Not a single one of the other reviews mentions “hindsight games” which come at the end in Chapter 12, where Ben Gilad, whom I know and admire, properly lists Helen Ho and Matthew J. Morgan as the authors.
At the age of 58 with 30+ years as an intelligence professional behind me, very little catches me by surprise but this is one of those exquisite “ahas.” For me, the insights into hindsight games as a means to retrospectively identify strategic, operational, tactical, and technical junctures, where participants can reflect on what they knew, what they did not know, what they had wish they had known, and how they might advise the next generation to state its intelligence requirements differently–for me this is an intellectual gold strike.
I have never heard of any of the war colleges or strategy centers or major corporations or NGOs doing hindsight games. This for me is HUGE, and Ben Gilad’s integrity is high-density–although the plan of the book properly puts the chapter at the end, after his concepts and doctrine and methods for business war games are outlined, this is the chapter that every one of the eight tribes (academic, civil society, commercial, government, law enforcement, media, military, non-profit or non-governmental) should be thinking about.
Hindsight games are a perfect means of both debriefing out-going executives and mission area specialists, and of transferring lessons learned from one generation to another in a super-professional manner.
In this Future Shock for the new millennium, de Rosnay, director for strategy for the Science and Industry Complex in Paris, predicts the coming of what he calls the “Cybiont”: a global “macroorganism” that encompasses humanity, the environment and technology. The culmination of de Rosnay’s earlier work (The Macroscope; The Paths of Life; The Planetary Brain), this book became a bestseller upon its initial publication in France in 1995. The author regards the computer as a “macroscope,” an instrument that lets humans view larger trends and that will eventually take on a life of its own; he quotes Stephen Hawking’s view that computer viruses and other electronic “intelligence” may actually be developing into forms of life. For mankind to survive, we must establish close symbiotic relationships with our technology and its emerging self-generated intelligence and with nature, he says. Unfortunately, de Rosnay fails to consider very deeply what constitutes consciousness, a subject many other scientists have investigated, or artificial intelligence. He also seems to overestimate humans’ willingness to sacrifice their private interests to achieve long-term, communal goals. De Rosnay does, however, present many provocative ideas like “fractal time” and “time bubbles,” and he discusses interesting and thus far fairly esoteric advances in technological sensory perception and even brain-computer connections. This book doesn’t come together as a convincing vision of the future, but it certainly provides readers with many challenging ideas to mull over, and it may encourage them to consider their individual roles in the greater scheme of things.
The Macroscope; The Paths of Life; The Planetary Brain
in US: The macroscope: A new world scientific system
Revolutionary–a Milestone in Human Applied Thought
November 30, 2010
I have looked over the galley that is free online (as are all my books) and consider this to be a milestone in human applied thought. I have bought it here at Amazon, confident this is going to be one of the few books that I do not donate to George Mason University, which took over my entire library when I joined the United Nations in March 2010.
Medard Gabel is modest–the blurbs do not do justice to him or his work or the incredibly talented and imaginative individuals (not just youth, but mid-career professionals) that he attracts to this calling.
I have participated in two of his design labs and recommend them to one an all. Everyone enters with their own issue area (urban planning, energy, whatever) and halfway through they experience the “aha” moment (epiphany for Republicans)–everything is connected and NOTHING can be planned, programmed, budgeted, or executed without integrating everything.
As Russell Ackoff likes to say, what is good for one part of the system might be very bad for all the other parts. Comprehensive architecture and prime design–all threats, all policies, all demographics–are the future.
6 Star and Beyond–the Essence of Fuller, the Future of Humanity
November 28, 2010
I did not truly begin to understand the breadth and depth of Buckminster Fuller’s thinking until I read this book as it deserves to be read, with full attention and detailed notes. This is one of those books that merits–and received from me, a Work Table of core concepts, definitions, obstacles, and solutions, posted online at Work Table [link live at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog].
