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Insula Dei A.D. 1172, Brahetrolleborg
Majestas Domini, A.D. 1558, Arreskov Castle
  
Arreschovian contemplation of the current state of affairs "sub specie aeternitatis" on the integration of the real world with wisdom and values rooted in the ancient heritage among academic cultures in the Nordic region.
 
Arreskow verdant lily crown roses (A.D. 1658)

* * * In searching to advance the epistemic phenomenology of cultural metagenomics, Arreschovians rely on Nordic values and develop a modern arena for transdisciplinary dialogue * * * 

                                                

 ARE AKADEMI

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Commemoration Medal 1899 for its President J.E. Areschoug (1811-1887), Professor of Botany and Economics, Uppsala University. 
 
COLLEGIUM EUROPAEUM FOR TRANSDISCIPLINARY DIALOGUE

A Nordic Arena for Dialogue on Value

developing critical dialogue across sciences and societies to allow for the dynamic evolution of interactive forms of experience and knowledge at the frontier of past and present - towards creative action and innovation at the forward-looking horizon of the future of mankind. A think-and-do tank for critical knowledge integration and competence for leadership in society, business, academia and arts.

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       A reviewing of Critical Strategy for Sustainable Value Creation and its grounds in Social Epistemology. The focus is on revealing crucial political errors (impediments to prosperity in mind and matter) by searching more appropriate modes of Strategic Integration & Conversion of Knowledge-to-Competence to improve private and organizational leadership in civil and public society. Relying on research into interdisciplinary criteria for integration (and of "transcending experience") in cognition for excellence of performance (and for reconciliating and rebalancing of polarized views), we are screening fields such as Life and Health, Society and Science, Culture and Arts, Business and Economy, Opinion and Policy           

* * * Arescope * * *

The Arescope is a Transdisciplinary Observatoryindependently and critically syndicating views on the world, for the integration of an optic of the course of current history with foresight perspectives inherent to both retrospective and prospective interpretations of reality; it is meant to emerging as (and providing) an arena for Global Transdisciplinary Dialogue on the transdisciplinary interplay of ideas and values in science and society; focusing on the impact of values and researching policy-based opinion to provide "food for thought" for leadership and strategy-in-action in private and public policy; and devoting itself to improving the quality of life and its promises and perils in modern society, for the current global citizen and for the future of Open Society         

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The AreScope is an integration instrument to spot the confluence of trends, critically evaluate current events and comment on policies for the future of our knowledge society. A key focus is on searching how to elaborate on the Nordic values that can help developing a new leadership and consolidate European identity towards functionality in a global context. You are invited to contribute your critical insights and participate in the truly integrative transdisciplinary dialogue we try to create.

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Our observatory intends to selectively review current trends in global strategy and provides a place of trust to developing independent critical evaluations of global policies, as a contribution to public discussion. It aims at an assessment of the ethics and performance of public authorities, private and non-governmental organizations as well as commercial corporations acting in open society. We focus on the relevance of their decision-making and strategic cognition to the future of the socially responsible welfare state and the conditions of individual freedom for creative talent across disciplines - and keep an eye on the context of Scandinavian identity and the role of European value in the broader scope extending from its archaic roots to emerging visions. We are unique among interdisciplinary colleges in our independence and absolute integrity of our critical views on what we observe in science and societal domains of knowledge in practice. For those interested in history and with a cultural understanding only: The name "Arescope" is widening the scope of observation in commemorating the generous gift of the first microscopes used at Uppsala University by the President of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, J.E. Areschoug, Professor of botany and practical economy, through a private donation for the common good of science in society.

 © 2010-2013 ARE AKADEMI Collegium Europaeum & Nils-Göran Areskoug


 
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Strategic Counterpoint on Dialogue Themes: Crucial Trends in Public Policy Governance and Corporate Leadership - Independent Critical Commentary and Improvisatory Exercise on Cutting Edge Ideas, Values and Trends
 
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CROSSDISCIPLINARY EXPLORATION OF ONLINE SOURCES: The AreScope is navigating critically through selected sites on the web to analyze the rootedness (or lack of anchorage) of policies in fields of economic, social and cultural values: a few selected sources of current interest to our critically reconstructive syndication of strategic review are mentioned below. Further Sources and Links at bottom of page. 
 
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For aspiring Collegiates of the Transdisciplinary Academy only: Information on conditions for participation in conventions and seminars, schedules and notifications, obtainable by personal contact only. Particpation in events, interscience and interarts dialogues, postdoctoral seminars, and collaborative conventions, is by invitation only.


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SAID ON THIS SITE
 
"A Symphony of Whistle-blowing Well Conducted, a frank and lucid review of civil society in Europe"
(Professor, New York and Stockholm, 2010)

 
"Nobody seems to believe in or stand for anything any longer. Everybody is just anxiously glancing around in promiscuous fear of offending", "When in the course of human events men of goodwill and integrity find themselves unable to peaceably give public voice to unpopular opinions without prejudice to their persons, they are robbed of an essential requirement for the exercise of their humanity - that of speaking their minds freely. Since doing so would mean instant defamation by the ascription to them of positions they do not hold and sentiments that are utterly foreign to them, the exercise of that birthright is placed in opposition to their self-interest. A social order which under such circumstances leaves them without recourse or vindication in this regard forfeits their allegiance and leaves them no choice but to pursue their self-interest in opposition to that order. Unable to do so publicly on account of the personal costs incurred in doing so under prevailing circumstances, they have no recourse but to seek to recover their humanity in a clandestine struggle against the order which deprives them of it."
(Bjorn Merker, neuroscientist, PhD at MIT)
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Disclaimer: The following notes are drafts subject to change. Statements entail no claim of explicit validity whatsoever. Opinions are preliminary, expressed to test new modes of thought and enrich debate, and do not represent a view of the respective author(s) nor of the hosting organization(s). 

THIS SITE IS PRESENTLY BEING REVISED. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE IT MAY CAUSE. WELCOME BACK AGAIN TO CHECK OUT OUR NEW PAGE.

 

BOOK II

LINK TO BOOK II (in progress):

 

NOBEL AFTERTHOUGHTS

 

 Critically Noted Counterpoints on Science in Society and the Future of Investing for a Sustainable and Viable Human Knowledge Environment: The Challenge of Epistemic Integration and Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives.

 
2013-12-16 Konrad Kaufmann, German physicist, is giving his conference, first day on "The new theory in experiment". See our previous report dated 2011-12-16. Among invited speakers: Matthias Schneider on "Biological communication from interface physics - channels, (solitary) pulses and catalysis. Experiments inspired by K. Kaufmann." /Read more.../.
 

2013-12-14 Creativity & Creative Environments in Science, seminar with the 2013 Chemistry Nobel Laureates Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel, Aula Magna, SU /Read more.../.

 2013-12-12 Nobel Laureate 2013 in Economic Sciences, Robert Shiller, presents at KTH on "Finance and the good society", moderated by Pontus Braunerhjelm.

2013-12-12 Symposium on Optogenetics at KVA. Barbara Cannon: this science is about light illuminating the darkness of the season. It is a new and fascinating science, still young and already revolutionizing: This Academy was founded to stimulate curiosity-driven research, an impressively useful undertaking. The first session is chaired by Prof. Rudolf Rigler, class of medicine at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.Dieter Oesterhelt, Max Planck Institute, Munich, goes back to the origin of optogenetics, the discovery of archaeal prototypes of microbial rhodopsis, back in the 70s /Read more.../.

 

 

2013-12-11 What is Life? lecture series: "Technologies for Mapping and Engineering the Brain" with Ed Boyden, MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, USA. The Karolinska Institutet is routinely recording lectures by its speakers in form of video documentation. In this case, the audience was invited by the chairman of the series What Is Life, Professor Ingemar Ernberg, to a lively discussion at an informal post-seminar. One question already approached in Boyden's (et al) a Current Biology 22 paper (2012) is the forthcoming clinical applications for treatment of neurological diseases in humans (last sentence of the summary). Other issues, except the technical and methodological ones, were more implicitly raised by the "nature" of the optogenetic undertaking. Ontologically, this "research" is as much engineering as science. It may have implications on how to map the epistemic landscape for knowledge production, and for solving problems alike. More precisely, the "doable" here comes before the "theory" and "thinking". Now, if the aim is to produce practical solutions to health problems, this may be the shortest way to reach the goal. However, for one who is educated in rigorous terminology, as in philosophy of sciences (phenomenology and epistemology) the conceptualization of the terminology, and the "set up" of the scientific worldview, explicit as well as implicit in the experimentation, may require a second thought. Moreover, the map of science in society may need to be redrawn: one change is the blurring distinction between science and engineering. In the traditional framwork of academic investigation, science is aiming to produce new knowledge, while engineering is providing solutions to practical problems in society. The one may need the other as long as there is a difference, a complementary relation. But in optogenetics this may no longer be the case: it may provoke the impression that the only method needed is the one for performing good controlled experiments which aim to demonstrate that the "manipulation" of nature functions (as expected, intended, etc), and is repeatable (stable outcome). Is there really no need for a "philosophical" underpinning of the concepts used the presentation of the outcome of the projects - or such a ground may be required only in the phase of application? Or, perhaps a bypassing of that cognitive step is speeding up problem solving and thus bringing more value to society? Revolutionary science has not only produced new knowledge, but also done this in a new way by redrawing the map of the landscape of science and research itself; or such a remodelling of the concept of science may be just an unintentional sequel of the work in lab. But if so, then more attention to this challenge is required: the issue may need to be addressed on the agenda. Perhaps this is the time to realize that the inclusion of other disciplines is necessary for this research to take off, fully serve society, and bring true value to humanity, in its best way, and with a longterm horizon. Comments and counterpoints will be elaborated more in detail and published under "Nobel Afterthoughts". /Read more.../.

 

2013-12-11 Stefan Svallfors, sociologist, speaking on "Kunskapens människa: om kroppen, kollektivet och kunskapspolitiken", KVA. /Read more.../.

  

2013-12-11 Konrad Kaufmann, German physicist, is giving his presentation, "The new theory of the nerve action potential". See our previous report dated 2011-12-16. The full conference is on Monday 2013-12-16 and will include several invited speakers. /Read more.../. 

 

2013-12-10 Nobel Breakfast in Aula Medica: KI Principal Anders Hamsten, and Stockholm Mayor Sten Nordin introducing talks by Anna Widell, Kenneth Chien and Anders Ekblom, AstraZeneca. /Read more.../.

 

2013-12-09 Robert C. Malenka, Stanford Neurosciences Institute, speaks on "Neural mechanisms underlying reward and aversion" (KI, Rockefeller Hall). He provides a good preparation for further conventions this week covering the methods of optogenetics as a method of biotracing the chemicals of brain Circuits involved in key behavioral functionalities. /Read more.../.

 

2013-12-08 Nobel Prize Laureates Lectures in Physics, Chemistry, and Economics, at Aula Magna, Stockholm University: Nobelprize and KVA. /Read more.../.

 

2013-12-07 Nobel Prize Laureates in Medicine/Physiology Lectures at Aula Medica, Karolinska Institutet. /Read more.../.

 

2013-12-01 Ingemar Ernberg and Gunnar Bjursell, KI, launches website "Den kulturella hjärnan" (The Cultural Brain) on Culture, brain, Learning and Health, within the Culture and Health, their course on doctoral level arising as a complement to What Is Life? - The Future of Biology. /Read more.../.

 

2013-12-01 ARE AKADEMI internal seminar for invited participants: Ethics in Medical Research and Practice in view of the Swedish System of Justice. A dialogue on three new books recommended for reading on our syllabus: (1) Dan Josefsson (2013) Mannen som slutade ljuga: berättelsen om Sture Bergwall och kvinnan som skapade Thomas Quick, Lind & Co, ISBN 9789174612103, (2) Feldt, Kjell-Olof & von Otter, Birgitta(2013) Barnläkarfallet: En förnekad rättsskandal, ISBN 9789100141134, Bonniers, (3) Etzler, Aron (2013) Reinfeldteffekten : hur nya moderaterna tog över makten i Sverige och skakade socialdemokraterna i grunden, ISBN 9789185703715, Stockholm : Karneval. /Read more.../.

 
BOOK I

LINK TO BOOK I (in progress)

ARESCOPE

 TRANSDIMENSIONAL

 OBSERVATORY ACROSS

 SCIENCES AND SOCIETY

 

2013-11-29 Our Transdisciplinary Observatory goes global. We expect to becoming able at to following the frontier and covering "the leading horizon" from more observation posts, including Cambridge MA, USA, and other Ivy League institutions. This will be the starting point for BOOK II.  

2013-11-26 IMPORTANT CAVEAT AND INFORMATION TO THIS SITE: The present online draft is a blog precursor of the AreScope diary notes that has currently undergone essential revision (ca 250 pages in print-out version). It is now appearing as an edited publication in the ARE AKADEMI series, a book on paper (and will eventually become available as an e-book). The preliminary bibliographic reference for BOOK I is:  

Areskoug, Nils-Göran (2013) The AreScope Observatory - A diary across science and society. ARE AKADEMI, Stockholm. ISBN 978-91-981300-1-0.

Please quote from the published and printed version only. Do not quote from this site without including due reference to our caveat! Please adhere to honorable standards of academic communication - or face the risk of encountering full retaliation by our trial and litigation lawyers. Because of the subsequent and frequent revisions the present online draft diary version may not express the current (nor previous) opinions of the author and should be seen as a work in progress draft only. Due to the current working situation - and unfavorable conditions for independent voices in Swedish-based media - it is not possible to continuously provide an update nor make the necessary corrections to this online blog. Amendments of this site are made irregularly. With this important caveat, with due warning and reservation, the blog is left accessible online until further decision - on demand by many highly qualified peers and readers whose comments were deeply appreciated. Thank for your constructive, critical, valuable and honest comments!

2013-01-01 We have decided to adopt a new policy. Please find contributions to debate and dialogue on a broad range of policy topics relating to fields like arts and sciences, culture and society at sites of other website providers (such as Nature and Science journals online, ResearchGate, and Project Syndicate - "a world of ideas" - commentaries and articles on relevant matters). Articles and debate comments in Swedish published by Newsmill and Strömstad akademi. Some relevant links can be accessed via wikipedia. Peer review comments and scientific contributions to the topics addressed here, especially raising dialogues on science and interscience in society, are welcome: for contact use email (nilsare/AT/gmail.com). Thank you for your attention, for the time you invested and your dedication devoted to sharing our ideas. 

2012-06-14 The court case in Oslo today is interesting because it reveals a "case" of "open science" in society. It is the case against the terrorist murder "ABB", arriving at a "pivot point": The authors of the first assessment, Husby and Sörheim (H&S), crucial to the case (having concluded by the diagnosis "paranoid schizophrenia"), are defending eloquently their work in well-structured countering of critique (Husby) and pedagogical presentation of the premises of the diagnosis (Sörheim): she tries to demonstrate that the perpetrator's own statements put into context of an interpretive system provided by conventional psychiatric practice can be safely used as a ground for diagnosis. What we see here is a rare case of Forensic Psychiatry (FP) "on trial". The transparency of the Norwegian court to media covering is impressive, and the court procedures are well managed. The problem to focus on is the systemic error in society to rely on expertise allegedly supported by "science" (medicine) in a way that is easily perceived as correctly representing "truth", whatever meaning deserves to be assigned to that term. In a naive science, truth is not designed and believed to be non-problematic; there is no interpretation, and no need for interpretative processes in a strictly dogmatic system. At this point, one could already make the assumption that forensic psychiatry seems to rely on a too narrow methodology to solve its task and that it, consequently, needs reinforcement by an integrated interdisciplinary epistemology. After hearing a number of expert witnesses (broadcast by VG Net at www.vg.no) the shortcomings of the discipline appears disturbing. It is also worrying that the psychiatrists, not infrequently, refer to practice in "Norwegian forensic psychiatry", as if there were to be national differences in science aligned to the borders of a country.

In a dialogue with a high level Norwegian academic, I wrote (in Swedish): 

Ett speciellt tema som föranleder mig till vissa kommentarer är betingat av det ovanliga fokus i media som för närvarande sätter det norska samhället i centrum för uppmärksamheten. I Norge utspelar sig för närvarande en unik och tragisk process som involverar den medicinska disciplinen rättspsykiatri. Rättsprocessen "den 22 juli saken" bevakas internationellt och vi har en situation där disciplinens metodologi blir föremål för kritisk belysning genom den straffrättsliga behandlingen av spörsmål kring de epistemiska tolkningsprocesser som ska leda till en säkerställd diagnos. Jag är imponerad av öppenheten och procedurerna i det norska rättsväsendet, men har synpunkter när det gäller hur en säkrare grund för diagnostisk tolkning skulle kunna utvecklas: jag tror att processen kan öppna en dialog om nödvändigheten av grunderna för disciplinövergripande kunskapsintegration. Framförallt ser jag tydligt att den monodisciplinära metodiken framstår som problematisk vilket i sig redan det leder till ett krav på att en integrerad interdisciplinär tolkning finns till hands för att säkra slutsatser skall kunna framkomma. Det är nog att anse som beklagligt att man inte fullt ut nyttjar den vetenskapligt grundade kunskap om biomarkörer för psykiatriska diagnoser som faktiskt finns i modern medicinsk forskning (t.ex. Dr. Sabine Bahn, Cambridge University, UK). Gränslinjen mellan juridik och psykiatri kräver en mediering med hjälp av vetenskaplig kunskap som är grundad både i empiri och i systemvetenskapligt säkerställda tolkningssystem.  


It is safe to say that in all good natural science an attributed cause to any distinct observation is only valid if other causes have have been excluded. Since, in this case, political extremism and psychiatric disease stand as two alternatives, the exclusion of one of them would render support to the other cause, when we follow the "conclusion by exclusion" track: this is a way to provide support to an explanation by the route of adducing "negative" facts; by way of reasoning like this - "this phenomenon is not compatible with the hypothesized alternative and that is not either...etc." The negative exclusion route of logical procedure in diagnostic cognition is providing a mean for screening the broad panorama of possible causes to the observed phenomenon (in this example, the terror act by ABB): it is the preferred method for clarifying the big picture, outside the borders of any individual monodiscipline (in this case psychiatry, or law). Then, in addition, there has to be positive facts in support of the diagnostic procedure within the discipline (within the science): these provide guidance to the interpretive process within the diagnostic system(s) of the discipline (say, in psychiatry, and in the bespoken case, to determine what particular condition or disorder in question could have caused the action); this is a procedure inside the particular "science" and its disciplinary framework.

By adducing an interdisciplinary framework of interpretation, the cognitive interpretation processes involved in diagnostic procedures, like the one in question, are made more safe and brought under "self"-control: it does not allow the investigator to leave out alternative explanations in the field of the investigator's "blind spots". Such a safer paradigm of "meta"-interpretation includes the modes of "exclusion/inclusion", and of "positive/negative" facts adduced. It produces a scheme that keeps good accounting of ones own thinking and places the individual steps of thought in the right box of a "Harvard four-part square".

The blind reliance on "administrative" taxonomy systems (like DSM and ICD) may divert the attention from the real level processes. The whole psychiatric diagnostic procedure is reduced to a discussion on classification of observed phenomena into categories which are "made-up" only by consensus committee decisions. The limited explanatory value of such diagnostics becomes clear to anyone who contemplates the option that one such (arbitrarily composed) committee could at its next meeting decide to change the definitions; it would follow that the whole map of differential diagnostics would suddenly change. This is an absurd situation implying an unacceptable level of insecurity, both for maintaining trust in the societal system of justice and for trust in science - in general and in the particular discipline (here: psychiatry). These co-acting societal sub-systems may have to be revised so as to prevent abuse for any obscure reason, be it political or other particular interests which risk manipulating democracy in open society.

Does this mean that intradisciplinary expertise is unreliable? No, not "generally" and not to the extent implied by the question. But, preliminarily, it seems necessary to be very clear about the fact that professional expertise applied to complex problem solving in society, needs to be understood with an important caveat: The applicability of expertise should always be clearly circumscribed with respect to not only the possible consequences of the outcome but also to be limitations of its methodology; these limitations, as seen in a broader perspective, are about the extension of validity for the discipline, i.e. the core definition of what field of phenomena a particular discipline is capable, and even more important (as it appears), incapable of investigating. This, of course, makes any initial definition of relevance, applicability, extension and validity of methodology, key to any knowledge process; this should emerge from the bigger map and it should determine the a priori competence level and field on that map - in order to limit the risk of misinterpretation.

Such intradisciplinary limitations arise from a misunderstanding of the role of scientific expertise in society, and, technically, from misapplication of professional knowledge to the field of problem under scrutiny. The mapping of competence for a any particular societal field of problems is a key task, and a responsibility for any "politician", in a broad sense of that term. Modern society must be able to provide safe procedures of attribution, differentiation and assignment in the fields of power entrusted to it by democratic processes. The ability of distinguish top-down from bottom-up knowledge processes, and their legitimacy in respective fields of application, is but one point of departure on the long way of developing a "sane society". 


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2012-05-24 Should we still believe in democracy? Why would anyone even think of such a question at an era when the one dictator after the other is inflicting more harm to humankind than, it seems, ever before? But the error is in the mandatory alternative, the rigid dichotomy: democracy or totalitarianism, as if there were no alternatives outside this (mono- or poly-) dimensional conceptualization; as if democracy as known were the only decent alternative at hand. Sure, Churchill maintained it was a compromise. The least bad that could be had. But when you see how it works, even in well-functioning countries like Sweden, its decay is all too obvious to be ignored. It is not that you had come to admire the system of democracy as such when assessed from how it works in practice. Maybe it is suitable for simple task solving, such as providing basic economic security to a wider scope of people than would else have a chance at all to living livable lives. But the moral compass, and the true commitment to knowledge, as well as the civil courage to stand up for things right and honest despite the discomfort we have to bear not to follow the stream. Did politicians become so streamlines to suit only the populist consensus that they lost their antennas for right and wrong; everything done on a mandate just derives from the guesswork of satisfying voters assumed short term visions? This is not an essay in political science, but how are life actually functioning in one of the crowned paradises on earth? Take Stockholm and ask why there is such a thing as "The Stockholm Syndrome". Is this not a paradox? Or, if not, is there something in the ethnic roots of these late Vikings that keep then bound to primitive rituals, a downward swirl of social black holes, of engulfing inverted Pareto points, that consume the mental energy of a whole culture, set to destroy any effort of progress towards more civilized habits. Such things as family is a complex, then, that receives little protection, because children are just a raw material that is chiseled out in rough struggle for surviving the tough winters of the social silence among these odd peoples (Swedes, Finns, and Danes - question is about Norwegians vetting towards West in a more open, lucid and frank way). In Stockholm's most fashionable central city district, Östermalm, its council convened to mostly decide on issuing strong drinks permitted to restaurants in town, a necessary but immensely boring task for which we are supposed to admire these overpaid voluntary power players. This is truly a deep crisis of democracy and it lies foremost in the diffuse criteria for its legitimacy; or in the process of legitimization. The system relies on a model of conflict mediation that evens out differences on a plane of consensus derived of a least and lowest point of agreement. Therefore, no really insightful solutions can be reached, and progress is slow albeit safe. Actually, the infatuation of safety is something similar to an addiction to drugs; nobody seldom dares to exit the vicious circle and experience reality bare. That would challenge the mind in finding new venues and woes, would hurt as little as a vaccination makes the child cry; and here you see a deplorable assembly of vision-less delegates supposed to represent the stable population in this good class district of Stockholm. What went wrong in the paradise, even before the snake made its entree? The ability, or even self-interest in sensing a responsibility for what actually could be done, outside political borders, is lost among these "paperheads". There is nothing to vindicate their mandate, and representation is just a fake approximation of their voters opinions, not a true certification of trust. Trust is a process entrusted to the trustee, to ensure a quality of values at stake in every moment of responsible reasoning, and not a mechanical assignment to push the button with the "right" color. There are not as many buttons as people, and reduction to the few viable alternatives is a process of gradual elimination of the worst. The concept is neither evil nor good, because it just assesses the possibility of ensuring justification through head counting, and not through reason; there might not be so much of the latter inside heads either, not enough to provide a structured process of quality reasoning of a mature mind.

