By Daniel Pouzzner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
first revision 1999, last update 2016-Dec-6
“...it is worth discussing radical changes, not in the expectation that they will be adopted promptly but for two other reasons. One is to construct an ideal goal, so that incremental changes can be judged by whether they move the institutional structure toward or away from that ideal. The other reason is very different. It is so that if a crisis requiring or facilitating radical change does arise, alternatives will be available that have been carefully developed and fully explored.”
Economic and political innovism is a novel form of capitalist syndicalism, with many of the pragmatic features of minarchist libertarianism and socialism, and the general spirit of classical liberalism. Philosophically, innovism is roughly the union of radical pragmatic naturalism with psychological cognitivism. Alas, such a description simply begs certain questions: What is useful? What is nature? What is the mind? This little manifesto is an attempt to fill out the details.
The human species is universally and inherently technological and cultural. Without the technologies of clothing and controlled fire, people could not survive outside tropical climates at all. People lack the complex survival behavior instincts of other species, so without culture, people would have no way to learn the methods of survival. Thus technology and culture are our nature. Innovism is an ethic whose form reflects this nature. Innovation is the economic realization of inventions — things new in kind — and innovism articulates the moral priority of innovation and whatever contributes to it. Put more generally, the morality of innovism is roughly a hybrid of act and rule utilitarianism in which the moral poles are simply defined by evolutionary success (i.e., pragmatically) rather than by the pleasure of Bentham or the happiness of Mill.
The practical agenda of innovism is to facilitate the inventive and productive activities of conscious systems, foremost among which on earth today are humans. It is a complete moral system, in that it is in itself a sufficient guide for successful conscious living. But innovism does not prescribe particular courses of action for particular circumstances. Instead, it provides guidelines for evaluating the relative merits of available courses of action, and in its legal embodiments, proscribes certain acts classified as crimes.
The innovist ethic denies the legitimacy of mystic faith — of conclusions drawn on logically insufficient evidence, or indeed, of absolute certainty in any case. However, one need not purge oneself of mystic faith to be an innovist, even a good one. This is fortunate, since mystic faith is an inseparable component of the human condition.
In innovist epistemology, knowledge is not absolute, but rather is held with a level of confidence commensurate with its experiential grounding. It is natural that facts themselves are uncertain, but rather, are associated with probabilities. Reality is comprehensively probabilistic, and if scrutinized very closely, is a heaving froth of uncertainty (as quantified by quantum mechanical theory). There is, however, a sort of faith intrinsic to innovism: a faith that the universe makes sense, that there are eternal rules, knowable with great confidence albeit not with perfect certainty, that inexorably and without exception (though probabilistically) govern the behavior of matter and energy everywhere in the universe. This faith is, of course, justified in large part by evidence amassed and analyzed by disciplined scientists. The fact of existence — that the universe exists — cannot apparently be demystified by science, since science presupposes existence, therefore begging the question. Even were a future superintelligence to characterize, or even interact with, a specific agency physically outside this universe and responsible for the architecture of this universe, this would in no way fundamentally demystify the question, since it would only lead us to reformulate the question with reference to this agency's existence. “Turtles all the way down”, as it were.
The epistemology of innovism is asymptotic realism — roughly, the scientific method. This is actually naturalism, in that it admits no a priori knowledge, instead understanding knowledge as progressively forming from observation, particularly from experimentation and pattern recognition. Often, this is described as a sort of null epistemology. There is of course knowledge implicit in biological inheritance, eons of Darwinian evolution having collected in our genes innumerable lessons about the real world. Fundamentally, though, these lessons are as experiential as those an individual collects over his lifetime through his senses. Repeatability is paramount in both cases — an experiential result insusceptible to replication is rejected by the scientist, and an inheritance associated with a circumstance that does not recur is evanescent.
Importantly, innovism features the view that individuals (particularly, individual minds) are physical objects within one single universal reality that they share with each other and with all other physical objects, and that there is no non-physical dimension or aspect to individuals, even while the physical aspects of individuals are far from comprehensively understood, and likely always will be.
The implementation of innovism is an economic, psychological, sociological, and political endeavor, guided by reason (or rather, by reasonable thought, which can approach but cannot of course attain perfect reason) founded on systematic observation of physical phenomena. Here, “reason” signifies thought borne of experience. It is only by thinking reasonably that people can expect to live among each other in basic harmony, and it is only in basic sociological harmony that the individual can fully realize his innovative and productive potential. Facilitating realization of this individual potential is the paramount good of societies, and societies that fail in this regard are not good.
