First of all, thhe concept of national sovereignty in international law should be modified: it should be possible to do “worldwide democratic decisions” on what people are searched for because the committed severe crimes against the international community (like war crimes, genocide etc.). Such decisions can be organized in large intergovernmental organizations like the UN, in “representative democracy style” involving the UN committees. This is of course a very poor approach to world-wide decision making, but other ideas for this are lacking currently. The special thing would be that these searches would be possible without respect of national sovereignty, i.e. it would be internationally accepted (and considered a breach of sovereignty) to arrest such people in states that want to prohibit that. The new idea behind this is that national sovereignty is itself a negotiated concept, and should lose its “God-like” status that it has currently (i.e. total control over a certain part of land). The benefit would be that, if such search statements are issued against heads of state, they could be arrested in their own state without any breach of international law!

What we then need, in addition to that, is “special forces of international police”. They would be trained to execute arrests of such persons that are on these international search lists. And if this involves taking a head of government into capture, this would be done in covert operations, comparable to military operations behind enemy lines, or to secret service captures. Most of the technology for such operations still has to be developed (like capturing people by drones, etc.). The task is always to capture people alive, without hurting anybody, so that they can be brought to justice. The court that has to deal with these cases probably has to be invented also; as the ICC deals only with cases from countries that ratified the statute).

To prohibit power abuse and corruption in these international police special forces, and to get a motivated, powerful, hard-hitting group in this business that will cost many of the contributors their life, the following structure should be used: all members are volunteers; members must go through admission tests, which require extraordinal intelligence and being pure from non-rational / non-sober (mostly extremist) thinking; members undergo a 5 year education that is essentially self-regulated, but where states can contribute lectures; members are trained in this education in reflective thinking and personal decision making; every member is then free to choose, bound only by his or her own conscience, which of the search warrants to carry out; and only this international police special forces would be allowed to carry out these search warrants in the area of sovereigns who want to prohibit that; members of these special forces can organize themselves into small groups to do one or another capture, there is no central military command-and-obey principle at all; also, these people organize and invent their own equipment, the only external contribution is money, which can be paid by states but also by individuals. So perhaps individuals will start to pay for them, and to like doing so, just like it might happen with wikileaks.org or similar organizations that are a counterforce to the abuse of government power.

In the end, this idea can even lead to a new mode of “death-less” war, if applied in larger scale. War is currently an extrajuidical event, in which extrajuidical killings do happen on a regular basis. Which is a bad thing. Instead, every wrongdoer should simply be put before justice. And war should be modified as follows: the army is a group of people trained to capture the wrongdoers of the opposite side, without harming anybody. This could be particular effective in war against Guerilla groups. The principle must be to hold people personally accountable for what they do in war. The technology for this (week-long full stealth operations in enemy-controlled area, capturing by drones etc..) is not yet there, but possible.

In Third Way style, the way to approach Christianity would be this: accept the Gospel as a trustable message based in traceable history; but do not interpret reality based on this message except where there is no unvcertainty how to interpret reality; there are really few cases where there is no uncertainty, and among them those where God’s contemporary activity has been tracked by scientific and / or good journalistic methods, so that trustable reports are the result. Which is the focus of my Second Acts project.

For this, it is necessary to develop a interviewing and text analysis system for detecting “non-sober religious activities” like scams, self-deceit and mental illness. Even good parts of sermons belong to this non-sober interpreting of what’s happening in the world. And even good parts of Christian activism (like peace activism in the leftist scene) belongs here, because it has no chance to have a lasting, meaningful effect except by a miracle (which does not happen either). This kind of stuff is far too numerous among Christians, and has to be filtered out to get trustable reports. For example, this non-sober text shows what has to be filtered out: “Needing help in covered up murder of one of Jesus’ musician freaks–in California“. And, this kind of stuff discredits Christianity in the eyes of non-Christians.

The key is the insight that most of the “Christian culture” and “Christian lifestyle” today cannot be derived with good certainty from the Bible, and therefore is a non-sober religious interpretation of the Bible where it is claimed as biblical. It is simply not justified. Even the Christian notions of the personal “Bible time” and personal “community with God in prayer” seem to belong to this, as this cannot be found in the New Testament. (But I need to check again.)

