly ducklings. In a modern society, we tend to make ourselves more or less beautiful with our actions. Now we’re talking about merit.
That said; superficial beauty is an insensitive beast that’s always out of our control. It always has been and I suspect it always will be. Besides cultural archetypes, major world events can redefine what a culture might consider beautiful.
Before September 11, 2001 I was in a unique position to observe a man working on a menial task. The memory has become more vivid than it otherwise would have if 9-11 never occurred. He was Afghani living and working in Afghanistan. His job, at that moment, was to move boxes off of a dusty flat bed truck into a mud brick hut. Over his shoulder was a Kalashnikov rifle. As I recall, he wore a traditional outfit, brown cloth draping over his shoulders. He had a long black beard. His hands were dirty and calloused. He was in his twenties but looked fifty. By all accounts he looked exactly like a warlord’s soldier or a member of the Taliban. Aesthetically speaking, he could have been a cold blooded killer. Maybe he had killed before. I didn’t know. Back then the area was crawling with killers. As you might suspect, he was an outlaw in a lawless land. He was definitely breaking the law. I knew what was inside the boxes. I was well aware he was carrying contraband. He was risking his life and I knew he was. I was helping him do it.
He was unloading school supplies for Afghani children, specifically Afghani girls. I haven’t seen or heard from him since that day but I’ll remember him for the rest of my life. He had merit.
HUMINT: 9-11 Ideas
HUMINT: The 9-11 attack plan was a satanic idea perpetrated by demons on earth, supported by those who have taken the idea of Allah hostage to use as a weapon against free people. Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of 9-11-01. Most of America will be prompted to relive the attack by a free American press. The images of that day are some of the most dramatic scenes ever recorded. Like the Hindenburg Disaster or the assassination of John F. Kennedy, generations beyond our own will get a glimpse of that day. The images of 911 dwarf every shocking image that preceded it. God help those who become emotionally numb to the images of two suicide passenger jets crashing into and leveling two of the tallest buildings that, until 9-11-01, proudly dominated the New York City skyline.
Unfortunately, the experience of 911, like all human experience, becomes attenuated over time. The further Americans are from the event, in terms of time and space, the more surreal it feels. Under the circumstances, our respect for our own opinions and the decisions made by our leaders in the wake of 911 naturally falters. That’s why remembering 911 should be, and in my case is, a community effort. Anniversaries are important in a healthy democratic-republic. This one is no exception. Remembering 911 and acknowledging all that we have learned since is particularly healthy for American democracy.
I believe it isn’t particularly important whether or not Americans agree or disagree about the meaning of 911. Their unwillingness to capitulate to evil is what truly matters. Of course there are a wide variety of opinions about methods, responsibility, efficiency and competence. It was a traumatic experience. As a nation of free minds, we must find patients in ourselves for those we disagree with, so long as our end goal remains the same. Victory in the form of sustainable peace is what we should demand of ourselves. Sustainable peace is our collective responsibility. We must realize it will not come today, or even tomorrow. We are engaged as a nation, in a Long War, an epic struggle against an ideological foe. Indeed, it takes time for society to absorb traumatic events and create conditions that reduce the likelihood of recurrence of 9-11-01, and an enhanced national awareness of the geopolitical warning signs that preceded it.
Where American academia and the United States Military merge (for example); West Point and the Naval Academy are finally graduating classes that volunteered as plebes after 9-11-01. These soldiers and sailors are entering careers with a new global paradigm. As for the threat, the communities in the Middle East that foster the kind of militant hate that precipitated 9-11-01 are under an American microscope. We, as a people, are learning more and more about the insurgent war being waged against us. The idea that our wars in the Middle East are happening in the middle of the world’s largest petroleum reserves complicates the situation but does not render wars against terrorists un-winnable. With history as their guide, Americans will take on post 9-11 challenges with the same American zeal that won the American West.
Our sheriffs in this fight, General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker have been called to testify about our progress in Iraq. Read and think about every word they give the American people! They are depending on the American people as much as the American people are depending on them. They know Americans are passionate about peace. They know Americans are determined to create a world where men, women and children can feel secure. They also know there can be no peace without justice. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker should expect Americans to believe the war effort is a common cause for all free people, wherever they are, whatever language they speak, whatever God they are free to pray to.