Innovism is not constructed or advertised as a work of opinion or invention. My enterprise here is to disclose, with a minimal but adequate level of detail, how individuals and cultures can best survive and prosper. This is primarily a scientific endeavor of experimentation, observation, discovery, and logical extension (as by deduction and induction). The innovist system of law and government I propose is a work of architecture, and thus a work of art and not just one of science, but law is somewhat rigidly predetermined by a well-defined morality, so that the act of construction is less one of invention than one of translation. Law must, in any case, be held accountable for its practical results, as they relate to the morality that law is intended to institutionalize.
Innovism incidentally exhibits some of the important features, and employs some of the methods, of Enlightenment naturalism and deism, evolutionary psychology, the liberalism of Ludwig von Mises, the Utilitarianism of John Stewart Mill, and a variety of other similar and related naturalistic ethics and philosophies. Perhaps its most direct antecedent is the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) or, as he came to call it after 1905, pragmaticism (a coined term “ugly enough to be safe from kidnappers”). Innovism is not, however, derived from any of these, and differs with most of them in important ways, and with each of them in some ways. Innovism is derived from empirical primitives, and its conceptual architecture, the development of which I continually guide and validate using a systems methodology, seeks harmony with the totality of nature — in particular, with the rules that are its innermost substance.
I do not offer this treatise as any sort of gospel or dogma. Innovism is not a religion or in any sense idealist or utopian. Rather, innovism is first and foremost a pragmatic method for pursuing, attaining, and sustaining prosperity — of individuals, of nations, of worlds. Here and henceforth herein, “prosperity” denotes a condition in which the individual and his society expand their legacy and extent synergistically.
I am a pragmatic individual, a working commercial system software architect and engineer, and a neuroscientist, and innovism as I describe it below is the system that largely guides my thought, and by which I work to direct my action. Innovism itself (the system, as distinguished from its fruits) is not sophisticated, is not (since the Enlightenment and the incorporation of its naturalistic branch as the United States) intellectually revolutionary, and is not intended to dazzle. I do not maintain that — or care if — these ideas are original, though I suspect some of them are. My purpose is simply to convince others to adhere to and act on these principles, as I myself already do, because this is in my interests — both because of the immediate and obvious increases in liberty and satisfaction I would enjoy, and of course because the practical realization of innovism is one of my great goals and visions. I hope to convince others to adhere to and act on these principles by explaining how it is in their interests to do so — and of course, by personal example.
Innovist epistemology emphasizes that perceptive awareness is prerequisite to understanding, but not vice versa. In general, the actuality and nature of a physical phenomenon (a shining star, a growing tree, a running computer, a cogitating human consciousness, etc.) is not predicated on or specially affected by conscious awareness or understanding of the phenomenon.
Thus the epistemology of innovism regarding phenomena not following from one's own intentions is neutral empiricism. But where intention is involved, innovism features an intense internal accountability: the individual must strive to understand his actions, in terms of the specific causes and objectives of the action, and to take only actions he understands (albeit, inevitably, imperfectly). In this way, the individual tends to avoid acting contrary to his own interests, or otherwise violating his own principles.
In innovism, knowledge may be held with greater or lesser confidence, with greater or lesser actual error, but authenticity is a characteristic of intentions and actions. An authentic intention is one whose external source and conscious ultimate end are something other than the expression by or evocation in one's mind, or the minds of others, of emotions, opinions, attitudes, or intentions, and an authentic action is the product of an authentic intention. In practice, in a society, often it is impossible to decisively differentiate authentic from inauthentic intentions if they are judged only by the actions they cause, because often social means are a viable — indeed, the only viable — avenue for the realization of particular non-social ends. For example, a naval architect can only realize an aircraft carrier by recruiting the intentions of a great many other people, and that his means consists wholly of such recruitment does not in any sense necessarily render his intention inauthentic. If his true goal is the construction of a working aircraft carrier (or the winning of wars, etc.), he is authentic in his goal. Conversely, a steelworker whose only purpose in working steel with his hands is to impress his coworkers and make money to impress his girlfriend, is not an authentic steelworker, though he may of course be authentic in some other way, and may indeed be a competent steelworker even though his heart isn't in it.
This distinction of authenticity has a parallel in society at large. Inventors, innovators, and scientists, are often authentic, in that their intention is to introduce to the world information, or a process, that has endurance. They deliberately design their creations so that they will endure even absent the continued supervision of their discoverer or creator. Through their creations, such people have a sort of immortality. In contrast, a class of people one might call “power brokers” — chiefly, a great variety of managers and bureaucrats — seek to arrange the world around them so that nothing can happen without their permission, with this authority serving as their primary expressive outlet. They arrange the world thusly, as a strategy whereby they can prevent events they expect to disfavor their interests — in particular, events that would attenuate their social authority, or diminish their social influence (as chiefly embodied in money and other negotiable instruments and possessions they hold, and in institutions and mechanisms of fame and celebrity). However, by pursuing this strategy, they assure that their lives have no meaningful legacy — that their death is absolute. Moreover, to the degree they succeed in arranging the world to their design, their deaths are disruptive disasters for their survivors. Power brokers are, of course, usually inauthentic. The United States Senate, with its filibuster and hold rules, is an obvious example of power broker institutionalization.
