“Are you for Obama or for McCain?” “Are you a Liberal or a Conservative?” “Do you favor the death penalty for murderers?”
These questions, and many others we get asked a lot in life, are examples of “choices” that are actually representative of a polarized situation. More specifically, they are representative of a primitive information system; and require you to take sides. There are only two sides, or two data points, in such a primitive information system.
Information systems help us to organize data so that data can be used to perform useful work. Banks, corporations, and businesses of all kinds use information systems to keep track of accounts, sales, payroll, etc.
Every choice you make in life is dependent in one way or another on an information system. The problem is, we don’t recognize that the situations we get into in life are composed of information, and can be resolved by simply examining the information contained within the situation.
Primitive information systems are polarizing, and force you to take sides. They have very limited degrees of freedom, which means that the choices you have are limited. Nuanced information systems have many degrees of freedom, and offer a wide variety of choices. These nuanced information systems, however, can only be maintained in a cooperative environment.
For example, a hierarchical system like the military offers you limited choices: you follow orders or get kicked out. Any pyramidical structure, like a dictatorship, forces you to “toe the line” because there are almost no degrees of freedom. “Degrees of freedom” is a term that comes from physics, and it describes all of the possible states of a system. For example, a weather system might have any number of possible states, from clear and dry to windy and stormy. If a physical system is constrained to act only in certain ways, it has a limited degree of freedom. The swinging pendulum on a clock, for example, is constrained to go back and forth over the same path, over and over. But when you put a pot of water on the stove to boil, the water molecules can fly off in many different directions. In the United States, we once had many more degrees of freedom than we do now. Draconian laws passed after 9-11 to “fight terrorism” have restricted the freedoms of all citizens. When my wife and I tried to go to Vancouver, Canada in 2008, we had to cancel the trip because her passport had expired. Before 9 – 11, people passed freely back and forth over the Canadian border without hindrance.
(If you think that the restriction of freedom is coincidental, you need to see the film presented by Dr. Stephen Greer of the Disclosure Project. In it, Dr. Carol Rosin, an aerospace executive and associate of the late Werner von Braun, father of the American space program, describes how von Braun in 1977 predicted the militarization of space in four stages, using four threats: the Cold War, terrorism (so-called “rogue states” like North Korea or Iran), an asteroid, and finally, the threat of an alien invasion. Von Braun stated categorically (and he was in a position to know) that a hoaxed “alien invasion” would be the pretext for the establishment of a world dictatorship by a group of nutty people who currently control the distribution of fossil fuels. Von Braun said, “and Carol, ALL of it is a lie.” But that is a subject for another article. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpHAxxRKksQ&feature=channel).
In life, it is generally better for our mental health to get involved in situations that give us a lot of choices, rather than just a few. When you walk into the TV store to buy an HDTV, it’s better to have 60 choices than just one or two. In general, the more degrees of freedom you have, the better off you are. If you have 5 job offers, with a range of opportunities and salary, it’s better than just having one measly offer.
A hierarchical information system constrains the participants, and involves a small number of choices. These primitive information systems create environments that force you to take sides, and make it easy for those at the top to manipulate the system. They are, by definition, polarizing. If there are only a very limited number of choices, it’s much easier to keep track of what everyone is doing, and stop unwanted behavior. That is why tyrannical political and economic systems always work to limit choices, and are often characterized by conflict. People like choices, and they don’t like to be constrained! Whenever you see a lot of conflict, examine the situation and the players, and look to see what kind of information system has been created. You will almost always find a polarized environment with very few choices.
Whenever you see a system that is going in the direction of limiting choices, you can be assured that that system is being manipulated for the benefit of a few.
Information systems with lots of degrees of freedom, on the other hand, are always based on cooperation, and result in high productivity, creativity, and freedom of choice for the participants.
In life, the idea is to get involved with nuanced information systems that offer a large number of choices. Successful organizations maintain a creative environment for their employees, and allow them a large degree of freedom to make choices in the execution of the duties. Control freaks and other insecure people always work to create systems with limited choices.
Cooperation is the first requisite of any sane organization or society, and requires that participants freely agree on the goals. All group members are “on the same page.” Successful organizations have managed to get around the idea of “taking sides” and have established an organizational culture in which agreement on a clearly defined goal, and cooperative action, are primary. They do this by creating information systems (environments) with many degrees of freedom. In these lively and productive organizations, participants perceive no, or very few, barriers to the goal.
The point of this article is to remind you that simply by observing a situation, you can count the number of degrees of freedom and that will tell you whether you are involved in a situation that is likely to be polarizing, or cooperative. You can look at how a group you are in (or a country) is evolving (toward more, or restricted, choices) and determine what is likely to happen next.
So how does a situation evolve into a polarized one, or into one that leads to cooperation and agreement? Well, we can probably agree that a polarized situation – like a family feud, or politics – is immature and inefficient. A cooperative organization is uptone and productive. A polarized group is inefficient, because individuals within it are fighting each other, trying to ascend to some position of status at the expense of others.