On this 9-11 anniversary, tears for the victims of 9-11 will not be shed in vain. American volunteers are relentless. They will break the remaining few suicidal demons. American volunteers will hunt them down and cast them out of our world, into hell where they belong. Middle Easterners and Americans are experiencing a revival; a mutual awakening. The 911 idea of Allah cannot stand. God will not be made a slave to the ambition of murderous fascists, be they Sunni or Shiite.
On this anniversary, there is only on fitting conclusion to this remembrance commentary: God bless America, God bless the Middle East and God bless all the free souls that live there.
HUMINT: People who make eye contact are smarter than those that don’t. It is a fact that eye contact holds the greatest capacity for human understanding. I can prove it. It’s how we’re wired.
Eyes are a sapiens primary sense organ. Binocular, color vision allows more information to flow into a sapiens brain than two ears, a nose, a tongue or a sapiens sensitive skin. According to researchers an average human eye can carry the equivalent of 10 megabytes per second (MBPS). That metric is per retina and we know, with binocular vision, average eyes send 20MBPS to the brain. For the sake of context, an average cable television channel carries approximately 50MBPS. Granted, we are only talking about data input. The human brain processes visual data in concert with our experiential memory, what we hear, smell, taste and touch. All of this data is combined and contrasted for near simultaneous cognitive processing. Nevertheless, each sense organ is genetically wired into a sapiens neural network. Therefore the rate data flow into each sub-sense-network is quantifiable.
If all neurons, AKA, brain cells, are synonymous finite elements, the size of the neural network dedicated to each sense organ should be proportional to the amount of information flowing into its neural network. This assertion might hold as a rule of thumb, but I admit, it excludes a great deal of important information about the development of biological neural networks. Yet the rule of thumb has some value. The interoperability of neurons is a highly observable phenomenon. In clinical studies of individuals born without visual ability, the neurons genetically dedicated to visual processing are engaged to process audio signal input.
Average number of cells in visual cortex = 538,000,000
Average number of neurons in auditory cortex = 100,000,000
We now have enough information to reverse engineer a guess for an audio input data rate. Based on what we know about a sapiens’ visual system, 4MBPS is a valid approximation. In other words, if a sapiens’ brain dedicates a neural network to audio input that is one fifth the size of visual input, we should expect the audio input data rate to be one fifth of a sapiens’ visual data rate.
Sense organ data rates speak to the maximum possible efficiency of unassisted real time perception. Introducing tools to facilitate clarity of the very small and objects very far away has greatly enhanced the scope of what sapiens can see – and as a direct result – understand. Microscopic research has advanced to the size of atoms. Telescopic research has advanced to the furthest galaxies of our known universe. Ultraviolet and infrared optical devices help sapiens see beyond the frequency limits of natural vision. The unassisted human eye can process electromagnetic wavelengths of 400 to 700 nanometers.
While the catalog of human knowledge has dramatically increased with the assistance of visual aids, the application of each visual tool shifts its users’ environmental context further away from the familiar. In other words, the more we know about the environment we live in, the more our perception of the 400 to 700 nanometers world changes. Indeed, a sapiens neural network did not developed genetically to process signals generated by microscopes, telescopes, x-rays, microwaves and radio-scopes. Yet the fact that sapiens are genetically blind to those signals has nothing to do with the ability to process them once converted to our perceptive 400 to 700 nanometer range.
Indeed, anti-tech sapiens who resist realities available to them beyond their natural, unaided visual spectrum, are avoiding eye contact. Likewise, sapiens are prone to assert what they cannot possibly know, given the data they’re processing. The more a sapien knows about the world he or she lives, the closer they are to God, the creator of the universe they embrace. Exploring the world assisted by tools, or without them, is making eye contact with God’s great works. In this context, the age-old conflict between atheists and theocrats is absurd. An atheist could know the universe of God’s great works far more than a learned priest, only to dismiss the priest’s perceptions – for all the wrong reasons. Making eye contact is more than just looking into your friend's and opponent’s eyes. It’s about looking into their neural network as well.
Make eye contact with the world. You’ll learn more than you could ever have imagined.
HUMINT: Considering the similarities between computers and human beings, both are analogous in that they have hardware and software. The first is made of metal, silicon and code – the second is made of neurons, nerves, and experience. Computer hardware has evolved dramatically since its initial invention. According to Moore’s Law, transistors have consistently shrunk by half - approximately every two years since the 1960s. If we were to compare the size or processing power of a single neuron to a single transistor, we might say our brain “power” would have increased more than 2 million percent since Moore announced his findings in 1965.