The individual economic discipline of innovism is systematic providence. Its central concept is that the individual must choose, embrace, and adhere to a rational system of principles. A rational system is a system formed such that if an individual adheres to it, in his actual present and likely future social and economic context, the result he reasonably expects is personal prosperity for him, for his ideological cohorts, and for his hereditary descendents, and the perpetual endurance of his system of principles, in the minds of others.
As even a cursory examination reveals, individuals who adhere to a system of principles that is not accompanied by such an expectation invite biological or cultural extinction.
Two important corollaries can be discerned, the first enumerating the necessity of robustness through independence, and the second enumerating the necessity of robustness through scalability (capacity to accommodate increase in scale).
(1) If an individual were to adhere to his system of principles for many years of complete social isolation, he must reasonably expect he would be personally prosperous (neglecting the poverty inherent in isolation).
(2) If everyone evermore were to adhere to the same system of principles as the individual does, he must reasonably expect nearly all — almost certainly including himself — would be perpetually prosperous, in the current generation and in all future generations (neglecting cosmic timescales that may make universal cataclysm or enervation inevitable).
It is certainly neither necessary nor a practical expectation that adherence to one particular individual's system of principles be actually practical in detail for everyone else. There is room for a great deal of variety in personal principles, just as biological evolution teaches us there is room for a great deal of variety in inborn natures within and among species, and this is important from two points of view: because it makes society robust as a system, and because it accommodates variations in the mental predilections of individual humans (or of non-human people). This variation also facilitates economic specialization and its concomitant productivity advantages.
Importantly, a system of principles that is expected to lead to cultural survival (perpetuation of the system of principles) but not to biological hereditary survival is actually viable. It logically presupposes the prosperity of culture-bearing minds. From the perspective of consciousness (the preeminent perspective of all), human biology is just one of an innumerable variety of vehicles, and is in fact far from optimal (due particularly to vulnerability to disease and irreversible injury, exacting environmental and nutritional requirements, a lifespan too short for interstellar travel, and practically irreducible mortality). Powerful ideas are more robust than human biology, and barring premature extinction, human ideas will eventually be perpetuated and propagated by other, artificial, conscious living organisms. None of this detracts from the enormous associative power and subtlety of the human mind, which (notwithstanding propaganda to the contrary) are not rivalled presently or prospectively by those of the thinking machines of the present day.
Principles are actually goals — specifically, goals that by design endure and are not dismantled when they are exemplified by momentary circumstance (instantiated). Indeed, some principles are prohibitions, so that in a way they are constantly being achieved. Goals are themselves a special type of cognitive model, in which action or refrain from action on the part of the individual influences the predicted outcome, and in which a particular outcome is preferred. (Though note that a desire, such as my desire to see the Boston Red Sox win the World Series (chalk that one up in the done column), is not a goal if the individual has no influence over the outcome.)
The discipline of systematic providence is, in its essence, the practice of identifying, adopting, organizing, and pursuing goals whose realization is likely to result in prosperity and hence in survival. These are the characteristics of rational goals.
In humans, goals are gossamer physical objects within brains. They are formed from an interplay between randomness and the environment. The randomness is inherent to the brain's physiology, and arises overwhelmingly from thermodynamic effects. The environment can be neatly divided into the hereditary environment (the phylogenetic brain features inherited from ancestors) and the non-hereditary environment. Compared to other species, in humans a very high proportion of goal structure is contributed by the non-hereditary environment. The non-hereditary environment can be divided into social and non-social components. “Culture” and “society” are common terms for the social component. There are traces of culture in a few non-human earth species, but civilization — the preeminent example and accumulation of culture — is, on earth, uniquely human. Nonetheless, the contribution of the non-social non-hereditary environment — enabled by direct observation of and interaction with physical reality, without a social intermediary — is immense.
The central concept of systematic providence can be recapitulated for particular single goals.
A particular goal is rational to the degree that its pursuit and achievement contribute constructively to the long term survival of the heredity or culture (system of principles) of the individual, and irrational to the degree that it is destructive to that long term survival.
A particular goal is rational to the degree that its pursuit and achievement is strategically, operationally, and tactically symbiotic with other goals of the individual, and irrational to the degree that it conflicts.
A particular goal is rational to the degree that the costs and risks of its pursuit, the advantage of its realization, and the estimated likelihood of realization, compare favorably to those of other goals that the individual has not adopted.
