This project began as a bit of practical industrial psychology, and ended up unfolding into an understanding of how most people in most human societies have a consistently distorted view of everything. Not everyone is caught in the confusion, and as the picture emerged, an alternative model of relationships between observable phenomena that seems to be experienced by creative programmers in software engineering, star diagnosticians in medicine, great physicists and mathematicians, so-called ADHD children, people who "Know Quality" in industry, poets, painters, sculptors and mystics became describable - but only in its own terms. The alternative picture is wholly rational, but not reductionistic. Best of all, it is scientifically grounded and experimentally testable. If the experiments fail we can junk it. If they work, we've learned something important.
By watching creative software engineers I learned how to teach the necessary state of mind to people who thought they couldn't do it. Then the similarity between creative engineers and children diagnosed as ADHD led to a remarkable idea. Important features of our culture put most people into a state where their brain chemistry is out of balance by age six, and this actually turns part of their awareness off. Get a whole society in this state, and they create a powerful logical blindspot that stops anyone seeing what is happening. The two effects protect each other and cause an awful lot of trouble.
I tested the blindspot idea by applying it to some profound mysteries in current physics, and answers came rolling out! The sums remain the same, but the underlying assumptions are different. This is all about awareness, so I applied the new physical model to the question of what consciousness is, and got an answer quite different to anything suggested to date. Bundle it all up, and I got a concrete picture of how the physical processes in the universe - including consciousness - fit together, and how they look from our point of view.
Then things got very Indiana Jones. I discovered that mystical or religious records from several traditions all contain unambiguous discussion of the same logical and physical concepts. It seems that many other people have seen this picture at different times and places. Since they couldn't directly communicate the picture to others because of the brain chemistry and logic problems defined here, they all contributed to creating a situation where it could be communicated. These people thought big. They used their understanding of the situation to make adjustments and create work oriented cultures that study science! Humanity would still be stuck in a social and cognitive tornado, but it would be gathering clues like crazy and eventually the penny would have to drop. Some of the parts of the solution are more obvious than others although one needs the big picture to tell the difference between payloads, transport mechanisms and side-effects.
The new physical model describes concrete processes that up until now have only been identified vaguely and intuitively by a minority of individuals with healthy brain chemistry but confused by their very language. This scientific treatment of spiritual experience resolves the disagreement between the two mindsets in the same way that an atom bomb would seem impossible unless one knew about fission and e = mc2, but with the physical theory one knows that the bomb can be built with uranium but not peanut butter.
By the time the papers were written, a review of the Programers' Stone transcripts had appeared on Slashdot. This led to the creation of the progstone mailing list at eGroups, and the support that has built this website. Here is the Irregular Activities page, and here is the News page at Melloworld.
The short text sections on this page are summaries of the ideas explored within each paper. All the papers themselves are hyperlinked to the underlined, bold section titles. At the end of each summary, there is a link to the full collection of additional materials, links and references for that paper. The project started by collecting practical teaching materials, and continued in that style. Here is an index of funny bits.
Alan G. Carter
Please feel free to format convert, mirror, or quote from this material. Tell me where your mirror or format conversion can be found, and I'll include a hotlink here. Currently Reciprocality is available at:
The Reciprocality Homepage www.reciprocality.org domain and hosting courtesy of Martin Hargreaves.
The Russian Homepage progstone.nm.ru/ translation and hosting courtesy of Serge Kozlov.
The Hungarian Homepage progstone.globalservice.hu translation and hosting courtesy of Peter Szabo.
The Beautified Homepage www.arn.f2s.com/Reciprocality beautification and hosting courtesy of Mindjammer.
The original home at Melloworld www.melloworld.com/Reciprocality courtesy of James Flynn.
UNIX users can download a tgz of the website. It untars into directory Reciprocality and all internal links are relative. The r0 subdirectory contains the Programmers' Stone material and can be copied into corporate intranets as a stand alone set of pages. 806K.
Microsoft users can download a ZIP of the website. Pkzip is available at www.pkware.com. Save reciprocality.zip in the folder where you want the website. Then using the Windows Explorer, doubleclick on reciprocality.zip. Pkzip will start. Choose Extract/Extract files... and click on the Extract button. Click on the Done button and dismiss Pkzip. The ZIP extracts into folder Reciprocality as above. 840K
This is a young and growing, collaborative project. Philip Arickx has set up an automated mailing list at eGroups for discussing Stone and Reciprocality related issues. It has several enthusiastic active members, and nearly 200 people following the discussions. To subscribe, please fill in this form.