What also has to be filtered out by these interviewing and analysis techniques is the “human component”: it is apparent that human motivation, human enthisiasm and the like makes up for a good part of what is necessary for Christian organizations to be operational. Whenever something like large meetings arises (for instance the “24-7 Euro Gathering”) it is a hint that some human motivation is at work, desiring greatness, magnificence, significance. There will be many other hints like that.

Employment is a supra-individual state of an economic system: in a society, people depend on each other, and on infrastructure, to be able to do economic activity. So without other peoples economic activity, and without infrastructure, there is a deadlock: all people wait on other people (the customers) and on infrastructure to be able to start with economic activity. (The fact that modern market economies use counter-cyclical economic politics, investing both in salaries and infrastructure during times of economic crisis, seems to prove this “bad economy by deadlocks” thesis right.)

This does not only relate to total unemployment, but especially to inefficient (subsidizing) employment that only helps to survive, but not to a decent standard of living. Because: survivors need infrastructure to do more efficient economic activity, but for infrastructure to be built it needs money from a flourishing economy, and hence there is again the deadlock situation.

The way around this deadlock would be that government uses taxes to centralize money that can be invested into infrastructure, first in a limited area to get it “running”, and from the outcome of that area the infrastructure in other areas can be built. This is like the re-starting of cells in the electric grid after a total power failure: one cell helps to start its neighbour, and so on.

Government also has the option to build infrastructure by organizing people (like putting them in “labour armies”, as was done in the US during the Great Depression, which also did employ people). And it has the option to gain humanitarian help funds and invest them to build infrastructure. The problem in nations that never emerged out of this economic deadlock (like many African economies) is that government failed in all three points. It wasted its chances to start the economy, and major contributors to this are corruption, fraud and fraudulent conversion of aid funds for private purposes. That way, the “excess resources” that are present even in the poorest economies and could be used to improve the economy by building infrastructure are simply wasted.

Unemployment is also a problem of governments in highly industrialized countries. Here, governments try to force employment by the forced creation of new infrastructure that nobody needs (like environment protection projects of some sorts, esp. climate related). But this just distributes the existing economic resources to more people, so the standard of living falls. Also, large amounts of people in such countries still stay unemployed, as nobody has any interest or vision to create infrastructure for them (the underclass). They are just fed to keep them calm.

Infrastructure that enables economic activity (and hence, employment) includes:

  • Education. This is probably the most important thing: it is the “brain infrastructure”.
    • language
    • trade culture (you need to know what to expect to do trade)
    • collaboration
    • math, physics, sciences of all sorts (as they help to utilize natural resources)
  • grid supply systems
    • electric grid
    • water supply pipelines
    • phone network
    • data connectivity, Internet
    • roads
    • parcel shipment network
    • public security (as criminality hinders economic activity)
  • education system
  • trustable monetary system as the infrastructure to make payments
  • money supply systems to make investments (banks, …)
  • waste management systems
  • necessary supra-individual systems like mining etc.

So we saw that unemployment is never (!) a problem of natural resources, because their lack does not necessarily prohibit the economic development of a region. There are Russian scientific centers in deepest Siberia. Unemployment is always a social problem, a problem of organization of people.

And because it is a social problem, a problem about people on a systemic, supra-individual level, one individual alone cannot solve its own problem of unemployment. The question is now, in light of the government failures outlined above, what is the minimum amount of people, and what are the requirements for their organization, so that they can relief themselves of the unemployment problem? Such a group is called here an “autarkic community with respect to employment”, or simply, an “autarkic community”. Such a community would be able to start other like communities by “divide and multiply”; the hardest job would be, of course, starting the first one, as this starts from zero. Starting from zero is the task of crushing the deadlock situation described above, with the scarce resources one does not need for immediate survival; but this is possible, as it has been performed for example by the “Trümmerfrauen” after WW II: they did the upfront investment of building infrastructure, without getting a direct repayment for this hardest part of all work.

Because all communities would govern themselves, no mismanagement of centralized power can emerge that could damage this economic system again, as it does in mismanaged states. The worst thing would be for individual communities to fail and disband, allowing people to regroup into fresh start-up communities.