A particular goal is rational to the degree that it, possibly in necessary concert with the pursuit and achievement of other goals of the individual, is likely to be achieved. This achievement need not necessarily occur within the biological lifespan of the individual. A goal is irrational if it is expected that it will not be achieved.
A goal is less likely to be achieved if its pursuit is not pleasurable. This is because the brain, by phylogenetic predisposition, tends to abandon unpleasurable pursuits, and in particular, to abandon painful pursuits with a rapidity proportional to the pain.
Pleasure and pain guide the mind's path, and sculpt the brain inexorably. Courses of action that the mind expects to bring pleasure or halt pain are pursued, and those it expects to bring pain or halt pleasure are avoided. When expectations are not met, they are altered (in a healthy mind) to bring them closer to registration with real results. The computation of pleasurability is itself by phylogenetic predisposition, though certain of these predispositions are effectively plastic. Specifically, the pursuit and achievement of goals is intrinsically pleasurable, and setback or failure of a goal is intrinsically painful, regardless of the specifics of the goal. This distinction of goals, largely pivoting on the neurotransmitter dopamine and the brain mechanisms that control its supply, is one of the physiological characteristics that distinguish ordinary cognitive models from cognitive models that are goals.
Prosperity is psychologically stable, because it tends to be accompanied by pleasure and to facilitate avoidance of pain. Prosperity facilitates (though does not make inevitable) survival and innovation, and innovation is necessary to perpetuate prosperity. Continued prosperity relies on innovation for many reasons, among which is a Nash-equilibrium-like inevitability that innovation by rivals will leave one at an economic disadvantage unless one answers innovation with innovation.
Innovism and nature favor ability, talent, industry, determination, and organization, because all of these favor efficacious productivity, which is an immediate advantage in competitions.
People neither have nor lack “free will” — the very phrase is an oxymoron. Each and every goal — will — actually reduces freedom. Before a goal is embraced, a wider variety of goals and actions is rational. The choice to embrace one of the goals possible at a given moment follows from the interplay of randomness with the fruits of experience, preceding that moment. Each goal forbids or discourages certain actions, and demands or encourages certain actions. Each goal leads to other goals. Each inborn predilection is a goal. Everything in the mind originates either in the environment or from randomness. The future is certainly not predetermined, particularly in its details, and each individual is certainly profoundly unique, but the “free will” discussed by historical philosophers was a dualistic blunder, meaningless in the final analysis.
“Rational self-interest” is nothing more or less than the pursuit of rational goals, and is the very requisite substance of survival. As commonly used, “greed” and “selfishness” are entirely different matters from rational self-interest. “Selfishness” is used to mean the pursuit of goals whose pursuit or achievement produce a short term or superficial advantage, but a long term or fundamental disadvantage, and so is obviously contrary to self-interest. “Greed” is used to denote a pathological acquisitiveness, in which so much of something — influence, material goods, an emotional state — is concentrated in one's own hands that the concentration is actually deleterious to one's self-interest. Dictators — criminalistic hoarders of social power — don't retire, usually they die, often with their whole families, or languish in prison, or run and hide. Those preoccupied with material acquisition never attain genuine satisfaction. Those who hoard pure emotional bliss seldom achieve anything of surviving consequence, and often die of drug overdoses or while away their years in cults — often celibate, always prostrate, having systematically and thoroughly abandoned independent and original thought.
An innovist isn't like those people at all. He often has time and energy to spare. He usually acts with confidence, seldom with urgency, and is never frantic. He knows it's better to be right than to be early — he knows the universe awaits the right with boundless patience (while remembering that getting there first is vital). He is playful, and regularly, he plays — though there will usually be a consistency, an overlap, between his work and his play. He knows play serves both as recuperation and as practice. He knows it's important to spin the machinery of his mind and body in a setting where successes and failures don't have lasting consequences, free of the weight of his life's grand designs and the resistance he encounters in their pursuit. He is emboldened to think more adventurously, thereby discovering new methods he can apply in pursuing his grand designs, and escaping the traps he encounters in the pursuit. Eventually, play becomes his constant and integral companion in work. He sustains his endeavors through internal motivation, relying on the consent or support of no particular person or group. And he may be a she.
An innovist may sometimes be quite alone, but this is not because he enjoys prolonged solitude. Sometimes solitude is necessary for clarity of mind. Other times solitude is a more general circumstance he creates after observing that the company of those he has left behind was destructive to his ends. The innovist neither needs nor seeks validation in the opinions of others — opinion cannot truly validate — but he knows the thoughts of others drive their actions, and so can have direct consequences for him. Moreover he knows others can enlighten and correct him with their knowledge and wisdom, and satisfy his human appetites.
