20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:48 pm

20170923 Reference #1, Page 20, Paragraph 3

In this paragraph, Dr. Dartnell continues development of a nightmare scenario, and he cites the disorder that occurred in Louisiana in the USA after Hurricane Katrina, in 2005.

While I understand the potential for loss of the social contract under circumstances such as Katrina, I think that the social contract was already at the breaking point in New Orleans, in Louisiana, and throughout much of the Southern part of the United States at the time. In fact, that contract had been under stress since the founding of the nation, due to the conviction of a segment of the population that it had the right to own other human beings.

However, Dr. Dartnell's primary point was that the social contract could break down under conditions of severe stress upon a society, and I concede that Katrina certainly supports that observation.

However, in 2017, we do seem to be seeing a different flow of events, as hurricanes have bowled over communities in the island nations of the Caribbean and in the Southern US, including Houston, Texas and all of the State of Florida.

This year, the United States government seems to be better prepared. However, aside from that, there are a remarkable number of stories coming out of the affected regions of human kindness towards others.

I am tempted to think that the culture of a society is a factor in how the members of the society respond to massive stress.

During the period when these notes are recorded, a documentary series is in broadcast on the history of the Vietnam War, which I understand the Vietnamese call “The American War”. It is made clear throughout the series, that the people of North Vietnam were able to sustain their morale under what seems to me to have been terrible pressure, and a continuing disaster in any sense that one might use that term.

Because of these observations, I am tempted to conclude that even a massive disaster such as the one Dr. Dartnell described, might not necessarily lead to a loss of cohesion of the society, depending upon the culture that existed before the disaster. A combination of inspired leadership and inspired followership can prevent dissolution of a society under stress.


In the current issue of Analog Science Fact and Fiction (Vol CXXXVII Ns. 9 & 10)...

an author listed as “Craig DeLancey” created what I experience as a remarkable vision of a major disaster impacting two distinct societies, in his story “Orphans”.

Mr. DeLancey presents a human expedition approaching a planet in a state-of-the-art space ship, after a voyage of 100 years in cold sleep. Thus, the scenario Mr. DeLancey sets up seems reasonable to me, and I did not find any details of his concept that suggested magical thinking. In other words, this was a traditional Analog story.

The remarkable twist to the story is that Mr. DeLancey has imagined a challenge to the expedition which seems plausible, and he then follows the consequences of this challenge to reveal how it had previously affected the natives on the planet, and how it affected the crew of the vessel.

Despite what seems to be an almost overwhelming setback to the members of the expedition, Mr. DeLancey leaves the reader with a sense of optimism that there might be a positive outcome.

However, to Dr. Dartnell's point about the “social contract” …. this was presented as a highly disciplined crew of humans who were able to sustain their positive interactions despite the stress.

From this reference, I found a possible explanation for the remarkable resilience of the North Vietnamese people:
http://www.historyonthenet.com/authenti ... index.html

Begin Quotation:
Confucian philosophy and ethics adopted from the Chinese continued to emphasize the importance of family (which often had 3 or more generations under 1 roof) and community over the needs and wants of the individual.  
End Quotation.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:21 pm

20170930 Reference #1, Page 21, Paragraph 1

Last week the post considered how the United States handled Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Begin Quotation:
I am tempted to think that the culture of a society is a factor in how the members of the society respond to massive stress.
End Quotation.

As of this writing, recovery from hurricanes Harvey and Irma seems to be proceeding reasonably smoothly. Individuals who lived in a nursing facility which went several days without air conditioning are still expiring, but the overall death toll seems moderate, compared to Katrina.

According to a Texas news source on September 6, 2017, the toll had reached 70 for Harvey.

Reports for hurricane Irma are scattered due to the number of separate regions.

A British source suggested there may have been 25 deaths in the Caribbean, and a Florida source suggested the toll in Florida may have reached 26.

However, as of this writing, conditions in Puerto Rico remain poor to bad. Despite the challenges of their “civilization” dropping back 100 years in the blink of an eye, I have heard (or seen) no reports of panic, and instead, multiple reports of coping and mutual assistance.

Squabbling on the social network Twitter is a reflection of the technology available in 2017.

On NPR yesterday, I heard an interview with a member of the Ham Radio community who had been communicating with operators in Puerto Rico. It would be my expectation that ham radio operators would tend to be better prepared for power outage than would the average citizen, but eventually reserves would be exhausted, unless preparations included installing renewable energy systems.

