Next Generation Anger Management

Next Generation Anger Management"When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”- Churchill

Nearly twenty years ago something happened which to this very day still shocks me. At a lake in a park in the city i lived at the time a Moroccan girl had fallen in the water and was drowning. The lake wasn’t all that deep and whenever she submerged she still was able to jump up from the bottom and shout for help, but as having swimming lessons is not as normal in Morocco as it is in The Netherlands she did not know how to swim. During some ten minutes a group of some fifty people had gathered. Alarmed by her shouts they would shout back to her what to do, gesturing swimming motions and talked among each other that something must be done. Finally someone on a bicycle came along, saw the girl, saw the agitated crowd and realized she was drowning, stopped, took out his wallet, took off his watch, jumped in and saved the girl.

The shocking aspect was not so much the total discrepancy between herd behavior and individual, but how easy it is to become trapped in the social dynamics of such a herd. If this guy had not been on a bicycle instead of walking, acting in a 20 km/hour mode instead 4 km/hour, he would have been quickly absorbed into the collective decision making of the growing crowd and chances are nothing would have been done, and the girl had drowned. Becoming an accidental hero may not just be related to having an outsider mentality, unless there was something distinctively rebellious to the fact he was cycling in a park, but it was really related to the physical improbability of his partaking in the crowd formation. The normality of his heroism, and the seductive ease of adopting a role in an anonymous crowd, was both encouraging and disturbing.

Of course, in the media the collective trauma was dealt with in another way, calling for action, public education in the form of mandatory swimming lessons and advertisement campaigns concerning personal responsibility and how to use it, but the basic situational context of the circumstances offer some astounding insight. Just as the "banality of evil" is that it is simply the neglect of doing something good, doing something exceptionally good is a natural thing to do. And if you think you are part of no herd, you are actually part of the circa five percent of people who think they are not part of a herd, the non-conformist 'alternative lifestyle' lifestyle profile which has been used for demographic profiling for government policies, sociological forecasting studies for health insurance, pension funds and consumerist marketing since the 1950s. Maybe it is only the one percent sociopaths who are truly free in this sense, but as Jared Diamond figures in his well-researched “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” the people at Easter Island were no sociopaths or psychopaths. Still, when Europeans first arrived the island's population had dropped to some 15 to 20 percent of just a century earlier. There was no “chattering class” or “silent majority” on Easter Island but they simply ran out of wood. Originally the island was covered with a tropical rainforest, but after some four centuries of a thriving and peaceful coexistence of the several clans eventually someone cut down the last tree. With no more trees left, they could not build any more houses, they could not burn wood for heating and cooking, they could not build boats for fishing. Isolated in the South Pacific Ocean even the nearest neighboring island was already two thousand kilometers away. And so, after making just about every other animal species on the island extinct they turned on the only remaining source of nutrition, other humans. When finally the first Europeans landed the era of cannibalism had come and gone and the inhabitants survived on some rudimentary farming and chickens, a diet only sufficient to support and sustain a few thousand inhabitants.

Although the news often tries to prove otherwise, surely we can do better than any “creative destruction” and “Malthusian catastrophe”. Yet our collective arrangements use outdated views which are not only wrong but which are self-fulfilling too. Many government policies are based on game-theoretical approaches, large-scale rule-based decision support simulations which aim to balance possibly conflicting interests and predict a more or less certain outcome. However, biased assumptions have trickled down into the basis of game-theory and eventhough John Nash later corrected his original work these models still assume competitive drives involving “rational self-interest”. Occupying space is not “rational self-interest”. Spatial individuation is a way for an organism to optimize coordination overhead by compactification and metabolic burning rate while sustaining a certain degree of autonomy. If the resource usage of wireless communications would be less than that of a continuous connection we’d use that, as is the case with smell, sound and vision.

‘Autonomy’ can be interpreted as self-determination yet increased understanding of Darwinian evolution clearly shows that 'natural selection' moves towards increase in diversity, where self-determination is a form of negative selection and diversity of positive selection, just like Isaiah Berlin’s positive and negative liberty describe two sides of the same coin. If we then assume that individual sovereignty only has significant meaning within the context of a group, then game-theory’s predictive power comes from its ability in framing multiplicity, without any deeper assumptions besides the irreducible constructions during the game itself. These constructions, the patterns appearing during gameplay, are analogue computations which enact and embody certain general functions, such as queuing up at a car park is a way of serializing incoming traffic. Nassim Taleb's ideas on anti-fragility do indeed indicate that diversity is a much stronger trend than competition or the 'struggle for life'. But if that is so, then it may be much more worthwhile to extend consider that Darwinian evolution complies with certain features of redundancy, fault-tolerance, error correction, failover, all hard lessons learned in the design of computing systems commonly known as “Redundancy, Availability and Serviceability” (RAS). Irrespective of any motives of individual participants, the game they play is indeed is a form of “projective determinacy” as the evolving construction of the play itself is what the game is about. It does not make sense to make assumptions of deeper drives like “rational self-interest” from which mutual reciprocity emerges if it is more adequately explained as a way of self-dual error correction.