Given that humans are the only articulate sentiences on earth or known to humans, innovism is inevitably aimed initially at humans. Humans are social creatures, and in ways large and small — from simple peace of mind, to the very continuation of the unbroken chain of generations — socializing is integral to human prosperity and survival. Nonetheless, since each individual human is fragile and temporary, one must strive to avoid fundamental dependence for one's subsistence (either economic or mental) on the survival or fidelity of any one human individual or closely associated set of individuals. In a superficial irony, one of the chief concerns answered by this principle is that one is less dependable for one's family, friends, and colleagues, if the loss of someone among them renders one insolvent or disconsolate — that is, if one has an intractable dependence on someone one might lose. With a preponderance of this sort of dependence, a community of friends and family can fail in a cascade, like falling dominos. By being independent (yet robustly social), a human not only promotes his own prosperity and survival, but that of his family, friends, and colleagues. Thus, dependence is antisocial, and independence is socially responsible.
An innovist doesn't accept or embrace envy. He may be profusely talkative or resolutely taciturn, but he strives to choose his words with care, and means them to be heard, understood, and remembered. He prefers that others agree with him, but he knows this will often not be the case, and sometimes when it is not the case, it is he who is in error. A disagreement is certainly not in and of itself sufficient reason for him to abandon another, even if the disagreement is prolonged. Indeed, disagreement may be an opportunity for personal improvement. He draws attention to disagreements only when it is in his interests to do so — typically, only when he perceives a potential for fruitful resolution. He changes his mind when he finds or is given logically sufficient reason to, but never without reason — and authority, consensus, and convention, are not in themselves reasons.
When good art — which is to say, art which effectively and pleasurably entrains the mind through the senses — happens to be motivated by or to promote a repugnant principle, an innovist often enjoys it nonetheless, ignoring the nonsense of the repugnant principle. There is a vast canon of brilliant music ostensibly inspired by and singing the praises of religions and their senseless tenets, and the madness of the latter does not abnegate the brilliance of the former. An innovist is enterprising, economical, and opportunistic. He takes and keeps what has worth, often with a smile, and discards the rubbish, sometimes with derisive laughter, sometimes with rigid gravity, but always after conscious consideration. He is worldly and wise, but with minimal sophistication.
The capstone principle of innovism is that which facilitates innovation is good and that which impedes it is evil. This is a dynamical definition, by which I mean it is expressed in terms of processes and changes. A typical act has a complicated structure, some components of which would by themselves have moral significance different from that of the act as a whole. Any act has a complicated set of expected and actualized consequences, which are themselves related to the points of the moral compass of innovism in a complicated way. Thus it is hard work to be good — indeed, hard work just to recognize good. Moreover, as will be explained in greater depth below, innovation is but one component of an inseparable triad composed of innovation, competition, and cooperation. This triad is a common and recognizable form of an evolutionary operating system, and innovism, most generally and primitively, is the effective maintenance and enhancement of evolutionary operating systems. In the final analysis, that which facilitates innovation cannot but facilitate the operation of the whole evolutionary operating system, and that which impedes innovation necessarily degrades the whole evolutionary operating system. Thus, the capstone principle of innovism can be equivalently stated that which facilitates evolution is good and that which impedes it is evil.
Innovism's moral poles can be restated casually as follows: right and wrong, primitively, are that which works and that which doesn't work (respectively, of course). Western culture embodies at least some awareness of this fact, evidenced for example by the word “demoralize”, from the French “demoraliser” of same meaning (“1: to corrupt the morals of 2a: to weaken the morale of 2b: to destroy the normal functioning of”). From this precipitates the realization that so-called “human rights” — also termed “individual rights” or “civil rights” — have no first-class existence, but are only corollaries of pragmatic significance (working versus not working).
In engineering, a system is right if it works — that is, if it successfully fulfills the design objective. The ways in which the system fails are the ways in which the system is wrong, and one or more of the components or design parameters that contribute to the failure mode are the specific substance of the error. A component in the system is neither right nor wrong if it neither contributes to nor impedes fulfillment of the system's design objective. As a practical matter, a component seldom escapes decisive judgement, since maintenance of the component's intactness is itself a cost, so that a component that does not positively contribute to fulfillment of the design objective is invariably wrong, albeit usually weakly.
In mathematics an item is right if it is consistent with the mathematical system it is added to, and wrong if it is inconsistent. A proof works if it conclusively proves the theorem, and to do so it must not contain any wrong items. Such a proof is a right proof. If it fails to prove the theorem, or contains wrong items, it is a wrong proof. The inclusion of items that neither contribute to nor impede proving the theorem is roughly akin to inclusion of do-nothing components in an engineered system.