If we have a policy process incapable of providing protection for central human values such as family and best of children - the latter perhaps because decisions are delegated to their incompetence level - then the societal framework loses much of its legitimacy. If there is no sense of accountability among the representatives in public decision councils it is hard to see any other that a development towards decay of trust, followed by disorderly dismantling of prevailing societal structures and functions; this is perhaps what see today in Southern Europe where financial chaos has triggered a virtual bomb of social unrest, much of it still to explode the next coming few months and years. It will take time to recover from this and it is by all means not sure that society will retain its present structure, given the hard pressure on its walls. The forthcoming implosion of public responsibility in society, since long led by the decay of trust among its political representatives, will be a hard landing of modern civilization. One should always be careful not to over-interpret the situation of widespread tension increasing not only in the periphery of Europe; we also have right-wing extremist movements, and individual actors (such as the terror killer in Norway), who manage so set off a series of convulsions of the societal framework as we are used to see it functioning. Although extremism and its terror events are still infrequent, and the likelihood to be hit by it is by far lesser than most other mortal causes (cancer, accidents, environment, nature catastrophes), such shocks stir up considerable anxiety as it provokes quite different agendas in media; the loss of focus on balance in dialogue platforms during and after such events is a particular point in case.

The social processes that we see unfold, as reflected among the modes of thinking that prevail as preformed political models, is becoming heavily sclerotic compared to times gone. It seems evident that leaders are left alone with their challenging task, without being provided with neither guidance nor suitable preparations; void of competence resources required to deal with the upcoming problems, they learn to hide as things threat to become a bit complex, and withdraw into their common holes as soon as it rains a bit. This, of course, is (not only) counterproductive; the rigidity of approaches to problem solving, and lack of strategic cognition, presages problems of deeper dimension. Very few people, and at rare instances of insight, are capable of both a clear-minded and competent reasoning beyond patterns and templates. It is no surprise that disappointment and frustration becomes the driver of new movement towards the extremes in both directions (that is, however, still a move in only one out of several essential dimensions).

So the political dysfunction in adequate and competent problem solving, easily diagnosed among the council members at the local district assembly referred to, has both its cause and its price. It takes its toll in terms of societal cohesion, a word hardly even understood by all of these members. It is a cost to productivity and inclusion of the creative minds in societal structure. The silent acceptance of brutalism in a new coat is as prevalent as it is shocking. But the reason for the decay lies behind the superficial methods of political recruitment, relying on "more of the same" likeness among nominators and nominees: there is a failure of constituting and upholding a consistent set of criteria that must meet both empirical and aprioric sense. Oversimplification serves the individual who wants and needs a quick career and who is prepared to sacrifice his conscience if he or she had one from the start. The problem, in general terms, lies both in fragmented values and failure to corroborate those sets of methods that qualify for a critical scrutiny. It is clear that an individual country, with the limitation of its internal policy play, very rarely arrive at a system that works seamlessly and integrates human values from all sides; it is far more likely that those having earned representative trust through cleverly designed PR campaigns will trumpet their mantras until their throats are dry. These voices will not be nice to hear and nothing is more far away from it than the mode of "harmonic cognition", tested and found water-proof through centuries of not only Western cultures.

This is why the recent failure of the collaborative opportunities inherent to the European vision is so costly - and expensive to rebuild particularly for the small country, if at all possible to compensate. This is also why we suggest a more close cooperation between the Nordic countries and especially the Scandinavian is the only remaining safe way to buttress the national welfare economically, socially and culturally, should the European project turn out to disintegrate into a total fallacy. This might not be the first scenario, not even the second, but it remains a fully possible worst case scenario under the circumstances and auspices present. What is the remedy we are looking for to ignite a driving belief in quality visions and values anew?

       

2012-05-22 Oliver Sacks is giving a speech presented in Börssalen of Swedish Academy, Gamla Stan, invited by the Nobel Museum. 

   We encounter an old and fine nestor in neurology who has a lot to tell us and who loves to tell it. He is more like an artist in front of his patient and is therefore capable of registering the full and fine details hitherto unheard; and these do not fit into the narrow frame of criteria of the modern DSM system that has encroached medical science of today. For now, the gist of it, for you, is here: 

   The density of the description and the selection of details provide a rich enough account to discover what must be reflections of functions that have their specific physiological processes in the brain. And with this approach, as much that of an artist as that of a scientist who controls the conditions of the experiment, the doctor lets the patient talk and give his or her full story of biography, experiencing, the pains of life and of disease - this provides the narrative of what it is, reality and human life. He claims there must always be a balance between the biology and the biography in order to capture the essentials of life and living. The epitome of his work is the case stories: these have both a literal and medical quality and need not - and should not - be compressed into papers in medical journals. So perhaps writing full length case histories is not such a bad idea as a beginning of making sense of reality, and seeing what hypotheses might be generated from the uncensored account of a sensitive listening mind totally attentive towards capturing the details of the patients account...

   Interesting way of providing an integration between the literary qualities of writing and the gradual emergence of contours of knowledge within a scholarly if not yet scientific system. And this, I believe, is actually an epistemic system of interpretation integrating across patterns of approach in very different academic traditions. Interesting...and productive idea...

The roots of his writing, he explains, is in the combined experience as a clinical doctor of his patients and of experiencing his own neurological condition (he later in the lecture refers to a leftsided hemineglect and the way to play or overcome this, as an advantage or disadvantage, or both). He refers to his interest, in his scholarly youth, in botany, chemistry, and especially the love for such an early 18th century chemist as Scheele whose house and garden in Sweden he likes to visit. Out of these different sources emerges a narrative - and doctors are often natural storytellers. In fact, storytelling is at heart of the medical profession. It is an unrivaled venue for obtaining knowledge on how disease provides pictures of reality; because it is very difficult to "decept reality" ba storytelling. The old tradition among doctors like William Harvey and others who were seeing patients, strolling around in their libraries gave rise to the 19th century Case History: a good case history is timeless, but the richness of this habit disappeared. Medical case histories and memoirs of people who had been ill, who see it from within, and descriptions by patients during brain surgery, even a toxic psychosis by someone who uses opium, i.e. case histories without a premeditated plan, are particularly enlightening.

Density of description has a message to deliver to modern scientific society. I talk with a neuropsychologist sitting on my left side who worked at Astrid Lindgren Hospital: music there was her preferred means of rehabilitating lost functions in children who had suffered some neurological damage, and Sacks has his talk abundant of examples on how music works as a vehicle to restore lost abilities, for instance getting to handle a motor program of everyday life. Why is this? Why is music the preferred sensory mode in accessing or regaining lost modes of cognition, perception or acting. Sacks gives reference to the textbook examples of patients who had lost their language but who could access it again via singing - this is a well established phenomenon relying on the neural distinction of storing and accessing memories retained. But why could this not have been done by visual or tactile arts, for example? Well, Sacks is not going into theory, after all his books are there to look for clues. But music is a process structured in time and structuring timeflow in a particular way that appears to integrate perception with motor action and cognition in an almost unique way; I say "almost" only to provide for close sister arts such as dancing and acting in play or drama which also entail much of similar exchange between grasping, processing and mentalizing pertinent aspects of reality while combining most of the modalities of human behavior. But, it seems likely that music is the foremost among these "arts of human cognition", if that term can be takes broadly.

   It was a very pleasurable moment to see how relaxed Dr Sacks could talk to his audience and by very minute means creating an atmosphere of friendly contemplation of what everything in the old and deeply revered art of practising medicine could entail for the future in terms of promise and peril.

2012-05-17 A new field of interdisciplinary research such as Therapeutic Jurisprudence is obviously useful to society. Its promise is to bring the "law people" out of their closet to see that the social reality is intricately composed of human individuals. Perfectly on track with this trend now the Torsten Söderberg stiftelse announces a joint effort together with the Swedish State, Department of Justice: the previous year by year donations in criminology research have been redesigned to a permanent endowment in memory of Edvard Söderberg, the former Director of the Söderberg foundations. This will allow a stagnating legal research to take new steps and for the country Sweden to keep much more updated on the topics that are the most dynamic in the broad field of the discipline: to mention another one, biosocial victimology and areas of coinciding interest with the conflict and peace research that is well anchored in Sweden - at institutes named Raoul Wallenberg in Lund, and Dag Hammarskjöld in Uppsala.

2012-05-12 Recapitulation. Who is the candidate for the non-existent Nobel Transdisciplinary Prize which we have not yet seen in the real world? I would nominate George Soros on the merit that should appear evident for anyone concerned about the state of affairs of this world. He argues that for driving a change at this particular stage of historical moment a new vision to reignite Europe is a necessary condition. Under the Presidency of John Shattuck, rector at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Soros delivers five seminal lectures (2009) which is the synopsis of a lifelong experience at the crossroad of capitalism and democracy, finance and social values, and dialogue on open society. 

2012-05-11 It was Karl Popper who said: Classical model tells us more than we can at first know. And Stravinsky asked the maestro after the first performance of one of his works: Maestro, is this a good work? Reply: It is too early to say. The philosophy in biology is "similar": It is only about location sites, regulatory proteins, e.g. activators bind specific sites on DNA and turn on TXN of specific genes. Do not look at what is seen, that is temporal. Look at the things which are not seen, they are eternal. The evo-devo problem: it is the same enzymes, in different organisms and different body parts. We must find out how the organism develops and works, and only then worry how they evolved. This is the order of thinking in research, according to Mark Ptashne. What is life? Specificity and binding, says Ptashne, author of widely acclaimed "The Genetic Switch". Crucial is the recruitment of activators and the site where it binds. There are often double negative feedback - if an induction repressor is destroyed. This is all about the mechanism of gene activation. Recruitment imposes specificity, substrate choice, by using binding reactions. This is studied in the lambda bacterium: The General Picture is an enzyme working on the substrate and the recruiter that binds on another site of it. Interestingly, any gene can be activated by any activator, just the site counts. It is about Establishment versus Maintenance, about when and where the final autoregulatory loop is triggered. The rule is: transient expression, presence of a trigger: this is a true epigenetic process. In higher organisms the threshold is raised. Finally: Thje Greeks showed their profundity by their love of surfaces, according to Nietzsche. 

2012-05-09 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited Lois Alberto Moreno, President of Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), to talk about policies for deploying business efforts, and installing integrative measures, to promote development of economic and social conditions in regions of severe and moderate poverty. The session was attended by people from a variety of NGO and GO agencies (SIDA) working in global economic development. The focus is on the recently very dynamic growth in Latin America. Where is the link to SME (small and medium enterprises)? What is the role of private sector partnering with IDB for different types of investment such as health and social entrepreneurship? How do you promote responsible behavior? Property rights, labor training, financing projects, collaborations with organizations in other countries; venture capital funds, access to startup capital; we use a family of measures, including helping SMEs and university students (MBAs) to provide some of the capacities required.Countries are more and more focused on sustainability, and structuring industries in an environmentally responsible way, that can be measured. It has an tremendous impact to succeed in these efforts, and requires essential commitment. What are the fields where money flowing into Latin America are most efficiently needed (Diaspora project, where Sweden is participating): totally 67 billion dollars from all countries. The majority of remittances from Europe come from Spain, and most of it goes to Colombia. Another question is about the experience of microfinance: It is not developing as fast – it depends on the quality of the environment. An important experience is that it is not only sufficient to have a good law enforcement but you need to make social investments to get down criminality rates; Latin America has several among the countries with 10 highest criminality in the world.

2012-05-03 Rob Riemen of NEXUS Institute, Netherlands, under the titel "What gives life to life?", was reading a chapter on how the lovely encounter with a the artist's muse, released the creative block, in the composer Dmitri Schostakovitch. Post-seminar opened up broad vistas on the politics of Europe, the roots of civil dialogue in Sokrates, and the risk of a loss of values for the Western civilization. It was above all an inspiring talk that triggered unusually open-minded explorations in the field of cultural roots to societal stability and development. As the discussion (at Nobels väg 16) approaches end, Ingemar Ernberg asks if his concluding words will be "Be Brave!" but he counters with an equally passionate "Enjoy Life!" as the take home message to the doctoral students. (Notes availabe, 6 pages).

2012-05-03 Firdaus Dhabhar is a leader scholar at the Center for Health and Stress, Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences  and the Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection, Stanford university. He visits OCIM, the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Karolinska Institute, to give a broad and detailed presentation of the frontier of knowledge in his field, an solid account of protective and harmful effects of stress on the immune system. This is mainly a preclinical and translational research: the goal is to improve understanding of stressors on the immune "defense" system in more detail. My question on the effect of emotional stress in social and working life relations on the immune system at first seem to fall a bit outside the focus of the speech, but it is impressive to hear how Professor Dhabar handles every question (even more remote than mine) with the same serious concern, filling in the gaps of the unknowing audience to the utmost detail. We enjoy much the contribution of a leading edge scholar whose scope of awareness seems to naturally transgress any issue of greater relevance. ((Notes available for the collegiates, 4 pages)

2012-04-30 Charles J. Limb might be more known to the public through his TED lecture on "The Brain and Musical Creativity" than through his true passion to combine being a musician and a high level scientific scholar investigating the neurobiological pathways from ear to brain by means of frontier imaging technology at his hands, at the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, at the prestigious - if not world leading - medical institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, US. His research is a beautiful example of how research, when at its best, is driven by both a clinical need to serve patients (the social aspect), and a personal passion and curiosity around the intriguing phenomenon of the hidden links between the physiology of hearing, the neurology of auditory processing, and the cognition of music experience. The conditions for this tenet of scholarship are three: freedom of choice, access to resources, and passionate interest. He sounds more like a creative artist when he explains how he arrives at his research issues; questions that deepen his perspective and which engage his mind in solving complex questions on the functioning of the human mind. These fundamental issues - about the roots of language and the role of music in humans as individuals and social beings - have profound implications towards the key questions on the evolution of our species. As the moderators of the seminar, Professors Gunnar Bjursell and Ingmar Ernberg noted, there are also linkages to neurobiological research on "music" (singing and signaling) in other species, where music is believed to have a role in sexual selection; logic makes this believable because of the fact that musicality has been preserved through genetic selection during the ages of developing mankind. (Notes available for the collegiates, 2 pages)

2012-04-23 Right now, I feel, there are three authors, all Professors at Harvard, whose thinking more than that of others merit consideration because of both the impact and wide spread of their ideas (and their relevance for important societal issues), and who constitute an intellectual Parnassus of impact: Steven Pinker, Howard Gardner, and Michèle Lamont. Today, Howard Gardner is visiting Nobel Forum at Karolinska, in Stockholm. The gist of his lecture is equivalent to his recent 2011 book, "Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed - Educating for the Future in the Age of Truthiness and Twitter", a string of ideas probing the bedrock of enduring human values (that has been reviewed in Harvard Gazette; and earlier preludes of these ideas can be found under Edge - 3rd Culture). To pick an important idea of his framework truth as it appears easily accessible in the virtual age is therefore converging (due to its connectedness and abundance), so is goodness (which carries an optimistic implication or at least potentiality); only beauty is diverging: and this is hopeful, as well: beauty is about experience and essentially arts. These are the three cornerstones investigated, and beauty is not the least important. But, I ask, what about the linkages and connections, not only their properties? And is it so sure that truth, beauty and goodness are all that distinctly different, and separate entities? What about the sense of 'truth' in many great musical experience, may it be of Mahler (3rd), Bruckner, Wagner (Parsifal), Mozart or Back (Wohltemperiertes Klavier), perhaps also in Mona Lisa, if not so clearly in impressionist style paintings? The exploration of the arts work of great artists provide us with a map for combinations that seem providing endless opportunity for creativity. But Gardner replies that the dimension of truth I hear in beauty (and I refer to Alf Gabrielsson's interviews of peak experience of music) are phenomenal experience, which is true, and he is launching a definition as if he were a philosopher, on the properties of truth. So, for Gardner, truth is about Method, and we need to get aware and focus more on it in the future, whereas beauty provides you with a Portfolio of authentic experience, and goodness anchors in the Commons. The core of the lecture, as also the line of reasoning in the book, derives from in depth reflection on recent arts experiences in the New York arts market; these reflections feed insights in educational epistemology for the age of information - key thoughts for the role of knowledge and its relation to experience in future society. And: Would there be common roots in nature or through evolution, of the three key concepts (Truth, Beauty, and Goodness), or is it that we are bringing them together by means of, say, one of the modes of the working mind that Gardner so elegantly describes in his Five Minds for the Future: the Synthesizing Mind. Very few authors have like Gardner been able to providing us with both a concise account of on what quality criteria and on what epistemic grounds interdisciplinary work must stand, and at the same time giving us a very plausible picture of the neuropsychology necessarily backing these kind of integrative modes of cognition. He does this by revealing the essential and "carrying" connections between mind and material without being bogged down in futile technical data. This makes pedagogy an inherently useful science that legitimately builds on discoveries from other disciplines; it stands closer to the end and links beautifully what we know with what we need to do. With the impressive range of competence displayed one can easily accept one or two pages where the analysis derails into misinterpretation (for me it was the passage about Arthur Rubinstein rehearsing habits which calls for some comment in favor of his artistic legacy); anyone could build on Gardner's open knowledge system that allows creative development and further application beyond disciplinary borders; it urges you to try your own way and inspires you to explore your own world of silent knowledge embedded in the wealth of authentic experience that we all build and carry through our lives.
   Looking at the opus of Gardner reveals an impressive range of themes essential for designing solutions at the crossroad between managing knowledge for development of human society, building educational systems for the future and designing strategies for knowledge integration. In addition, his cognitive and psychological insights allow him to paint broad canvasses across disciplines, modes of cognitive reflection in science and in arts, and to capture the values inherent to human talent profiles. The initial societal impact of his ideas across academe, culture and business came with the Frames of Mind - the theory of multiple intelligences (1983), Multiple Intelligence - the theory in practice (1993), and other works in that strain. Among modern intellectuals of the 20th century and forth his tomes were influential in content and captured the currents of its era until today: At the present Nobel Forum lecture his message for the future was: "We need a new Enlightenment" adapted to the new modes of production of knowledge. A brief look at the translations into Swedish of his works provides us with the frame of wisdom he grasps, and which he is still actively reframing, as society changes its challenges of modes of knowing and learning for today and the years ahead: De sju intelligenserna (Frames of Mind - the theory of multiple intelligences), Så tänker barn - och så borde skolan undervisa (The Unschooled Mind. How Children Think and how Schools Should Teach, 1991), Skapande genier - de sju intelligenserna sedda genom sju framstående människors liv - Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinskij, Eliot, Graham och Gandhi - (Creating Minds - An anatomy of creativity..., 1993), Sinne för ledarskap (Leading Minds - An anatomy of leadership, 1995), Intelligenserna i nya perspektiv (Intelligence Reframed, 1999), Den bildade människan - hur vi verkligen förstår vad vi lär oss (The Disciplines Mind - what all students should understand, 1999),  Fem sätt att tänka - av betydelse för framtiden (Five Minds for the Future, 2006)(Notes available for the collegiates, 3 pages)     

2012-04-21 If there is a potential remedy in getting to understand the underlying currents of social disruption from the disintegration of societal and human values among the young generation, and to understand it as a heavily challenging historic process that must be handled with immediate political urgency, then this would stand on one of its legs on Steven Pinker's full length investigation on the most pressing issue of "The Better Angels of Our Nature - Why Violence has Declined" (2011). It was a week of terror: It was the most horrifying ever for Scandinavian families. Never before had such bare evil and cruelty entered the homes of the people, as broadcasting from the court hearings with the Norwegian terrorist continued. As this event reveals the most dangerous threat to modern society, it requires a deeper quest beyond conventional disciplines. Political scientists, legal attorneys, and forensic psychiatrists (and psychologists) try to fit their scholarly patterned understanding into the frame of media communication. As the latter offers limited time and space for a full background explanation of the established conceptual frameworks within respective science, many of these professionals make a weak appearance in front of the stark realities accounted for through these exceptional court proceedings. A key issue is about understanding the kind of relation between reality and interpretation that the particular discipline is axiomatically assuming, beyond the actual wording of the things. If there is little or no disagreement on the factual sequence of events, what we see and hear unfolding in media reports and daily coverage of the drama replayed in court is nothing less than a lesson in the complexity of reality interpretations on different levels, and disorderly mixtures of internal and external reference of the accounts given to reality. A somber lesson indeed that casts an abysmal shadow on the perpetrator but also some doubt on how and why the efficient prevention of such major disruption to a well-functioning society could not be properly prepared and handled in an immediate emergency situation like the one that hit Oslo on 22 July 2011. It is obviously difficult for public society to redefine the problem as a problem of competency and see how that could bring us closer to some surprising solutions, which, I submit, will be found not so much at the expected spot of searching and inquiry. Good that the Norwegian government jointly and coordinately with the Norwegian parliament decided on launching a national independent commission to deal with the question on what society can learn from the whole event. Analyzing the disaster of this kind, though, requires some considerable insights beyond the conventional, which is not so handily available; the leader of the "22 Juli kommisjonen" Alexandra Beck Gjørv will have a tough job. The attempted system of loosely disorganized ideas used as justification of the deeds are to be understood as disinterpretations reframing reality in a distorted way; but since this is for a political end (however flawed this may be) any psychiatric labeling may do more harm than help in our effort to grasp the roots to these kind of atrocities. Diagnostic categories are hiding more that they reveal - and this could be a severe mistake costing society in terms of future risk. Perhaps the commission will be able to bring some brainpower together to reveal the undercurrents that feed misinterpretation of reality and distortion of human value (and other fundamental notions) - but will they be able to see the processes of disturbed cognition in the convict as a reflection of certain less successful properties and functions of present day society: - that will require a solid and deep soul-searching. But facing that challenge is probably the only truly promising way towards sustainable solutions; already at this point, prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, was on the right track, immediately after the shocking event, when he stated the challenge to society must be met by even more openness and consideration; but at this point, reconsideration of the functions of critical dialogue in society, and the social responsibility of young developing minds in the age of internet, are posing necessary issues at the highest impact and stake for the future...

2012-04-16 Reality and illusion in the Nordic countries. What went wrong in the Paradise? Today, the court trial process is beginning against Breivik, the terrorist murderer in Norway. But beyond all well-conducted administrative legal procedures in Oslo today, we need to ask the worrying questions on what could actually have made this event possible in such a country as Norway: what are the societal conditions that might have enabled this outlaw terrorist to develop his plan, without being stopped by social forces in this highly developed country, situated in the "peaceful" Nordic country of Scandinavia. We need to dig deeper into this issue, to get a reliable answer, needed for further reconsideration on how society is and should be formed in the future.
   Comment and conclusion from the first day of the trial in Oslo against Breivik in the largest court case in Norway since WWII. A talk by walking with Dr. Erich Franzke, on the roots of evil and derailment of present society, as illustrated by the Norwegian Breivik case, Växjö Stadsbibliotek on 16th April 2012. Is there a cure? Or could be? What measures should society take to cultivate human values through culture or other means, and to promote the development of empathetic ability, as a way to immunize against atrocities?
   The first question is: Why are there no agreement on convincing explanation? How can it be that disagreement among professionals, here psychiatrists, land their investigations of the case Breivik in so utterly different conclusions?
   The second question is: How to prevent eruptions of violence? What can we do to improve conditions against violence, i.e. to decrease the probability of political terror attacks that cause devastating harm to society and its institutions, endangering life and safety for common people and shaking democratic functions in its root?
   Corollary: What can and must be done to prevent such disasters, and to cultivate the empathetic faculty in such a way to create a root value in society that prevents violent eruptions from extreme opinions? 
   The illusion, or even delusion, of perfect formalism, is in itself a worrying phenomenon. Not that an orderly legal process, a clear and meticulously documented administrative management of procedures, not would be required. It is mandatory. No question. But there is a remote objection, still valid, – if, namely, the process, actually hides more than it reveals. That would be the case, if focus makes the trial into a media event, by precisely focusing interest on the superficial horrific details; if, namely, the listing of technicalities risk dominating and covering important causative processes more in depth of the matter. 
   Evil plus intelligence is a particularly toxic mix. As Franzke cites: “homo humanum lupus”, man against man is a wolf. But the wolf does kill only another wolf if it is already harmed or ill, so here: (1) man is worse that the animal (wolf), and (2) the instinct of the animal (wolf) follows a rule of natural selection. 
   At what point in the analysis would society realize that complex social problems, such as the roots to emerging violent behavior patterns, needs a solution that is based on both medical and juridical evidence. This implies that the issue at stake here is a truly interdisciplinary crux. We will later, in this blog, develop some aspects of Therapeutic Jurisprudence (TJ).
   The tears as an emotional reaction of Breivik, after the court had shown his own propaganda film, as is to be interpreted as a form of “self-pity”, triggered by the sensing that he must have felt, that he had succeeded in his mission, whatever its mistaken grounds; this could be a diagnostic sign - he is empathetic not of others but of him self: the fact that this has developed in his personality, and not only in his, could signify a worrying tendency, and also be diagnostic of a trend in society towards to accept more and more of egocentric aberration. But is the grounds adduced based in political opinion of an extreme kind, which is something we can easily find in many not only European countries, or does  it depend on some specific tendencies in the ways the accused is interpreting the world. The defense noted that the defendant’s explanation could be the most important evidence to the question of his psychic health status.
   The only resources available to ensure prevention of eruptive political violence can come from securing the process of recruitment of "the best" to run the state: the question emerges in social sciences if and how it can help the state secure the competences needed for managing safe society. It is all about the level of quality we want to see emerging in evolving civilization. The diagnosis of society could otherwise become: "too late, too little". There is an urgent need for developing much more "crucial" criteria for societal competence, for the sanity of societal function; and it is not precisely the moment for approving in all aspects the functioning of modern society. This should also become a moment of self-reflection, or self-criticism: we must ask, what failed? How could we have made it function better?
    