Although I heard Fuller speak personally at Muhlenberg College and distinctly remember him saying that a housing foundation could support the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner, it was not until this book that I understood in detail exactly what he meant: that we are wasting 90% of what we put into buildings. I have previously read and reviewed Critical Path as well as Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, and it is my great privilege to know Medard Gabel, co-creator of the analog World Brain and sole creator of the new digital EarthGame (in concept pending funding).
CORE POINT: True wealth is cosmic energy and the creation of means to deliver to humanity unlimited free energy. Among many other things this creates the possibility of applying energy to create self-contained homes that are lightweight, fully self-contained in water and sewage, and totally green.
CORE CONCEPT: Capitalism and democracy have been perverted by money–those who manage money manage those who manage politics, and they both concentrate on optimizing the false God of money, an abstract concept hardly worth its paper representation, while ignoring–even subverting–the possibility of achieving infinite cosmic wealth on behalf of all of humanity.
CORE CONCEPT: Predatory capitalism on the one hand, and controlled socialism on the other, are both extremes and both fail to meet the needs as well as the possibilities of humanity. Fullerism is at root a non-zero equation.
PERSONAL POINT: This book answers the question I could not answer when a senior executive asked me “what do you do?” Now I know. I am a Comprehensive Global Architect whose objective is Prime Design: From Waste to Wealth (the title of my next book, inspired by this core reading from Buckminster Fuller). All my prior works, including my most recent, INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainaabilty, have been a preamble to what I now recognize is my life’s work…I will try to earn another 25 years (I am 58, 58 + 25 is 83 — my family history suggests I will make it.). I am still looking for a country or global organization that wants to profit from doing this.
A few definitions up front:
QUOTE (142): WEALTH [is] the measurable degree of forwardly organized environmental control, in terms of quickly convertible energy, capacities and performance ratioed system capabilities, per capita, per diem.
Advertising destroyed public trust by pre-empting “industrial design” as code for airbrushing superficial changes to move products to market, rather than seeking integral improvements that could be shared with the consumer.
Design-improved livingry increases wealth.
Synergy is the delta between the sum of the parts and their anticipatable outcomes, and the actual outcome not anticipated.
Architects deal with the externalities of man.
“At rest” science and understanding (Newton’s paradigm) have been replaced by “constant change” (Einstein’s paradigm).
Bad housing breeds bad humanity and bad science–the time/energy costs and the materials costs are too high, housing is the socio-economic “runt” of all the professions.
Challenge is IRREDUCIBLE.
Design is innovative re-assembly that adds value.
Design-preventable includes illumination and prevention of corrupt exploitation of materials for inefficient or unjustifiable applications.
Energy mass, energy radiation, energy gravitation (E3) times Intellect (E3I)
Good design would reduce the per capita consumption of building materials from nine tons per person to one ton per person [this is in the developed world–these reductions would allow the extension of the lower tonnage home designs to nine times more people and more–with mass consumption come mass efficiencies.]
Industry is *supposed to be* the organization and application of collective knowledge and action that produces synergy (added value) over the sum of the parts in isolation.
Individual freedom is ESSENTIAL to the expansion of diversity needed to enable collectives to see the whole.
Total Thinking is the intelligent acquisition, ingestion, processing, and exploitation of all relevant information in order to produce efficiencies and effects beneficial to the mission objective.
Wealth is intellect plus energy combined to create capacity [with more free energy making more refined capacity possible].
Worldwide commonwealth credit is both needed and achievable to provide mass-produced sustainable housing for all. That in turn frees up the five billion poor to create “infinite wealth” by combining their intellect with infinite free energy to advance civilization.
OBSTACLES to advancing humanity include:
Advertising in place of genuine progress [should not be a tax-deductible expense in my own view]
“Credit” fueled the perpetuation and expansion of rotten housing at great cost.
Housing is the works of design, the worst of materials, and the worst of applied engineering
Housing as the sucking chest wound in economics [mortgages should not be tax-deductible, this both encourages waste of materials on housing, but also enables the growth of financial fraud]
Managers lack the over-all philosophical discernment to be effective at seeing the whole and building to the whole.