Innovism concludes that moral right and wrong are the same right and wrong as engineering and mathematical right and wrong. With innovism, the system at issue is the whole of the universe. It would be useful, then, to identify the objective, the goal, of the universe, allowing a definition of right as that which works (approaches or fulfills that goal) according to universal physical principles, and of wrong as that which doesn't work by that measure. This search is strictly doomed, since there is no oracle to ask, but the search itself is illuminating.
As long as there is a universe here, it evolves. It applies universal physical principles to the data set that is the current configuration of matter-energy. That is the aspect of the universe that might best be considered its objective — the goal is a process, not a terminus. Indeed, there exists no decisive success, only decisive failure, since success is continued existence with its attendant exigencies, whereas failure is the cessation of existence. By examining universal physical principles and the tendencies they engender, one can refine one's conception of the objective of the universe, and learn how better to work in harmony with it. An important step of refinement is the observation that order and randomness are both incipient, and their interaction produces organization.
Organization is that most basic process, the distinguishing of organs — collections of matter — from each other according to their function and their relations with other organs (though be careful to realize that an organization — a collection of interrelated organs — can be meaningful and authentic even if it has no association with other organizations). An organ is typically influenced by other organs, and its function determines how it influences other organs. The collection of organs and links of influence among them is a network.
A robust organization will be a network containing hierarchies of organs and suborgans, with ample embellishment supplemental to the skeletal hierarchies, and redundancy at important nodes. Some portions of the network will bear little or no resemblance to a hierarchy; at other levels it will be almost entirely hierarchical. Often there will be cycles in the network, and there are always network cycles in a conscious organization. Often there are different natural aspects to an organization, with which can be associated different network descriptions. In an animal brain, for example, it is useful to separately describe neurochemical networks (constituting metabolic cycles, accumulations, and dynamics), anatomical networks (constituting discrete cell populations and linkages, and the related ultrastructure), data processing networks (constituting the relatively abstract mechanisms whereby information is represented, processed, stored, and retrieved), and information networks (constituting the organism's actual knowledge, goals, and thoughts). The brain is of course a single unitary organization in reality, and can only be fully understood as such. This becomes obvious when one seeks to describe the biology of learning, for example, wherein information naturally understood within the data processing network model is transmuted by metabolism and modulation of gene expression into information residing in anatomy.
One can arrange a piece of the universe in such a way that the information embodied by that arrangement has no coherent bearing on arrangements in the future, so that it is not robust in the face of destructive forces. Arranging this way doesn't work. Definitionally, this type of arrangement cannot contribute to evolution, because evolution requires the preservation of information — variously transformed, of course, but surviving in some form.
When a chromosomal mutation causes an animal to be stillborn, we are comfortable calling that mutation “wrong.” It is wrong. It is a dead-end, it does not survive. We may even call it a mistake, though the mutation was simply random, and the consequence to the organism was failure under the pressure of universal physical principles.
Evolution, then, can be viewed as the objective of the universe — though only by unprovable supposition. What is provable — or at least demonstrable — is that the universe is such that its intrinsic universal physical principles, combined with its mass-energy dataset, constitute an evolutionary operating system. Innovism is founded on the latter practical surety, and not on the former supposition.
Evolution requires three things: informational continuity (preservation), informational augmentation (increase in complexity), and informational discrimination (a set of rules according to which information is selectively abolished, reducing complexity). This is the most primitive expression of the evolutionary triad.
In the top-level context I am addressing, the information is embodied by the arrangement of mass-energy. Continuity is the continued bearing of the current arrangement of mass-energy on the future arrangement in a manner which fully or partially preserves organization. Augmentation is the amplification of that organization, particularly by the controlled influx of random information, and by borrowing from or combining with other organizations. Discrimination is the excision of portions of that organization under the pressure of universal physical principles.
Thinking this way, one arrives at a forceful appreciation that objects are not permanent, but are in fact processes in themselves. Buildings and roads in time return to dust after the end of diligent attention. Property is owned only as long as both the property continues to exist and the trappings of ownership continue to be recognized and enforced by culture and institutions, or minimally, by the property owner through direct and successful attention.
Importantly, innovism has no eschatology (viewing a collapse of the universe itself as an externality, relevant only if it can be averted), and does not rely for its effectiveness on anything abstract and suppositional. In particular, though above I present the abstract supposition that evolution is the objective of the universe, as though the universe were designed as such, the rightness or wrongness of this supposition is immaterial to the effectiveness of the innovist methodology as described herein. In short, those who apply the methods of innovism will tend to survive and prosper, particularly relative to those who do not apply those methods, regardless of the confidence they or their adversaries have in innovism. This survival and prosperity will, of course, tend to engender confidence in innovism.