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2012-03-25 A few days ago the Swedish Authority for supervision of foundations (Länstyrelsen i Stockholms län) issued an interesting verdict not to pursue any legal action on account of the Norwegian Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize under the Swedish jurisdiction of the Nobel Foundation and applicable laws (Stiftelselagen, SL). Assessor Mikael Wiman in charge wrote the summary which is a document that allows some reflection on the way of interplay between knowledge society (science) and law. The Norwegian lawyer Fredrik Heffermehl had criticized the selection of Nobel Peace Prize Winners as not complying to the intentions in the charter of foundation stated by Alfred Nobel. The summary of the conclusion on the part of the supervisory agency to "free" the Nobel Foundation (Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee) from further investigation is available here, for those having an interest in considering any possible longterm legal implications.

2012-03-08 This is a note under our program to develop cross- and transdisciplinary evaluation criteria in frontier research, raising the key question of whether frontier monodisciplinary science does, and does necessarily imply, or require this kind of criteria. At least, for science to motivate its existence in society, it might be a mandatory requirement, for evaluation and funding decision, at least when drawing from public sources. Given the required objectivity in frontier mono-science meant to establish novel truth, values that are necessarily inhibited in the stage of research methodology reappear as results are to be implemented in clinical practice (which is the core of the translational research problem); the result stage feeds back to pre-stage of decision-making, including a necessary integration of values in prioritization policies relying on societal basis. At this point, we need to rely on robust account of our scrutiny of the process of scientific thinking, so the following will be partly technical, as a basis for further epistemic interpretation.
 
    Today, "Frontiers in Cancer Research and Therapy" at Karolinska Institutet, Nobel Forum, March 8-9, is a leading edge conference, heavily sponsored by industry (interestingly, from a public and private research policy perspective, these are among the contributors, in order of appearance on the conference folder: stiftelsen Cancercentrum Karolinska, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Radiumhemmets forskningsfonder, MSD, Cancerfonden, Vetenskapsrådet, GlaxoSmithKline GSK, or to sum up, 4 public balancing 4 private sponsors). While the list of speakers is truly international, the Nobel Committee is convening inhouse, having reserved the upper floor. Much of it is focusing on cancer genomics, the first session beginning with Paul Spellman on mutation driver events in tumor development.
   Questions included rate and pace of mutation and stability of the genome. Tobias Sjöblom, on cancer genomics from candidate genes to clinical utility, was involved in the first sequencing of breast cancer genes. You can treat your data on mutations observed in human cancers in different ways, such as identifying pathways and analysing protein coding, e.g. in breast and colorectal cancers; you can rank order of mutations - the most frequently mutated is adenomatosis polyposis coli (>10 CaMP Score, first among top 20 breast CAN-genes). The use of the information is to prioritize drivers vs passengers, and put it into a landscape (e.g. of a colon cancer). It shows that the landscape of mutations looks quite different in different patients - a problem for therapy. He is providing an inventory of frequent drivers in mutations and identifying these by displaying mappings and lists of key factors. The aim is to discover pathway assignment of novel cancer genes, the problem being that genome sequencing identifies many putative cancer genes mutated at low frequency (for instance, the KRAS pathway in CRC). A method is forward genetic screen for KRAS pathways genes in human CRC. To enable genomic medicine in cancer you pursue the following series: clinical specimens-process tissues of DNA and RMA-sequencing-mutations analysis-therapy decision; collect blood, tissues and data before and after cancer therapy (UCAN 2010-2014, Uppsala university), first scalable serial extraction, etc.
   To sum, identify many low frequency cancer genes, target sequencing prioritize genes for further studies, functional studies and mutations limiting, pathway/phenotype of gene mutations identified by classical genetic approaches, and future development. It appears from the discussion on Sjöblom's presentation that it entails implications for a designing of a bold model to taking this frontier research into the clinic, perhaps ahead of standard procedure. At least an interest to disseminate his ideas, from Uppsala to nearby Karolinska, was suggested.   
   James Hicks from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA, takes cancer genomics to the single cell level; he distinguishes inter vs intra tumor progression. A tissue sample from clinic is often misrepresenting the disease - so you have to look at a few single cells by single nucleus sequencing (SNS) obtained by standard micro-array. Target is to get sequencing (unit of commerce=1 lane /HiSeq/ = 250 mm 'reads') down to 20 USD per cell, presently it costs 75 USD/cell. Increasing bin width diminishes resolution but not overall data quality. Applications of SNS is monitoring patient responses to treatment (by baseline biopsy and post-treat biopsy, measuring aneuploids-polyploids etc), to improve the monitoring of patient undergoing biopsy-treat-surgery, etc, in conventional therapy programs. Profiling in prostate cancer is from radical prostatectomy looking at initiation or migration events, to identify and monitor progress e.g. multiple independent clones in patients, pseudoploids, etc, by hierarchical sequencing which can see the progress, with the research question 'Can our biomarkers help identifying the minimal common denominator?'; underway, rare pathological cells are unexpectedly seen in normal tissue, events that are frequently undergoing in normal cell culture. This may be an example of chromosome shredding apoptosis or a prelude to chromothrypsis, events implicated in early cell lines. Elaine Mardis, Washington University School of Medicine, is studying tumor heterogeneity and progression analysis in order to find cost-efficient methods of custom capture for validation and read depth: the 'philosophy' of the practice of the procedure is to model the tumor evolution by means of "deep digital sequencing": the mutant allele frequency is calculated (mutant reads/total reads = mutant allele frequency, in heterozygous mutation 50%, and in wild type & het mutant cells, it is 25%). This is about finding and perfecting efficiency of test technology in clinical practice. For instance, in AML, most patients die from progressive disease after relapse; we study de novo to relapse evolution. The source of the relapse mutation is unknown. In following a patient with AML diagnosis is of multiple leukemic clones present, detecting clinical remission as a loss of most leukemic clones, and the relapse that is actually killing the patient: the conclusion of the paper was as follows: "Deep sequencing at de novo presentation and relapse allow us to precisely define two disease evolution patterns, both invoke clonal evolution and the addition of new mutations in some but not all, cases," And in solid tumors progression of breast cancer is the focus. Deep readcount analysis is a discovery-based way of approaching tumor heterogeneity. Accumulating evidence of clinical efficacy will improve the standard of clinical treatment.
   Levi A. Garraway, MD PhD at Harvard Medical School, looks at a critical path to effective cancer treatment from "biological and clinical insights from cancer genome characterization": the path in the model goes through tumor dependency- rational therapeutics - tumor response (transient - therapeutic combinations (treatment resistance) - cure or longterm control; it is about developing the full range of actionable means. En effort is made to defining new tumor dependency paradigms by cancer genome sequencing in prostate cancer and melanoma. In prostate cancer we should be discovering, e.g. dependencies like androgen signaling. There are complex rearrangements in the prostate cancer genome; a landscape of mutations in the exome of aggressive primary prostate cancer is provided. SPOP is one of the most mutated genes and recurrent SPOP mutations cluster in its substrate binding domain (describing the physical location of it); exclusively in "ETS-negative" prostate cancer, los of substrate ubiquitination: increased oncoprotein stability, de novo substrate ubiquitination, new role for dysregulated protein homeostasis in prostate cancer biology, are among points. It is all about how and by which path we can achieve control if not cure the prostate cancer. In contrast, in melanoma, the critical path to effective treatment, the mutation rate (BRAF, NRAS) is quite high, giving a signature of UV-induced DNA damage. Because of high baseline mutation rate we get the following recurrent rearrangements in melanoma: many rearrangements involved large genes or known fragile sites (FHIT, MACROD2, CSMD1), PTEN, MAGI2 (which binds and stabilizes PTEN, 5' untranslated region of  A2BP1 gene - RNA binding protein linked to cerebellar ataxia and neurodegenerative disease - may target a specific splice isoform genome. PREX2 is among the most significantly mutated melanoma genes: it is a large multifunctional protein interacting with (and maybe inhibiting) PTEN, among other things, and it promotes tumorigenesis in melanoma (Berger, hodis, Heffernan, Lissanu-Deribe et al., Nature, in press). Going from dependency over therapeutics to response vemurafenib improves survival in BRAF-V600E melanoma but resistance is pervasive. The question is how to advance from transient response to durable control of BRAF-mutant melanoma by defining the universe o resistance mechanisms through systematic preclinical studies and integrate results in the management model (COT and C-RAF are resistance kinases that reactivate the MAP kinase pathway.) The key idea is that finding the critical path to effective cancer treatment presupposes the existence of robust genomic pathways.
   Now, apologizing for this technical digression, we begin to see some patterns in the mode of cognition in the structure of scientific progress, at the leading frontier of science presentation: What are the key dimensions addresses, what are the implicit assumptions behind the descriptive and interpretive stages of reality account?
   Thierry Soussi, Sorbonne (UPMC) and KI, on "significance of tp53 mutations in human cancer genome - a needed reassessment", is focusing on two facts: transient "passenger mutations" more a friend than a foe, and a p53 library need to be reassessed. There is no so-called "normal" tissue (germline), the normal tissues in adults is mosaic. Passenger mutations can be pre versus post transformation - proportion, frequency are among the questions studied. The p53 mutation database contains 2o12 mutations, the tp53 gene is a probe for molecular epidemiology. Passenger mutations, 5000 to 50 000, can be found in large numbers in a single tumor, allowing single tumor profiling: "Analysis of the mutational landscape on the whole genome in each type of cancer and in individual patients would constitute a major breakthrough to identify the etiology of human cancer". The tp53 mutation database is used for molecular epidemiology, structural studies, drug design and deleteriousness prediction, but accuracy is a key problem. About 50% of mutation reports should therefore be viewed with skepticism; we have a lot of variants which are very rare and occur only once; what is their significance? For mutants that occur only once or twice we have a very high activity - low penetration mutants, passenger mutations or sequencing artifacts? It is difficult to assess mutation heterogeneity correctly. Soussi is reassessing criteria for next generation p53 database constitution to validate training set for validation of further research aiming at epidemiological discovery.
   This speech addresses the issue of reinterpreting the data, and thereby, the challenge of designing the database, data selection and interpretation procedures, in a way that promises to boast usefulness.
   What can we learn from all these sessions with speeches on the leading edge of the scientific frontier? Are there patterns of cognition behind the ways of reasoning prevalent in current cancer research that needs to be revealed because they are implicit in double sense: there might be hidden grounds of values implicit in the scientific concepts on a primary level but also implications of the aims, results and programs that become clear only in the larger setting of a social context. Where do we want values to enter science and scientific thinking? And when we do let it enter, how is it then integrated or otherwise linked to the epistemical framework in place?
    Afternoon session continues and include a few lectures on angiogenesis: Pipsa Saharinen, University of Helsinki, speaks on "The Angiopoietin - tie signaling pathway as a target in cancer": this is about substances, Anti-Ang2, which induces endothelial cell apoptosis, useful in antiangiogenesis and antilymphangiogenesis therapies; effects of Ang2 are confirmed in experiments: for example, blocking Ans inhibits lung metastasis independently of the primary tumor. Explanations are provided on molecular level: angiopoietins effect the integrity of the cell-to-cell junctions. Saharinen shows that Anti-ang2 is useful also for inhibiting tumor progression in lynphangiogenesis and metastasis, not only (as previously known) in antiangiogenesis. Links include: www.cancer.fi, research supported by Academy of Finland.
   In pursuing the question on evaluating transdisciplinary implications of monodisciplinary science, as in this case, we have to put details into a larger context. The criteria arise in both a bottom-up scrutiny of the research, and by top-down categorization. Relevant criteria are such as scientific excellence, presentation performance, communication, and interdisciplinary and socal relevance, in addition to the integrative criterion of transdisciplinary implications. 
   In the same category, under the heading of tumor biology, Kristian Pietras, continues to talk on "targeting TGF-beta signaling in the pro-angiogenic tumor stroma". This is about tumor Growth Factor signaling in endothelial cells. This research aims at progress of science by accumulation of knowledge; it fits into the model of scientificality that knowledge is created by adding confirmed facts (from empirical evidence) to build a more detailed understanding of the facts of reality. The stages until this basic research becomes directly useful is an important dimension to consider. The more steps in the gap to therapeutic application the higher the risk of unexpected failures in implementation of new or improved therapies. The first step that raises questions is about bridging the gap from animal (mice) to human physiology: Not so much is known about the details of human cancer (ALK1) as from laboratory studies of animal tissue. But this is a problem shared by most research in natural sciences. It seems to point at the necessity of gradually including larger contexts in the consideration of applications of scientific results. But Kristian Pietras focuses on a crucial point, with huge potential of discovery proves applicable: "What is the cause of the increased metastatic seeding in endoglin-deficient mice?" (For explanations of technical details search at National Cancer Institute, "Wikigenes", and Acceleron Pharma, Cambridge).
   Last but not least speaker is Keith Flaherty, Harvard Medical School and Massachsetts General Hospita Cancer Center, speaks on "Novel targeted therapies in melanoma": there are mutually exlusive driver ocogenes and MAP kinase pathsay in melanome, BRAF, NRAS, CRAF, MEK, ERK, and others; the already mentioned PTEN, AKT, P13K and mTOR, and CDK2, p16, CDK4, and Cyclin4 are among other of his (and our) new friends: "BRAF and PTEN or p16 cooperate in meelanoma formation." This is a speech about evaluating therapeutic effects of treatments with drugs such as vemurafenib, by methods of RECIST, and shown in survival rate curves with and without treatment (with the drug 83% after 6 months, etc). Flaherty closes by the leap from preclinical evidence of BRAF effects to the clinical application...with mentioning promising response in BRAFi naive patients, in squamous cell carcinoma; noticing decreased skin toxicity of treatment-related problems. The focus is on BRAF inhibition, secondary resistance mechanisms, combinations with inhibitor of concomitantly activated oncogenic pathways, and combinations with immunotherapy, etc.
    The session on immune therapy, on Friday 9th in Nobel Forum (see conference program), covers a broad variety of approaches to the practical problem of patient treatment, with patient-relevant accounts from clinical trials at the center in many of the speeches. These were geographically sourced from USA, Germany, Israel, Sweden and The Netherlands. Instead of relating the content of these researchers stories - Paul Robbins (NIH, USA), Hinrich Abken (Universität Köln, BRD), Jacob Schachter (Sheba Medical Center, IL), Evren Alici (KI, SE), and Jolanda de Vries (Radbound Univ Nijmegen Medical Centre, NE) - the focus, at this time, is on integrative values in their knowledge production, the social, economic, and epistemic implications of their presentations. Evren Alici closed his speech by listing an impressive list of generous sponsors having funded a large project (VR, Vinnova and EU programs) but observers from these institutes were either not present or silent; processes of evalutation does not include the reality-close involvement in presentation of the funded research along the course of the project; so how do these institutes - heavily geared towards monodisciplinary cognition - monitor effects of their decisions? In previous communications, for instance VR has not shown any interest in engaging into a dialogue on the role and implication of the monodisciplinary approach in an interdisciplinary context nor of a scrutiny of its underlying epistemology of interpretive and integrative social cognition. That science is or can be isolated from society is an illusion that is cultivated and productive more in a formal than real sense when measured by means of added social and societal value.
   In the presentations, simplicity is a merit: Hinrich Abken's personal style is so scaled down to immediate talking to the listeners, that this opens up a space for some degree of freedom or even improvisation on the themes of his prepared points of visualized facts: it entails an enlivened but yet very humble appearance that has some bearing on the style of epistemic interpretation: it is clear that this kind of very "objective" scientific problems, seeking of solutions to biological hurdles, cannot thrive on 'thick interpretations'. Instead reduction to essentials, even pedagogic simplification is highly satisfactory; if only the hard core scientific results counted purely there would be no reason for oral presentations - and these speeches become performances relying on the criteria of excellence in that field ("excellence in performance" and "interpretation" are interdisciplines that merit consideration, for the same reason). Jolanda de Vries also keeps to her concept of simplicity in an endeavor to prove her points, and present promising progress, on vaccine by dendritic subcells, as a future regimen of cancer prevention; and Paul Robbins keeps even closer to bare facticity scaled down to a program of pure problem solving; this is the American style hidden vision of "no need for interpretation" that has been so successful during the heydays of basic research.    


2012-02-28 At KI Nobel Forum in Stockholm Svante Pääbo from Max Planck Institute, Germany, is giving a presentation on "A Neandertal Perspective on Human Origins", posing the key question on which of the two hypotheses forwarded might be true: (1) early humans replaced the Neandertals without genetic mixing, or (2) we made that replacement with some mixing? He shows that there are no humans today who are walking around with a Neandertal genome. In theory, there is a scale from total replacement to no at all, i.e replacement or assimilation. There were 3-4 % Neandertal genes in extract from the genes of three bones found in a cave. From ca 3,2 bn letters in the human base pair most is originating from bacteria, not specific to any component distinctive of our Neandertal friends.
   Apart from the technicalities of the measuring methods in this research (with the problem of "sequencing from nothing", i.e. risk of contamination error) the goal of this genetic-archaeological research is to track the dissemination of the human species across global continents of the earth. In that sense, it is a form of history, just with the difference that is uses modern technology to confirm its conclusions. There is no link in this research showing a correlation with some cultural or social habits that follow from the genetic setting and components of the various species under scrutiny. According to one theory, already 230.000 years ago there were a migration from an African substructure, spreading the genome northward via Asia to European land. Modern humans begin to appear after between 37.000 to 89.000 years ago (see his article "Archaic human ancestry in East Africa").
   In a Mongolian cave deep archaeological material were sequenced; it goes back a million years, including measures of Neandertal-Neandertal, Neandertal-Human and Denisovian-Human, revealing a decreasing sequence. What is the impact, apart from intrascientific implications, outside science on society of this kind of research? Why do we want to know this much the details of our past? We have two outliers, one of them the Papuan people, and in the Denisova population. A modern picture of early migration pattern emerges: Neandertals in western Eurasia and Denisova in eastern Eurasia, which then gradually mix and spread out. More findings can be expected to support the picture when we start getting samples from China. There were not a total replacement because ca 2,5 to 7,8 % of the original Neandertal genome from Africa remained, and on the other pole there are multiregional assimilation.
   What next (II)? How do we arrive at high coverage? We can look at special issues (EDAR - V370A). Two smaller chromosomes in apes have merged in humans, the telomere repeats (chromosome 2 fusion site). We do not see this in chimpanzees and bonobo primates. There are 278 amino acid substitutions in the catalog. You can get a view of what happens - Ellis-van Crevend syndrome with polydactyly, heart defects, etc, Hermansky syndrome, etc. What next (III)? Functional analyses of candidate genes will come.
   The background reason of evolution in genome history is revealed.
   But key questions remain! Ingmar Ernberg asks about these people in old caves, homo errectus, of which we know so little. SP: there could be components of Denisova but they are surely errectus. Sheldon Litt: why did the older species such as Neandertals disappear? SP: something there about technological development or aggression that were higher, are among the speculations. In Middle East we have Neandertals 60.000 years ago. Q: Will you sequence homo florisienses? SP: I doubt, very bad condition, we got only a teeth from it. Georg Klein: Can one speculate about language and speech? SP: There are two amino acids which code for synaptic plasticity and which are shared by Neandertals and Denisovians. There is positive selection, traits that are specific to humans. Maybe Neandertals had some speechlike sounds and articulation but not a full language ability.
   The post-seminar continues within the WHAT IS LIFE series at KI campus: The political history of the emerging Max Planck Institute is fascinating. It emerged post WWII, and nobody dared to talk about anthropology; there had been institutes headed by Nazis like Mengele, etc. bu now it included ocmparative psychology, anthropology doing cognitive experiments on animals, for example, and genetics. The psychologists show that chimps and human infants score the same on tests until ca 12 months age; then abilities begin to differ. But until 1 year, apes and humans develop according to the same scheme. E.g. an early sign of autism is that a child does not point at the object intended, if they point they will not be autistic. The institute has over 400 people, with five directions; now they start making copies. I.E.: how do you see the cross-disciplinary issues in moderb medecine? SV: in some sense all things come together, not only that the gap increases due to specialization. IE: Last time you were here you raised the specificity among species and races, but also touched on what markers could be specific for human beings, everything gradual and not distinct? SP: We could study early modern man from ca 40.000 years, but we have the whole genome, and look at possible differences - where there more of Neandertal than today? Is it an ancestor of modern Chinese or an ancestor of the larger civilization?

   What can be learned from all this? First of all, this is interesting as an example of fruitful cross-disciplinary research, although, on my inquiry Pääbo replies that there is virtually not much of it in practice; it is just that people from different disciplines come together and spend some time in the same place focusing their attention on the same issues, such as, in this case, the evolution of the human genome. We should note an interesting phenomenon here, phenomenologically: namely that high-tech innovative genetics and nature science in a German frontier laboratory such as this (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig) is crossing over to history although methods for very old findings remain frontier natural science. However, we have to look at the linkage between the the two: there are actually two lines of history, the history of the evolving genome and the history of the cultural artifacts (if there are any such archaeological findings from this early times among human ancestors) which reflect what these hominids (or primates) actually did with their genes (as compared to what they were able to do with the genetic equipment). There is a gap between the two history lines and closing this gap is a challenge especially, as Svante Pääbo clarified, since we know so little about their life and culture. At most we can perhaps infer some facts about the environmental conditions, physically, and implications from the logic that given their genome and its developmental stage living conditions should have been more or less favorable for a longer time to allow for or even promote an evolution in the one or the other direction. Such conclusions might be possible with help of comparison. But the key point here is that we need to find an overlap at not just one point of the genetic history and the corresponding cultural evidence; only so the gap between nature and culture is closed and the breakthrough findings in the DNA sequencing laboratories attain a new meaning for the history of mankind.
   In Leipzig, there is a program which appears to have been able to provide a solution to the cross-disciplinary challenge: the Leipzig School of Human Origins and the IMPRS graduate program.    

2012-20-27 On Friday 24th, Minister Gunilla Carlsson had invited an unusually diverse number of people to her presentation the UN high panel report on global environmental economy: GSP, Global Sustainability - Resilient People Resilient Planet. Especially, former SEB chief economist Klas Eklund provided valuable contrasting comments. There are important conclusions from the session at Norra Latin conference center in Stockholm which, eventually, will be discussed at the Arescope arena for transdisciplinary dialogue. Our strategic analysis will, at this time, be available for participating colleagues and collaborators in our series od dialogue seminars, or for those who otherwise wish to consult or secure a contract for full access to the transdisciplinary strategy reports of our project. (To obtain full access, inquire about consultation or book a presentation, contact Are Akademi at mail(AT)arreskow.org.)

2012-02-20 Finally, a new domain was launched: www.arreskow.org. It will eventually come in use. However, be patient - it will take time to get the new infrastructure to function. Until further the Arescope blog will continue here, as an instant reflection of key issues needing to be commented on.