A quick outline of on such autarkic community as envisioned here:

  • Approx. 50-100 “economically desparate” people, with 15 being the minimum for such a community to work.
  • At least 15-20% of the members have to be already educated people (“bringing in the brain infrastructure”), but apart from this, no other infrastructure or resources are needed. The education mainly needs to be about organizing people efficiently to do collaborative tasks (e.g. in XC style), and some technical knowledge to make best use of natural resources.
  • The community can start with what they find, even if this is trash, and sleeping outdoors. All of human civilization was built from what lies around (and grows naturally), orchestrated by the power of the brain.
  • To be effective as a self-help for employment (which is the ability to work for improving ones own living conditions), the community has to be independent of government activities like building (or not building, or not maintaining) infrastructure. That is, it has to provide its own infrastructure: own schools, own roads (in the sense of cars that need no roads), own tools, own internal markets, own health system, own security, own electricity, … .
  • To not mess with the government any more than necessary (because corrupt governments tend to hinder the communities economic activity by corruption, high taxes and all sorts of mismanagement, as they do with all the other people): the community should be in a remote, scarcely inhabited area. See inspirations from the post “The monastery as a revived society model“.
  • As with monasteries, long (multi-generation) periods of calm, politically and socially stable conditions really help such communities to build up their infrastructure. Permanent need to re-orient in an ever-changing society structure (like in Western countries) is as adversive here as is war and the like.
  • A system that “all time is worth (and paid) equally” can be established here: it allows people who create infrastructure to accumulate time that can be later exchanged in goods produced with the help of this infrastructure.

This idea is mature if it is possible to jump-start such a community with 15 “organizers” and 85 economically desparate people.

Now this idea might sound much like libertarian economic theory  that advocates a no-regulation area as the best thing for economic activity. But this post is not about libertarian economy, not exactly. Because it acknowledges the organizing role of a government as necessary for people to be able to achieve a good standard of living. But because governments are not fulfilling this task for the unemployed, this is about self-help.

I would even go as far as to say that even the most highly “developed” nations live way belong their potential. Where the potential is the most intelligent, most orchestrated, most efficient, most sustainable solution to the problem of “getting from nature what mankind needs to live”. So that such communities could even be an alternative to economic activity for employed people in such highly developed nations.

A good part of this idea was inspired by me taking part in the foundation of a new company for electronics remanufacturing. It will eventually provide employment (and income to pay for life’s expenses) to all contributors, but it was a really hard task, nearly impossible, to set it up from zero. If this task of setting up the company infrastructure had been just a little harder, we would have been totally locked up in the “no infrastructure deadlock”. So in effect, the communities proposed here are little command economies, those of the smallest possible autarkic size. Where autarkic means that the employment of people does not depend on external parties; while the supply with raw materials may depend on them, as this is regulated by market forces well enough. Command economies have to be small, as the large ones die from the mismanagement present in large governments … .

I should add that the ultimate trigger for this post was an article about economic refugees from Africa: “Attacking Europe’s border fences” from BBC News. And also the first two parts of that story: “Billy’s journey: Crossing the Sahara“. And very especially, the comments from African people to these stories, commenting that Africa’s poverty is mainly because of greed and selfishness of the African leaders. So that I thought again how to help these people in place. But this topic of understanding the reason behind the “lack of work” kept recurring in my thoughts for approx. 2-3 years now, and also the topic of autarkic communities. But up to this post, I never really understood why people are unemployed, and did not have a clue as for the solution.

Now it is no new thing to propose to “build ones country” and “serve ones country” instead of fleeing for economic reasons. But what all these proposals miss is practicability. Because they all focus on individual self-help (which is impossible because the state of economy is a supra-individual problem, as stated above). Somehow these proposals believe, individual self-help would become a “movement” of many individuals, and by that society and economy would be transformed. But exactly in how to become a movement these proposals are silent. Surely not by starting with individual activity. And the idea of the autarkic community presented in this post is exactly about filling this gap of “how”. The autarkic community is large enough to be a “movement” on its own, on the supra-individual level where economy improves; and it is small enough to be feasible (in terms of organizing it bottom-up) and stable (in terms of being robust against the danger of mismanagement and exploitation, which endangers current large and centralized structures like states). It is the working hypothesis of this post that such a medium “size of society” exists which will make a society both economically feasible (and flourishing) and robust. If such a size cannot be found, there would be no hope for human economy in the long term.