A few more words on eschatology are needed. Most cosmologists have concluded that universal cataclysm or enervation is inevitable, so that it is not only all objects that are temporary, but all processes. At this eschatological juncture of philosophy and science, science and technology at long last (apparently) supply no avenue for continued prosperity. Philosophy must take up the slack, and does so readily, with this simple principle: it's not where you're going, it's how you get there. Thus we must think of life as a dance, as art rendered broadly and boldly on the canvas of the universe. That said, our progeny will surely never stop searching for a way out of a universe that, scores of billions of years hence, will finally close like a trap. With that much time to work with, one can guess that a way might be found, even while one cannot realistically imagine what form it would take. Our progeny will eventually have intelligence vastly greater than that of humanity, force like that of a sun, and patience measured in billions of years. They will overcome any obstacle that can be overcome, like a great river cutting a canyon through stone.
In the top-level context, an organization — a system — works, is right, insofar that it exhibits continuity, augmentation, and discrimination. It is wrong when it invites, is susceptible to, or otherwise succumbs to discontinuity — to gross destruction of information. It is wrong to the degree that it fails to optimize long term augmentation. It is wrong when it discriminates on a basis at loggerheads with the discrimination of universal physical principles.
Evolution involves both competition and cooperation, both between organizations and within them (among suborganizations). An organization competes when it takes action that is advantageous for itself and disadvantageous for another organization that is equipped to seek ends similar to those sought by the first organization's action. An organization cooperates when it coordinates action with another organization, in a manner that is advantageous for both organizations.
In the realm of biological evolution, it is well to observe that a sexually procreative species is a species that inherently competes with itself (whose members are mutually competitive) in every generation. The asexual species — those that do not inherently compete with themselves — are primitive single-celled organisms and homogeneous colonies thereof. In contrast, the sexually procreative species are a dizzying array of immensely complex multicellular organisms. (A detailed treatment of human gender dimorphism is here.) The enhancement of competition in the evolutionary operating system affords more utility to survival of the species than is forfeited by the additional impediments to procreation. Those who promote the deprecation of competition in favor of cooperation, promote a return to primordial ooze.
Though cooperation is often used to produce competitive advantage, principally, competition subserves the process of discrimination, and cooperation subserves that of continuity. Hence, competition and cooperation alone do not produce augmentation, and thus do not by themselves constitute an evolutionary operating system. Invention subserves augmentation in the same way that competition subserves discrimination and cooperation subserves continuity. These relations are not total or precise (for example, organizational merger is augmentative from the point of view of either of the previously separate organizations, but is principally cooperative, and can be augmentative or destructive considered from outside), but have practical utility nonetheless. A complete evolutionary operating system includes competition, cooperation, and invention. Competition and cooperation are both relationships, whereas invention is an individual activity. By “individual,” I mean a conscious system — separate from other conscious systems.
Innovism is named as it is because individual consciousnesses are the audience and the users of the term, and individual invention is subjectively foremost for individual consciousnesses, with competition and cooperation playing integral but subjectively supportive roles. Also, emphasizing the innovation component of the evolutionary triad is politically effective since it is innovation that most often comes under concerted siege, by established economic and political actors (who invariably favor cooperation and view innovators as competitors).
As noted above, every desire, every goal, every cherished principle, is actually a reduction in freedom. The heart of individual liberty is that each individual is let to decide for himself in what manner he wishes to exchange the potential of freedom for the kinetic of will, except of course in matters of infringement on the autonomy of others. There is, by the terms of social arrangement, no legitimate freedom to coerce (by the threat or actuality of physical violence, for example) the manner in which others exchange their freedom for their will. Each individual should carefully arrange and budget his freedom and will, so that they play off each other. Major goals shouldn't be petrified and brittle, but rather should be receptive to improvement and enlargement. The manners in which they lend themselves to improvement and enlargement are constituent freedoms. Freedom should be reclaimed when a goal becomes personally disadvantageous. But, above all, it behooves a person to exchange his freedoms for intentions, prudently but timely, because the ravages of time will eventually rob every human of all his freedoms.
Observe that those who advocate the pursuit of absolute freedom (politically realized as anarchism, and religiously as, e.g., Buddhism or Scientology) are actually advocating the annihilation of self. Why is this? A person's identity is, first and foremost, composed of his goals. A man is what he desires, and he expresses himself by taking action to fulfill those desires. To become completely free, a man must abandon all his desires (as advocated in Buddhism), leaving only the potential of freedom. Indeed, Buddhism is a religion of death worship — nirvana, the extinction of desire and individual consciousness, is the doctrinal goal.
Christianity in its original essence has irreconcileable ideological differences with innovism. Christianity shows in its very name that messianism (the “Christ”) is the prime concept. Christianity as such is intolerable because of its central premise that Jesus is God incarnate, and that his death absolves the faithful of accountability for their bad acts (e.g. Ephesians 2:4-9: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”). Intimately related to Christianity's purported unmerited grace is the cannibalistic symbolism of the eucharist, also utterly intolerable. Also notably unhelpful is the strong emphasis on future earthly paradise as a corollary of the core messianism.