2012-01-18 A note on the parliamentary debate in Riksdagen today covered by Swedish media. Appearing in order of size, PM Fredrik Reinfeldt (m) highlights the advantage of the safety marginal of Swedish economy in time of EU debt crisis and global financial turmoil; Sweden is stable but too small an economy to not be affected. Second on stage is Hakan Juholt (s) the social democrats opposition leader recently under pressure from collapsing support from the opinion; Juholt criticizes the sell-out of social and medical services to under-price that created unfounded profits for private entrepreneurs. Gustav Fridolin addresses the youth unemployment around 22 % and the violence as an outcome of social disruption recently in Malmö. Jimmy Akesson asks if FR understand that people are worried. FR counters by saying he is proud of the success. Jonas Sjöstedt (v) paints a scenario and requires respect of the opinion of Swedish people, no to euro; why join the euro pact. FR believes it possible to find a solution that allows us to have a say in EU. FR counters by pointing at the lack of budget discipline of (v). V wants to use the resources to invest in infrastructure to bring the country out of the crisis, according to Sjöstedt.
   Reinfeldt replies by referring to his tax cuts for salaries which leaves more money in the wallet of ordinary people. Juholt outlines the advantage of a social policy that makes people enjoy more safety, a social safety that encourages people to act and to invest; this is the way, he claims, to reduce unemployment; we will release the energy among the youth, the unemployed and the women, and the immigrants; all competence must be deployed. We will release the "green power" and develop technologies at the frontier; a new railway and metro in Stockholm; all this will create wealth, we will build apartments for people to have a place to live; this is our way strengthening the whole society: research, private entrepreneurship, universities and higher education, 2,5 bn for competence development among teachers, we build a strong Sweden for the the future. A whole concept of strengthening the country: our job policy is no slogan, it is a real effort which will have effects, we invest in each other. Those who have must feel solidarity. After five years, the liberal failure is written in stone. Reinfeldt replies that these affluent cost spending is not covered in the (s) budget; Sweden should not end up in debt crisis; how can more people get jobs by higher taxes? Juholt: FR sold out our joint assets, and lowered taxes for 100 bn - is this responsible? Instead of investing in youth. Juholt refers to the rebate sold outs listed at http://www.stockholmsrean.se/. Fridolin criticizes the new FRA law, surveillance policy decision which risks the freedom of opinion; democratic freedom, integration and human rights need to be safeguarded, but as Juholt replies that the protection of national society is necessary to counter new threats.
   Sjöstedt opposes the injustices on the labor market he addressed and wants a social protocol in EU before joining the club. Safe employment is disrupted and, Juholt replies, and we need a social order with functioning policy for full employment. Göran Hägglund (kd) addresses the international context that affects us in Sweden, in economy, jobs, taxes, health; we have worked within EU for stable institutions. Why does s now want to leave the union collaboration? Juholt had agreed with David Milliban, the social democrat in UK who says to "no" to Europe is foolish. Juholt answers that the respect for the opinion, on matters of EU and euro, is key; the 22 million unemployment in Europe is a danger, we know the history; restraining policy is not the solution in such a situation. The Swedish people has rejected the euro, we must respect that. Hägglund wants the (s) to join broad agreement in European policy. Juholt: we cannot afford the unemployment, the EU policy is not for Sweden, we have a better tradition.
   Gustav Fridolin (mp): this debate is about jobs; a youth unemployment of 23,2 % is a failure. We need visions and constructive efforts; effective measures; a society where people's energy is being deployed. The crisis might lead to a bad spiral at a moment when social security is reduced. The crisis we face must have a policy response, but the government does not do anything, they stay passive. It has a cost to shut the doors for the youth. We have a policy: climate smart ways of production, new railway infrastructure, a simplification of small business policy; avoid the negative spiral, we need to raise ambitions, in health, school and for entrepreneurs. This is a plan for job, job and job. Open doors for people, trainee programs, industry-close educations, we have 40.000 less in "komvux" adult education programs today compared to at the start of the alliance government. The cost of unemployment is always larger than the cost for paying a salary. Society changes, and therefore policy must change. Policy change must be an answer to reality. We want to make dreams real against the passivity of the governmental policy. Reinfeldt says the government has very narrow marginals in the budgetary economy; so how should the reforms be funded? We believe cost should be reduced for the employer: for 100 SEK the employer pays 15 SEK. Fridolin: climate smart investment, school and health care and modern energy policies. We need an active job policy to counter the flu from Europe; our proposals are fully financed. Reinfeldt: no party has sole majority, who is the opposition leader? Fridolin: I collaborate with organizations who have ideas, we have proposed measures to counter youth unemployment and now I wait for a reply from the government. Annie Lööf (c) asks what policy mp has as to the freedom of choice in health policies (on profits in social services); Fridolin reminds her that elder and social care loss of 22.000 people, we have shown how to save jobs and keep people in works. Sjöstedt replies to Fridolin: we share the climate policy -  it requires infrastructure and building investment policies; risk capital companies buy social services and sell out to profit. This was not meant to be the result of privatization. Why should tax payers feed private equity? What is the position among mp and c in this respect? Fridolin: we stress the importance of freedom of choice because it is close to the needs of people at the local place where they live. Sjöstedt: risk capital should leave social sector, I think mp is too weak in environment policy. Fridolin: we need to link economy, life and environment by seeing opportunities - to convert to a more friendly nature usage.
   Jan Björklund (fp) talks about Europe: the euro idea was both economic and political (to prevent war). The collapse of European collaboration could trigger social tension and security dangers; this was a catastrophe and ended in a world war. If the euro fails the core of the European project will disintegrate; don't go from internationalism to provincialism. Knowledge, knowledge and knowledge - this is the way forward, the way Sweden will go. We made reforms, and young people chose the important not only what makes fun. The school reform takes time the give effect. We need more education reforms. Swedish economy is strong compared to many countries; one field where we can do more is the youth unemployment. We make more reforms: we introduce apprenticeships, lower taxes to employ young people, etc. Juholt replies we should invest in the schools; we should make young people employable, not cut the budget of gymnasium schools. You lower salaries. Why? All do not want to be, or can be, academics. We reform the gymnasium which will give more labor market adapted courses. Juholt: you experiment, teaching licenses are determined by companies, school mandates for entrepreneurs are sold on the internet site "Blocket". Björklund claims the s policy had been responsible for social exclusion. Fridolin: young people leave the educational system. Why cut the gymnasium? Björklund announces a competence development measure during the year.
   Annie Lööf (c) focuses in her speech on the importance of providing competence which is delivered from small universities as Bleking Tekniska Högskola (BTH) and Örebro university. With their roots in region Smaland, she likes Ingvar Kamprad's motto "There is so much undone in the the world", she says. We say yes to the EU finance pact but no to euro participation. Sweden should enact a model for budget discipline, for business and state finances. Future requires courageous politicians and Sweden needs a continuous development of a reform agenda, but we (c) will encounter the challenges with a look to budget control. Fridolin: Lööf's government had to report to UN that Sweden now has increased its CO2 emissions. Do not say no to all climate reforms. Sjöstedt puts the spotlight on the governmental employment policy, which is, he claims, a failure by purely statistic measures: youth unemployment and total level of peoples in work, etc. Lööf retorts with reference to "trygghet", sense of safety among those who have got a job. Sjöstedt: there are different ways to fabricate, and worrying to hear Annie Lööf lying, I talk about percent you about absolute numbers.
   Jimmie Akesson (sd) emphasized in his speech, as expected, on the structural problems of over-sized immigration, poverty, homelessness, unemployment. Sweden is segregated, in economical, political and social sense. The recent surge of violence in Malmö is a severe problem that must be addressed by new policies; we need a crisis commission. Zero tolerance against violence actors, punishment must be raised, life-long sentences included as a measure. We do not see improvement, despite more polices, we need control at the borders. We lack shared loyalties. Replies: Fridolin wants responsibility and I agree on collection of illegal weapons; of course Malmö is not a gangster city lost in black; the policy we need is a responsibility for building a society that provides job opportunity. Akesson: pictures of reality are different among politicians and voters; seldom black or white; Malmö exemplifies social exclusion and social split, what is the reason the get a weapon, see it before we fight it. Fridolin thinks part of the problem is the way of description. We must attack the structural problems. Akesson stresses we need a new policy not the same that led to the problem of today. Akesson wants a regulated immigration that can provide opportunities to combat segregation and ensure peoples' integration in Swedish society. Tax free zones in immigration dense regions will only split society more. 
   Sjöstedt summarizes the positions of the debate, in his inaugural speech. Most seem to share the compliance. We don't. We are dissatisfied. The climate questions, energy smart transportation etc, are among the key challenges: we need a more modern country; take responsibility for the almost permanent mass unemployment; it disrupts society, creates segregation, people cannot make their dreams come true. This can be combined with stable state finances, and also pay for coming generations. The resources available must be used for strategic investment; education and research; only solidarity can pay for expansion of needs for the elder care, due to increase by demography. People who work must be valued. Poor people from other countries are exploited on the Swedish labor market. You make a lip service, you talk the talk but you can't walk the walk. Today, the leftists care for tax money. The government destroys the welfare system built during generations driven by a false naivete and over-belief in private markets. Replies: Reinfeldt repeats a mantra, same to all ("who is the leader of the opposition", "every answer more than two words will lead to follow-up inquiries", in a tone of 'mastering' in an authoritative way). Sjöstedt: we don't rewrite our history. You are the conservative, backwards; we have visions, dreams and visions, and stand for them. Sjöstedt: the era of social reforms is still present; get more time for the close ones, ones children. Reinfeldt and Björklund criticizes the budgetary consequences of the left policies, especially their proposal for 6 hours work per day. "Modernizing the economic frameworks" - Sjöstedt wants to develop this society step by step, but social reforms are possible. Economy is a tool to achieve visions and secure important infrastructure, we build on social justice. Sjöstedt rapid reply to the government: a government who suggested entrance into the eurozone should not teach us about economy. Class gaps have increased. We have the policy for the future. Annie Lööf: the left will prohibit the hiring consultants (bemanningsföretagen) but this companies give employment to many people, it is a big and important industry sector. Sjöstedt replies that the jobs do not disappear only because the consultants disappear; jobs exist because the jobs need to be done.
   


    

2011-12-31 Right about at the point where many among the intellectuals in Sweden were about to give up hope of seeing the open society emerge at home, Bo Ekman, knowledgeable and well-connected founder of global dialogue conferenceTällberg Foundation, a Scandinavian version of Swiss World Economic Forum, fires the New Years rocket against, as he argues, a presumptuous and narcissist move by government to appoint itself to a Future Commission for dealing with key issues of national importance: Ekman asks in the headline of his article in DN Debatt about "Power and Future", why "government never can learn from history." Blog comments exploded and one can easily gauge a sort of average among the opinions aired by well-informed readers of this primary newspaper site for political debate in Sweden. Dagens Nyheter (www.dn.se), traditionally the largest liberal forum and critically profiled daily newspaper, where once author August Strindberg sharpened his pencil, in this situation, appears as savors of free speech, for those who had begun to doubt. This critique is about the need for any power-in-charge to ensure inclusion and dialogue to arrive at a deeply anchored and yet bold vision on future, dearly needed in time of crisis around. If the reader accepts his most carrying views and arguments, she should be worrying about the mismatch between power and competence, and the effects it likely will have on future potential of the nation. His reasoning invokes an image of a country rich of resources that fails to deploy its competent people, and to mobilize knowledge producers, for the most important task a government can incite. It implies there has been no mapping and cross-fertilizing of much needed competence profiles for the labeled task to be completed, as is required of a commission for the future to function adequately. If governance is no longer about competence and if the key resource used to form future is the same as legitimates its governing acts, power-in-position, then reasonable people have to worry indeed. If there is a failure in effect of the work to integrate knowledge in order to survey the most imminent scenarios, and take a long-term grasp on strategies as well as means and methods needed for economic and social development, then the legitimacy of the methodology for governance, as our democratic system presumes, has been turned upside-down. If his critique is right, there is a serious problem, and we will have to come back on it. For now, celebration of the New Year is taking over people's minds for a while, and we wish you to join and enjoy a Happy New Year, 2012!  

2011-12-17 Today we insert a comment on a key radio interview ("Lördagsekot", Swedish Radio, www.sverigesradio.se) with Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, in Swedish (pending version in English):
 

Piska eller taktpinne?

En kommentar till Ekots lördagsintervju med statsminister Fredrik Reinfeldt, lördagen den 17 december 2011.

Sveriges statsminister har talat, med 33,4% i råg i ryggen. Det handlar om ledarstil men inte bara det. Mycket av hans ”försvar” är helt enkelt en beskrivning av hur pragmatisk en SM måste vara för att baxa fram beslut, sätta seglen så de fångar allianspartiernas skiftande vindar och navigera i en administrativ ämbetsmannamiljö som betingas av bristerna i vårt otidsenliga statsskick. Mari Forssblad i Ekots lördagsintervju siktade på att skjuta alliansens skuta i sank med tre skott: ett mot Sveriges roll i eurodebaklet, två mot ledarstilen på hemmaplan och tre mot arbetslösheten. Därmed formade sig intervjun till ett kritiskt crescendo och konfrontationen tornade upp sig först mot slutet. Man måste ändå ge honom ett gott betyg i hanteringen av attackerna givet att han själv sitter i en komplex situation en bra bit från egen majoritet.

   Fredrik Reinfeldt parerar väl - inte bara frågorna om senaste toppmötet i Bryssel -utan han garderar sig också så pass att Sveriges roll på det europeiska slagfältet ter sig närmast okontroversiell. Han är skicklig på att koordinera perspektiven – men det kritiskt avgörande är ju om Sveriges politik är den bästa; är det verkligen rätt att vi ska involvera oss i att försöka rädda ett Europaprojekt som är ett sjunkande skepp. Det är klokt att förhålla sig skeptisk till förhastade krav på lagändringar som endast gagnar syndande länder. En viktig fråga är om vi tar vi för stora risker när vi talar om att skicka 100 miljarder till IMF? Kan det tillsammans med andra länders bidrag, som FR vill invänta besked om, verkligen täta det läckande sållet innan det går i kvav? Vår statsminister är ändå beundransvärt diplomatisk och försiktig – och även om det är mest taktik är det ändå sympatiskt att han gång på gång uttrycker sin respekt för folkomröstningsresultatet 2003 (att Sverige inte skall ha euro) och vill ha med (s) för att få en bred parlamentarisk förankring för beslut i alla större frågor som berör Sveriges europapolitik. Försiktighetens princip är klok i ett så labilt läge – vi vet ju ännu inte hur rollfördelningen mellan de 17+ och alla de 27 medlemsländerna ska se ut. Att avvakta med definitiva åtaganden är definitivt den rätta strategin – och samtidigt inte helt dra sig ur möjligheten att kunna påverka. Men å andra sidan finns det länder – som Norge och Schweiz – som värnar strikt om sin 100%-iga suveränitet och som utövar sin påverkan framgångsrikt i bilaterala avtal med EU (bägge länderna plockar russinen ur kakan, t.ex. EU:s forskningssamarbete) utan att ge upp inför en ökande överstatlighet med osäkra konsekvenser för det egna landets demokratiska rättigheter.

    Problemet är ett helt annat på hemmaplan. Reinfeldt besvarar väl Anne-Marie Pålssons kritik i boken ”Knapptryckarkompaniet” mot en bufflig ledarstil där han anklagas för att köra över riksdagsledamöterna och utan hänsyn till deras åsiktsnyanser driva igenom en M-märkt majoritetsopinion: Effektiviteten kräver att han måste kunna leverera hållbara kompromisser som alla deltagare i teamet kan lita på. Det är egentligen inte så konstigt. Problemet är bara att det tär på den demokratiska representativiteten – och den är redan djupt skadad i vårt land. Han säger att hans modell är öppenhet och diskussion inför beslut men att han sedan måste se till att få allt att konvergera på ett gemensamt beslut som, när det är en kompromiss med alliansvännerna, måste hålla i alla väder; det är då piskan kommer fram. Här finns på lite djupare nivå en viss dissonans. Piskan leder till att åsikter jämkas samman till beslut – och det är den enklare formen av ”direktiv” ledarstil som efterlämnar en bitter bismak hos team och ledamöter. Det hade funnits en alternativ möjlighet som har förbisetts, mycket beroende på brister i partikulturen hos (m). Men det är också partisystemet som sådant som sätter käppar i hjulet och raserar en mer integrativ ledarstil som byter piskan mot taktpinnen och lär dirigenten att lyssna inåt i som grupp, med all den lyhördhet mot individuella stämmor som skapar harmoni av en disparat symfoniorkester. Men att lära sig en sådan teamkänsla kräver kompetens och träning och djup mognad på en nivå som vida överträffar vad de 6000 anställda i regeringskansliets korridorer kan leverera åt honom. Det är en annan värld, ett annat universum av avancerad interaktivitet och integrativa gränsöverskridande dialoger som sällan syns i politiska sammanhang. Maktutövarna har ju själva valt att förskansa sig bakom vattentäta skott gentemot de arenor som odlar denna form av kompetens. Detta har lett till en övertro på partisystemet i vårt land som utgör ett allvarligt hinder för demokratiutvecklingen. Tyvärr anar man att Reinfeldt inte är helt fri från denna falska föreställning – eller är han inte intresserad av att reflektera kring vilka de tänkbara fördelarna skulle vara av en systemförändring – fördelar inte bara för folkdemokratin och politikens legitimitet (som på sistone lidit svåra nederlag) utan också – och inte minst – för honom själv (och sannolikt hans chanser att även i fortsättningen kunna samla en majoritet någonstans i det breda mittfältet, även i kommande val, 2014).

   När det gäller ledarstilen är det inte bara politisk pragmatik och praxis som lett till att Reinfeldt är helt fokuserad på det interna arbetet i parti, allians, regering och riksdag. Det är naturligtvis komplext nog, kan man tycka. Men en god dirigent når framförandets musikaliska höjder inte bara genom att han taktfast dikterar och håller ihop alla sina musiker i orkestern. Han måste också – och framförallt om han vill uppfylla kriterierna för ”excellence in performance” – etablera och upprätthålla och skapa en unik och förhöjande upplevelse för publiken, alla som ska lyssna, förstå och följa honom på en gemensam resa. Detta fungerar sämre – och kritiker är inte sena att attackera denna svaga punkt. Den får realpolitiska konsekvenser om ledarens parti kannibaliserar alliansens mindre vänner: ”Småpartierna måste bära sig själva”, säger han – och det är begripligt, men tillägger klokt nog att han har också ett ansvar för dem – och berömmer generöst (kd):s äldre- och barnpolitik.

   När det gäller den tredje och mest högljudda kritiker – den om Caremaskandalen och den kroniskt förhöjda arbetslösheten – så är, märkligt nog, denna kritik inte så farlig för regeringens ställning som själva frågan låter antyda. Tillfälliga skandaler är som korta stormbyar som Reinfeldt lärt sig parera skickligt, effektivt och rentav elegant. Med det menar jag bara att han har förstått styrkan i opinionsvinden och styr snabbt upp i lä i stället för att sturigt riskera att kapsejsa. Det finns inget spår av maktfullkomlighet här – det är bara en utmaning för den pragmatiske problemlösaren och hans närmaste team. Värre är långsiktiga ställningstaganden som med kraft drivits till bindande beslut mot en stark folkopinion – som i FRA-frågan. Där är det mera obegripligt varför FR abdikerat från sin ledarroll och låtit sin uppenbart underkompetenta justitieminister hantera ärendet. Än mer i fråga om en så ”stor” och allvarlig företeelse som arbetslösheten (med en ökning från 100 000 till 175 000 i utanförskap trots åtgärdsprogram för ökad ”anställningsbarhet”) ter sig svaren otillräckliga för att beveka en tvekande opinion. Det moderata mantrat, ”arbetslinjen”, har förlorat sin glans och förmår inte längre besvärja väljarna. Det ter sig snarare som en marknadsföringsgimmick av det ytligare slag som blivit alltför vanligt i regeringens politiserade marknadsföring av sina kortfristiga och verkningslösa idéer. Vackert prat, vacker packetering, dyra konsulter – men i grunden en nästan dövstum rigiditet mot de väljare som drabbas mest av den krassa verkligheten. Detta, tror jag, är tecken på en djup kompetensbrist som fått för stort utrymme och som nu nästan sitter fast i väggarna – cementerad i partikulturen så att man känner det varje steg man tar vid ett besök i partihögkvarteret i Gamla Stan. Detta är ovärdigt ett parti som med sina traditioner dock står för och försvarar individens frihet och skaparkraft – att tro att den kan blomstra i en miljö förkvävd av åsiktsdiktatur är med förlov sagt rejält naivt – och ett gravt misstag som kan kosta många väljare – ja kanske rentav regeringsmakten, för den händelse en annan rörelse finner ett lyhördare grepp att fånga upp folkets verkliga och legitima känslor.

   Det är ändå en i huvudsak förtroendeingivande statsminister som ganska självsäkert framträder i lördagsintervjun. Naturligtvis är varje politiker på denna nivå skulpterad i partikulturens rigida kostymering – och det märks tydligt på den begränsade flexibilitet så fort frågeställaren tassar in på känsligt område. Då triggas mantrat igen – men det är uttjänt och utnött. Ingen undgår längre att höra hur falskt det klingar. Här skulle en helt annan attityd av djupare upplevd ödmjukhet och respekt präglad av genuin förståelse för människors liv och möjligheter i samhället vara en klädsammare inramning till statsministerns framträdande.

   

* * *


2011-12-16 Konrad Kaufmann, a truly original German professor in physics (who resided at Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen), with considerable classical education in music and philosophy, as well as in modern biology, from Göttingen, presents his lecture today and shared his views on interdisciplinary all-in-one explanation, and theory of everything, as a commentary to his exhibition at Hagströmer Library, Karolinska Institutet: The title is: "Minutes from an infinite paradise", and subtitled: A guide from the viewpoint of the questions as put by Einstein and Aristotle - a Christmas lecture on "The Tale of God and Dice in Cosmos and Life". He intentionally poses the biggest questions - these are his point of departure. The age-old way of thinking in terms of a priori is still not only valid for his mode of thinking, it is even a cornerstone of his framework; but important to state, in order to tune aggressive critics into a sense of moderation, it must be noted that there is no contradiction whatsoever between the theoretical considerations, built partly on mathematical principles, reflections and axioms, on the one hand, and empirical evidence occasionally adduced to support the contextuality of this magnificent vision of the world, on the other. It all starts here, with none other than the foremost influential among Nobel Laureates: Einstein shaped our present physics more than anyone else. The key of what is different in his approach, what was the point, the strength? The difference is the way we observe to test our ideas: we are absolutely secondary. The eyeglasses in our observations are the key hindrance of reaching the truth. We need to start from secure bases. In terms of brain function the eyes and ears are not reliable in observation. Why E=mc2. Dualisms are one of the many great mysteries to man, the most famous today is wave and particle, it is there in Schrödinger's cat, etc. Einstein, as all founders of science, started from principles, not from observations: relativity and entropy, they do not depend on observation. How do we come from entropy to dualism? This was the 2nd of the 16 subjects. Next is Berzelius, another of the giants on the shoulders of whom we are going to see further, in cosmos and life. He was at the beginning of chemistry as a science. The greatest mystery in life is catharsis, used by Berzelius in 1835 ("Framstegen i kemi..."); the mystery of life reactions of the chemistry of the body. He was extremely farsighted. Principles independent of observation: Ask whose entropy is causing catharsis? Catalysis from physics alone: catalysis has been honoured from Nobel Prizes more than any other notion; and in physics no Laureate has brought more than Einstein. We confirm by Einstein the prediction of Berzelius at a time when there was no physics. The hidden entropy is the cause of what Berzelius predicted. We have, so far, introduced a principle, and leading to dualism, arriving at the fourth point, it is claimed that the dualism imply: wave particle, electrochemical, nerve catalysis. Entropy first, by Einstein, and dualism. Kaufmann's theory: principles independent of observer is entropy arriving at dualism - propagation and excitation in nerves. The didactic order of sequence is Einstein - Dualism - Berzelius. Nerve Action - Schrödinger - Life - Gauss - Composition - Physics - Paradoxes - Catalysis - Synapse - Brain - Health. KK uses Einstein's idea starting with principles which we can not define; it is shown that membrane excitation and catalysis are the two fundamental principles of life. A first principle is entropy, already identified in Schrödinger's book "What is Life". For entropy, the second order derivatives is the crucial thing; the maximum entropy allow to distinguish two things which we do not yet call "life", but similarly related: KK calls it "structure and function": e.g. ice and snowflakes, with all their beauty of crystals, same H2O molecules as water; ice is never life. So: what is the difference between life and non-life? Between function and structure, water and ice, KK theory of what is life and Schrödinger’s theory of what is life. The key difference is in the maths, in the 2nd order derivative, if it is small or large. Entropy if a probability; in ideal ice you have no movement, practically - channel like fluctuations in single lipids and in enzymes, by KK and by Rudolf Rigler, who gave the empirical evidence. - - - Is this physics on its way to philosophy on its way to a general theory of life?