The idea in this post can also be put otherwise: the autarkic community is a self-sustaining company (indeed, a micro-economy itself) that does not depend on centralized infrastructure and does not have gain maximization as its goal, but instead an equally well standard of living for all its contributors. Because, gain maximization in capitalist companies is the analogy to exploitation by corrupt regimes: some people get the money, and the others get not what their work is worth. The capitalists that get the money claim that this is their right because they set up all the infrastructure as investors (while their workers get only as much as they could produce without any infrastructure, so keep lacking a good standard of living).

During the last week I learned two important things. First, real desperation is one of the worst imaginable conditions. (To the extent that I speculate: being stuck in desperation forever could be said to be “in hell”.) Second: thinkers are more prone to fall into desperation, but there are learnable mental management techniques to guard them.

The problem that thinkers face is this. As thinkers, they are inclined to solve unsolved questions, and most are also inclined to constantly think about their own lives (what to do next, how to lead a meaningful life, how to make the best decisions, …). Now a thinker might come into a desperate life situation (which could be defined as a calamitous situation that has no way to end except by living through it for its full normal duration). Such a situation poses a question that cannot be solved, namely, how to end it more quickly. Which means that the thinker person will think about it without finding a solution, and keep thinking about it. The other reason to think about it is the thinker’s habit to think about his or her own life; again finding no constructive quicker way out, keeping thinking on it.

Now the constant thinking about a desperate life situation causes despair. Which seems to be a psychological mechanism: keep thinking some thoughts for long enough, and they will become a “self-reinforcing” set of thoughts. After they did, you cannot simply stop thinking them (because you won’t get the idea to do): these thoughts think themselves on and on, as one thought triggers another (and more than one) of the same style. External events (like a phone call from a friend, a day of intensive work, some hours of sports) do normally break such self-reinforcing thought cycles, but thinkers often have less of such events, and those that are present might be too weak to break the cycle, as intensive and long thinking, and the time they already exist, created very forceful thought cycles. If the strength of these thought cycles is above some threshold so that the individual cannot help itself out of them, this is called “depression”. Sorry about this lay experience-based psychology … I have no better words or theory for that currently.

Now thinkers normally assume that their desperate emotions (in its extreme, depression) are simply a result of the desperate situation they are in, and see no reason to stop thinking about that situation. They might even intensify that, to finally find the solution and make their way out. However: their too much thinking about their desperate situation is what causes their desperate emotions. That is the central insight in this blog post.

Once a thinker did grasp that insight, several pragmatic rules and tips for thinking follow from that with ease:

  • Think about the next step to go, and focus on it. Even if you have 100 steps to go until your desperate situation is finished, the next step only is what can motivate, because it is reasonably small.
  • Place a nice activity after the next step, to support its motivating power.
  • Also do focus on the even smaller detail steps in your work: to get these done does also motivate, and motivation is good for mental well-being. This is even true if these detail steps are part of your desperate situation, in that they do not have the intended good effects (like earning you money or what else you need). Getting a step finished is a motivating thing in itself, even if taht step has very little meaning in a broader context; that seems to be a mechanism of psychology which can be leveraged here.
  • Get “consumed” by the work you must do, for some hours, by keeping the mental focus on the work itself, not on the “meta layer” that tells you why this work is nonsense and having to do it means your life is deperate. Because, concentration on an activity keeps you from thinking these desperate meta-level thoughts, and not thinking desperate thoughts is key to the mental management of desperation.
  • You are “safely allowed” to think about your desperate life situation, but only for some moments to draw some logical conclusions; do not think about this stuff so long that a self-reinforcing thought cycle is started. The first warning sign seems to be: if these thought start to affect your emotions, stop thinking them for the time being.
  • You can experiment with various means of distraction to keep you from starting to think unhealthy stuff again. This can include listening to music while working, doing sports, doing activities that consume all the concentration, socializing with people, etc..
  • Remember, desperation is a mental state, not a physical.