There is also the Irregular Activities Page listing lots of interesting things that need following up on.
This part is included here to set the scene. It is not a part of the Project, rather it is what motivated it. Since the hyperlinked material was primarily intended for working computer programmers, I'll give a summary of what the Stone was about.
I wanted to get better at teaching software engineering. I quickly discovered that the trick of it was to turn my students' brains on. With the correct mental attitude in place, the details of anything they needed to do tended to sort themselves out.
Over many years I tried many things and kept whatever worked. The hyperlinked title leads to a complete set of my final material, which produces a step function in the usefulness of commercial IT staff, but is usually commercially inacceptable because it emphasises things like personal awareness and responsibility! Even more oddly, no-one will ever say why they will not discuss this stuff in commercial contexts - they just change the subject, or blame ISO9001 (which in itself is not to blame) every time.
I was of course aware that the direction my teaching practice was going in was
the exact opposite of trends in the industry, which had come to believe in
something called the Software Factory. In this, unskilled "code monkeys"
are rewarded when they pretend to be mindless automatons themselves, executing
programs found in shelfware - so called standards documents - which are taken
as behavioural tramlines and micropoliced like scenes out of Monty Python's
"Spanish Inquisition" sketch. Which causes a problem if the program they must
write is not exactly the same as a program that has been written before. And
that's all a good programmer should do! I was also aware that the way I was
teaching students to approach problems worked, whereas Software
Factories are a silly idea, sterile from the beginning.
I had a feeling I was onto something very important indeed here. It was the
psychological equivalent of a stick with one end. If only I could find a way
to look at it without getting cross-eyed, I could learn more than I could
ever have hoped about the nature of "reality".
So I stopped teaching and started investigating.
I had a feeling I was onto something very important indeed here. It was the psychological equivalent of a stick with one end. If only I could find a way to look at it without getting cross-eyed, I could learn more than I could ever have hoped about the nature of "reality". So I stopped teaching and started investigating.
Knowledge Autoformalisation An approach that is very compatible with the Stone.
Extreme Programming A summary of the new book.
Unsolicited Testimonial To the power of the Programmers' Stone.
TRIZ A remarkable Russian website describing an approach that complements the Stone. One point - while the objective laws governing the development of technical systems are quite real, the resultant algorithm is not proceduralisable in a programmatic sense. The use of the word "imaginative" at each point in the description of the algorithm recognises this. TRIZ could be used to semi-proceduralise the ideas in the Stone for introduction to the workplace, and the Stone explores the necessary psychological development of the TRIZ user.
The Cathedral and the Bazaar Eric S. Raymond's paper on the incredible flexibility and efficiency of co-operative software development compared to central planning - let alone the commerical dumb compliance policing model.
Mining Usefulness As opposed to compliance. For example.
The Jargon File The classic celebration of hacker culture, maintained by Eric S. Raymond.
Design Patterns in MFC An interesting study of the design patterns that can be seen in the MFC and other graphical toolkits.
M0 is a previously unsuspected public health problem. It is ancient and vast, and only fragments of information regarding its origins and the psychological state of humans prior to its instantiation have passed down to us. It consists of a neurochemical effect induced by boring social conditions that people get addicted to like some athletes get addicted to their own adrenaline and end up B. A. S. E. jumping.
People so hooked on their own boredom products lose access to a whole layer of cognitive abilities based on the use of precisely tuned feedback loops in the brain. The trouble is, they don't even notice anything is wrong, firstly because they can't see what they can no longer see, and secondly because they experience an artificial sense of well-being and see repetitive behaviour as an inherent good. They are also distressed by novelty, because it induces a physiological withdrawal. There is a cultural distortion produced by having a majority of people in this state, which makes it difficult to ask the questions that would expose it. There is natural immunity, and natural immunes have their own interesting strengths (and weaknesses, in the circumstances). It's why some people are more "with it" than others. They just aren't sick in this sense, and so they can perceive and then dynamically replan to include, the implicit.
Ritual junkies don't know they are junkies and so have no opportunity to exercise their will in the face of addictive behaviour. They get nasty when deprived of ritual or subjected to novelty. It's why programming, which should always be about solving new problems every time, degrades into ritualised bullying to "follow procedures" with empty outcomes in commercial settings. The ritual is more important than the result, and most people don't have the cognitive capacity to be fluent with problem domains and understand programs holistically, as non-trivial systems must be understood. This is why the commercial software sector hasn't produced anything new since 1993 while freeware is heading for a Vingian Singularity. This website is powered by Linux.