 2011-12-08 After a long stay at ETH in Zurich we are back for a while in Stockholm to make a few notes on this science in society blog, in search of some other than conventional dimensions and criteria in scientific cognition. Our aim is to look at science through another lens, not just for the sake of variety, but in order to revealing more efficiently those modes of cognition which might be relevant for the usefulness of the process of real world application of scientific discovery; it is a more sociologist effort to discern what is creative and open so as to produce knowledge that can be easily converted to (or mature into) competence, in applied practice; our way of understanding is geared to discover what criteria must be fulfilled for a constructive combinatorial to appear; it means the combinatorial that allows for some form of "deeper" epistemic integration; 'depth' refers to epistemic layer, the silent meta-aspect implied in any and every kind of systematic investigation of reality. And not only systematic science, also the arts exhibit a variety of forms of underlying epistemic models for bringing things together, linking material with idea, or materials with other materials observed or composed, or between ideas (as in the old, now obsolete idealist time). It means that we refrain from the illusion of independence from the historic dimension, we believe time is inherent to all experience, and observation of reality or self. 

 

   At this moment I sit in Aula Magna, Stockholm University, expecting the Nobel Laureates to commence their lectures within an instance. This annual event is enlivening and enlightening this northern city at this dark season. Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, starts out with a historic review of the Nobel lectures. They have been given during 110 years. But, says Normark, as Gaudi's Sagrada Familia it tries to reach the sky without ever attaining it. Börje Johansson, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, asks "what is the fate of the universe", an appropriate way to provide a frame of today's physics lectures. Dark energy makes up more than 70 percent of the universe. This year's Nobel Prize is given to the Supernova Search Team, Brian P Schmidt as first speaker: he sets the questions, such as "why is the universe expanding?", "how did we do our work?” etc. In 1929 Hubble measured the distance between galaxies and concluded that the universe is expanding - he was able to measure the light from increasing distances. Einstein’s revelation in 1907 implied that acceleration and gravitation was "the same", and concluded that universe should be in motion, proposing The Cosmological Constant: the gravity pushes rather than pulls. We are looking into the past when we look at increasingly distant light. Light is stretched as the universe expands. The trajectory of the universe into the past ends with approaching The Big Bang. The Hubble constant tells us the age of universe, which is about 14.0 billion years old. How fast universe expands tells us how old it is, but expansion slows down according to a curved line. We measure redshift to see if it is expanding or contracting. Dr. Adam Riess continues the "science fairytale" on the universe's expanding and accelerating. Redshift measures can help answer really big questions such as "how large is universe?", "how old is it?" and other philosophical questions. A supernova can appear faint not only because of large distance but also caused by dust: faint & red = not so far away. Saul Perlmutter gave a performance in a more quasi improvised style - does this relaxed mode bring the matter closer to people's hearts? I think so. In a witty style he concludes: "Everybody talks about dark matter but nobody does anything about it." Finally an outline of expansion history of the universe is provided. But, for the purpose of policy-making, what is the use of this research? How are we to assess the value of likely applications of the supernovae team science? What is the conviction of the usefulness to mankind of it all? There was no one of the Nobel Laureates in physics this year that as much as touched upon, not even approached this crucial question. If this question cannot be answered, or if there is no answer possible, then it is extremely difficult to motivate this kind of science, unless you feel that a youthful playfulness is enough as a social and economic value produced and provided. Physics is at risk of ending up in narcissist self-reflection of a kind that is not entirely comforting in the present socioeconomic landscape. We need to do better priorities. Is knowledge for its own sake? Is all kind of playful science really steps towards progress in society and for mankind? I doubt it.

   Lars Thelander introduced the Laureate in Chemistry: Dan Shechtman, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, took us down to earth again, focusing on one of the three major events in structural chemistry during the last 30 years, Surprising Discoveries on the Structure of matter and its properties in the Mid-1980s, Quasi-Periodic Crystals (1984), and on order, periodicity and rotational symmetry. Crystallography began in 1912, a crystal was defined until 1991, and by Kittel in 1982: molecules have a five-fold rotation axis but the lattice is not five-fold. A diffraction pattern forming a periodic crystal reveals 1,2,3,4, and 6. In 1992 came a new definition of crystal: any solid having an essentially discrete diffraction diagram. Shechtman made the first observation of 5-fold crystal symmetry in 1982, according to his logbook (displayed). The electron diffraction from the icosahedral phase has five-fold rotational axes and it is not periodic, the ratio is a Fibonacci number. This should be distinguished from a pseudo five fold symmetry earlier discovered. Dark field experiments reveal no twins. Finally, atomic arrangement in the icosahedral phase was revealed by optical diffraction. Much of this work involves interpretation, or at least recognition, of patterns in (TEM) images. The Shechtman-Blech article was rejected by JAP in Sept 1984; John Kahn published a much more concise paper and opened the field for further research. Eminent mathematicians were needed to model the phenomena, and Roger Penrose contributed here. The main rotational symmetries of were discovered and described. 1987 was a crucial year. Linus Pauling was the last opponent. Penrose tiles cover a space, composed by quasi-periodic system. Order - is it a synonym to periodicity? Why was QCs never discovered before 1982? Are they very rare? No, there are 100s of them. Are QCs not stable? Many are, and transform to periodic structures at high temperatures. Are QCs difficult to make? Not at all, it can be made in casting, rapid solidification, single crystal growth, electrodeposition, CVD, etc. So WHY was QCs not discovered before 1982? 1. TEM, crystals too small for x-rays, needed as tool of discovery. 2. Professionalism. 3. Tenacity. 4. Believing in yourself. 5. Courage.

   Economists are by nature of their discipline more directly challenged by the immediate need of societies to handle integrative policy-making, if such a think exists; and if it doesn't then they might feel inclined to demonstrate how good policy looks like, or, on the level of economic theory, what it is that makes (and would make) a certain policy more successful than another in a specific situation.

   Per Krusell, chairman of the Prize Committee, did not address this problem. He jumps into the intradisciplinary concepts without any introduction, without relating economics as a discipline to other sciences. But the economists face the same problem as scientists: to relate their findings not only to their discipline but also position the propositions to a context much broader. The Prize is awarded this year to questions central to policy making: we really need to know if lowering interest rates will lower unemployment.

   Professor Sargent studies long range regime shift policies while Professor Sims focused on more short term policy shifts; this has importance for practitioners. Thomas J Sargent talked about "United States then, Europe now": sovereign defaults, bail-outs and coordination of policies; a historical view from an American point of view. Four Qs: Should governments default on debts? Should central government bailout subordinate states? Monetary union precede a fiscal union? A fiscal union preceded a monetary union? U.S. "then" - fiscal timeline: war of independence, articles of confederation, US constitution, etc. Outline: about fiscal arithmetic, fiscal and monetary choices of US, current situations in US and EU, lessons. A Simple Model for Government Debt comprises: 1 statistical model for government surplus net of interest (St), 2 government budget constraint; iterating backward equation versus iterating forward equation. Market participants do not care about the past; they are interested in the future. Under rational expectations maths provides the best forecast: Cross-equation Restrictions:  1 Rational Expectations 2 Measurability, 3 No arbitrage. Discount factor gets higher the larger haircut or default risk. The quants doing the downgrades want to know what sigma (s) is. What determines St? An Economic model consists of Environment with agents and actions, information flows and timing protocols, Optimizing behaviour and Equilibrium. Economic Theory and Outcomes: environment + behaviour + equilibrium = Probability distribution over outcomes (St, R). History of 1781-1787 - US after war of independence: Environment was articles of confederation, weak continental congress, high debt from war, and uncoordinated trade/fiscal policies - and Outcomes were deep discounts on IOU's and "14 St". The birth of the 1790s US constitution provided a "new" environment with federal bailout of states, consolidation of trade/fiscal policies, and exclusivity to tax - outcomes were no discounts on IOU's, increased liquidity and large federal tax revenue. (Monetary arrangements as an afterthought). States were bailed out to make them strong enough to collect taxes; the fiscal interest was the major intent, the US made a monetary union only after. The bailout created two kind of reputation: Reputation with creditors vs. reputation with states? What kind of fiscal union were we to have? US were born with a big bailout. Federal government refused to bail out debts: why should one state pay for another's debt? Federal credits suffered because the market was not sophisticated enough to differentiate between Ohio and the Federal government. If you bail them out where would you stop? If you bail them out you might need to take more control over the states - you want to see how it works. Summary: deep discounts on bonds, uncoordinated fiscal policies, centralized monetary arrangements and no federal debt. In EU: no federal debt. Back to the Qs: loss of reputation is a cost to governmental defaults on debts; are there benefits? Yes, lower taxes, better growth. Cost of bailout of subordinate states - the moral hazard and incentive effects, excessive risk taking and loss of control; gains include creditors. Second Laureate: Christopher A Sims: Statistical modelling of monetary policy and its effects: Tinbergen's Project is real scientific progress in economics.

Tinbergen put together a statistical model, multiple equations, preparing a testing ground for theories of the business cycle; Keynes did not like it. Haavelmo's critique defended Tinbergen against Keynes. Economic models are testable as long as they are formulated as probability models. "The Probability Approach in Economics" is one of the major papers, still readable today.

Keynes: business fluctuations had many sources and many policy instruments were relevant to stabilization policy. The Cowles Foundation methodology tried to codify all factors in data time series. One must bring in a priori judgment, that some coefficients, some potential channels, were negligible. Milton Friedman, Anna Schwartz, David Meiselman viewed that Keynes' models were overcomplicated and missed statistical relationships central to good policy. James Tobin put together his own deterministic model.

Haavelmo did his experiment without behavioural models. Bayesian view: random things in the world and non-random; after you have seen the flipped coin it is no longer random. The frequentist claims that the outcome of the next flip is random but its distribution depends on p which is fixed, not random. Policy-makers see their own actions as non-random. The calculation required the importation of the Markov Chain Monte Carlo modelling. Lucas, Sargent, Wallance and others were leading to a critique - The malign influence of rational expectations. This is about spurious unidirectional causality, apparent causal direction can be misleading. Money and interest rates: money-explains-income monetarists or estimating demand for money.

Sims argues one has to use vector auto regressions, VAR, and structural VAR, SVAR. (See Martin Eichenbaum, Larry Christiano, Olivier Blanchard and Mark Watson; Frank Smets and Ralf Wouters): Haavelmo's models not complete, we made progress...Sims wants to preserve respect for Tinbergen and Haavelmo.

2011-08-02 Not infrequently it is more interesting to listen to the rehearsal than to the concert, as we have experienced during many years working as a music critic. But today more than ever, when chaos and crisis is spreading around on worldwide markets, a disorder of not only the financial but also the underlying social system than will not subside quickly, this is more true than ever: The rehearsal, today pianist Janos Solyom playing Franz Liszt piano concerto no. 2 (with Ulf Norberg at the organ replacing the orchestra) in Hedvid Eleonora church; they will inaugurate the Piano festival organized by pianist Ivetta Irkha tomorrow, on 3 Aug 2011. What do I want to tell you about these imposing tone architecture unfolding under the arches that I have not already said in depth in my books for many years? Well, there is one thing, a bit apart because it combines culture and arts with society and values in an somewhat unorthodox and perhaps unexpected way: what is unique and specific to the values created by such a musical event? Actually, in terms of societal value, it is this: the performance of the concerto does not have any downside whatsoever. This is not trivial an observation. Very few things, human activities and professional fields are like that. Most things have upside and downside, some things (as the recent atrocities in Oslo) have only downside (the evil), a few things will have only upside (religions have tried this but often failed); but arts in this form, which provided good experience, and a value focus, cleaning peoples' minds of evil thoughts and interpretations, are among the few things in life and on earth that actually does only offer upside. It is without risk to human society and culture...surprising idea....? 

2011-07-27 The attacks of the deranged extremist in Oslo leaves the Nordic region in grief, anger and confusion: but as unpleasant as this Wake-Up to Reality is it might not be entirely unexpected. A few among the massive media coverage point in the direction of a valid analysis of the problem: "Utopia no more" by Marin Sandbu, Andrew Ward and Robin Wigglesworth, in FT 26 July (page 5), and "En gång var han en annan" by Anne Holt, in DN 27 July (page 6), to begin with, reaches the crucial point: What went wrong in these (Scandinavian) societies? And, the heart of the matter: What is a possible remedy for European societies? I headline I would have wanted to see is: The Cost of Ignorance. The solution to the problem of increasing violence in societies, following a tendency towards extremism (instead of a serious and sustainable working in depth with improving problem solving facilities and competencies in society) lies at the crossroad between politics and values and depends on attitudes and abilities to embody a dialogue culture sensitive to critical issues among the political elite who possess the power of enacting decisions to defuse such tensions which now erupted. It is a risky game to play the power game among the political culture instead of learning the art of listening to the underlying dynamics and tensions that worry people deep down in society. There is a dumbness, a communicative scleroticism, among the political cultures in the Nordic region, which has not been yet addressed seriously. Many of the expressions of indignation and responsiveness to the horrific atrocities reflect the mood of minds quickly shaken up to face reality, but still unable to constructively conceive of ways and strategies towards working solutions. I do not share entirely to unanimous laudatio but understand the need of applause of the only leaders at hand in a difficult mourning process. To provide a solid background reference for an in depth dialogue on these vital issues it is a good idea to assimilate some results of the research in the field: Jens Rydgren wrote a readable article, Immigration sceptics, xenophobes or racists? Radical right-wing voting in six West European countries, in European Journal of Political Research, Volume 47, Issue 6, pages 737–765, October 2008. Mattias Gardell look into the distorted web of ideas from history and modern political thinking in the manifesto of the Norwegian mass murderer, or, as one could say, the delusional Knights Templar. On whether that person should be considered sane or insane, psychically (i.e. psychiatrically), is a point where I have something to contribute. 

2011-07-09 Deficiency of Democracy or Lack of Open Society? The Almedalen week of political conventions in Visby on island Gotland is the site of meetings and presentations among all kinds of players on the stage of the political scenery in the Swedish landscape. It is heavily monitored by the media and a place loved by lobbyists and consultants small and large; and this year even the stage agencies (including the Military Defense authorities) spend considerable amounts of tax payers money (and there a lot of that kind in Sweden) on their profiled presence. But is the event really a place for honest and sincere discussion, and on the anchorage in values of political programs or is it only a superficial theater to manipulate the many less aware of the system of opinion production they were supposed to carry forward and critically update?
   An example - of one of my favorite policy issues - casts some doubt on the 'serenity' of the process: Minister of children and old people at the Social Department Maria Larsson yesterday had her public chat via Svenska Dagbladet (www.svd.se). People were publicly asked to file their questions on the SvD homepage. The editors at SvD forwarded my question to her per email, but then she decided to leave it without comment. Too hot a potato for her campaign? Campaign for what? Only for power? Without values? I do not know, and according to the governmental policy, obviously, the only interpretation possible is that nobody should know. Is this already political censoring - of a not so subtle kind? Make up your own opinion. The published "chatt" with Maria Larsson is here.
   The question I sent is this (in Swedish): 
 
"Skilsmässobarn lämnas åt sitt öde i Sverige - ett allvarligt socialt problem sopas under mattan: I ditt tal vid Psykiatrins dag den 15 nov 2010 berörde du i samband med Nationella Psykiatrisatsningen en undersökning (av KVA) som visar starkt ökad psykisk ohälsa bland unga. 
   Vad har du och regeringen gjort respektive tänker göra som svar på att svenska forskare och internationella expertnätverk (Alliance for the Child m fl) visat att Sverige har i storleksordningen 20.000 barn och unga som lider av behandlingskrävande följder av föräldraalienation och psykosocial barnmisshandel, ofta som följd av bristande kvalitet i vårdnadsutredningar och otillräcklig kompetens i domstolar, eller bristand samordning dem emellan. För att skydda barns kontinuerliga access till bägge föräldrar under uppväxten har förslagits (1) ett kompetenscenter för utbildning, forskning, utredning, information och rehabilitering till stöd för skilsmässodrabbade barn och familjer, och (2) en ny lag som skyddar barn och unga mot otillbörligt berövande av endera föräldern eller annan nära anknytningsperson.    
   Hur ställer du dig till att följa flera länder som nyligen lagstiftat mot föräldraalienation (Parental Alienation) och andra former av emotionell alienationsmisshandel för att säkerställa skydd för barn-föräldrakontaktens kontinuitet även efter familjesplittring? Se Newsmill.se "Ny Lag Behövs..." 23.3.2010 och inbjudan till policydebatt i artikeln "Föräldraalienation och Psykosocial Barnmisshandel" i Inre och Yttre Verklighet, Strömstad akademi Antologi 2011, sidorna 36-49. Bägge online: http://www.newsmill.se/artikel/2010/03/23/ny-lag-behovs-till-stod-for-barn-som-berovas-sina-pappor och sid 36-49 i http://www.stromstadakademi.se/Antologi-2011.pdf och annan information insänd till ditt departement. Ett antal miljoner oroliga föräldrar och blivande föräldrar är tacksamma för svar."
   

2011-06-21 Although there are is a rise in the number of urgent themes I would have wanted to comment, I am now forced to take a break over the next few summer months. I hope you all will have the chance to enjoy a bit, but just a bit, of the (partly) wonderful Swedish summer. Enjoy the brief moment as much as you can, before it is too late and you have discovered the truth. Until next, I remain, as always, yours truthfully.

2011-06-15 I am getting increasingly doubtful of the usefulness of huge conferences. Are they not only confirming consensus. And the larger they are, the more streamlined the thoughts. The more pressure on the individual to align towards the center of opinion of the social consensus the less creative and openminded the knowledge produced. More and more, knowledge is a mass product which is disseminated more to satisfy the funding agencies (mostly the state or some fairly anonymous fund), and, consequently, less and less useful is the knowledge products to improve the state of things in practice; the less value is actually added to society - simply because there need to be an 'algorithm' which ensures a value added for the many on and via an individual plane to make the whole into an aggregated value for and in society. The two conferences I have in mind are events in Stockholm, both taking place today: as different as they are, and should be, the phenomenon of streamlining aligned opinion, is sadly at hand in both places: The Stockholm Criminology Symposium 2011 at City Conference Center (Norra Latin) and The Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS) at KI. There seems to be no lack of resources for none of these events, especially the state funded conference in criminology is backed by the heavy public agencies, as often in Sweden, enormously cash-washed institutions with an anorectic reliance on its backbone, the state subsided consensus. One feels the lack of creative input and the sense of danger around approaches, themes and ideas that tries out new avenues in problem solving. Is this to blame the scholars? No, definitely, it is a political deficiency. The political directives is limiting the scope, researchers are bound to survive and chose the commonplace before the needed. They follow the rules in a somewhat rigid way, so as to ensure they are categorized among the core proponents and mainstream defenders of social stability - in protection of values upheld by a firmly grasped hierarchy of actionable power. The meagerness, however, is confirmed in one of the smallest little paper handed out - it is on the research and development strategy ("FoU-strategi" and "Fou-policy") of the agency of criminal care (Kriminalvàrden). I am not criticizing them for what they are doing - but for what they are not doing, for their blunt biases, revealed in thick papers and catalogs listing project and programs like "Män som hatar kvinnor" (Men who hate women - attitudes which support or excuse partner violence - that is once more only men's physical violence is considered here). It is somewhat difficult to believe ingrained false perceptions and attitudes can ever change, and come closer to the root causes of reality, unless these prejudices are being rebalanced, as a first step of achieving a much needed neutral platform for qualified knowledge integration. We see the same phenomenon repeated elsewhere, if not everywhere. It is obviously the case that layers of society progress at different speed, until a gap of insight against those who drag their feet on the cost of taxpayers, open their eyes, and mildly or un-mildly get to see what they thought was not real but could hardly even be imagined in their somewhat blurred (still socially well-adapted) minds. This domain of research does not need to be rocket science, but the competence is badly needed to make society a livable place, even for fathers and children. In such a place as Norra Latin today you find countless Swedish women, all of them lovable and not hated, who have chosen to dedicate their precious lives in company with the worst of the men they can find, only to get their misconceptions confirmed and established as hidden prejudices. It is not very helpful - and a very inefficient use of tax-money - if always someone from outside is needed to discover that the emperor had no clothes. But often, external chocks are needed to change the world to (and for the) better or worse. About the Oncology conference at KI - more on that in another (and its due) context.  

2011
-05-25 Eric Kandel's speech at Nobel Forum attracted lots of people from Karolinska and the Stockholm academic world. At this time the title was unusual because of its interdisciplinary focus and the implicit transgression between the domains of arts and sciences: The lecture on "Uncovering the Unconsciousness - The Modern Dialogue between Art and Science Inspired by Vienna 1900" started in the displaying of leading edge artists of an intensely creative and intellectual culture of that era, including geniuses covered such as Rhodin, Zuckerkandl, Klimt. A key argument is that the artists and medicine were pursuing the same program - to investigate through selfreflection the inner world of the human mind. The Viennese Modernism shared the traits and assumptions that knowledge and insight could be reached through selfexperimentation, whether on the couch of the psychoanalyst or (for the model) on the canvas of the artist; unconscious sexual drives were investigated and thematized as an essential experiential phenomenon with biological-psychological and cultural implications. Carl von Rokitansky, Sigmund Freud and Schnitzler were the pioneers of the idea that art was an unconscious process that could be used to uncover subliminal content in the mind, both for individual analysands and as a portal to a scientific endeavor to improve medical understanding into the structure and dynamics of human psyche. Its second phase, including ingenious minds like Ernst Kris and Ernst Gombrich, among artists Kokoschka and Egon Schiele, built on an earlier prescientific effort in medical science and arts during the 18th century by names like Gerhardt v Swieten (1745), von Stifft (1784) at Vienna General Hospital, and, as mentioned, Carl von Rokitansky (1844). 
   These notes on a recent speech by Nobel Laureate and neuroscientist Eric Kandel at Nobel Forum Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm are currently being edited. Please return again after a while to read our comment on the theme - the interplay between arts and sciences in the context of a rich and creative culture such as that of Vienna in the beginning of 20th century. NOTES (under revision): Eric Kandel at Nobel Forum, KI Uncovering the Unconsciousness - The Modern dialogue between Art and Science Inspired by Vienna 1900: Carl Rokitansky and Joseph Skoda were performing early autopsies at the Viennese General Hospital - it was an important phase in the modernization of medicine.
   Freud put together a project for a Scientific Psychology in 1905, which remained unpublished: neurons talked to each other, there were Contact barriers, repression of memory, hostile memory and mnemonic neurons. It was unsatisfactory for a biological model of the mind, a psychoanalysis (Psan): you needed three levels, observable behavior, Psan - dynamic scientific psychology, and knowledge on the brain. 3 Key ideas: human beings are not rational creatures, they are driven by irrational unconscious mental processes, your Adult character - sexuality and aggression - can be traced to the mind of the child, no mental event occurs by change, mental events adhere to scientific laws. He looked for Rokitanskian roots of the mind behind the surface. Arthur Schnitzler 1862-1931 had a much more profound insight into female sexuality. AS wrote Fräulein Else 1921 as a critique against Freud's Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria in 1905.
   Klimt was fascinated by biology and was influenced by Rokitansky and the Vienna Modern Medicine: painting Danae in 1907 - a reproductive machine turning sperm to embryos; The Kiss 1908. The Stein Children (1908), Standing Nude with Hand on chin 1907 - psychological insights into the minds. Depiction of Ludwig Ritter van Janikowski 1909 - as if he is on the edge of a psychotic episode. August Forel 1910 - the family rejected the painting by Kokoschka (transischemic episodes) - showing new dimensions to the psyche and the unconscious mind. Kokoschka's Self Portrait 1918-1919 - afrigthened little man.
   Egon Schiele did many selfportraits: he senses the end of the era with his own sexual anxiety. He uses himself to explore life - he is frightened to death. Hypnosis had become popular - a self portrait masturbating 1911 - depicting his own psychological concerns. Schiele uses his body to explore his response to situaitons. The Second Phase: to bring art and science together - it was Freud who used fragmentary information on patients' biography. Alois Riegl 1858-1905 was the chief of the Academy of Art: psychology needed for art history to understand art.
   Ernst Kris 1900-1957: Ambiguity in Art - Creativity in the Beholder - The importance of caricature (Expressionism: Messerschmidt), an art historian who influenced Ernst Gombrich 1909-2001 Cognitive Psychology of Perception - the Brain is a Creativity Machine - bottom up and top down: combines gestalt and psychoanalysis and topdown and bottom-up processes, fascinated by illusions (rabbit / hare - you cannot see both at the same time, you see what depends on focus - two different perceptions of only one unchanged object). Gombrich did in arts what Freud tried for psychoanalysis - understanding the subconscious. The Beholder's Share: seeing a representation of the body of the other person - seeing motion - "like me" - theory of mind - psychological insight into the other person. The whole system disrupted in autism. They do not understand what another person conveys to the other. Steve Kuffler discovered receptive field organization of an on-center cell - a theory obviously relevant for perception of arts. Perception of illusions show that you get incomplete information on the world that you elaborate on through top-down processes: - you see the triangle (white or black) in your mind. Faces are the key to the outside world, the way we express emotions to others, facial expression is a powerful expression of their emotional state. If you turn a portrait upside down it gets difficult to recognize the face emotion - as in proposagnosia. Faces activate the fusiform face area - Hubel & Wiesel. Representation of face - inferotemporal cortex and amygdala, allocentric representation (extrastriate body area) and motion respond in different areas of the brain.
   Why do the Austrian Modernists appeal to us so much? Gifted psychologists entering into the minds and the social aspects. (J Allen Evolving Brain). The dopamin system gets recruited for love of art: food, drink and sex, addiction, romantic love, and love of art. (Ronald Lauder's Love of Viennese Modernist Art - Adele Bloch-Bauer 1907). - E.O. Wilson in Consilience - linkages between sciences and the humanities...On the question from the auditorium about the role of music in these processes of uncovering the unconscious in the Viennese scientific-artistic culture Kandel replied he thought music was even more involved than painting and pictorial arts - and music is much more complex and intricately interwoven with the sciences at this point of the crucial development of the Western culture. 
   After the speech Eric Kandel joined the reception and was approached by many professors and postgraduates at KI: I asked about the subject of his speech - if Columbia is a place where this is now accepted: his reply was that it now i coming more and more - this is a very encouraging sign. We need more of the kind from US these days. Professors Erling Norrby, Ingemar Ernberg and Hugo Lagercrantz - as well as external visitors like Sheldon Litt - were joining the discussion.