Consistent with a morbid embrace of paradisiacal earthly redemption, Christian doctrine relentlessly deprecates prosperity, and urges the faithful to radical material renunciation (e.g. Luke 18:24-25: “And when Jesus saw that he [the rich man] was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”). Innovism is of course utterly hostile to this radical renunciationalism — as, indeed, are many of those who style themselves “Christian”! Judaism and Islam are also hostile to it: in Genesis 1:26, God gives to humanity dominion over the earth, and in 1:28 God commands humanity to replenish and subdue the earth. This sentiment is carried over in the Koran. In ayat 2:22-36, God tells mankind that Earth is created for him, to provide for his sustenance. Christianity, in renouncing material wealth, renounces God's gift and provision. Christianity also features an astonishing demoralization of the faithful (e.g., Matthew 5:38-40: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also."). Combining renunciation with demoralization, and connoting a general shattering of market soundness, the principle of fair wages is directly contravened (Matthew 20:12-16: “[a day laborer said] These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he [the owner-planter] answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”).
These are all viewed in innovism as betrayals of God's will, errors of translation, to be rejected vociferously.
It is also revealing that Jesus was (according to dogma) childless, whereas Moses and Mohammed were anything but. Jesus's sterility was part and parcel of his poisonous gospel of renunciation and death.
The saving grace of the more than two billion actual self-styled “Christians” in the world is that they are functionally quite averse to these renunciational precepts. In short, they tend to be strongly pro-individual, anti-Utopian, and anti-communistic, even while authentic Christianity is plainly anti-individual, Utopian, and proto-communistic.
Naturally, political innovism is oriented toward and designed around the individual, because individuals are the atoms of behavior and will. The innovist program as a whole, however, is intrinsically collective, and it is collective (because total, civilizational) objectives that motivate innovist policies. And while political innovism is not chiefly a strain of socialism, it is formally a strain of syndicalism, albeit a highly capitalistic one.
In practice, innovism as a political program is often mistaken by laymen for communism, though of course this is a gross mischaracterization. Nonetheless, political innovism is extremely radical, indeed constitutes an almost total revolution. All businesses are entirely employee-owned. Traditional money systems are abolished, and in their place is a high efficiency contractually monetized deferred barter system, which also serves as an open mechanism of credit by which private firms capitalize. Legislative representation is proportional, and members of the voting public can preempt their legislators' votes with direct votes on a vote-by-vote basis. A national dole assures that basic and decent food, medicine, clothing, shelter, education, and entertainment, are available on demand to the indigent, with only the provisos that program beneficiaries forswear their assets on entry to the program, and while they are in the program, submit to induced infertility and forgo indirect (but not direct) representation in legislatures. The formation of monopolies and trusts (including trust-like labor organizations) is powerfully and preemptively deterred by law, well beyond familiar measures, and those monopolies that do form are tightly and specially regulated. Copyright is diluted by vastly expanded fair use rights. Patents — government-enforced monopolies on the practice of abstract technological ideas — are simply abolished. The research and development activities of the pharmaceutical industry, which are intractably dependent on patents, and in private hands are intractably pathological in their predatory motivations and strategies, are for the most part simply assumed by the national government (though associated manufacturing remains private, of course).
The social liberalism of political innovism is also quite striking. At the outset of my project to enunciate political innovism, before I had even coined the term “innovism”, I put to many ears a simple, albeit silly, rule: whatever else a political system's attributes, to pass the smell test it must protect the right to sit naked as a jaybird, on a public park bench, smoking a joint. A smell test indeed! In political innovism, drug prohibition is abolished, public nudity (however silly) is a constitutional right, and even prostitution cannot be outlawed. This is not because drug use and prostitution are in my view salutary activities — on the contrary, they are almost always harmful — but because prohibiting them is even more harmful. Other institutions associated with social liberalism are adopted in political innovism because they are indeed salutary, either on their face or for technical and systematic reasons. Freedom of expression and exchange of ideas, gay marriage and adoption, moderate abortion rights, and marginalization of the death penalty, are among those adopted.
In the final analysis, though, the institutional hostility of innovism to traditional socialism is clarified by a consideration of the ten point plank laid out by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto (1848). While the present day United States and western Europe institutionalize most of their ten points, and almost all of them in effect, political innovism implements none of them, and matches most of them with specific institutions mutually exclusive with those envisioned by Marx and Engels. So comprehensive a mutual exclusion is certainly instructive.
This primer continues in a longer, less organized, more maeandering style.