In Paragraph 1 on Page 21, Dr. Dartnell continues development of a scenario featuring organized gangs. I do not discount this possibility, if the culture of the community supports it.

My observation of recent hurricane responses in the Caribbean and Southern United States suggests that there is a very limited undercurrent of criminality that would support formation of gangs.

On the other hand, gangs are flourishing in parts of South America, and in some major cities in the United States, so a major disaster would provide fuel for people with these activity and mental patterns to assert themselves.

On balance, I think it would be possible to predict how specific cultures will react to severe stress such as Dr. Dartnell has imagined. The dark side will certainly strengthen where it is already rooted.

The future of Puerto Rico is very much in doubt, because it is a territory of the United States, and not a State. My expectation is that the stress of Hurricane Maria will lead to a change in the status of the territory, though what direction that change will take is most certainly not clear (to me).

Overall, in light of the warning Dr. Dartnell offers in "The Knowledge", I can see value in development of a resilient culture where that is possible, both in nurturing of positive capabilities, and in identifying and limiting negative ones. As Dr. Dartnell points out, leadership is going to appear in circumstances of stress, and the available followership is going to determine the outcome over time.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:37 pm

20171007 Reference #1, Page 21, Paragraph 2

In this short paragraph, Dr. Dartnell continues development of a scenario that might well occur after a major disaster. He quotes a line from "preppers".

This writing comes after the slaughter of 58 people and injury to 400 or more, at an outdoor music event in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the US.

One of the performers was quoted subsequently as saying he had changed his pro-gun position, after realizing that the pistol (I gather) he carried would have been useless against the automatic machine guns deployed by the shooter.

The United States population is at a cusp of a decision, it seems to me.

Dr. Dartnell's vision in the current chapter seems quite reasonable, but it is not very appealing. It presumes that people caught up in a major disaster will lose their humanity, or perhaps it presumes that those who have a more animalistic fundamental character will survive and "prosper". The drug lord culture that exists in 2017 in parts of South America give us a fairly accurate picture of what such a culture might look like.

Just as air travel is now encumbered in countless indignities brought about by the assaults against peaceful air travelers in recent decades in the US and elsewhere, so it is possible that checking into hotels may involve X-ray of luggage and hand inspections. This change of behavior would increase employment opportunities for those willing to operate inspection stations.

Alternatively, the mass of US citizens may decide to face the risk of another mass shooting and simply go about their business, as they have done in the case of movie theaters and schools and work places.

It's not clear to me at this point how the mass of the population is going to respond to this latest insult.

Meanwhile, experiments are underway in numerous other countries, where various levels of violence are occurring on a frequent basis.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:15 pm

20171014 Reference #1, Page 21, Paragraph 3

In this paragraph, Dr. Dartnell continues development of a nightmare scenario, featuring a presumption of ill will and base behavior on the part of a population affected.

While this kind of behavior has occurred in the past in some human cultures, it has most definitely not occurred in others. That said, in this paragraph Dr. Dartnell identifies places of incarceration as potential bases for conclaves of survivors who might feel (or have) the need to protect themselves from other survivors.

In light of the sophistication of weapons systems developed by various factions in recent decades, I am cautiously optimistic the “manning” of a prison might be an effective strategy, assuming the prison population had been released some time previous to the new use, and assuming the forces interested in taking over the facility are not equipped with some of the powerful systems available in 2017.

It would certainly be understandable if the occupying force were to look for and to acquire the most powerful weaponry that might be floating around during this period.

However, if the culture of the population in an area is of a less destructive disposition, it might be possible to put everyone to work on behalf of the entire community, as seems to have been the case in many examples current in 2017. I am thinking here, not only of regions devastated by natural disaster in the US, but refugee camps in many parts of the world, where “campers” are trying to work together as best they can to improve their collective circumstances.

Dr. Dartnell's more pessimistic scenario is visible in 2017, in failed or failing nation states in Africa. Armed factions are engaged in murder, rape, destruction and whatever else they think of to try to impose their will upon people of other tribes or belief systems. In those cases, it appears (to me) that the bleak landscape Dr. Dartnell has imagined is coming about through the intended actions of the human protagonists.

The Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria certainly have shown an understanding of the value of fortifications, but it appears that none of their fortifications are capable of holding against those who intend to remove them.

The quality of leadership in localities seems to be a significant factor in how a population deals with a calamity, but the underlying culture of that community may be even more significant.

(th)
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