Fear of withdrawal (addicts) or bullying by addicts (immunes) makes this subject difficult for most people to discuss, although they are not able to say why. It's frightening, but it's beatable - that's how the Programmers' Stone worked.
Here are the full additional materials, links and references.
An Introduction to M0 A succinct introduction to the M0 concept by Joss Earl.
An Example Of how the M0 effect sneaks up on people in the workplace.
Consensual Boredom and Nausea Some discussion of the way common situations are constructed to maximise boredom, and the physical distress that some natural immunes experience in these situations.
The Howtos Some useful techniques for people free of dopamine self-addiction.
Is M0 A Racist Hypothesis? Extracts from some correspondance which addresses this misunderstanding, which is much more common than it should be.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by Prof. Russell Barkley, from the September 1998 Scientific American. This seminal article documents the discovery of the polymorphic dopamine D4 receptor in the brain.
National Attention Deficit Disorder Association Lots of information about ADHD.
What's It Like To Have ADD? Written by Edward Hallowell M.D. who doesn't seem to be too unhappy with his superior mode of cognition. The state of mind Hallowell describes here is very compatible with the MO argument, exploitation of feedback in cognition etc.
The NIDS Board A group of clinicians who have identified evidence of viral infection similarities between quiet ADHD children, acquired autism children, and people with CFIDS (ME). Their model is that a slealth virus causes the other problems. This conflicts with the model here, which says that the immune system weakness is caused by the stress of being normal in an abnormal world.
Looking Skills The attitude in this spoof piece is what one hears in many commercial IS09001 discussions, and from educational psychologists and the like discussing ADHD.
Pay Attention An editorial from New Scientist describing how 4 million American children are now being drugged with Ritalin to "cure" a supposedly genetic disease that was unknown a generation ago.
The cultural distortion produced by a society of people who are addicted to their own boredom products without knowing it turns out to be a very simple and elegant thing. It might have been some kind of amazingly complex network of linguistic errors or something (Samuel R. Delany's "Babel 17" came to mind at one point) - but it isn't.
It consists of a mistake that is made initially by the natural immunes in a ritual addicted society, where their intuition keeps telling them there is something not right, but their paradigm, culture and language prevent them from comprehending or expressing what it is. Faced with this dilemma in childhood, natural immunes develop the capacity to perceive conventionally - to actually see what other people say is there rather than what their own senses tell them.
The really wonderful thing about the distortion is that it doesn't matter if the capacity is ever used to subconsciously edit perception. Just erecting the perceptual "apparatus" to be able to do it introduces a precisely definable logical error at the base of all thinking, which then propagates all the way up to produce a characteristic error in the conclusions the person comes to. There is an Inner Not at the base of all thinking that ends up as an invisible and unremovable Ghost Not that makes the conclusions invalid. It is because of this generality that the effect is so mathematically elegant.
Some of the other results of the Project may be more immeadiately striking, but it is the Ghost Not that is the jewel. It is what all the work with programmers and the M0 effect leads to, and from it comes everything else. It stands alone, and is so beautiful it is obvious once one knows the trick of it, yet invisible otherwise. But meditate upon the wonder of the Ghost Not and make your own mind up!
The Ghost Not - Key Points A very succinct description of the Ghost Not concept by Constantine Plotnikov.
Thoughts on Improving the Presentation Some futher discussion of the core idea, and different ways to express it.
Multi-Dimensional Critical Thinking A remarkable paper by Prof. N. N. Nepejvoda that parallels much of the M0 thinking. Translated from the Russian by the author. Portable Document Format.
Motivational Inversion Some discussion of the idea that the Ghost Not converts selfishness into anti altruism, altruism into anti selfishness, rationalism into anti spirituality and spirituality into anti rationalism.
Ghost Not Ethics What happens to ethics in a delusional logical field caused by an underlying disbelief in objective reality.
The Human Evasion by Celia Green. This remarkable work takes over in the human psychological context where "2: The Ghost Not" leaves off. The Ghost Not provides a single logical distortion to account for the observed Evasion, while the Evasion works through the human consequences of the Ghost Not.
Stephane Lupasco A prior discoverer of some of the formal aspects of the Ghost Not, who realised the consequences for antangonism based transactions.
The Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself. Sane comments from a Ghost Not infested world.
If the Ghost Not was what it seemed to be, it should be able to offer immense insights into problems that have until now seemed intractable, because of the psychological distortion it causes. So I tested it by looking for the signs of its presence in people's thinking about the deep problems in physics.
It was an astonishing experience. Within a few short days I had an adjustment of existing concepts which produced something I had never seen before, and that seems to be allowable by prior knowledge, explains an awful more with a simpler theory than we have had to date, and integrates far, far more.
It offers a picture where gravitational and inertial mass have a common cause, where the redshift can be explained without exempting the observer from scaling with the rest of the universe, where there are no philosophical problems in quantum mechanics, and where we know why the geometry of nature is fractal.
It doesn't necessarily matter if this picture is correct or not, for two reasons. Firstly the construction of this novel picture as a job of work undertaken using the Ghost Not as a tool supports the argument that the Ghost Not effect on human psychology is real. Secondly, there is no doubt that the universe it describes is the one that sources usually regarded as magically informed thought they were living in, as is shown is 6: History.
Predeterminism in Relativity A quote from Kip Thorne's "Black Holes and Time Warps" showing that predeterminism really does lurk within Relativity.
Some Further Discussion Of the ideas.
Availability, Exergy, the Second Law and all that... An interesting example of what happens when we turn a part of the current physical paradigm upside down. What we know about some energy is more important than how much of it we have.
Backwards Causation A New Scientist item on Lawrence Schulman's work. Backwards causation gets statistical validation. Experiential diode concepts apply, and we don't need the "regions of this universe" bit!
The Speed of Gravity The evidence this fellow cites is correct. Amaze yourself. Check it out!
The universe described above has the property, that the one we have been thinking we live in does not, that it is arranged as a Bennett machine. This changes the entire debate regarding the nature of consciousness, like the Ghost Not breaths new life into physics.
A Model of Consciousness Proposed by Joss Earl.
Consciousness and Heat Further discussion of the relationship.
One Thousand Minds is a freeware project which is intended to test the model of consciousness.
The Programmers' Stone, and the M0 hypothesis, made progress when I dropped unhelpful language, and allowed the ideas to stand on their own terms. This paper attempts to do the same thing for the ideas in the preceding two papers. The structure of the result is clearly recognisable as the structure of the ideas found in Steiner, Gurdjieff, Bailey and the Gnostic Gospel. It seems that whenever people see around M0, they see the same thing. Hence we have an ADHD, hacker, mystic character type. The mystics go on about stuff that is obvious to inspection for M0 free people, but people trapped in M0 don't have the necessary hardware features working in their brains to understand it.
An Expression of the Paradigm by Zach Gold.
A Quotation from Bennett that parallels Zach.
Speculations Some extreme speculations within the paradigm.
Dynamical Symmetries: Autopoietic Architecture by Nigel Reading. This reasoned, creative flow of ideas captures the harmony of Hypertime and the fusion of inductive and deductive reasoning that M0 free humans can accomplish.
Re-Evolution by Terence McKenna. A remarkable expression of the key ideas in the paper and a description of shamanism in those terms.
Hypertime is an interesting idea. It might even be correct, and it explains an awful lot. This paper is very different to the rest. It shows quite unambiguously that whether it is true or not, it is certainly the universe that Jesus (and other mystics) all thought they were living in. It does it by providing an explicit, physical interpretation of all 114 Logia in the earliest known Christian source document, called the "Gospel of Thomas". Note that in hypertime, complex structures self-create by seeding themselves with copies of their own future state. There is also a thermodynamic explaination available of course, although sometimes these explainations get very implausible. That's the difference between so-called body and so-called spirit.
Religion Design and Purpose Some thinking on what religions are for, and how they are designed.
With the confusion surrounding cognition sorted out, and a paradigm established which - whether or not it is correct - is clearly one that many in full cognition have seen throughout the ages, it is possible to discuss many subjective phenomena that are rarely discussed, and yet which seem to form a part of the experience of a great many effective and creative people. This applies as much to technologists as artists - the artists just discuss it more.
The first step in sorting out the question of whether these experiences reflect reality or not, is understanding what kind of a reality we think they occur in.
Channeling Some very interesting comments from our Bangkok Wizard.
Steiner Some quotes from Rudolf Steiner that indicate he really did have the Reciprocality concepts - and that Reciprocality expresses the mystical truths Steiner understood.