So one has to manage ones own thought life to stay mentally healthy. Which is an observation with various implications:

  • There is a limits to rationality, in the amount of rational thinking that a human being can bear. Rational thinking does not happen in free space, but in the “human ecosystem”; and because of psychological mechanisms, rational thinking does affect emotions, as does every kind of thinking. Which means that rational thinking has non-rational side effects, and to prevent unhealthy side effects, there is a pragmatic preemptive limit to rational thinking. There is also a factual limit: if you allow your rational thinking to drive you to deepest despair, you deprived yourself of the ability of rational thinking. Because despair is a precondition that taints and prohibits truly rational thinking.
  • Many people need to start thinking, not stop it. Thinkers are a small minority. Most people are not endangered by depression due to thinking too much about their life situation. They are more shallow-minded people, and unconsciously engage in many activities that keep them away from thinking about their life situation: they engage in short-term “fun” activities like socializing with people, making flat and bromidic jokes, taking drugs etc.. All of which also influences the relationship between desperate facts and emotions as advised here, but before these people even started to realize the desperate facts. They might have nothing more than a vague idea of it. Those people rather need to start thinking, because there are many non-desperate situations about which something can and must be done, and this they miss at the same time. They must start to think about not knowing the meaning of their life (including, not knowing where they do come from: their Creator); they must start to think about the lack of deep, authentic community with people in their life, their excessive loneliness.
  • Can mental management techniques be compared to substance abuse? I would argue, no. It is true that both influence the way how facts affect emotions, detaching emotions from facts in some way. Substance abuse is frowned because of its unhealthy short-term and long-term side effects; in spite of that, some of the same substances are used for medical purposes like palliative medicine. In analogy, I would compare mental management techniques to the carefully considered use of medicine. While the same techniques can also be used to totally numb the desire to think rationally about ones own life, as is the case with distraction techniques in people who need to start thinking yet (see above). Just as palliative analgesic like morphine relieve of unnecessary bodily pain, the “medical” use of mental management relieves of unnecessary mental pain. And just as a certain amount of pain is needed to guard the body against injuries, a certain amount of mental pain is needed to move out of calamitous and meaningless life situations. Do not use mental management techniques to kill that “good mental pain”; just to prohibit unhealthy self-reinforcing thought cycles. Also, be always aware that you are on some kind of “mental medication”; as only that awareness makes it possible to stay emotionally authentic.
  • Why is mental management not taught anywhere? This should be a field of deeper research, and then a part of general education. There is physical education in school, which is about learning how to deal with ones own body. Why is there not mental education?
  • The narrow Christian viewpoint towards such depressive thinking should be rethought. That viewpoint is mostly some variation of: bad emotions are a result of “egoistic, self-centered” (and hence sinful) thinking and that the solution would be to “give it to Jesus”, to “focus ones thoughts on Jesus” and the like. This does indeed help on many occasions (as people stop extensive thinking about a personal desperate situation), but both the diagnosis and the therapy seem to be screwed up. The diagnosis is wrong because it is the wrong explanation: this problem is not about “sinful” behavior, but about doing a right thing in unhealthy amounts. The therapy is wrong because it does not relate to the real problem, which is “how to deal with desperate situations”. While it is always a good idea to pray about a situation, and also pray for help, there seems to be no general promise of relief of the calamitous facts. And the content of the “Jesus-focused thoughts” does not help here either: it’s about the hope of resurrection and a happy afterlife, but that is a quite abstract, long-term hope that does not relate to the struggles with daily calamities. So, focusing ones thoughts on Jesus is just another method of distraction here (and is effective as such, but just as effective as other methods). There seems to be no factual reason for criminalizing mental despair as “sin” in Christianity. To the contrary, there is some advice given by Paul to slaves in NT times, which comes close to this “don’t think abut it much, don’t let it bother you” solution we presented here: “Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let that bother [lit.: be of interest to; annotation] you. Of course, if you have a chance to become free, take advantage of the opportunity. For the slave who has been called in the Lord is the Lord’s free person. In the same way, the free person who has been called is Christ’s slave.” (1 Cor 7:21-22 ISV).