2011
-05-20 Simon Schama is not only a prolific and frequent writer in Financial Times (today) and other high quality papers; he is also a history professor and author of some of the most insightful and beautiful investigations into the root memes of our Western and Christian-Jewish culture. But is he right in that "the analytical mind" of Henry Kissinger at Kissinger Associates is "still razor-keen, delivering serial judgments at a steadily thoughtful pace, the reflections of an old magus"? After A World restored and Diplomacy the 87 years old Nestor in global policy delivers a new book on Chine - the most powerful forces has always been attractors in the life and work of Kissinger. At Harvard he had learned from William Yandell Elliott that "without grasping the long arc of time, any account of politics and government would be shallow and self-defeating." For a Westerner it takes a dive back to the ancient dynasties to grasp China and its role as the primary power of our new era.
   Kissinger's problem is not so much his understanding of cultural counterparts. As a good diplomat his focus is on the other party and his mind is clever enough to reach the whole way across all tables of negotiation into the minds of allies or adversaries. But the problem is a lack of advanced self-reflection, the depth of self-understanding it takes to see how the other party in a dialogue interprets one self. The process of being defined by others in any interactive encounter is very different from the arrogant power play of self-sufficient promoters of the inherently Western perspective, adopted without reservation onto the world my the US policy during 20th century power politics. We are now in another era where only more sensitive listening and an in depth understanding of the counterpoints of global dialogues will form the basis for a new symphonic world order. But this will be the next chapter. And it was beyond what America could offer the world at the finale of its role as leading the global orchestra towards harmony and prosperity for all. It was a limited but very professionally efficient concept, but not the recipe for the future we want. The tragedy is that a country that led the whole technological and industrial development of the West never embraced fully the human values required as core for a new world order to take place.
   Kissinger is using war as an instrument in world order and the name of the method is conflict. Conflict is a normal state and even used as a strategy if not an end in itself. This is a much to static view. Conflict should be always only a process driven by an urge to resolve the dissonances among nations, peoples, cultures towards an inclusive symphonic world order where peace and harmony is the fertile earth we cultivate to get our societies to bear fruit and survive through the "arc of long times" that he addresses. Kissinger may be a passionate amateur music lover but he has difficulties in adopting his concept of world powers and reconcile a process of resolution until the final stage of creative peace. For him, war seems as much creative as it is destructive. But here the great symphonic minds of our culture, including Mahler, Sibelius, Brahms and Beethoven, were more ingenious. Containment, reconciliation and mastering contingency were the three chords of the statecraft diplomacy piece of music - and the foreign policy of the objective historical situation were seen through the lens of a great temporal arcade, the scope of a sharp yet distanced mind. Schama addresses Kissinger "Doctor", but I think Kissinger is anything else than embracing the passion to cure: it is a step or two between diagnosis, treatment and prevention. But that is a point that leads us far beyond the theme of the Schama encounter with Kissinger in FT today.

Recently even high level media as FT and IHT has been focusing the tragic events in New York that deprived an international top organization of its competent head, Mr. "DSK". Most accounts cede to readers' pressure and passion for the sensational including paper space filled by sleazy details of some sexual events not yet objectively determined. Media is jumping ahead as we do not yet know who is the perpetrator or even if there were a perpetration to talk about; but imagination is in these cases stronger than reality. Problem however that laws are meant to regulate real events, not imagined.
   Conclusion, that only objectively determined events should be of interest for media. But, here, until today, what is hitherto clear is only that an allegation forwarded by a hotel maid led to the step down of the head of IMF at a point when it faces the most challenging tasks in solving the global financial chaos. A reasonable question is: how come that these different domains get combined in such a fuzzy way? Obviously, it takes an intellectual capacity not at hand among public decision makers to keep apart what the mind should distinguish as two very different and independent categories. What I am saying is that a political culture that mixes private behavior with public trust in this way (regardless of the case) is on the verge of paranoid infection. Such a mental and social climate is not stable and it is an indication of great confusion to let it persist. I guess nobody did in a democratic process assign the prosecutors of the New York police department, nor a young cleaning maid, to the position of heading personnel with responsibility for recruitment to the most important posts in global management of the economy. The risk of accepting such a system will eventually end in difficulties to attract the most mature and competent to such key posts - these rare people will understand the flaws of the system and do all they can to avoid being caught in the nasty web of a paranoid culture.
   Populist power players can now be hired to undermine governments and change the power balance on the global scene. The bizarre order of things is an indication of a social disease exploited for political and economic purpose. It will be difficult, however, to determine without adducing professional competence in social psychiatry, whether this is just another instance of prosecution derailing into persecution - it is by no means clear who is the true victim and confusion is already high among the public statements made to defend the actions of the State of New York. Do heads of international organizations not enjoy immunity - or is the US jurisdiction reaching out its long arm not just to catch the leader of al-Quaida but next perhaps also into the chambers of French privacy? Welcome wonderful new world. Gnoti seavton - know yourself. Know the rules. The rules by which heads are falling. Anyone can now remove any of the leading politicians he or she dislike. It is an entirely new landscape, the soap opera concept of global politics. Total opportunism devoid of responsibility. I do not say anything about real events but ask for an explanation of the logic that makes accusations leading to immediate resignation of a democratically appointed head of a vital international organization.
   How does the logic of these jurisdictions come to extend its role like this? The peoples probably get what they want - bread and pleasure - if they are not given enough entertainment in advance. Sex and politics need to be disconnected because the present linkages presumes one and the same code of conduct in all places. This would be a form of ethical - and sometimes ethnic - discrimination, a new form of paranoid dictatorship of public rules valid for some limited jurisdiction extending its arrogant claims onto the field of private family life. Admittedly this is not what the DSK case was about. But it certainly raises a fundamental question on what constitutes a sound relation between the separate domains of private and public life, of privacy and official arena of policy action.
   I found (2011-06-05) the following article, "Decoding DSK - What his fall says about transatlantic differences in attitudes to sex, power and the law" (May 19th 2011) by the editor of the Charlemagne column, The Economist, dealing with the difference in culture between Europe and America in a balanced way and recommend it to the reader.     


2011
-05-19 Today we attend the Stockholm Dialogue on Global Sustainability - Seizing Planetary Opportunities within the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability: see its homepage (document downloadable from there. A draft critical commentary is being launched here under the headline

BEWARE THE WORLD – OUR LEADERS ARE DEAF - STOCKHOLM TRAGEDY A DACAPO OF THE COPENHAGEN DISASTER

The Stockholm Dialogue on Global Sustainability is the final presentation of a joint memorandum, the working paper product of a group of Nobel Laureates and politicians convening in Stockholm. It is a somewhat ornamental and pompous rhetoric event taking place on the scene of the Royal Swedish Theater - Dramaten - But actually it is merely a low to mid competence level event with participants making frequent reference to the disaster of the Copenhagen meeting.

Is the “GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY” SYMPOSIUM not more than a bundle of repetitious trivialities reflecting an immature and malfunctioning mode interdomain dialogue - a sclerotic dissonance in a “false harmony” dialogue reflecting the lack of counterpoint in well-established Swedish conformism. The conclusion of this conference is simple: there is a very superficial dialogue and not a true critical exchange of views among and across politicians and scientists. Beware the world if this is the frontier of thinking among responsible decision makers.

Why is this “Stockholm Memorandum” sclerotic in its convergent thinking? Is demonstrates a “Nobel scleroticism”, showing the incompatibility between power players and knowledge carrier is not overcome. One preliminary answer is that only very few scientists are actually wise human beings in the sense that they have incorporated in their mind a full-fledged model of the complexity of the world we are living in. Therefore scientists are too often on the verge of the autistic mode of communication. It is a huge challenge for them to express their thoughts and transmit their experience in a truly honest form of emotionally integrated social dialogue. And among politicians, it is unfortunate that society suffers from the low priority of competence in political and democratic recruitment systems. This made the event come close to what it should not be: a closed dialogue made worse by the conformist management of the symposium – no voices raised – only anonymous sms questions accepted: this did not produce creative and critical questions. It is a misunderstanding of the central role of dialogue in knowledge production.“The Art and Science of the Possible” addressed at the start of the conference was no more that a weak no-brainer; the arts and their core thinking had not penetrated into the content of the discussions and presentations; art was seen only as an ornament. Talks were moderated by Johan Rockström, Symposium Chair, Executive Director of SEI. Marie-Louise Ekman in few words addressed an insight with far more essential implications that thought of: Arts an essential part in the infrastructure of civilization. Unfortunately, this good idea very quickly disappeared from the scene as quickly as she herself had entered as a deux ex machina from heaven. Sten Nordin, a local politician in Stockholm, stressed that a good drama travels through your heart and brain. Give people a vision of what the future can become, activate our emotions. Don’t forget the local level. Stockholm is part of Eurocities, he emphasized and quickly went into marketing mode.

The problem is that of balance between power and knowledge, the gap between resources and competence. The Stockholm Memorandum: Tipping the Scales towards Sustainability – have the following central messages:

  1. A mindshift is needed – a dual track for coherent global action: emergency solution and longterm strategy. Key priorities for global action include:
  2. Reaching a more equitable world
  3. Managing the climate and energy challenge
  4. Creating an efficiency revolution – circular business models instead of linear
  5. Ensuring affordable food for all
  6. Moving beyond beyond green growth
  7. Reducing human pressures strengthening earth system governance
  8. Enacting a new contract between science and society – science a more central role

Panel Discussion (moderated by Johan Rockström, JR): Mario Molina refers to Arrhenius, Einstein, Planck and others: we have a good understanding. Risk is extreme for large impact events. There is no convincing arguments that the risk is negligible. To prevent it costs 1-2 % of GDP but much less than the impact would cost. Peter Grünberg: science need to be more transparent. There is a whole profession of science journalists – it is also their task. Peter Agre, working in public health. You get politicians to act. The public is listening. Establishing a new contract between science and society is the most important point in the memorandum. In science the details are complex but the principles elegant. For a scientist to getting more transparent is also exposing yourselves – it may prevent you seeking funds. But children can point out what parents do foolish. Murray Gell-Mann: the perspective on complexity and simplicity. So many different things in our era to worry about: photochemical, forests and foods. How can people manage to deal with so many issues at the same time: examples include Migration of people and rapid growth of cities and inadequate facilities in crowded cities? These issues are not only numerous they are also interdependent. Looking at one category separately one after the other – but they all interact strongly with another. This makes it even more difficult to wrap our mind around them. We need to develop a way to analyze and improve our capacity to deal with this complex situation. Stop omitting the step on how things fit together. Katherine Richardson: scientists trained, hired to be experts on details. Can we find a common headline for the interaction – e.g. our species and the oceans are dependent. Earlier in history groups of people were so small – but today the mindset is a challenge: economy – supply and demand. We need growth – by scarce resources becoming sustainable. Market economy need to change its rules. To change people it must be close to you – and money is close. The whole mindset about resource usage needs to change. Headlines are better to focus on the issues. Will Steffen, ANU Climate Change Institute: Australia suffers the most extreme climate disasters, droughts and flooding. What is Science, Economics, Social issues should have equal weight. Sunita Narain, Centre for Science and Environment: people need to know – Delhi needs to reinvent mobility: the poor take the bicycle or the bus.

Can we reach sustainability and have exponential growth of economy? Gell-Mann distinguishes growth in numbers and in quality. We don’t have to dispense with growth but can gradually change from basic to quality growth. What single step would be the most important towards sustainability? A changes mindset? How do you change it? Social sciences have different answers: multiple ways have to move in the same direction. Change laws. Education. Reeducate politicians. Leadership need to be long-term and include 7 generations.

What is good life? Mindset change requires lifestyle changes – energy efficiency etc. We cannot wait. Two issues: start measuring wellbeing instead of wealth – economy driven of the idea of more consumption is better. Happiness index in Bhutan is an example.

Pavan Sukhdev, Yale Univ and UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative:  Seizing Planetary Opportunities: economics is the currency of policy. Economy is grounded in the resources of this planet. It begins in nature which provides the basic nutrients for survival. TEEB: ending the economic invisibility of nature - The problem of economic invisibility. Do markets works for private profit and public loss only? Hidden costs of business impacting nature and society need to be calculated. What can business do? We have to measure what we want to manage – we want to measure wellbeing. Dimensions: natural capital, human & social capital, financial and resource capital. (Gist advisory).

The UN “high-level” panel on Global Sustainability includes Gunilla Carlsson, Luisa Dias Giogo and Freundel Stuart. How and How: government is about managing resources and the market. Democratic societies have better opportunities to reach sustainability: transition to new knowledge with change as a driving force: accountability and technologies of liberation and of liberty. Change starts with individuals. Focus on young people, grasping new ideas better.

I sincerely doubt much progress can be made without allowing true dialogues - and that means hearing the acoustical voices of living participants among the audience, not just having some selected sms read from a computer screen sent by only those who may have a functioning cellphone (which you might want to switch off during a public debate like this to avoid disturbance). This is a very bad or no strategy reflecting a scleroticized Swedish mindset - not a paradigm for global sustainability. The new mindset we need is a true and inclusive dialogue, and honest exchange of critical feedback ideas that helps moving the consensus understanding of strategic solutions towards the frontier of knowledge society, where power and competence are supposed to become reconciled, and, if compatible, even integrated into one and the same direction of a joint strategic effort on a global scale. Such a thing, while not excluded from possible things in a world like ours, is still very far away and remains remote from reality.

Beware the world from the Swedish model of conformism. It reflects a primitivized and sclerotic mode of close to autistic cognition (typical among Swedish politicians), deprived of the art of sensitive listening, leading away from a modern form a truly interactive democracy - a disturbance on the map of Western cultures and a shame for a rich country. Scientists have, unfortunately, learned from politicians, on matters of power and manipulation. And politicians, as usual and as expected, have learned nothing form wise men and women. It is something entirely else we need to blend brilliance into social harmony.

In this world you need both power and knowledge. In order to get one of these critical human resources you have to be capable and compromise. But any compromise will preventing you from getting the other resource. Scientists are capable and politicians compromise. You do not need to be right to compromise. That is the problem. Scientists will exclude compromizers from their circles. They need to be right. They are afraid to be wrong. Politicians are afraid of thinkers. They do not need to think. To survive they simply follow the power. The less conscientious a politician the easier he or she can adapt. That is why politics is so often diverging towards a variety of power abuses. Scientists, as long as they do not compromise, converge on two things: reality and truth.

It is true that words create reality and that "challenge" should be replaced by "opportunity", "sustainability" by "success", "prosperity", "vibrancy", etc - we need to use these words with positive connotations to enable and encourage a momentum of change. To create a great dialogue it is important to frame reality in the right way, and biometric concepts might be a more creative venue to stay close to what concerns us most. How to lead change? It is much about how we put questions. Words and values count because they provoke reflection. These themes were addressed by Frances Westley, JW McConnell Chair in Social Innovation, Waterloo University (Canada), Janine Benyus, Director, Biomimicry Institute (US) and the US Ambassador: the take home message is - "the power of the individual is absolutely unstoppable". But that is a ambiguous statement. It does not clarify the opposing forces at work among the interplay between power (position) and knowledge (competence). The most crucial dilemma - both a challenge and opportunity - in leadership, to encourage reconciliation between the two dimensions reflection and acting (as exponents of the two key resources) is to install accountability, to get a learning process for leaders working - possibly with a legal formalization (leadership licensing or certification process). And these key components in a strategy for development were not even addressed.

The gap between power and competence remains. In fact, it seems that many among the so-called leaders do not even honestly try to bridge the gap: why is it then that good thinkers as Professor Gell-Mann talks so well but without getting a really graspable resonance of his ideas among the talking politicians.

It is tragic for the many sponsors that they also disclose their inability to help focusing on the crucial obstacles to obtain a sizable leverage affecting the pace of real change towards the different world we and coming generations need to survive and prosper. It is a good idea to use the credit of the Nobel Prizes for bringing people together to discuss the risks that the present world is encountering - and to design ways forward to a more promising world. But unless modes of thinking are invented and applied that can ensure an assimilation of competence among politicians, and an acquisition of dialogue ability among scientists, a huge and expensive conference of this kind will not provoke people to insights that make them enthusiastically embark on the road towards changing the world. That commitment will require a wider scope of views, and some macrostrategic skill applied to complex reality; and that is a program which needs a more convincing underpinning through developing epistemically solid tools for integrating knowledge perspectives and leading monodisciplinary sciences to converge on a transdisciplinary interpretation of the real world. This is also a way to get vision anchored to reality without forgetting that the human values are always what should remain the guiding principle at the center of things. Environmentalism is not equivalent to escaping the anthropocenic perspective; it is to promote a development that makes us mature to take responsibility for all living beings and for the nature on which we depend - and which is our origin and our end.

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2011-05-10 Our weekly reading recommendation includes: Vincent F Hendricks The Convergence of Scientific knowledge - a View from the Limit, a summit in the series Trends in Logic (vol 9), Kluwer, 2007 (an earlier edition appeared in 2002): From the www.libri.de book presentation: "The fundamental thesis of The Convergence of Scientific Knowledge: a view from the limit is that knowledge may be characterized by convergence to a correct hypothesis in the limit of empirical scientific inquiry. The primary aim is not to say whether convergence will or will not occur. It is rather to systematically investigate the proposal that such convergence, if it occurs, is descriptive of scientific knowledge from a logical point of view; in brief to provide an epistemology of limiting convergence for both scientific realists and anti-realists."

2011-05-10 At a lunch meeting with Professor Erling Norrby, former President of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA), at Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet in Stockholm, a number of scenarios and options for future interdisciplinarity in science and society, were explored.


2011-05-07 A Post-Reflective Note on the conference "Toward a Science of Consciousness", May 3-7, in Aula Magna at Stockholm university, Stockholm Sweden: The human consciousness is one of the most clearly cross-disciplinary themes of current scholarly research which brings together people from a broad variety of disciplines and from most of the faculty domains of the knowledge infrastructure in contemporary university science. This may seem a trivial note. But it is one of the reasons for us to watch the development of it; another reason is the epistemological position of the human consciousness in all observations of reality and even in the process of defining what reality is supposed to be. In other words, it does not seem possible to formulate a research program - with scientific ambition - without an underlying premise, or an explicit standpoint that provides the conceptual basis for the role of consciousness in our studying of reality. If this is a prerequisite, and a conceptual condition in any study of objects in the world which are grasped by the mind, science cannot easily discard the issue as purely "philosophical": The quest for a definition of consciousness, if only operational, also challenges our conventional views and practices with regard to the epistemic issues at hand in any research.
   However, the difference between the philosophical tradition and that of empirical science, in their effort to grasp the essence of consciousness, lies in the following alternatives: philosophy most often had to rely on a predetermination, an a priori, of definition that feels uncomfortable to present-day scientists because it is dangerously close to a "dogmatism", whereas science can do its experiments to observe the behavior of nature (reality) whereby it delays its final definition of what consciousness really is. Our overriding perspective adopted here introduces the dimension of "science in society" along which the achievements and the shortcomings of this conference are measured; it is our "sub speciae aeternitatis". This contextual premise implies that science is not something that can or should be evaluated isolated from the rest of the world. Instead, we can just note that it is a formidable task to map down the descriptive (and evaluative) criteria that help us assess the value of science in and for the society where it is conducted; but in addition, also, in and for (an) other society (-ies) outside of which it is carried out. Just to mention one such aspect, often forgotten, it is surprising how important the maturity of the scientist's personality is and how it plays into both the audience's understanding and the intuitive sense of value these observers attach to lectures and speeches.
   The arena of science, as always a place in society, is today more than ever a place of performance, where criteria adding to the ones valid for the publication arena, are at stake. The illusion of complete objectivity, in the sense of an imagined exclusion of the arbitrariness of subjective minds, is as remote as ever. The arenas of science can be thought of as a market where the sophistication of marketing may determine the 'outcome' as much as the content of the intellectual production. Inasmuch as objectivity in the sense of well-balanced judgment is a necessary criterion to pursue in sustainable science production it cannot be denied that the personality of the scientist plays a 'decisive' role for the quality of the knowledge in the long run and in several ways: not only is the personality structure and personality coherence of the cognition a factor that 'objectively' limits the access to full reality but also the social maturity (and possible psychopathology) of the individual scientist may interfere with the modes of social interaction in the process of (scientific-social) knowledge production. So one "hot" issue then becomes the question in what way(s) the personality of the individual scientist legitimately may influence the evaluation of his or her science?
   The core idea with science is that its sustainability should be aimed for as much as possible and therefore the most important breakthrough discoveries and or theories should be kept distinguished from the person who produces these ideas; independence goes along with sustainability of the result. Therefore, there is a "cave" written here to allow for the case where an awkward personality produces a discovery essential for society and humankind. As much as one has to keep this possibility in mind, it is also true that we do not generally accept dogmaticism as a ground for scientific description of reality; science must be generalizable or its limitation must be carefully outlined to make it a valid description of reality.
   When Sir Roger Penrose appear as keynote speaker and lays out his view on the cosmological origin of the universe on a number of hand-written transparents with a short excuse that he is not much into the new technology, he actually achieves a dramatic effect in credibility; there seem to be no steps between his deepest conception of the constitution of reality and how it emerged and the naked, totally honest and unhedged presentation of his corresponding design of the universe. Many people are now familiar with the notion of the "many-worlds-universe" (M-worlds). This view relies not only on the development of modern physics - it also depends on our conscious ability to imagine the "unimaginable" or at least to challenge the conventional design of the world. This requires a form of cognitive or logical "opposition", not unrelated to the Popperian falsification theorem: To assert the validity of a scientific statement it must be possible to design an experiment by which the theory would be refuted; the falsifiability is essential. At this point, the personal creativity of the mind comes in as a permissive factor. And the realm of creativity is the arts where the culture we share provide the value ground and the building blocks to innovative and imagery design which are then probed by scientific methods aiming for "truth of reality description".
   At the same time, it is hard to argue that there is one and only one reality, as interpretations depend on perspective; but at least, it is legitimate to test the views and hypotheses for their practical usefulness; the picture that most closely fits reality is the one which is capable of guiding us and provide a trusted map to navigate towards to goal that we share in human societies; the value criteria in such a navigation of human societies are largely provided by the set of values in culture that are build up during centuries of human and social experience; we know and we learn what are valued for other human beings to the extent that we understand them and that we understand that they are in many ways similar to us - and we have ourselves experienced these values in life. So, in a way, life is defined by its opposite, death - and, therefore, the talks on death as a phenomenon, as an experience by the dying person and by his or her close friends and relatives, could actually be a key road towards understanding consciousness - what it is at the heart of things. This is the reason why life, which begins at birth, is also defined at its end, at the point of death, end of consciousness; it remains to discover what then comes - and one of the most intriguing ideas is the non-locality, the potential transcendence as a component of consciousness, which would make consciousness an eternal phenomenon that we a happy to share during a short time of duration - our individual lives.  