Politics is VERY wasteful, perpetuating inefficient industries.
Specializations are attracting the most gifted, and this leaves the less gifted dealing with integration if they think about it at all. [I always thought this was what business and public administration programs were supposed to do, but having graduated from such a program realize they do not.]
A HANDFUL OF QUOTES
p. 25 “My envisioned transcendental world design plan would be inherently nonpolitical, because it would be utterly independent of any need for authority beyond that to-self-by-self for initiation of its study and development.”
p. 95 In relation to the waste of heavy materials in housing, “…that in this war crisis it is technically treason to allow ourselves to be short sixty-five thousand freight cars weighing fifty tons of steel each, which shortage is equivalent to the number of cars required exclusively to transport the solid foundation and flooring materials unscientifically employed as frozen compression elements to structurally support the tiny weights of one-tenth-of-a-ton load of men who comprise the negligible working loads of housing, or to support machinery from below that could better be suspended, etc.”
p. 246 “The efficiency of the industrial equation is directly proportional to the numbers consuming.” [In other words, capitalism focused on the needs of the one billion rich is long overdue for a redirection of focus to the needs of the five billion poor.]
p.247 “Serve one hundred per cent will involve a world design revolution, not just design of end-products, but of the comprehensive industrial network equations including world-around-livingry-service systems, at regenerative occupancy rentals, mutually installed in anticipatory facilitation of total world enjoyment of individually respected total man.”
p. 249 “Only the free-wheeling artist-explorer, non-academic, scientist-philosopher, mechanic, economist-poet, who has never waited for patron-starting and accrediting of his coordinate capabilities holds the prime initiative today.”
Energy investments will define the future.
Need a world housing industry. We do NOT need water, sewer, and electrical infrastructure. Distributed housing and small cities connected by high-speed rail should be the norm.
Harvesting of scrap is the next needed Manhattan Project/Marshall Plan.
In 1997, Colonel Douglas Macgregor provided a well thought out blueprint for affecting a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) within the U.S. Army, and to a lesser extent the entire U.S. Armed Forces. The blueprint, as detailed in this book, apparently served as an inspiration for the restructuring of the U.S. Army from an organization based on stand alone divisions to its current brigade structure. Yet apparently neither the Defense Department (DOD) nor the Army fully accepted Macgregor’s remarkably prescient thinking. His goal in this book was to demonstrate the Army’s strategic relevance in the 21st Century as force to counter the bewildering multiplication of threats to U.S. National Security that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Macgregor noted that “military strategy” really refers to the use of military power to achieve strategic goals, but how effective that military power would be is a function of force structure, tactical and operational doctrine, and training. He also persuavely argues that RMA is not a matter of mere technological innovation, but rather concerns the willingness of the armed forces to “devise new ways to incorporate new technology by changing their organization, their tactics, and sometimes their whole concept of war.”
Rather interestingly Macgregor adopted two of the then prevalent concepts of `Network Centric Warfare” (although he never uses this term) as the basis for his proposal to restructure the army. He argued that the newly conceived command system known as C4I [SR] (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence [Surveillance, Reconnaissance] ) offered the means to build a new ground force structure based on smaller more flexible units which he calls “Combat Groups.” He also argued that the Army should adopt a `networked type’ of organizational structure based on a C4I system that would have a much flatter command structure than the traditional army hierarchical structure. His argument was centered on historical examples that demonstrated that when command authority was dispersed to smaller units, warfare by maneuver and adaptable tactics leading to battlefield success became possible. This latter was probably one reason why the Army only adopted his force structure concept and not his C4I proposal.
Macgregor also argued that the perennially out of control DOD budget could be brought under control by the sensible method of tying force structure and weapons procurement to actual strategic needs based on a rational analysis of real and potential threats to national security. Although DOD would claim that it always does just this, the evidence suggests otherwise as demonstrated most recently F35 strike fighter.
A remarkable book that is as relevant today as when it was written and is for the shelf of anyone seriously interested in military reform.