Cave of the Hands
Image of Cueva de las Manos (Spanish for Cave of Hands), in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina

((NOTE: Since I've directed some people to this page today, and I made up a new phrase that I kind of like, in that same conversation, let me say I'm never conceived of the phrase "schismogenic lie" until within the last hour (2022-06-04, 11am), and there are no duckduckgo or google hits for it, but you can look up definitions of schismogenesis on the web. A schismogenic lie doesn't have to be ABOUT a group of people you want to exclude. It can be a lie about a matter that they consider "life and death", which has the effect that to the people who believe the lie, the targeted group seems to be sputtering and looking ridiculous. Goebbels would have been proud))
About 10,000 years, a group of cave dwellers in what is now Argentina laid their hands on the cave wall, and sprayed paint  through little pipes made of hollow bones to produce these images.

There are a lot of things I want to share, from being a lifelong learner, a heavy reader for 60 years.  Despite being in a Math Ph.D., program, and later a full participant in the main organization for historians of the early 19c U.S., the last 10 years of semi-retirement seem like my peak of intellectual ambition.  I've been goaded by growing sense of of our shrinking ability to to use facts, especially in the public sphere, and have wanted to do something about it.  I have read, and want to write about and interpret for non-specialists:

  I suspect all the descriptions of human actions we've ever heard are are some inner reality of human actions like the level or understanding of chess we could get from watching The Queen's Gambit, and knowing the basic moves. I believe there is an inner reality to human actions that, if we could see the real dynamics of our minds, would be like getting into the mind of a chess master.

Or consider this literary description:

"The pawn exchange in the centre of the board opened him up to an attack, his black knight sacrificed for position. Might have been a blunder, his opponent seemed more confident. He saw a possible check and decided to take it -  Protected obliquely by his bishop, might just pull a win out of this situation and flip it. Unless there was something he didn’t see. Reluctantly, he removed his fingers from the rook, committing to the move."

I think many people could recognize a dramatic level of what's going on, but it's nothing like being in the minds of the players.

I really suspect there is some level of our minds that we might eventually access, where we could compare notes with people very unlike ourselves, as different as a political consultant and a paleolithic hunter-gatherer, or actor or social worker or car salesman, and see that we're all playing the same game.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) It sounds a bit like what I'm after:  a set of "moves of the game" which people generally don't know.  Many people discover amazingly powerful things like NVC, through practice and intuition and if NVC is teachable, that is much more encouraging than the mere existence of "gifted" people who can talk someone down off a ledge or get a kindnapper to release hostages.  But one thing that gives ideas more power is when they have a foundation, and everyone who looks into it with energy and good faith will see that it has a foundation. 

The developer of another set of crisis management tools, Brené Brown, was driven (unwillingly at first) in the direction of her life work by masses of psychological data showing that vulnerability is what makes for happiness.

I am always looking for something new that could contribute to a better world.

Write of Passage Writings (In progress)

Michael Tomasello on How and Why Humans Achieve Sociability and Culture
What Happened to Russia? (extremely unfinished)
FAQ: Can This Be True
Twelve Favorite Problems
A Knowledge Detective

3/7/2020 Sunday Feedback Session

Possible Directions for my Online Work:

"Lord Ronald ...  flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions."
Stephen Leacock in his story "Gertrude the Governess"
That's how I seem to some people, and feel to myself at times.

How do I promote, and exploit my own almost manically diverse interests.

Attempting to explain deep structure of human nature: "From Monkey Neurons to the Meta-Brain"

What is Science?  How it is a social enterprise, and how we can socially search for truth
"Cannon Balls, Plate Tectonics, and Invisible Elephants"

Blogs I've tried to start:

Meta-Reality Show:  Partly inspired by our reality show president, and by a long held sense that we each live in our own reality, the dangers of these realities are getting further apart, and a search for ideas for bringing them closer together.
I have partly written one post, a thought experiment or a science fiction story in which an alien intervention into Earth's problems comes in the form of a packed of tiny intelligent entities who can only access "reality" on earth by slipping into the brains of any number of humans.

My blog, The "Real" Truth Project, struggling against "fake news" years before the phrase was invented has one article (out of 150) that I feel particularly good about:
 My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land"

How to promote my diversity?

Disinformation Daily

From my “Truth Project” phase:

My Not-really-right-wing Mom and her adventures in Email-Land (revision)

Myths About Saul Alinsky (and Obama)

Possibly rerunning my 20 year old early 19c US History newsletter.

Perl to Python

Tales of the Early Republic

HW Debate

JMISC HILITES (possible almost already written newsletter, and eBook in time)