2011
-05-07 THE END OF CONSCIOUSNESS is our dying. Every human being will experience end of life and the process of dying, whatever that is. Not only is this perhaps the most intriguing problem of recent consciousness research, it is also profoundly human - and a field of research that truly transgresses the borders - of disciplines and of life and death themselves. It points at existential issues and forces us to think over What Is Life - and puts life in a context to all living things and our most precious and valuable things and experiences in the course of an individual life. When does consciousness come into life - at birth or before? Consciousness is the core criterion of life but fluctuations of it are allowed without life to cease and death to take over the party.
   Consciousness and Death are subjects profoundly inter- and transdisciplinary, linking research areas of different faculties and disciplines. It does not stop at the border of modern science but includes the phenomenology - the phenomenology of life and death. And it reaches across the border to the spiritual and religious questions - it is at the core of human experience, regardless of whether these phenomena lend themselves to scientific study or contemplation, philosophical and religious exercise. Peter Fenwick, whose mode of cognition is phenomenal among the scholarly world - because he is able to integrate the spiritual issues without falling prey to speculation - held the finale of the huge Tucson Consciousness conference, this year located to Stockholm university Aula Magna - but at the same time in many respects a non-local event that were followed by a thousand-headed audience avidly using internet to access speeches and discussions online: something is happening at the point of dying.
   All aspects of consciousness level are subject to experience. Death and the loosening of consciousness: deathbed visions documented in literature, art and the Bible. Sir Barett first study 1926, recent Barbato et al 1999, Melvin Morse. Dying is a very spiritual event. Do we accept that we will die? Freund's paradox - we talk about other people's death not our own. Dying is part of life - we have lost this now - dying at home with friends and family. Current situation - 32* die alone, 56 % in hospitals, more of 50% of complaints are about dying because nurses have time only for the living. Why did we not study dying? The way we die? Premonitions, death bed visions, journey, terminal lucidity, shapes leaving, elsewhere. Retrospective and prospective questionnaire study in UK and Holland gave the data sets. 100 carers questioned: doctors nurses auxiliary staff. Questionnaire published. End of Life Experiences do occur, reported by personnel. Premonitions is that you know you are going to die. Is premonition a preparation for death? Shortly before death - deathbed visions occurs in 50 - 60 - 70%. Sir Francis of Assisi encountering death angels. Journeying language - I am going to get a ticket. Death bed visitors sitting on the bed - 60% Who are the visitors? Who came? Parents, few angels. Who sees them? The dying, rarely others in the room, especially children, very rarely staff. How do they come - shortly before death, stand around or sit on deathbed. Why? to greet and reassure and to tell them when it is time to go to take them on a journey, they can be negotiated with and time of death delayed for a short time. Delaying Tactics. Choosing then to go - refusing to die a protest against inheritance tax. Putative causes - context comfort process of dying belief. Moving to a New Reality - go and come back.   
   Terminal Lucidity: just before you die, a few minutes before death, 60% in Irish. Sometimes the person is capable of describing it. Awakening from coma, awakening from Alzheimer's disease, suddenly able to move after years of paralysis - enlightening before death. Time of death - you have died: brain and consciousness is dissolving. Death Bed Coincidences - a visit, initiated by the dying person at the moment of death, to someone of great emotional significance to hum or her. You are in NY and have a son in UK - there will be a father's farewell, saying goodbye. Absolutely compulsive sometimes - you go to the telephone to find out, you may have a dream. The most vivid dream - your relative tells you he or she is dead. Light at Death - light and spirit: you see a bright light. It is the light of a near-death experience. Exit from Body: as a "smoke". Spiritual in the sense that the more sensitive people will see it. At death: clocks stop and alarms sound - do occur - 25%. Mechanical malfunction - blank TV screens. Comforting experiences. ELEs Transpersonal. The Art of dying - ars moriendi. The Dutch are trained - 70%. "End-of-Life experiences - a guide for relatives and friends of the dying". Dying - a spiritual process, exit of consciousness. Dissolution of consciousness may be a non-local event: - death - end but a start of a journey to elsewhere? The End or the beginning? If you have any stories: peter_fewick@compuserve.com . Q: SH: how do you control for observations? highly emotional events affect memories which may not be accurate. PF: just looking at the stories - it is phenomenology. Intensive care psychosis are paranoid - and drug hallucinations are different and must be excluded. These are different and carry a meaning. Coincidences are comforting and expected. Coincidences occurs within 40 minutes of death - rated on a scale. The stories on watches stopping are very persuasive...Q: relatives coinciding feelings? PF: non-locality and entanglement fit into the theories - people are connected (especially so among close relatives). Q: drugs and ventilators, disconnecting machines in hospitals. PF: it is better to die conscious or not conscious? Use of drugs not recommended. Animals put to death - vet stories say sometimes that they react when their mistress dies.  


A Good Death is the theme of Lakhmir Chawla: dignity of a good death, patient should be comfortable in their last moment in life. At the moment they get pulseless with no blood perfusion in the brain. As you die the heart is producing ECG activity with no pumping. Every device removed taken out of the room. We see spikes above the baseline, some very dramatic. In animal models EEGs go to zero and that's it. The spike is something previously unknown. The spike back to zero, some are M-shaped, highly reproduceable. The nurses get freaked out. This is high frequency gamma waves activity. Characterizations of Spikes: rapid upstroke followed by rapid deay, spike occurs between 60-120 seconds after patient becomes pulseless (some patients die gradually), there are M, square and steeple spikes, raw EEG shows high frequency gamma wave activity, peak of the spike exceeds previous level of baseline, afterwards, the curve gets to zero isoelectrically. Over 100 spikes witnessed but not everybody has a spike when they die. Not all spikes are the same. No obvious pattern to who and who does not generate a spike. Cell are hypoxic and therefore likely very irritable. IF resuscitated after a spike patient recalls EEG event in the form of an intense memory. Speculated that polarity is neutralized. The raw EEG is coherent - if one had a heart attack - recall. Donations from accident organs taken from emergency room. Gravely ill patient dying removed from ventilator have large spike when they rapidly die.
   Auyong et al aske are these patients awake or aware, should they get more medication to try and mitigate the spike, should we be harvesting organs prior to the EEG spike? Are these donation unethical. Should we wait a couple of minutes to see if they have spikes. Decapitated rats have a delay until unconsciousness and after EEG to zero it was found that rats have spikes as well - but low frequency no gamma activity, ca 80 seconds after. There is an effect of inhalation of isoflurine - you get earlier spike with anaesthesia - it is euthanasia with pentobarbitol. Even in high does you do not obliterate the spike. Surges of EEG occur at the time of death in humans and rats - likely preserved in all mammals. EEG spikes are NOT artifact - reproducible in two different species with at least three different devices. Transplant implications are essential. What are spikes? The beginning of knowledge is asking the question. Bias and speculation: it is the soul. Definition of soul? Potential explanation of NDEs. Clarification - EEG surge could be recalled if patients was resuscitated, a terminal event near terminal event - an opportunity to study the nature of consciousness. Is there a point of decoherence. Compare a large electron accelerator at Cern. Put the puzzle together. Proposed research - End of Life Electrical Surges ELES - raw EEG and cataloging - an epidemiological assessment, Primary assessment - fMRI, PET scanning and complete 24 lead EEG. What would a decoherence event be in terms of energies. ELES may represent the dissipation of consciousness. Q: SH: if they are suffering the ethical dilemma occurs what to give them. LC: walk that thin line without accelerating their passing away. SH: there is a low energy quantum event, maybe ischemia disables coherence? Q: if inhibitory networks go first you may have a residual potential etc? LC: it can all be tested but it must not be the same in humans. Can a decoherence event explain this?
  
Nicholas Franks - with the support of Medical Research Council and BBSRBC - talks on Molecular Actions of Anaesthetics: There are three targets of anaesthetic mechanisms, doubl K channels, GABA and NMDA. Among substances Xenon bind to the same site as glycone. Anaesthetics act on relatively small number of specific molecular targets. Does this selectivity extend to neuronal pathways in the brain? Switch between consciousness and unconsciousness orrurs over a very small concentration difference, e.g. with propofol. Similarities between sleep and anaesthesia show up in neuronal oscillations and in functional brain imaging: when it just lost consciousness, by propofol or sevoflurane(Kasti). We do not know where in the brain anaesthetics act. Selective anatomical targets include the thalamus - perturbation of thalamocortical transmission is suggested, manipulation of sleed and arousal pathways - excitation of nonspecific sites in thalamus. Brainstem as target rely on microinjection of pentobarbital experiments. Hypothalamus - patterns of activity of arousal and sleep nuclei during anaesthesia are similar to those observed during NREM sleep, selective lesion tests support this view. Cortex - connectivity is disrupted at LOC. Local field potentials and LORR: everything changes at the point of loss of consciousness, therefore it is a mistake to focus on where the target is. Anasthetics work on the brainstem, in some subtle way that tunes into consciousness, is an open question. Q: disrupted pattern in sleep similar to unconsciousness? KK: Anaesthics only dilutes the lipids you shift the treshold higher, AH: that has been disproved.
   Anthony G Hudetz, Wisconsin, develops his speech on Anaesthesia and Gamma Synchrony - or gamma oscillations. Dislaimers include: not solving the hard problem, only nerual correlates of the conscious and unconscious states at best, absence of subjective experience is not detectable and anaesthesia in locked-in-brain. Anaestesis produce unconsciousness, amnesia, immobility (voluntary and reflex). In a 3-D diagram of Imagery, Sensor and Motor activity we find Hallucinations, REM sleep and the various states of anaesthetics. Gamma-band synchrony include 30-80 Hz oscillation in EEG, LFP and neuronal spiking, present during rest. Christof Koch and J Kulli wrote an article on whether anaesthesia during surgery really does procude unconsciousness: gamma synchrony coherence between frontal and occipital lobes looks related to unconsciousness induction. The stages include induction and maintenance. Consciousness is studied in rats in analogy with neurological assessment, purposeful avoidance response, visual corneal stimulation, whisker stroking, pungent odor and righting reflex, to compare behavioural effects of propofol anaesthesia. Effects of halothane and isoflurane studied on frontal EEG in rats. The gammaa oscillations patterns are at four levels of isoflurane (frontal cortex) - gamma waves seem to be riding on peaks of delta. The classical gamma is 40Hz or a band of 30-50Hz. Gamma bursts get shorter with deepening anaesthesia. A covariantion of gamma bursts - frontal-visual-hippocampal is reduced in anaesthesia. The classical gamma does not diappear in anaesthesia, however the very high gamma band does. Most anaesthetics do not decrease spontaneous gamma at 40Hz. These studies are about resting state gamma. When we go from conscious to sedated to unconscious and surgical anaestesia it is the amplitude of the gamma that changes. If gamma is preserved in anaesthesia, what happens to the synchrony: we calculate the long-range versus local coherence with different isoflurane concentrations. A gamma coherence was found - looking for a neuro-correlator. Visual eevoked gamma coherence is reduced by anaesthsia. Information transfer at 40-50Hz show calculate the transfer entropy in conscious versus unconscious states - between the points Fr - Oc and Par. The hpothesis is that anaesthesia disrupts the temporal integration at gamma frequency by suppressing feedback - feedforward or feedback takes time - retroactivation takes 200 ms. Feedback give rise to delayed response in sensory cortex, feedforward - 20-100, feedback to 200ms. Microelectrode arrays is inserted in visual cortex. There is a two biphasic response, the first early response is a high peak which is bery brief but the late response is more prolonged decreases firing activity deeper. The ongoing neuron activity can be simulated in a movie shown: the firing becomes intermittent, activity stops intermittantly. A cross-correlation analyssis is made to study the monsynaptic connection patterns in rat visual cortes in our states of anaesthesia. The effect of general anaesthesia (desflurane) on onsynaptic neuronal connectivity show that inhibitory connections change gradually whereas excitatory connections change abruptly - in unconscious sedated light and awake anaesthetic states. Summary: 40Hz gamma does no correlate with LOC, more than 70Hz gamma power and regional covariation appear to correlate with LOC - but more study is needed to confirm results. In response to Qs it is interesting that the brain does not entirely "go to sleep" but remains active and reactive during anaesthesia but it does not integrate its activities into the coherence required for consciousness be established.
   Stuart Hameroff: sequence of moments of awareness that occurs through physiological processes involving quantum phenomena. Anaesthesia: activity continuous and we monitor it, if you just close your eyes and think about the past - sense of scent and smell does not go to the thalamus, it is not good to relate it to arousal. Internally generated states - mind-wandering planning thinking remembering. History of anaesthesia reaches back to ancient times, along came laughing gases. Claude Bernard made the first study in 1846 with chloroform, in 1903 Meyer-Overton found a correlation between anaesthetic potency with solubility in lipid over wide ranges of molecular structures and concentration. The solvent the human body consists of goes along the polarity dimensions - consciousness is at the nonpolar region. Anaesthesia is immobility and amnesia. MAC is ED50 for anaesthetic gases: MAC awake at 0.2 goes up along higher concentrations - consciousness is not in one place of the brain - it moves around - you loss it aound 0.2-0.5. At 0.5 they respond but are not aware, or they are zoombies being awake but no response. Anaesthesia is oils with van der Waals forces that make them form dipolar compounds. They couple and oscillate together with London forces. There are hydrophobic pockets formed. Oscillating dipoles and protein conformational swwitching. Dopamine is the pleasure molecule and DMT is suggested by Rick Strassman as the "spirit molecule".
   The question is: Which proteins and Where in the brain? Anriban quantum interference in microtubules. Dimers switch hence and forth between two states - this was seen as similar to computation. Consciousness would be a sequence of awareness: Diosi-Penrose OR: Eg=h/t. For t= Libet's 500msec and Eg= 10/9) tubulins in superposition. Critiques against the Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR model of microtubuli related consciousness. Switching states of dipolar changes - we do not need the oonformaitonal changes. topological qubits can be a particular pathway rather than states of specific units within the pathway - robust to coherence - a superposition collapsing in one. The theory allows us to make statements on when consciousness emerged during evolution: it would have arisen during the Cambrian evolution. Anaesthetic gases bind in tubulin hydrophobic quantum channels, selectively erase consciousness and prevent memory (entangled with ither proteins). Hdrophobic quantum channels in tubulin align and create macroscopic quantum channels in the microtubule geometry for topological quantum computing. Q: ultrasound - can there be sideeffects? SH: yes you can give too much energy to the microtubules. Q: what to do to keep the mt fit? Lifestyle recommended? SH: meditate and exercise every day. Q: autopilot in sleepwalking? NF: What is the definitive experiment to disprove the idea of the mt role in consciousness? SH: gamma receptor and all receptors have a problem; if showing consciousness without mt would be a definitive refutation of the theory. It is in the hydrophobic wall of the mt not on the surface. AH: if everything were synchronized it would be no information - about the gamma synchrony. SH: a sequence of four conscious moments - the gamma synchrony is just a marker: the higher the frequency the more intense the experience - a "quantum consciousness". Q: the cellular automaton hypothesis - is there evidence for it? SH: there are activities and a lot of circumstantial evidence that the neuron stores a lot a information. Q: like the nanoscopic range is included - dipole water molecules? SH: there are three levels of them - mega, kilo and...there is no free water in the cells. Q: microtubules in all cells? SH: yes, but neurons are special, you can only have the densities in neurons - only in certain tissues - but it could happen in any cell - only the brain is likely to happen in a reasonable timefram. Q: Calciumcalmodulin - is it a switch on and off of memory? SH: Ca comes in and LTP memory is formed.

2011
-05-06 Germund Hesslow. Lund, poses the question How can rich inner experience have physical causes? He presents The Simulation Hypothesis: behavioral simulation - early stages of an action can occur without causing overt movment, percepual simulation  - Alexander Bain. Hierarchical organisation of action nicely fits to the signal flow thtough brain - the signal travels more back in the brain more concrete. You can simulate behavior. Evidence for covert behavior - Shephard's rotation test - rotate figures mentally to see if they are identical. Imaging evidence for covert behaviour - you see activity in same areas when imagining an action. Motor imagery does involce the same regions. Simulation of perception - sensory reactivation: Bain, 1868: when we recall an experience we activate the same parts of the brain in a similar way. Damage perception and phantom pain - seem very similar to the subject. To understand this intuitively we do not have to "invent" the missing arm. Imagination and recall goes from the cortex prefrontally and towards the dorsal brain, then return to the front again: impulses reach the target and give rise to very similar behaviours. Physically elicited impulses - compare: the same is true for an internally generated impuls. Evidence for perceptual simulation are lesion studies and imaging studies, electrophysicology and behavioural experiments. MRI imaging studies during external versus imagined stimulus (Le Bihan et al PNAS) give evidence for the parallel.
   You can generate perception by imagining from inside the brain. Autonomic, emotional responses and motor learning - imagined stumuli - can be as effective as real. Anticipation - action-sensation associations: Bain 1868: 427 - the succession designated as cause and effect, are fixed in the mind as Contiguity. Consequences predictable - anticipation of consequence: S1 - s1 - r1 - R1 behavioral chain. Each step of imagined actions will generate a simulattion internally - the interaction with the environment can be performed by internal simulation, rCBF during Tower of London task - you see the same regions activated. Conscious goals, cognitive maps, recall of declarative memories and working memory can be plausible accounts of many cognitive processes. Declarative memory stored in sensory cortex and disrupted by lesions, activated during recall - requires prefrontal cortex. The working memory - stored information - explained by extension in time. The role of motor structures in cognition - thinking is covert movement and abstract actions need same auxiliary systems. Even simulated action will involve all the structures in the brain. Points in the Simulation hypothesis: ontological parimony - no representations images, does not requre external agent, no evolutionary leaps - same structures underlying inner world as are used for percpeiton and movement, explains relationship between cognitive and motor function. This can be implemented in robots - Ziemke, Jirenhed & Hesslow, 2005, Neurocomputing: robot able of prediction guided movement. Q: other aspects of consciousness - the more complex - such as emotions - there is no actions. GH: behaviour illicit emotion, and simulated motion can also illicit emotion, long term plans - with training we do not need to go through all steps (facilitating) - learned imagined behaviour also happens in the frontal lobe. Some emotons trigger behaviour. SH: most of what the brain does in unconscious and consciousness is just the top of the iceberg - how do they relate? GH: as soon as we start reflecting on what we are doing we simulate perception triggering new behaviours...etc. This could be a critical part of behaviour namely selfconsciousness. A simulated perception is available for many different actions.
   Henrik Ehrsson, KI: consciousness is the same as mind - "How we come to experience that we own our body": why are our consciousness inside our bodies? Body ownership - which is my hand (showing a picture of two hands). Asomatognosia and somtoparaphrenia are known conditions - Baier Kamath 2008 Stroke, Arzy et al. Is body ownership a multisensory problem? The problem of recognazing your own body? Key principles of multisensory integration: temporal congruency, sparial congruency and principle of inverse effectiveness - Holmes and Spence 2005 Current Biology, Stein and Standord 2008 Nat Rev Neuroscience. Problem: multisensory assignment - seen and felt hand - it belongs to me or to another person. Multisensory neurons and peri-personal space. Premotor and intraparietal cortices performs multisensory integration: a test person is looking at a rubber hand and does not see his own hand - Botvinick and Cohen 1998 Nature 391: rubber hand illusion produces by multisensory integration. Measures of the illusion include questionnaire, experiment, emotional responses, etc. Activity in multisensory areas reflects feeling of ownership. Interim conclusion - multisensory integration in premotor cortex - how strong is the illusion - increased threat-evoked response when owning the hand. Full-body illlusion and out-of-body illusions - Blanke and Mohr. Disembodiment being located outside yourself. Givvson 1872 and Ernst Mach 1885. We induce an out-of-body illusion. Experimental evidence include skin conductance response SCR, threatening the real body during the out-of-body illusion - you are less afraid of pain to your real body when you are out-of-body. You can shake hand with yourself. Does this have implication on how we perceove the real world? - Merleau-Ponty Phenomenology 1945, Poincaré 1897. Can we induce ownership illusions of different sized bodies? Barbie-doll, tiny body and gigantic body iluusions. Size of body determines perceived size of world. Application in health and industry - prosthetic limbs, humanoid robotic hand prostheses - create ownership in an artificial hand - SMART hand EU project in Lund. Upper lims amputees can get a sense of ownership, and ownership can be projected to virtual bodies. Brain Body and Self laboratory. Q: other sensory modalities than touch and proprioceptive sensations relevant to the research? JE: auditory localisation would be relevant.
   Fredrik Ullén, KI: consciousness defined associated with awareness by physical processes. The Psychological Flow Experience: neural mechanisms of musical expertise - longterm training to expert. What happens when you train - skill learning etc. Phenomenology of flow: the state - how measured, correlates of flow, physiology of the flow state, proneness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - high concentration loss of selfawareness during active performance - feels enjoyment. The flow state - challenge in tast and skill balance, automaticity, clear goals, feedback, concentration control altered time perception. Challenge of the tast max i anxiety and low is apathy, skill high give flow but boredom if challenge too low. Measure insturments questionnaire, flow state test. Correlates of flow: positively correlated with performance, quality of performance objectively measured - Tetris, Keller and Bless Moller, Pacman etc. Flow is important motivator to further training in sports and arts - extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Flow proneness - internet data collection and Swedish Twin Registry, creativa achievement in 7 domains in music visual arts literature dance theater science and invention - scale from 1 to 7. Flow proneness is associated with creative achievement. Within professional achievement - but also related to wellbeing selfesteen life satisfaction coping strategies enjoyment. Neuropsychology of flow: 21 professional concert pianists playing a selfselected piece 5 times - flow state questionnaire post performance, heart rate, respiratory rate, head movement. Higher activity in "smile muscle" - m zygomaticus. Respiration deeper in flow, higher heart rate, positive affect. Correlation with Big five personality traits and intelligence - negative association with neuroticism - affective components, positive association with intelligence - attention. Sustained attention associated with flow proneness. Negative correlation between flow proneness and neuroticism, positive with conscientiousness (sense of duty and selfdiscipline). No or very weak relation with IQ. Flow as a state of effortless attention: flow has deep respiration whereas mental effort has respiration shallow and fast: Effortless attention. Relation to dopamine system?: impulsivity negatively related to consciountiousness but positively related to neuroticism, dopamine involved in impulsitiy, Lee et al 2009. PET scan for dopamie D2 densities. Flow proneness positively related to striatal D2 density. Flow is the state of optimal experience during performance of challengin tasks, belonging in personality domain, representing a state of effortless action. Q: can you cultivate this? SH: time alteration involved - EEG or MRI - attention switches? The individual does what they love to do? Inducing the state in tasks? FU: it requires clear feedback clear goals and these components. KK: terminology of flow? relate to Sokrates Platon Mozart and Einstein? Maslow peak experience is overlapping, not conflate the term. Q: jazz musicians who improvise?   