The human brain has not physically evolved by any significant measure in the last 50,000 years. The hardware component of human intelligence is fixed in time, only subject to slight variability of our individual DNA.
If the analogy between computer software and human software holds, beyond general speculation, we might assert that a human being’s software is what truly distinguishes his or her performance from their fellow human beings.
The most observable human software processes occur during collective interaction. Languages, academics, governments, religions, and games are all examples of social software processed by groups of minds. Each of these social software examples is of “established rule sets” that individual participants are obligated to follow in order to determine their individual success or failure. Success or failure in this context applies to the individual participants as well as the software itself. Social software crashes litter the history books. Languages are forgotten, academic pursuits are revised, governments have fallen to ruins, religions have been rejected and some games are never played by anyone ever again.
What prompts social software to crash? Is humanity always guaranteed an upgrade whenever social software crashes? Can we consciously upgrade our social software, or the social software of threatening cultures?
Of particular concern in our era are forms of government. Be they democracies, dictatorships, theocracies or monarchies; what prompts government software to crash is geo-political stress. The source of stress is almost always famine, disease, war, ideology, as well as economic and technology. In the case of governments, there is no guarantee a social software crash will lead to an upgrade. Without significant external (software) support, social software crashes are more likely to result in a downgrade. The French Revolution (1789), Russian Revolution (1917) and Iranian Revolutions (1979) all ousted a monarchy that resulted in an ideological cleansing. Each was a downgrade. Fortunately France appears to have fully recovered, whereas Russia and Iran have not yet.
The American Revolution (1776) was an upgrade that set a new global precedent. The American rebels who founded the United States were the most skilled managers and technocrats of their day. Not only did they possess leadership experience, they rooted their social theories in the best ideas of the Greek and Roman societies they admired from an historical distance. The governing software in the U.S. that followed the American Revolution was a clear upgrade to colonial and imperial designs that preceded it. The upgrades in the U.S. have been adopted in part or in whole by many countries around the world, to the betterment of many billions of lives. The stress that caused the crash of colonial American software was economic and ideological. The mass exodus of Americans from Europe instigated a new world view, new levels of competence and prosperity without the accompanying legitimacy Americans felt they deserved. And thus, the system crashed.
Resistance to upgrades comes primarily from ancient minds. Ancient in this context does not refer to a timeline or even a point in time, but a regressive version of social software. The Roman and Greek empires represent a relatively modern version of social software no longer in use today. Both the Roman and Greek systems eventually crashed and were relegated to historical memory. The Apache and Bedouin tribes remain in existence to this day but represent an earlier version of social software, arguably more resilient, but less technologically productive. Resilience and technological advancement both require unique forms of social intelligence. Lessons can be learned from all versions of social software to show what not to do as well as derive sustainable upgrades, like guaranteeing individual liberty and ensuring personal responsibility with a competent judiciary. Fortunately, America’s founding rebels saw fit to include a mechanism for nonviolent incremental upgrades America’s governing code – the U.S. Constitution can be and has been amended to better govern Americans.
Not all governing software is created equal, nor does existing governing software, just by the nature of its existence, deserve equal opportunity in the world today. Incompatible versions of governing software will cause serious conflict. Some versions of governing software in existence today are incompatible with the people they claim to govern. For example, theocracy, like communism is a version of governing software that abandons individual liberty and personal responsibility for the dream of a utopian ideal. In so doing, communists and theocrats tend to slaughter the same people their rhetoric was engineered to liberate.
With the success of individual liberty and personal responsibility enshrined in many governing institutions around the world today, fewer and fewer institutions of government are incompatible with each other. Therefore the likelihood of total war is diminishing every day. We now know that the problem of upgrading our social software isn’t a function of our biological hardware but instead resides in the social software we choose to govern ourselves. The demand to upgrade governing software will focus on ancient minds operating versions of governing software incompatible with their people and the rest of the world.
HUMINT: In every free society throughout the history of mankind, citizens charged with the responsibility of war returned from the front with the truth; “War is Hell!” They always have and they always will. Free minds have no compulsion to lie about the horrors of mortal combat. It requires a disturbed kind of sickness to glorify the carnage of war. Only fascist dictators and supreme leaders revel in the blood of their dead. Dictators and fascists embrace genocide as the answer to their problems. Stalin said, “Death solves all problems. No man, no problem”.
