HUMINT: Honesty Wins

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.

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