George Soros recently wrote about his conceptual framework for his investments where he aims to map out the dynamics between thinking and reality. Leaning on a “human uncertainty principle”, based on the twin pillars of fallibility and reflexivity, he has managed to create a predictive system where the smallest irreducible human unit is not the individual but a small group. In what Soros calls “interference reflexivity” he maps out the interdependencies of people’s cognitive function and manipulative function and in doing so he is able to precede and embrace Daniel Kahneman’s distinction between reflective and reactive thinking functions as used in behavioral economics. As Soros writes “Economic theory has sought to imitate the natural sciences, particularly Newtonian physics. Consequently my conceptual framework is in direct conflict with mainstream economic theory […] Mainstream economics has pursued timelessly and universally valid laws whose validity can be tested by reference to the facts. I contend that the facts produced by social processes do not constitute a reliable criterion for judging the validity of theories... […] … social phenomena are easier to explain than to predict. The past is uniquely determined while the human uncertainty principle renders the future inherently indeterminate. That is not how Newtonian physics works. […] The process involves reflexive feedback loops between the objective and subjective aspects of reality. Fallibility insures that the two aspects are never identical”.

Using his framework Soros has developed a boom-bust approach to financial crises, which is more or less the opposite of the equilibrium focus in economic theory. This ongoing recalibration of two way communication is much closer to the overshoot and collapse dynamics that is observed in normal signal processing and that most electrical engineers know about from experience. And likewise, the prevailing trend and subjective (mis-)interpretation mutually reinforce each other until they grow apart where it becomes all too apparent, and this discrepancy finally grows beyond an inflection point where either the misconception reverts towards the trend again, or vice versa. Sounds logical, no? Well, yes, it is. You can even mold it in mathematical formulas and run computer simulations, and it has made Soros a very rich and influential man. But it is surprising to see how extraordinary unusual such an approach is. Whoever thought that common sense would be so uncommon that most people cannot distinguish between something complicated and something complex? Many people mistakenly confuse simplicity and simplistic, something easy and minimalist compared to something one-dimensional and unrefined. Or as Warren Buffett “Being a successful investor is not about having a high I.Q. but it does take a temperament that’s willing to step up and actually act. I always tell people, if they’re going in the investment business and you’ve got a 160 I.Q., sell 30 points to somebody else because you won’t need it.” This is good solid advice, but being both street-smart and highly intelligent doesn’t seem to have hurt either one of these investment giants.

So yes, when one verbally or physically drives someone in a corner, obviously spatial constraints become an aspect to be reckoned with, but it doesn’t explain the bystander effect or any auto-cannibalistic withdrawal that happens when society’s fabric unravels by virtue of hidden distress. If we know this, if we consider that people at the EU and national governments know this, then where is the quality effort that we expect from them? Can we consider inefficient governmental policies, like an overemphasis on austerity, a criminal offense? Of course, different interests may favor different approaches, but where does it say these have to be mutually exclusive? Austerity and nearly fixed currency exchange rates favors an economical model with a high degree of foreign trade, especially if the local added value is focused on assembling and finishing already nearly completed products. Austerity seems to have helped pulling the silk route a few seaports up North, yet while automotive manufacturers continue to squeeze down on domestic and neighboring suppliers, customers in large emergent markets like China do not seem to maintain their enthusiasm to pay double the prices compared to other markets. International trade may seem a two-way street, but in the modern globalized world indirect markets can chain up and bypass such preferred supplier arrangements, and when information can flow freely it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it is cheaper to buy a luxurious BMW in the USA and import it into China than buy it in China where it may even be produced by a nearby factory plant. Eventhough it may have a fleeting appeal as a status symbol, it is not an ultra-luxury investment as a top range Italian car.

Of course, it is more than understandable that Germany has little desire to pick up the tab for governmental malpractice of Berlusconi, Craxi and the likes, but it may be noteworthy that most struggling economies in the European Union have had to suffer with dictators or military regimes until about forty years ago. As Germany may very well know, reshuffling alone doesn’t make the deck of cards go away. Maybe a different game can be played, one that is not so much based on collateralization of real estate and value goods, but one that like Soros’ framework addresses a continuum spanning the social, financial, economic and political spectrum.

But we know all this, or at least we should. Ever since Jimmy Carter’s groundbreaking interview with Playboy magazine in 1976 it has been clear to what extend the public media can influence voter’s behavior. It hardly had anything to do with the democratic ideals of rationality and by the time Thatcher and Reagan were elected most of their campaign was written out by advertising agencies. What was once called ‘propaganda’ in the period after the First and before the Second World War had become the norm, and nowadays popularity ratings seem to dictate national politics as if we’re dealing with a hit parade. Still, despite a Berlusconi’s abuse of his media empire to serve some unclear political purpose as Agnelli’s kingdom slowly but surely fades away, this totals to less than 1% of Italian people and austerity is not only suffocating countries which have a different economical mix but is also causing people to kill themselves. Who’s fooling who? We know economics is part physics and part psychology. We just don’t know which part. Even so, with such a lack of best effort shouldn’t there be a “Good Samaritan law” for politicians? Is the stupidity of negligence a crime?

While the USA shuts down large parts of the government to deal with ideological hijacking by a small group of hardcore fundamentalists caricaturing the anti-slavery activists who founded this “grand old party”, it may be a comforting thought the traditional standoff at high noon leaves little room for playing peekaboo. Well, anything better than having the whole parliament held hostage by a narcissistic media mogul with the fading charm of a rubber ball as slowly but surely his chemical virility turns toxic. Modernity serves us with a noblesse oblique if climbing the social ladder is based on nepotism and mutual secrecy, eventually oligarchic selectivity will filter on dirt and shit floats up. Alas the only noticeable trickle-down effect is reserved for the occasion someone in the penthouse suite flushes their toilet and leaky pipes cause the basement to overflow. Usually this situation doesn’t last for more than a few generations, at some stage as one generation replaces the other, all what makes some noblesse special is their artificially perpetuated exclusivity and in turn the very survival of their self-licking ice cream cone is focused on trying to retain that exclusivity at the expense of any oblige that made them entitled to be considered noblesse… However, some good news, it looks like the steady sale of political Voodoo dolls during the last couple of years is starting to work, first Sarkozy and now Berlusconi. Yes, "patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”, although, whoever said “it's easy to find reasons why other folks should be patient” may have been diplomatic advisor for the construction mafia’s political offshoots like Lega Fnord.

Italy is not the only country dealing with incomprehensible government policies. As a matter of fact, pretty much the same sort of political dynamics are happening all over Europe, as if some prefabricated party-based framework has been copied many times over, only slightly adjusted to the locale taste. Every country has their party originating from the unionized labor movements, a party which pretends to be more business oriented, a party for Christian values, a party for more extreme post-Marxist socialist values and some outspoken mudslinger who tries to stir nationalist feelings by acting as a sort of miscellaneous wastebasket for all the people that do not agree with the current state of affairs but don’t know what to be in favor of and mistake opportunist pseudo-indignation with actual concern. Most parties don’t seem to exist for a reason, not anymore at least, but as a viable justification. It is a pattern repeated all over Europe. In many aspects similar policy changes pop up at one time or another, seemingly applicable for the country at hand but still with a large many shared commonalities. You’d nearly think that they talk with each other outside of the showy events in the newspapers… as if they have acquired the power of telephony or even email, or have “behind the scenes” gatherings in the city of Brussels. For reasons unexplained local politicians appear to have forgotten about the 1993 Maastricht treaty which officialized their participation in the formation of the European Union which happened in late 2009. In effect this means sunsetting the ‘nation state’ as introduced by Napoleon Bonaparte as administrative districts of the Greater French Empire in the early 1800s. Two centuries to improve on the legal reforms realized by the Napoleonic Code. It is not so much the variety of geographical regions but the borders dividing them.

Ever since the early 1700s, when the emergence of both daily newspapers and the parliamentary system in Great Britain coincided, these two have shared a functional overlap. The parliament is meant to act as an ongoing “discussion” concerning the rules of governing a country, a social programming language, but whereas the ICT industry has Moore’s law outpacing Wirth’s law claiming that “software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster” it seems that politics has been absorbed by public media, with Berlusconi’s game show on one end of the spectrum, and the Northern European talk show on the other. Maybe it is due to the long cold winters imposing a shared need to survive as a small cooperative community that encourages the Northern tribes’ rationalization bias, where they tend to persuade oneself that something reasonable is also of good value, a habit fueled by a metacognitive inability to recognize their own mistakes and a low tolerance for ambiguity. Instead of heading for the streets and causing a riot, eventhough governmental spending cuts have been at the top of the agenda since the 1979 energy crisis, whenever “the market” is mentioned an ingrained conformity to peer pressure takes over and the “law of supply and demand” is encircled by an authoritative halo. Maybe it has gone unnoticed but as far as public administration, public facilities and similar community endeavors go, the ‘powers that be’ pretty much constitute the entire ‘market’. Ministries, charity foundations and NGOs don’t really have any market dynamics to speak of and as such monopolize their own service offering by default eventhough government policies are trying to enforce a more business-like approach.

And so, if we look at the low lands, they are focused on cost cutting to such an extent that they are suffocating the country’s potential. Despite the BeNeLux region having a GDP of a trillion euro with only 28 million inhabitants making it as rich as Japan, Switzerland or the USA, the economic fabric seems to be losing elasticity. Highly-indebted households have slipped back down into the lower wealth class. The share of the population with low financial assets has quadrupled since the end of 2000, with the corresponding figure more than doubling in Norway and Sweden. Reminiscent of the sturdy grasp for “austerity”, the trend shows that excessive debt poses the biggest poverty risk. Which is of course obvious when primarily focusing on collateralization and not giving people and small businesses a fair chance to recuperate from the hit they’ve taken in the aftermath of the financial crisis. But to illustrate how incredibly wrong today’s nationalism is, it may be worth considering that trade relations between the Netherlands and Italy can be traced back to early Roman settlements nearly 2.000-2.500 years ago. In fact the European landscape shows a whole band following the great rivers. The “blue banana” is a highly dense urban zone from Liverpool, Manchester, along the canals network to Greater London, across the Channel and following the Rhine, across the Alps and onto the Po Valley to cover most of Northern Italy. Housing about 110 million people and covering more than 2000 industrial clusters it forms one of the main economic backbones of Europe.

But that is not all, recent long term studies performed in both Finland and Belgium show that the middle income group is being pushed out due to increase in productivity of both the higher and lower income groups. As the higher income group is growing in productivity faster than the lower income group, the middle income group is largely pushed downward, eventhough both groups are actually growing in size. And this is nobody’s fault. Like with game-theory we have here structure without underlying motives. Of course personal motivation matters, but as long as group size outnumbers individuality it can be molded in a certain direction. If we take these social dynamics and add technological improvements to the mix, where by now a 100 person workforce can do what took 5000 people back in 1950, we then see that as productivity increases we need less and less people to perpetuate the sort of society that has brought us to this stage. One of the surprising effects of the post-WWII babyboom generation is that although diversity expanded due to the sheer number of people, in a pyramidal organization where seniority translates in vertical repositioning at middle management ranks in the administrative control flow, the age group between 45 and 65 tends to occupy most available openings for such a long amount of time that replacement skips a generation. Supply-side economics is a black art, but there is only so much 'need' for certain people at certain positions that it pushes out the next age group, generation X, or "the lost generation", which does not have the same opportunities as the baby boomers because it are the very baby boomers themselves which are standing in the way of their next steps.

Today’s challenges are not the result of an ongoing spending spree or the lack thereof. It is essentially the recognition that top-down governance is failing to address society's needs and the bureaucratic spasms of the last few decades in using shock therapy based on 'public choice theory' to reform public administration have failed. "The market" is an excuse for failing to adequately address issues for which the previous collective arrangements did work quite nicely, or maybe they did but needed a little adjustment now and then. By increasingly detailed top-down bureaucratic regulation, countries like The Netherlands has been suffocating its' own people at the expense of opportunities for all. That is the core issue, the missing added value by the ongoing mechanization of behaviorisms. Not costs. But that’s ok, most people already noticed. We have left the 1930s behind three and a half generations ago, and according to the Flynn effect the average person now would be highly gifted by those past standards. Governmental structures are needed, because even in a bottom-up self-organizing scenario a centralized approach makes it so much easier to exchange information to everyone as fast as possible. Towns didn’t grow on hilltops for no reason but it makes ‘the news’ spread faster. We shouldn’t mistake something at the top of a vertical organization as being in control; it is a way to maximize the spread of innovation. We can blame politicians that all they do is talk, but that is their purpose. Mastery and leadership is something completely different.

Here, as politicians have gradually turned into accountants trying to straighten ‘the economy’, it may be worthwhile to dive a little deeper into some of its workings. In any sufficiently cohesive commerce environment variations in stock and flow of resources will translate to systemic trade opportunities. Obviously some resources are made or found at a different location then where it is processed or consumed, so at one place there is a buildup while at another there may be a shortage. Due to these stock and flow dynamics similar goods will spawn mutual race conditions, so that these goods interlock in a ‘game’ to maximize value. Iron ore from Sweden may be cheaper than that from China, simply because the transportation costs are lower. But it could also be that Swedish iron needs more preprocessing before it is useful as iron or steel, which could mean the Chinese iron could be considered equivalent if the sumtotal balances out. Such mutual races emerge from the evolutionary tendency for the utilitarian functions of any traded good to converge to universal applicability and interchangeability. This is simply due to economies of scale and economies of scope, where widespread reuse of a more versatile good is both economically more valuable for a supplier and a customer. Essentially it may simply be regional availability or temporal unavailability that makes a customer switch to a ‘competitor’ eventhough these two suppliers are not actively competing but may actually be more than satisfied with their part of the overall market. Either way, such stock and flow dynamics swarm together to form market segments, and these segments themselves will also tend towards universal applicability and interchangeability.

The ‘attractor’ to which such evolutionary dynamics converge to is a universal utility of value, a generally accepted asset that can be used to express value and store it as well. This is when “money” is born. And this “money” can then be used to trade just about everything else. And likewise for the EU, any country or trade system, we reach a maximum of interchangeability with a region's financial system as "money" is its own adjacent possible. This “adjacent possible” is the potential, or even probable, next step of a system, like a pendulum swinging back when it reaches its maximum angle, an apple falling from a tree perpendicular to the ground or the initial move at a chess game being limited to a pawn or a knight, or ending with a stalemate. As “money” is a general means of exchange, even if the underlying trade system is basic and simplistic, or if it is sophisticated and complex, money will still behave like money. What is important here is that money emerges from a trade system and although it manifests as a separate thing and service it is wrong to see finance as something different from commerce. The two are intimately connected.

 What can not only happen is that the behavior of a random system shows a self-excited attractor, but that this attractor itself is complex enough to be capable of universal computation, that in essence the attractor itself it versatile enough to simulate other systems, like a computer does or a video display to some extent. If the system from which such an attractor emerges is sufficiently simple, the attractor reflects back into its originating system and manifests itself through hierarchical organization of the systems' parts. This means that second-order cybernetic coordination can emerge from a self-organizing system and it manifests itself via the information flow about the system as expressed in the systems' own organization. In an even more complex scenario the self-excited attractor basin which itself is capable of universal computation, can have such complexity that it spawns a nested attractor which is also capable of universal computation. This is where a system becomes 'spontaneous'. Try to follow this hierarchical tree of nested coordination, it shows interdependence between parts and whole similar to a parallel rewriting system, such as Lindenmayer Systems or combinatorics of super pseudorandom permutations. It is expected a behavior similar to the logistic function occurs and bifurcation to happen and run wild after some three iterations. Deterministic but unpredictable, this is the edge of a combinatorial explosion in phase space which acts as a systemic horizon of possible configurations. In other words, self-excited nested attractors smear out and form a blur. In the case of an apple falling, this may involve unexpected interference such as sideways wind or someone catching it. In the case of chess, the number of possible games is estimated at 10^10^50, which, for all practical purposes, is so large that no chess master need to worry about unemployment any day soon. Writing down above number alone would fill the entire universe with numbers, twice.

For trade systems, money fulfills that role as a shared value horizon. But money also works in a reverse way as the exchange of money is an irreducible simple trade event. Money is both an embodiment and an enactment and that is where it becomes even more confusing. Money is the natural consequence of any trade system. It is not separate from it, but it is closely tied to the potential and probable scope of the trade system it originates from. If the system is too simplistic, its resultant money is fragile due to a lack of diversity, but if the system is complex enough, the money is resilient. In that sense the versatility of money can be compared with a black mirror. It reflects the economy, but it is very hard to see to what level of detail. A sufficiently versatile money also become portable, so it can be used to express value of new trades by way of analogy. In a sense derivative markets behave like this, except that they are trading the news and not goods, and the speed of derivative trade has grown out of sync with physical reality.

If any trade network has its own "money" to express and measure value, we're dealing with money as a pure transactional yardstick, but we also have money as a value store over place and time. That would be fine in the case such a trade network is self-consistent and sufficiently isolated, autonomous and independent so to say. But if we have a multitude of these autonomous regions and they trade with each other, their boundaries start to overflow and the networks mingle, especially when dealing with commodities which are an integral part of other products, like iron, oil or electricity. As long as regions are sufficiently mutually exclusive and isolated of each other's external dependencies, one can solve socio-economical fluctuations by means of exchange rate. Yet if the regions are tied together, directly as neighboring countries like the Rhineland which already spans The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and the German Ruhr district, but which in turn is an integral part of the European "blue banana", then such alterations in the exchange rate would feed back on themselves, either spiraling out of control or damping down depending on the overall climate. The only viable way forward is towards a single currency with local differences, advances or hurdles, expressed in price differences. Just like in a real “free market” economy…

However, with a single currency there needs to be shared financial systematics, as otherwise the many different ways that form an optimal local model are becoming dominated by the one that is dictating the pace for the currency. And with their large import-export oriented economical machine accounting for some 42% of GDP that is Germany, eventhough their total economy is only just 20% of the entire EU and about 80% of their exports are within the EU anyway. Because of the current confederal approach in the EU countries are assigned a political weight which leads to false equivalences and it deserves more attention to seek for forms of interest-based syndication, where different regions forms a cooperation so to cover each other’s weaknesses. Germany has a large export, an outflow of new relatively commoditized products, which has started dominating the EU at the expense of countries that are smaller or slower, or have their economy arranged in another way.

This would not be very problematic, but due to regional specialization this conflicts with the regional with the largest monetary flows, London. Local ties are somewhat less important for financial trade however as it became an information science some decades ago but still, financial signals are like a programming language for economic development and having these two in tune will surely benefit both ends of the spectrum and keep them in step with each other. Instead of the excessive focus on collateralization of what were once trade agreements in the form of loans, it would serve the EU to look at a dual layer monetary system. One transnational and one localized, limited and adjusted to the regional spectrum. This can be a system of dual currencies, such as a single trade Euro and local currencies, matching the socio-economical region which is most often the country. Although for an Italy this would imply three currencies, one for the North, one for the South, and one for the Mezzogiorno, but it would also make sense to differentiate a city currency and a rural currency. Instead of such elaborate currency systems, the other possibility is almost readily available and can bridge local stock markets, via Eurobonds. These Eurobonds can span different time periods and different regions, so that there can be short/medium/long-term bonds, with a full or partial trans-regional coverage to allow for shared accountability. This is a natural consequence of shared trade networks, which are the natural consequence of living on this planet.

We shouldn’t fool ourselves that monetary policies are some separate sort of economics. With the existing situation any problematic situation is magnified by ending up in a negative spiral which has no viable future perspective. In the past a befriended neighboring country could provide outside help, by providing loans in Eurodollars, UK Pounds, Swiss Francs, Deutsch Marks, French francs, and one could link parts of the economy to these regional economies, but this has become impossible as most of these countries have become part of the EU already and are as much tied down in their actions by the very rules that help them advance. All moneys are equal, but some moneys are more equal than others…

On a global scale we’re moving towards a level of technical advancement that humanity has never experienced before. Today we already digest more information per day than someone did during an entire lifetime several centuries ago. We have an incredible future ahead of us, which new economic models, new business models, new values, new risks, new opportunities. We have so many wrongs to right such as climate change, famine, slavery, desertification, water shortages and pollution. We are not only on the cusp of an era with staggering scientific and technological breakthroughs but we are also living through the fast mass extinction event in the world’s history. This is an ethical luxury of doing good and having purpose, just by correcting the mistakes of the past. Is it that difficult? It's just standing up and making a decision because nobody else will. And we put all this at risk by having a bunch of obsolete governments whose overall track record is worse than random chance, whose contribution to society is negative and when we listen to them we become more stupid than before? Austerity is killing the wrong people. Today's new normal was yesterday's insanity. Instead of actually doing something we’re soaking in verbal diarrhea. What are we to do? Shout swimming instructions at the drowning or jump in?


Eternity is really long, especially near the end.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”


Scooter and the shell shock sham

"Combat stress reaction, in the past commonly known as shell shock or battle fatigue, is a military term used to categorize a range of behaviours resulting from the stress of battle which decrease the combatant's fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's surroundings, and inability to prioritize."

Subject: Thanks for a great 28 years
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010
From: Scott McNealy
To: [all Sun employees]


When I interviewed many of you for employment at Sun over the years, one commitment often made was that things will change above, below, and around you faster than any place you have ever been. Looks like this was one area we exceeded plan for 28 years. While it was never the primary vision to be acquired by Oracle, it was always an interesting option. And this huge event is upon us now. Let's all embrace it with all of the enthusiasm and class and talent that we have to offer.

This combination has the potential to put Sun, its people, and its technology at the center of yet another industry and game-changing inflection point. The opportunity is well-documented and articulated by Larry and the Oracle folks. Not much I can add on this score. This is a very powerful merger. And way better than some of the alternatives we were facing.

So what do I say to all of you, now this is happening?

It turns out that one simple message to the large and diverse Sun community is actually quite hard to craft. Even for a big mouth who is always ready with a clever quip. The community includes our resellers and customers, our current and former employees, their friends and families who supported our employees on their mission to change the industry, our investors, our supply and service partners, students and educators, and even our competitors with whom we often collaborated.

But let me try. Though nothing I could write comes close to matching the unbelievably strong and positive emotions I have for you all. See, I never was able to master dispassion. I truly loved starting, running, and living Sun. And the last four years have not been without serious withdrawal. And the EU approval rocked me more than it should have.

So, to be honest, this is not a note this founder wants to write. Sun, in my mind, should have been the great and surviving consolidator. But I love the market economy and capitalism more than I love my company.

And I sure "hope" America regains its love affair with capitalism. And except for the auto industry, financial industry, health care, and some other places (I digress), the invisible hand is doing its thing quite efficiently. So I am more than willing to accept this outcome.

And my hat is off to one of the greatest capitalists I have ever met, Larry Ellison. He will do well with the assets that Sun brings to Oracle.

What we did right and wrong at Sun over the years might make for interesting reading. However, I am not a book writer. I am a husband, father of four, and a builder and leader of people who want to make a difference.

But spare me a bit of nostalgia. Not of the mistakes we made, and lord knows I made a ton. But of the things we did right and well.

First and foremost, Sun innovated like crazy. We took it to the limit (see Eagles). And though we did not monetize our inventions as well as we could have, few companies have the track record in R&D that we had over the last 28 years. This made working at Sun really cool. Thanks to all of you inventors and risk takers who changed how we live.

Sun cared about its customers. Even more than we cared about our own company at times. We looked at our customer's mission as more important than ours. Maybe we should have asked for more revenue in return, but our employees were always ready to help first. I love this about Sun, which I guess makes me a good capitalist, if not a great capitalist.

Sun did not cheat, lie, or break the rule of law or decency. While we enjoyed breaking the rules of conventional wisdom and archaic business practice, and for sure loved to win in the market, we did so with a solid reputation for integrity. Nearly three decades of competing without a notable incident of our folks going off course morally or legally. Not all executives and big companies are bad. Really. There are good companies out there. Special thanks to all of my employees for this. I never had to hide the newspaper in shame from my children.

Sun was a financial success. We paid billions in taxes, salaries, purchases, leases, training, and even lawyers and accountants for devastatingly cumbersome SOX and legal compliance (oops, more classic digression). Long-term and smart investors made billions in SUNW. And our customers generated revenue and savings using our equipment in countless ways. Many employees started families, bought homes, and put them through school while working at Sun. Our revenues over 28 years exceeded $200B. Few companies make it to the F200. We did. Nice.

Sun employees had way more fun than any other company. By far. From our dress code ("You must!") to beer busts to our April Fools' pranks to SunRise to our quiet enjoyment at night of a long, hard, well-done day of work, no company enjoyed "work" more than Sun. Thanks to all of our employees past and present for making Sun such a blast.

I could go on for a long time reminiscing about the good and great stuff we did at Sun, but just allow me one last one. We shared. Not the greatest attribute for a capitalist. But one I could not change and was not willing to change about Sun while I was in charge. We shared in the success of Sun with our resellers. With our employees through stock options, SunShare, beer busts, and the like (for as long as Congress would allow) and through our efforts to keep as many of them on board for as long as possible during the inevitable down cycles. With our partners through the Java Community Process, through our open-source collaborations, and licensing strategies. With our customers through our commitments to low barriers to exit. Sun was never just about us. It was about we. And that may be a bit of the reason we are where we are today.

But I have few regrets (see Sinatra's "My Way") and will always look back at Sun and its gang with only pride. Enormous pride. You are the best this industry ever had, though few outside of Sun recognized it.

And what we are about will live on in Sparc, Solaris, Java, our products, and our spirit. Well past everyone's recollections of what we did together. I will never forget, though.

Oracle is getting a crown jewel of the technology industry. They will do great things with Sun. Do your best to support them, and keep the Sun spirit alive and well in the industry. Our children will be better for it.

Thanks for the off-the-charts support to everyone who ever carried a Sun badge, used our products, or helped our company through the years.

And thanks to my wonderful wife, Susan, who gave this desperado (see Eagles) a chance to choose the Queen of Hearts before it was too late.

Someday, hopefully, you will all get to see or meet her and my other life's works named Maverick, Dakota, Colt, and Scout. If you do, perhaps you will understand why I stepped back from the CEO role four years ago. And why I feel like the luckiest guy in the whole world.

My best to all of you, and remember:

Kick butt and have fun!




lang gewacht, nooit verwacht, maar toch gekregen...

This is called the Wu Zang (five organ) meditation for energetic protection
The yellow emperor classic said that all doctors should do this before treating any patient of any kind and before entering the treatment room
It surrounds you with a strong field of protective energy (wei qi)
It focuses on the six directions
Front, back, left, right, up, down
Or south, north, east, west, heaven and earth.
Its purpose is to extend each of the 5 organs energy far into the horizon to gather chi

Focus on the center of your body (about 3-4 cm below the navel) and then imagine opening up the top of your head
Start pulling chi from the heavens in thru the top of your head
Imagine it as bright shining divine light from the heavens filling your body and saturating it
Feel the body radiating this divine white light energy
Eventually when done more often the body will supersaturate and glow.

Now imagine this energy beginning to coalesce in the center core of your body that extends from the perineum to the top of the head. (if you sit straight this is a line/tube in front of your spine)
Forms an energetic tube of heavenly energy. This center core will begin to vibrate and resonate with the divine white light energy

Now imagine a golden yellow mist of chi arising out of the center of the earth and filling your body
As it fills your body it connects with your spleen and makes the spleen glow with golden yellow energy
Next feel this golden light earth energy swirl and envelop the center core of the white light divine energy. Merging together and synergizing
This represents the energy of your Intention to root and stabilize your power.

Now begin to focus on your heart.
Feel two whirlpools, a golden one enveloping the earth and directed in front of the spine, and another silvery white one from heaven down.
They form a kind of apple shape formed around a central tube just in front and along the spine.
Shape and widen the core so it is as wide as your hips, to amplify the amount you are running.

Now focusing on the heart and imagine a portal or gateway opening.
Then imagine the chi flowing of your heart like a red swirling wind in front of you. Full of power.
The red energy is the phoenix which represents your innate spirit, alive, graceful, yet powerful. The firebird protects you with your Spirit and fire

Now focus your attention to your lower back, the kidney area
Imagine a portal opening and the chi flowing out of your back like water.
Out of this water grows an enormous dark blue turtle whose shell protects you like a mighty shield .
Its shell is like it is on your back, for positioning purposes though. It will be behind you but not directly on your back. The looking is like eyes in the back of your head
This is the energy of your will power and the essence and will power of all your ancestors backing and supporting you

Focus on the lungs and visualize a portal opening on the right side of your body under the right ribs.
Imagine the lung chi flowing out to the right side of your body like steam, forming a white tiger as strong as steel.
This is your body's animal nature. It guards and protects you. with an animal passion for survival.

Focus on the liver and visualize a portal opening on the left side of your body, under the left ribs.
Imagine your liver chi flowing out of the left side of your body like steam forming a green dragon. Resilient and as sinewy as bamboo
This represents the body's divine nature. Guarding and protecting you with a spiritual passion for victory.

Each animal begins to rotate to the left. Protecting, stalking and defending the previous animals position.
Slowly begin to circle these energies counterclockwise and begin to increase their speed. Like a mighty wind around your body
The wind circulates around you faster and faster. Blending the colors into a rainbow of an energy bubble or into one big tube with mother of pearl color
(You can have the sensation that the turtle rolls around and jumps, the dragon extends and shortens... phoenix flies like an arrow, and the tigress runs, jumps and walks, but tends to fly too)
After you have your protective bubble around your body. Draw all the energies in thru the top of your head pulling it in now. Then return the energy of each color back to its original organ.
red to the heart.
dark blue to the kidneys
white to the lungs
green back to the liver
As the color flows back to each organ imagine that steam (white light) flowing out of the pores and filling up the energy bubble created by the animal rotation
(here you can see all kinds of little phoenixes, tigers, turtles and dragons.. hundreds of them.. )
This forms a solid connection between the body's internal organs and the body's external energy field.
Energy seems to keep on looping around, from the organ into the bubble, via the crown back into the organ and back again.

Imagine over your head a sprinkling of light, like stars...the Big Dipper and zoom in on the North Star. ( Can happen that you feel that the star becomes immensely large like a blanket spread over the horizon, shiny silvery white, which makes sense as it lies aligned with the earth's axis in the middle of the corona. )
Using your imagination you've just connected with the North Star and the result of your meditation is 'stored'. So now you should be able to call on the organ protection energy any time you need it instantly.