For example, during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) Iran’s fascist leaders sent human waves of young men without arms or armor into combat. The youth brigade, known as the Basij was organized by the newly formed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), the same people ruling Iran today, to attack entrenched Iraqi machine gun units. Tens of thousands of young boys kissed the Koran before senselessly marching to their death into a hail of the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein’s, bullets. In tribute to this colossal waste of life, Khomeini stained the waters of a familiar fountain in Tehran blood red – to symbolize the blood of his martyrs.
In 1988, as the Iran-Iraq War was winding down because the sociopaths in Tehran and Baghdad were running out of money to buy weapons and troops to watch slaughter each other, Khomeini’s war policy came to an end, and as a result veered off in two new directions. Told his foreign policy could no longer sustain the casualties he and his idiot generals kept incurring Khomeini authorized his IRGC goons to pursue a clandestine nuclear weapons program. Yes… I am referring to the same Iranian nuclear weapons program that remains highly controversial and destabilizing to the Middle East today. In terms of domestic policy, Khomeini started slaughtering political prisoners. Ordering the mass kill of more than 30,000 Iranians, Khomeini and the IRGC had taken Stalin’s maxim to heart. “Death solves all problems. No man, no problem.”
Fast forward to today, Thursday September 6, 2007. Iran is under the command of the same men who carried out the orders of Iran’s Stalin. Dissenters in Iran are hung in groups by cranes, on public television. Mind you, the programming in Iran is not about ratings. The Iranian Government controls the programming and they have no intention of entertaining the Iranian populace with the twitching bodies of young men and women, suffocating at the business end of a hangman’s noose. The IRGC’s skills of mass murder have not magically transferred into any moderation or responsible government. There is no indication that the Iranian government intends to be responsible, or is even considering moderation as an alternative to its history.
There are changes within the Iranian Government, akin to musical chairs. Rafsanjani, a former President of Iran who openly boasted about Iran’s intent to acquire nuclear weapons in the past – is once again, being framed in the international press as a pragmatic figure capable of moderating the more militant forces in Iran’s government. On the contrary; those that openly lie about Rafsanjani’s past are overtly seeking to pacify Westerners looking for sustainable solutions to the Iran threat. While it is impossible to prove those who call Rafsanjani a moderate or pragmatist, the repetitious nature of their labeling exposes their selective amnesia of Rafsanjani’s past.
For better or worse, American forces are fighting battles to Iran’s east and west, in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively. The dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and the Warlord Government of the Taliban has been deposed by free Americans who volunteered to do the job. The mess made by these former regimes will not be cleaned up overnight. Indeed, the sociopaths in Iraq and Afghanistan will leave scars and bloodstains in World History books that will last until the end of time.
This generation, judged through the lens of history, will be seen as the destroyers of men like Stalin. While I’ve had many heated debates with Americans, Europeans and Middle Easterners fed up with the U.S. conflict in Iraq today, none have argued that the former Government’s of Iraq, Afghanistan and the current government of Iran was and is anything but repugnant. None have offered any sympathy for the sociopaths targeted by U.S. Forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. None have argued that American casualties exceed the casualties of any other American conflict in history. None have argued that Afghanis, Iraqis, and Iranians don't deserve an American foreign policy that supports their pursuit of liberty and democratic governance. All, however, argue that we (the U.S.) should not be involved in these conflicts (as though we weren't already). The reason why is always the same, they can’t relate to the struggle under the terms given to them by their ratings driven media.
The truth is there is no Anti-War Movement in American today. Every argument against U.S. involvement in the Middle East is instead an Anti-Conflict Movement. Every American I’ve ever spoken to about the Middle East is Pro-Victory.
Judaeo-Christian values are considered by many in the West to be what separates modern civilization from intellectual, moral and spiritual chaos of the societies that threaten and denigrate the West. Honesty and fidelity are indeed the Judaeo-Christian values on record. While these traits observably exist among Western-Western relations, do not credit Westerners for the invention of honesty and fidelity. Instead, Westerners discovered the success of such behavior through the trials and tribulation of disease, famine and war. The genius of Western Civilization is not contained in individual piety found among Western prophets but instead derives from a collective genius, repeatedly rewarded, evolving to prominence. In other words, Westerners interact with honesty and fidelity in the West because it works best and it leads to mutual success, not because it is Western or Judaeo-Christian.
Independent of culture, honesty is successful as well as liberating. Taking honesty toward its intellectual horizons, mankind has developed fascinating new skills. Mathematical modeling (for example) has shown mankind new ways to think about the world. What women and men can prove with math today far exceeds their ancestor’s wildest philosophical dreams. Leonardo DaVinci would be enthralled by the tools most of us take for granted today. Math is probably the most powerful tool; (primarily) a Western intellectual leap forward for all mankind, but not necessarily a foolproof key to a more rational world. Like a pick axe and shovel – math can be used to solve problems or create new ones by building seemingly modern temples to mysticism and deceit.
Finite element analysis (for example) is a mathematical method that can predict the future geo-spatial position and temperature of solids, liquids and gasses; as their “elements” interact – bouncing off of each other. Given accurate input parameters the results of finite element analysis can be very accurate. With poor input, the results are misleading.
Setting aside the aforementioned disclaimer regarding bogus input parameters, predicting the future is strikingly simple. As of the last century, prophets, saints and their loyal disciples no longer hold a monopoly on the future. Despite the inherent divergence between proof and faith, mathematics and theology will always have something in common. The mind of mankind will invariably turn to one, or the other, or both – for answers.
In reference to finite element analysis, you might be wondering “what’s an ‘element’ ”? Imagine a small cube with an initial temperature, viscosity, coefficient of thermal expansion, gravitational constant and six degrees of freedom in time, represented by (dP,dV,dT,dX,dY,dZ,da,db,dg), where a,b,g denote angles of rotation around axis X,Y,Z respectively. Now imagine a large cube made up of 1,000,000 small cubes defined exactly like your first small cube. Anything that happens to a small cube in the 1,000,000 strong matrix of small cubes can be cataloged. Obviously, the computational intensity of finite element analysis requires a computer. In this relatively simple scenario, you would be tracking a minimum of nine variables for 1,000,000 cubes where each new value in time is derived from a system of equations. Even if you started out with perfect initial conditions, you wouldn’t have time to solve these problems with pencil and paper if you dedicated your entire life to the problem.
The finite element analysis scenario as described above, can be modeled an open loop control system. Initial input variables would presumably shock a system that would oscillate and eventually stabilize over time. A closed loop control system, on the other hand, takes a system’s output and reinvests it into a system’s input. Think about balancing a pencil (or a similar object with more inertial stability) on your finger. As the object falls to the left, your hand moves left at a higher rate of speed to compensate. By your actions, you have created an inverted pendulum, which can be modeled with a mathematical model called control theory. The mass and inertia of the object you are balancing married to your own visual acuity and muscular coordination determines how stable your inverted pendulum will be. If your eyes tell you the object is falling left when it is actually falling to the right, your inverted pendulum will achieve chaos and fail. There is an important lesson here.
HUMINT: Honest feedback is imperative to system stability!
This is how the methodological approach to finite element analysis and control systems analysis can be applied to theological interpretations, social values, society and theories of government. Governments in particular, can be modeled as control systems (although not to the accuracy or simplicity of an inverted pendulum). Simply put, the government of a nation without freedom of speech, press and assembly cannot expect honest feedback from their finite elements (citizens). Iran for example, under the authority of Supreme Leader Khamenie and President Mahmood Ahmadinejad, are guaranteeing their country will achieve instability and fail because they do not authorize basic human freedoms in Iran today. In addition, they threaten and denigrate the West for their arrogance and decadence.
Recently, Iran’s President Mahmood Ahmadinejad made an announcement that “with his faith in God, he had used his engineering acumen to prove the United States would not attack Iran” for an ongoing dispute over Iranian transgressions. While I have not seen Mr. Ahmadinejad’s proof, I can assert, as a fellow engineer, honesty wins and Iran is a nation that abhors honesty, threatens the West for all of its successes. Iran represents one example of many, where the leaders are long tongue liars. Any competent engineer could see the cracks in Iran’s system that will eventually lead to catastrophic failure. Maybe the U.S. will bomb Iran, maybe it won’t, but that is a separate issue altogether. When honesty wins; liars and oppressors lose.