Politics, of course, is the ultimate in immaturity. Politicians need to take sides in order to show that they are strong on issues of concern to the voters, indicating that the entire information system is very primitive.
What do you do when you take sides? You define a position clearly and hold to it. But almost paradoxically, this is exactly what you have to do when applying the Law of Attraction to a positive goal and sticking to it for success. If you don’t know what you want, you certainly can’t develop a plan to get it! Without a clear idea of what is wanted, there is no intent, and without intent there is no effective action.
In order for intent to exist you have to hold a position. But there has to be a distinction between holding a position in a polarizing and unproductive situation, and holding a position cooperatively in order to accomplish a goal. Because the political choices are so limited in the United States, for example, desperate voters lurch toward the Democrats and back to the Republicans in a desperate hope that one of these parties can solve our problems. Two years ago, in 2008, American voters evicted the Republicans because they were incompetent. Now, voters want to throw out the Democrats and replace them with the Republicans! Nothing seems to change, because a primitive information system is locked into conflict on a very limited series of issues. As Albert Einstein once said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
In politics, taking a position is almost always confrontational and argumentative. This situation almost always leads to a stalemate, because the intent is to block the other side from achieving their agenda. Cooperation also requires a very clear-cut goal and a very firm position, but the difference is broad agreement. In successful groups there is broad agreement on the goal, AND the absence of perceived barriers. Agreement on a goal is characteristic of any group, even a severely polarized group. The difference between a productive, cooperative group and a polarized group is that in the former there is a concentration on a positive goal, and in the latter the group members are fighting obstacles.
Take, for example, an organization such as a brokerage firm that engages in naked short selling. Naked short selling is an illegal form of trading all too common in our stock markets, involving the sale of phantom securities. A brokerage firm that engages in these activities will automatically see a barrier in governmental organizations like the SEC that are mandated by law to eradicate illegal trading practices. So this group will almost automatically evolve into a polarized group in which enemies are seen, and fought against, in the routine day-to-day operation of their organization.
A polarized environment will be created whenever any group perceives an obstacle to their goal. “We have to defeat our competition before we can be number one in our market. Therefore we have to squash XYZ Corp before we can be successful.” What if the group had this idea instead: “We will make such a great product, and back it up so well, that we will soon be number one in our market.” In both cases, a firm position was agreed upon, but in the latter case, the group members didn’t focus on barriers; they focused on a positive goal.
Perceived barriers will often morph into an “us against them” mentality. Sometimes that mentality can create an esprit-de-corps – as in a military group sent off to fight together against an enemy. But most often a polarized belief system will result in resistance to the perceived barrier, and in inefficiency.
So the way to judge whether a group is worth joining is to look at the level of cooperation within it, and determine whether it is fighting against something. But there are nuances to cooperation itself!
Hierarchical, top-down structures are usually controlled from the top and get individuals to “toe the line.” If you observe these groups you can see members cooperating, but if you look closer, paying attention to the scale of vibration/emotion, you can see that participants are acting out of fear or because “we have to.” These organizations often use fear, or sanctions, to control group members. These organizations are inefficient, because the participants are not self-motivated; the group members need a “kick in the pants” to keep them working.
Even groups that have a positive goal can be polarized, however. Charitable organizations can have a culture of competition, where members are trying to outdo each other, or rise to positions where they get to make decisions for the group. Such internal polarization makes the group inefficient, using much of their creative energy in intra-organizational struggles for power.
Effective cooperation must involve not only agreement, but also willingness, of the participants. And this leads us directly back to the scale of emotion/vibration. True cooperation exists at the higher levels of emotion; control structures exist somewhere around fear and anger, and no organization is possible if you go low enough on the scale.
Higher emotions: Cooperation: high volume of life force used for creative purposes. Few or no barriers seen in the group’s accomplishment of its goals. Focus of group members is outward toward the goal, not in internal struggles for power. High degree of freedom.
Anger, Fear: Hierarchical organizations: dictatorships, etc. Life force controlled, used for domination. Overcoming barriers, or internal struggles for power, are a prominent part of the group’s culture. Very limited degree of freedom.
Apathy: No organization possible; too little life force available
Organizations and groups that limit choice force participants down the scale of vibration/emotion. Then you either get a revolution and the group disintegrates, or the group goes down the scale to apathy and it falls apart. This has been the pattern for humanity for the past 5,000 years: rise and fall. And it always starts by limiting choices. In this article, I’m trying to show how limiting choices creates primitive information systems that can be easily recognized, and then changed for the better.
You can judge the effectiveness and the intelligence of an organization by its position on the scale of vibration/emotion. And you can measure that by just looking around and observing the group members.
I hope that this article has made it easier for you to observe the groups you belong to, and to evaluate them. I guarantee that you will have a much better time in those groups devoted to cooperation, and that offer many degrees of freedom, than those devoted to fighting for or against something.
The key is to recognize that all organizations and groups create information systems. Look behind the players and determine what that information system is, and whether it is evolving toward greater or lesser choice.