Now this is quite a personal post, but just as a side effect; I hope it helps some thinkers who struggle with desperation while thinking abut desperate situations.

And has too many meaningless details.

Look at this well-known YouTube clip and you will know the impression I got:

Source: Noah takes a photo of himself every day for 6 years.

When looking at women, everything is a little bit more colorful, but the essence is the same:  She takes a photo every day : 200.

And if you want to use a symbol, use an apple: Rotting Apple (Mould).

Here is Sadness. Pure Sadness.

People have speculated (also before the movie “Matrix”) if this world is actually a simulation. It is said that, if one finds a “limit of resolution” in physics, that might be a hint that this world is indeed simulated. Now the quantization of energy could actually be this limit …

When taking this idea theologically, it is easy to get on the idea that we “are simulated by God”, either by being run on some external machine that God created, or by being a thought of God. This idea would explain how miracles are possible: these might happen if God modifies the current state of the simulation. However, this idea is quite demanding: it needs a “hyperversum” with powerful physics that can run such a mega-simulation, and the attributes and physics of that universum (in which God would be living) would be utterly unknown. Also, we would have no idea of the substance of God, or how he can interact with us (his “simulation”).

But here is a new thought. Not just we, but also God might be “simulated”. Now of course this word loses its meaning if everything is “simulated” (what would be the real thing then?); one should say instead that there are pre-existing, eternal law of physics that can be compared to the laws needed for information processing, i.e. they would work as a processor. And everything that “is” would be a “program” running in this processor, including God, and us.

It seems that this model can explain everything (it even can explain everything that can be ever imagined, which could be thought to be a problem, but is rather a necessity as God is omnipotent). Some of the consequences:

  1. God would be the “eternal, and only eternal” program running in this processor. As both God and the processor are eternal, it is conceptually better to say that God includes also the processor (which is an idea near to pantheism, but here, compatible with the personal God of the Bible). See also what Paul once quoted: “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28).
  2. God would be the only “omnipotent” program. A program running in a special mode, comparable to a kernel.
  3. Because everything imaginable can be expressed in information (see e.g. fiction), everything is, in principle, possible if physics is just information processing. Which is the explanation for every kind of miracle. The normal course of the world would however be guided by a program, which limits possibilities to some orchestrated set of concepts, just like every program does (this time, resulting in the physics we know).
  4. This also conforms to the Bible teaching that God is a spirit (the “logos”: something immaterial that is mainly about information), that demons are spirits, and that human beings have a spirit.
  5. This also conforms to the findings in psychology that mental illness like depression seems to be a “self-supporting / self-stable / self-reinforcing” set of thoughts that one might have started by thinking them too much at one occasion. This would be a malicious “sub-program” in our model here, comparable to a computer virus. And it would be not really different from a demon (which might be an “unerasable, self-transferring, non-replicating malicious program”); this is supported by the fact that both these self-supporting thought cycles and demons have the same effect, that is, mental illnesses.

This new idea that both we and God are programs in the same “processing universe” is preferable to the idea that we are thoughts of God, because of Occams Razor: we need much less concepts in the new idea.

In an article called “Choosing an island” I explored the options which island could be available for building a sovereign micro-state. The islands that are available have all their implications, however … it would be a difficult thing to do. So if we cannot choose an island to live on, then why not on an iceberg? Let’s see:

  • map of iceberg sightings from the International Ice Patrol, around Newfound Land
  • report of an enormous 80x30km iceberg that recently was created in the antarctis
  • general information, also about size and life expectancy, from English Wikipedia and German wikipedia
  • in-depth information about icebergs
  • The English Wikipedia mentions that people camping on icebergs are called “icebergers” [source], but it was impossible to verify that anywhere else on the Internet.
  • Instead of camping on the iceberg, one could also cut a cave in it and live there.
  • The iceberg could be driven by using one or more big kites, like they are now used for large ships.
  • discussion about using icebergs for seasteads (creating ones own country)

And instead of using an iceberg, one could also use an artificial island of any sort: