Date: Dec 26, 2012 1:22 PM
Author: kirby urner
Subject: Re: Would effective gun control laws be 'unacceptable social engineering'?

On Tue, Dec 25, 2012 at 10:22 PM, GS Chandy <> wrote:
> Responding to Kirby Urner's post (pasted below my signature for reference) of Dec 26, 2012 3:38 AM:
> I agree with much that you state/claim. However, I believe the singular weakness of the 'Occupy' movement is that they do not help us much towards 'sustainable democracy' (or so I believe - as many of the Occupy realizations seems to die out in short order). On the other hand, 'nominal democracy' (as achieved in the US; the UK; in India; elsewhere) seemed to have achieved a sizable degree of sustainability - as already demonstrated at several locations worldwide. (By this, I am not denying the huge defects and deficiencies inbuilt, which the 'Occupy movements' have tried to overcome).

I would consider that a fair criticism. Fairly early into the camping
chapter (Alpha and Beta camps along Main St., also R2D2 -- Right to
Dream Too -- which is ongoing on Burnside), I started referring to my
wood beam framed home as "the Blue Tent". This was to strengthen the
image of our Portland neighborhoods as no more than immigrant camps
(refugees if you will) of some semi-permanence, as indicated by more
use of stone foundations, concrete, asphalt. Our "tents" are made of
wood, lathe and plaster (many from the early 1900s). We have a grid
(so did OPDX, with a generator in the SE corner of Camp Alpha).

Cities are distinguished from camps by their timeline, but then
technology has not occupied all the niches in between. Human
settlements may be graphed according to their levels of intended
and/or actual permanency. A gold rush throws up shanty towns then
leaves them in the dust. Commitments differ when the majority of the
population is transient.

How about a community of 550 personnel that's *scheduled* to exist for
only 25 years? An undersea base? An community in a fragile
ecosystem, in need of study? Envision many such scientific research
bases. You'll possibly have a pattern of long-termers (residents)
versus rotators-through (tourists, visitors) with many gradations.
I'm used to thinking this way as my own family have been invited
visitors in many settlements, provided for when present, but not
scheduled to stay indefinitely.

I would claim that landlubbers are unused to such thinking (scheduled
communities, set to expire) as their communities arise more
spontaneously. Many ghost towns are left behind, but it's not
scheduled. Exceptions would be construction for World Expos (World's
Fairs), Olympics and construction sites in general. A small village
or town may arise with the construction of a large project, but then
goes away -- trailers often used.

Sea-based communities have a stronger sense of beginning, middle, end
(scheduled in advance) because ships don't last forever. They need
repairs and ultimately recycling as scrap. Oil rigs likewise become
useless though I'm not clear how the dead ones are disposed of. How
are wrecked rigs dealt with? Towed to shore? Some may become
platforms for new "virtual nations"...

Back to Occupy, we-the-Quakers invited some of the leadership to our
meetinghouse to discuss longer term plans and directions. Again, a
meetinghouse is just a more permanent tent, a longer lasting

Where am I going with this? That institutional structures have
different time frames in which to operate.

The feedback loop I'm working on includes funding institutions that
channel to research institute "villages". Ordinary private parties,
not necessarily "investors" or "investment bankers" have an
opportunity to vote with their winnings.

I will conclude with the "credit wheel" model of an enterprise.
Picture two circles. One is your "income circle" which may be
imagined as a pie chart showing all your income, both physical and
metaphysical (don't have to use those terms -- cultural income

The other circle is how you divide your time, your day, your
attention, among activities / projects i.e. what do you consciously /
unconsciously "DO" with your income. It's not just a "pass through".
In between the two circles is the "personal workspace" (or maybe a big
institution). The gap between the circles is the space of
"value added".

> Do check out a OPMS as a practical tool to help develop something that could have the *sustainability* and wide replicability that are essential (with needed modifications, of course).
> (The testing out of this claim of mine should be of interest to you as an empirical scientist).

I've looked at OPMS and do agree that a sequence of questions, a flow
sheet, is an important tool. Filling these out for a public archive
and doing several generations of revision, might be a process.

Again, time frame is a primary constraint when you're looking at
decision-making. Is a decision required in five years or five
minutes? The worry around thermo-nuclear breakdown is a president is
awakened by an urgent call at 2 AM and is called upon to decide within
seconds what to do. No time for OPMS.

Humans stressed to this degree aren't guaranteed to make wise
decisions. We like to give them more time. A lot of government
processes are about applying brakes, slowing the action. In talking
about the Blue Tent and inviting Occupy leaders to a Quaker
meetinghouse (350+ years history of processing, dealing with issues,
e.g. slavery), I was (we were) changing the time constraint. How
might we harness this fast flash-in-a-pan community and integrate it
into a slower but no less real process? That was a question. Answer:
I've been sharing some of them i.e. lets switch gears to look at
longer term camps. Arab Spring personnel share our interest. Helping
refugees is a priority.

That nation-state system has its complement, a shadowy world of
quasi-states, semi-states, virtual states. You may have been
following the action in Canada. This morning, sitting around the
table of the Pauling House, we're discussing similar issues: treaty
rights and Native Americans. Elizabeth Furse, originally South
African, and 3x congresswoman (in the US legislature) is quite well
versed in this area, her South African heritage adding perspective (she joined us the other day).

My funding institutions designs are casino-friendly on many levels.
Forging connections between Occupy and the NavAm leadership might be a
quick synopsis of my agenda. I'm less reliant on Anonymous as a
battle arm (cyber-war). Quakers have their own network.

However there are bridges from both subcultures to a common geekdom,
where democracy is again of concern. Geeks are appropriately paranoid
and understand the need to keep secrets. The UNIX ecosystem (now
POSIX) is in itself a way of organizing a cyber-community, by means of
root, creating users, letting users password protect and chmod their

The Web itself is one of the grandest institutions, as a synthesis of
many protocols. Those interested in the future of democracy will
study it. That includes public schools with a serious interest in
contributing (back to credit wheel diagram).


Message was edited by: kirby urner