Sir Roger Penrose, Oxford, Consciousness and Physical Law: Consciousness is something very fundamental in the universe which has to do with the interface between quantum and classical physics. First part: The reasons for consciousness is not possible to explain only by computation and physics, second part: universe. Science and the Mind: arguments from mathetical logic to show that the procuct of conscious understanding cannot be simulated by computation. The laws of physcis as we presently understand them seem to be computations. The weak link in our present understanding is the quantum measurement paradox. Need a new physical world view? How can such physical subtleties beyond present day QT be relevant ot conscious brain action? Gödel-Turing theorem: Given any computationaly checkable proof procedure P, one can construct a well-defined mathematical statement G(P) which can be seen to be TRUE on the basis of the same belief-system that provides our trust in P to establish only true results. Yet, we see that G(P) cannot be established using the rules of P. (We have a computational procedure that never terminates. A proof procedure - Gödel shows how to construct using P as a proof procedure. No point in using a proof procedure unless you trust it - why you believe this proof is true. Understanding transcends rule-following! Understanding, genuine, requires consciousness - the gist of it. Following rules is quite different from understanding: an extraordinarily powerful argument. You have to have an understanding of what is beneath of the "P". Otherwise it is completely outside of experience. Where do we draw the line? Non-computational: (1) mathematical understanding is not computational, (2) human understaing generally - no, (3) human consciousness? (4) animal consciousness? - much similar. What about Life? Personally, RP would consider that the key issue is consciousness and that conscious brain action must depend on a physical process that is beyond computation! What kind of physics might be beyond computation? Is physics computational - classical particle physics? classical field physics? quantum physics? beyond quantum physics? Turing went into this, there are subtleties here. Schrödinger and Maxwell equations complicated - many more dimensions come into it - computers more effective, but quantum computers are still computational. In terms of complexity the potential for what you can do is much larger in quantum mechanics.
   Both Einstein and Schrödinger thought QM is an incomplete theory, even Dirac agreed. Quantum Theory: a particle aspect, a single photon sends a beam against a mirror, half of it goes one way half of it goes the other way ("exclusive"), in fact what happens. At the same time, a wave, one way is cancelled out, all go the same way. The 2 alternatives coexist: w x alternative A + z x alternative B where w and z are complex numbers C. Such complex superpositions are preserved at the Quantum Level (U). Magnfied to the Classical Level. Then |w|2 and ¢z¢2 becine relative Probabilities for A and for B, respectively, to Happen! (R) The picture shows A as an imginary axis against a real axis. Schrödinger's cat: a single photon kills the cat, or not, a prediction from his own equation. But S was a humane person. Add the environment, all molecules running around. Molecules in space slightly displaced in superposition. The cat if still alive has a consciousness? An observer coming along and perceived the cat. The cat seems to be alive. We do not perceive two things contrarian facts at the same time. Is it the consciousness that determines what we see, not the cat (reality). A beam-splitter (half-silvered mirror) divides the stream of photons: Gravitational theory tells us that the superposition is unstable, reducing to one location or the other in a time scale - h/Eg where Eg = gravitational self-energy of difference between the two mass distributions (= energy of displacement of one in gravitational field of the other). This is called Objective Reduction. Ther claim is that there is a limit on how long the superposition can prevail. Eg is really a measure of the incertainty and then you apply the Heisinberg principle on incertainty of time and space at an instance of observation. At what stage does a superposition of the two lump positions become either one lump position or the other? Suggestion: consider the energy Eg (for rigid displacement, grav. self-energy of difference between mass distribution) it would take to discplace one instance of the lump away from the gravitational field of the other: State collapses (decays) to one ot the other in time T - h/Eg. A spacetime distorts the lump. Time lengths: Planck chromon 10(-40) sec - is spacetime build of tiny granules? The h/Eg where h is the Planck's constant: from Planck scale it differentiates into difference geometry - it is an Objective Reduction? Here something non-computational can come in here if at all at any place in physics. Might be about the ingredient of the original experience, but it needs to be orchestrated for consciousness to take place; the proto-consciousness and real consciousness a bit vague. The timescales goes all the way to 10(20) sec - age of universe and the radius visible of universe (in length dimension). A cartoon of the universe starts with the Big Bang and develops in three dimensions expanding up (it looks like a trumpet) folding and opening up: 3 different geometries you can have - the Euclidian, hyperbolic case - infinite - or a conform representation (which can represent infinity) - "devils" getting smaller at the margin rim The spectrum of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) - (plotted intensity against v (GHz) the errors - error bars exaggerated by a factor of 500) - mass and radiation, the most accurate representation of a Planck curve: The solid curve displays the Planck black body spectrum of thermal equilibrium. 2nd Law of thermodynamics - entropy increased with time = "disorder" (roughly speaking) - gas in a box: time increases and entropy increases. Why have cosmologists not considered that? Gravitating bodies. The black holes are there: collapse to a Black Hole: singularity and Event Horizon along the observer. Spatial picture and spacetime picture: Massive particles and special relativity versus Minkowski space - massive particle and general relativity: photons (history) beams streaming through. Not just that we have singularities one in the end and one in the start, but the entropies and energies are different: the energies in black holes are horrendiously great, 4 million times the mass of the sun, or so. Largest black holes are 10 times solar mass. Stephen Hawking suggested the black holes are not absolutely black; the bigger ones are colder, come from collapses stars. Hawling radiation is an evaporation of a black hole ("pop") - the fate of our universe after 10(100) years - a google years. Boring end. Emotional argument - nothing wrong with that. Not good enough for the the universe: who is going to be around - photons - they are not likely to be bored. It combines two formulas, Planck E=hv and Einstein E=mc2 - a particle of rest-mass m and photons with frequency v, conformal structure cone itself. All the other forces of nature except gravity only need the conformity. We can represent infinity by letting the universe tube compress in the end part and expand in the start part beyond the boundary to become a cylinder: the universe imagined as infinity.
   The Big Bang was very special because some of the energies were not activated at the beginning. The ambient temperature drops in universe - before that particles were mass-less: finite non-singular big bang: we have a succession of eons: "eon" a vague term used for the entire history of universe. You have to get rid of the mass particles, the Hicks comes in. A crasy scheme that works better than the uncrasy. Is it true? What would be the most energetic process - the collision of black holes: Andromeda has its own black holes. They may swallow each other up and just disappear, with a tremendous radiation. Observational consequences concerning temperature / density variations in cossmic microwave Background. Think of ripples on a pond, caused by raindrops which have recently stopped falling: infinity of previous aeon - Big Bang aeon - us now. Pattern of ripples looks random at first, but can be analysed into circles by statistical analysis. Crossover 3-surface, black hole encounters, supermassive black holes - anomalous temperature, low variance concentric rings (V Gurzadyan): a black hole emitting  bursts: last week RP suggested there are far fewer circles, the random clumping does not give you the picture. Moreover, according to the prediction of the theory, some circles are colder others hot, some closer others more distand: exponential expansion of aeon universe (replacing an inflation model). Q: the physical laws - accidental - constance of nature preserved? Neutron slightly heavier than the proton. There might be a form of life quite different than ours - a neutron star has a completely physics, dense materials: we could have direct evidence of aeons, they propagate themselves...if the previous stages were like ours we could describe it. Q: the photon divides into two worlds, are they interacting? Should not be thought of as interacting, what we see is that they don't. Q: what are the implications for consciousness? There would be certain reuirements of quantum coherence in the brain for this process to take place: the environment is the biggest mass displacement but because it is random you do not see it. We have to have structures in our brain for this processes to take place: coherence supported up to the level where OR takes place. Q: "our understanding of QT is complete" - why? Entities exist which have the potential to emerge and exist but they are empty in the empirical world. It deals with a non-empirical, one thing is typical for consciousness is that we can reach into the empirical as well as the non-empirical world; what we need is another kind of science for the non-empirical world? RP: that is a pessimistic view of science I do not share. 

Jack Tuszanski, Edmonton, talks about microtubules: he thinks consciousness should be defined from "What is life"; he is a collaborator to Hameroff. The Human Brain is the world's fastest supercomputer handling 10(11) neurons and 10(15) synapses - CPUs have 10(8) transistors, 10/16) synapse operations per second - Blue Gene performs at 10/14) FLOPS, total energy consunption is 26 watts, much less than computers, Microtubule (MT or mt) - its biological function rely on part of the cytoskeleton required for motosis and intracellular transport by motor proteins and cell motility by cilia and flagella, in nerve cells axonal. MT in dendrites oriented in self-assemble to extend dendrites, they form synaptic connections and are linked to ion-channels and synaptic receptiors - organized in parallel structures interconnected by MAP-2; appearing mixed. The Challenge is integration of various levels in a hierarchy - building a bridge between the molecular level - cytoskeleton - and the membrane level - synaptic activity (AP). The MT structure at the atomistic level is self assembles to form a tubular structure composed of tubulin heterodimers (Mandelkow et al JDB 1991, Bruce et al Moolecular Biol of the Cell 2002): 4nm large building block. Tubulin structuryl motifs interact with motor proteins and travel on filaments - fundamentally roadways with traffic going both ways transporting in and out. Without dhemical energy input MT cannot work. This is also the blueprint for the design of new drugs against Alzheimers and other neurodiseases - as well as cancer drugs. Gamma tubulin dipole stabilizes tubulin ring. It is all beautifully symmetric and a structural complexity present composed of alpha monomers wrapped and closed up. There is a clear charge distribution on a mt which is symmetrical - negative on the outside. There are 4 states per dimer among conformational states of C-termini: upup, updown, downup and downdown. They are dancing, C-terminal tails having their dynamics: you can amplify mt currents (Priel et yl). Models of jin propagation have been designed. Question is on signal processing and memory. Tubulin is a memory chip, perhaps quantum but basically classical. Electron hopping 4 per dimer and confirmational chages - GTP states 2 per dimer makes 32 total states per dimer. What is the capacity of the human memory? Con Neumann 1950 said 10/20) bits or about 1 exabyte. Historic perspective: 1 Human = 10(19) bytes. Calmodulin kinase comples CaMJII as memory read or write device that phosphorylates - it looks like a "Nanopoodle" (Hameroff) - leaving a trail of messages. All mt states gives 10(19) states for short term memory. Dynamics of MAP-M1 network for long term memory - parallel computer architectre - taupathy in Alzheimer's disease - key lesson is that mt is the ultimate sacrifice and when they lose connections they fall off. Q: learning in nurture and nature must be stored somewhere - mt accounts for this - all roads lead to mt. We look for clinical evidence of taxol effect - e.g. in chemotherapy, taxol is stabilizes the dynmics but is neurotoxic in high doses. Noskarpin stabilizes mt and could be useful. You can leave an imprint of mt by repeated imput.
   Rudolph E Tanzi, Harvard and MGH, on Alzheimer's Disease (AD) - the Amyloid Trap Hypothesis. AD slowly erodes consciousness and what is the mechanism for that? An overview of AD with some optimistic views on drug development. AD is the most common demintia in elderly: a catastrophic loss of cogntion, memory, larning and reasoning. Sensory input - perforant pathway from enthorinal cortex to hippocampus is vereed: loss of working memory short term memory, executive fundtion planning parallel processng, inability to learn impari LTP gradual loss of episodic memory LTM. Gradual loss of self. Risk factors: age over 40% over 85, family history inheritance involved in 80%. Currently no therapeutics to stop progress, only moderately modify. Good is physical exercise, diet low fat heart healthy, social engagement and intellectual stimulation, novelty - learn new things, prevent brain injury, prevent lowgrade brain infection. Neuropathology include senile plaques B-amyloid, congophyllic amyloid angiopathy, neurofibrillary taangles (Tau) neuronal cell loss synapse los inflammation brain atrophy. B-Amyloid deposits as senile plaques and oligomers - the main component is the 4kD peptide Ab. "APP" is the gene - PSEN1 and PSEN2, APP makes the cut, APOE divides into abnormal or normal: too much abnormal accumulates - the Zn/Cu - the brain does not get rid of it. Turn down the Beta production or tide it up? AD genetics studies implicate banormal Ab metabolism: Onset - Gene - Pathogenic variant and Biochemical phenotype for early onset less than 60 years and late onset over 60 years of age. We know a lot of genes involved in AD - cholesterol, Ab metybolism, innate immunity etc. Normal roles of Ab in the brain? Effects on neurotransmission - negative feedback on LTP - inducer of LTD (Kamenetz et al Neuron 2003). Ab released into synapse along with zinc during glutamatic excitation as negative feedback on LTP. Treating and Preventing AD: develop zinc ionophores - the metal hypothesis of AD - sequestration of zinc (and copper). Look at TEDMED: Penrose-Hameroff model of consciousness Orch OR: cconsciousness occurs at the level of microtubules. Our model is the trap hypotheiss of AD: Amyloid traps Zinc, Tau falls off the MT and destabilizes fibrillary tangles. It is Zinc Dyshomeostasis in AD, according to mouse models. There are effects of zinc binding on the mt electric charge profile. Low zinc increases the polarization. PBT2 is a zinc ionophores binding to zinc strongly (10(-13) instead of Ab-Zn 10(-9) - blocking oligomerization and take back metals from Ab, inhibit formation of Ab oligomers, restored cognition and reduces soluble Ab42 and phospho-tau:  raised syptophysin levels suggest neuronal remodelling. Clinical trial gave signitive improvement: see "Safety, efficacy and biomarker findings of PBT2 in targeting Ab as a modifying therapy for AD..." in Lancet Neurol 2008. Summary: drugn need to liberate and redistribute zinc trapped in Ab deposits. Q: Acetylcholinesterase treatment? It ameliorates symptoms but does not treat the progress of the the disease. Q: side effects? Q: infections causative in AD? Q: can this new drug be used for other cognitive enhancements. We turn old rats into young ones with the drug.   
   Anirban Bandyopadhyay, an experimental physicist seeing the brain as a machine interacting with the universe: Microtubules have remarkable properties, including direct evidence: the mt is a nanoelectromechanical oscillator with temperature independent conductivity, ideal ferroelectric feature and quantum transport model. Evolution and condensates - evolution compatibility - a timeline of life evolution, oldest evidence of life geological, nucleousd in eukaryotes 2 billion years ago. BE condensate (Boose-Einstein) and FC: a generic FC condensate (fermion) with seven classes of materials that nature used to create complexity of mt among living species - an easy tool to increase functionality. Evidences for synchrony + collapse from physics. The timescale is extremely slow. We want to understand what is the exact role of the electromagnetic pumping. GDP is essential for the stimulation of the mt. Nanotechnology is very popular in the world - but size does not matter for function here - increased length does not change its function: all behaves identical - why should nature bother to create mt with different lengths. Only one property changes - the resonances, 8 frequnecies give resonances. This is direct evidence for a fermion condensate FC. Tubulin in a soap is assembling to mt by ultrasound or other energy creating a condensate. How does this help evolution? It grown functionality without bothering about size. There is a funcamental relationship between coherence time and temperature. Mt is an information processing device, ideal ferroelectric, learned how to survive heat, stores quantum state.See AOARD Inamori foundation JSPS and Center for Consciousness Studies, Dr Dasuke Fujita et al. Q: how correlate the EM radiation with the geometric dimension?. Q: the BE condensate was proved from a gas - you play with water and anions? Resonance and synchrony - initially diverted from the BE concept. Q: potassium?.  


2011-05-05 Gustav Bernroider / Johann Summhammer, Vienna, stresses the brain's relation to the phenomenology of subjective experience and the relation to the reality. Subjective experience is real world, it is the basic reality: I am a subject experiencing the world, this is real. In a bird's eye the magnetic gradient is visible. We have all sorts of subjective worlds. As other persons are attending - Grandma's real experience - she is sending out a copy of her experience. Sensory illusions - subjective experience is real, splitting - copy sent to another person, inversion as consensus emerges among the community. We are developing from the copy of others' experiences, from subjective experiences in transitions, from physics to states. Transitions are inferential in classical physics. The subject recreates thet self by combining the segregations in our brain without losing identity. Scale-invariant transitions from a huge range of magnitudes are needed to understand the brain. The decisive transitions - consciousness requires presence. The anatomy of segregated brain states: there are segregations of sensory areas. Animals with complex bahviours have large forebrains, many cells and a large segregation volume.

Giuseppe Vitiello on DNA - On the Wave of Coherence - is building on quantum field theory. Coherence is the response of the system to weak external influence - phase locking. H-bonds are instable, a coherence state of the system - a new non-trivial minimum energy state. The molecules enclosed within an extended region, the CD, oscillate between individual molecule ground state and an excited state, in unison with the EM field trapped within the CD. Coherent oscillation occurs just below the ionization threshold (12.06 eV): energy is stored, a sort of condenser, a guided polymerization. DNA and proteins are polyelectrolytes surrounded by cloud of possitive counter-ions.

...The Human Genome and the Cultural Heritage are the two bagages of human life. The culture, including science (exponentially rising during the last 3 centuries), is comparatively new, 10000 years. Everything is in the DNA, so Luc Montagnier, talking on DNA, Waves and Water. There are measurable resonances in dilutions, Ultra Low Frequency signals produced in water by nanostructures (naneons); EMS are resistant to DNase and detergent but sensitive for heat (over 70C). Conditions for EMS induction include filtration, high dilutions in water, mechanical agitation and excitation. The EMS come from a special organization of water. DNA is strongly associated with sater molecules - B Form, individual water molecules can form large aggregates by H2 bonds, but they are very short-lived. Do the structures induced by EMS in water carry the genetic information of DNA? Nanostructures can retain DNA-information and pathogenic code can be detected in plasma from such diseases as Alzheimer, RA, etc. Alzheimer and other neurodegenerative diseases treated with antioxidants, etc. HIV treatment (ARV) - reservoir of DNA. HIV treatment tomorrow - ARVs and X - reduces DNA. ARV and herbal extract.   

Dick Bierman, Amsterdam, talks on Presentiment: A number of studies are present. The Criticism on Statisticals shows that using Bayesian stats the null hypothesis is still to be preferred (Wagenmakers et al, 2011). Over-analyses are not corrected for. Combination of experimental results is not allowed. Theoretical - temporal causality violation is not allowed? Is there something in physics that prevents reverse causation? CIRTS - Consciousness Induced Restoration of Time symmetry: symmetries in physics, in EM theory: retarded and advanced solution and initial & boundary conditions: "ccnscious information processing as boundary condition restores time symmetry". Why don't we see it? Feynman and others (Wheeler) say you do not see it because boundary solution is the reason that we have not seen it. A multipartical extremely coherent physical system - consciousness - everything works together. Advanced solutions and advanced symmetry is destroyed: when you introduce consciosness time symmetry is restored. The amount of coherence in the brain that gives you the amound of time symmetry restoration: meditators have extremely coherent brain activity. Procedure retractive facilitation of recognition: (1) Attention task using words such as "Carpenter", and a filler test, third a recognition test: "Did you see this word before?" (Carpenter). Finally give them a training, manipulation by exercise: learn these words by heart: Carpenter, Hammer Trousers. Random subsample of words. Retro-recognition results: no difference between not enhanced and retro-enhanced. In a Necker Cube study retroactive interference can be studied. The Necker Cube experiemt - we found a retrospect effect. If you have a retrocognitive dream. Retrocausality is physically not impossible (in fact it is already there) - see also Helmut Schmidt in Foundations of Physics. Empirical evidence needs independent replication but replication runs against the Synchronicity Protection. Bial Foundation, Amsterdam & Groningen universities. Q: we could use this to get rich if backward causation (roulette) - signals cannot travel back in time but information can be accessible. In psychokinesis study the signals are too weak to use for this purpose. A psychid participated in my Montecarlo simulation - we made money. We compared meditators with controls in fMRI - meditators had larger presentiment. An meditation they had no presemtiment on violence but on erotic picture. Intuition in business men's gut feeling - presentiment might be a part of decision which are building on large experience.
   Moran Cerf, UCLA: How many people are there inside your brain? Several people inside yourself competing for your voice? (Itzhak Fried and Christof Koch). Two patients, A and B - a tale of two people reporting pain during coloscopy. How bad was it on a scale from 1 to 10. You remember the end - the peak - and the extreme moments, which are encoded in memory.
 
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2011
-05-04 We will review the Tucson conference on Consciousness this week in Stockholm: What is the epistemic status of contemporary research on consciousness - and what possible applications can be spotted on the horizon? Can we affect the brain by transcranial therapy? Is this a great promise, a dangerous manipulation or something else? This intriguiging question starts the day at the Consciousness conference, Stockholm university. Allan Snyder talked about Accessing Information Normally Beyond Consciousness. It was suggested that such therapies, or modes of influencing the brain's function, can be achieved by switching off certain activities of the brain, can we selectivelx inhibit some functions for whatever purpose that may be motivated. There are some patients who display faculties beyond the usual: an autist who has privileged access to "all" perceived information (ability to draw a detailed map after one glance). People with superfunction of left hemisphere may have an overfunction in the right half of their brain. The anterior temporal lobe can be artificially stimulated which will lead to decreasing cortical activity; one effect is reduced prejudice. There are examples of older people who get dementia and who suddenly burst into creative activity. At Sydney university volonters are involved in experiments to disclose the brain function at work in these phenomena. TECS is Transcranial Electrical Stimulation: the disturbance is a underfunction of left hemisphere and a compensating right hemisphere. At group with cathod stimulation were very similar to what was demonstrated by autistic people. We are blinded by our expertise. It is about escaping from the old prejudice, the previous way of looking at things. Performance of visual memory is measured. Direct current stimulation significantly influence short term memory - it is a top down inhibition. But it is not cognitive enhancement, e.g. accelerating mathematical skills. We inhibit parts of the brain which leads to a qualitative improvement of expectations - to turn off top-down filtering to release existing functionality. It is about avoiding being blinded av our expertise. More information at Centre for the Mind.
   QUESTIONS: Could we feed Frankensteins monsters? Is there really a creativity in it? The top-down of the right hemisphere is normally a mode a seeing holistically with a creative mind? AS: these cases are when you have a block to creativity; true we are creative minds, but it is about overcoming blindness (somewhat like Kuhn paradigm change). Q: Do you lose some skills? AS: yes we measure that, you become slower to name the whole categories. Autistic people can reproduce the impossible trangle and the Escher figures. The anterior temporal lobe in the left hemisphere is responsible for naming concepts and similar tasks - and a lot of research show this ability can be lost. AS: We have TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and TDS transcraniel direct stimulation. Q: in Alzheimer patients one has tried transcranial stimulation, but the positive effects on memory disappeared when the investigators' interaction were neutralized in larg-scale investigations.
   W Jamie Tyler on Mechanical Waves and Consciousness, Virginia, recalled the progress in the last century in knowledge of neural structure, function and excitability, showing a slide listing the Nobel Prizes that marked the steps of knowledge development in the field. The modern day power and weakness of electrical field stimulation, e.g. thalamic stimulation after trauma improves behavior. The impact of mechanical energy on neural function is known in pugilistic cases (boxing violence accidents) and in military combat traumas. Ingemar Lundström studied Mechanical Wave Propagation on Nerve Axons and thomas Heimburg is one of the leaders in the field at the Niels Bohr Institute. Mechanical swelling is also studied. Clustering of neurtransmitter vesicles at presynaptic synapses is affected by mechanical energy. Francis Crick asks "Do dendritic spines twitch?" The elusive quantum is about how many transmittor vesicles are at the postsynaptic site and whether mechanical impact can cause mechanical fusion of the vesicles. Are the nerves twitching? Can we use Ultrasound (US) to stimulate brain circuits? US does in fact modulate excitability of neural circuits, e.g. US-induced muscle contractions. The experimental approach is using US (LILFU) to transmit waves through brain tissue and showed US-evoked Na+ and Ca2+ transients in hippocampal slices (Tyler et al PLoS One 2008); so US triggers synaptic transmission in hippocampal slices. Transdcranial US triggers TTX-sensitive activity. You can also suppress activity. TPU can remotely stimulate hippocampal activity. Transcranial US evoke synchronous network oscillations (SWPs are necessary for memory consolidation). We modify cognitive performance using transcranial US on animals: we impaired consolidation of memory. We are masking the activities the animals would be using for its activity (swim in water). We studied ultrastructure and apoptosis, coordination behavior and BBB integrity to determine if it is safe? This is the field of Translational studies of Ultrasonic Neuromodulation, for example to make a mouse model of status epilepticus - and seizures can be induced. The plasticity of human motor cortex is also influenced shortterm in recent experiments. Future outlook include use in repairing brain dysfunction. Q: Can we learn something on normal brain function?
   Stuart Hameroff: consciousness is what goes away when I put my patients on anesthesia, secondly it is about experiences and feelings and all that, thirdly we have the level connecting to the physics of universe. This talk is about transcranial stimulation. Hameroff is performing Eric Wassermann's talk. Pokorny discovered 8MHz waves in microtubuli. Transcranial Ultrasound (TTUS) effects Chronic Pain and Mood. VAMS derived global affect (GA) / global vigor (GV) was improved in a double blind test: you get a statistically significant effect on mood with this transcranial ultrasound both 10 minutes and 40 minutes after stimulation. The idea was to stimulate the brain in general. We did not find any negative effects. TUS is going to be a new way of treatment for enhancing mood and other applications. Q: SH thinks it works via microtubules - we are finetuning normal function, not intended for mental disorders at the present stage, but stroke, traume, dementia, etc Psychiatric diseases are widely distributed in the brain. When we learn more about what areas do what we might be able to use UL in psychiatric treatment. Q: Another area is that US effects cancer cells - a kind of resonate effects. JT: it could the acoustic radiation effect or a secondary effect via a depolarisation. SH: behavior and consciousness are not the same things - you have to distinguish between them. Q: US is an acoustic wave, not electromagnetic. Q: if it is a resonance in the micrtubuli? SH: Pokorny can answer it. Q: there are depolarisation and elastic waves in microtubulus. Q: in religion they have used chanting - is every kind of sound effective?.
   The session on Neural Correlated of Consciousness is clearly key. Rafael Malach, Weizmann institute, refers to the hierarchical framwork of visual perception: V1 is low order and LOC is high order. What happens in the end of the hierarchy? Neurons there are sensitive to the entire gestalt that comes up in your mind - so they should stop working when you show them only elements without the whole picture; only the components do not activate these neurons at the top level. The sensitivity to entire picture or gestalts is a binding of objects elements implemanted through converging hierarchical connections. The problem: not enough neurons in the brain to represent all possible visual images - the combinatorial problem. All these rich representations require neurons. Something is wrong with the concept single neuron - single picture. The "Tomem pole" Neuron - each neuron tuned to many different images - a grandmother neuron. The neuron has many templates to which it is tuned. problem: isolated totem pole responses are ambiguous. The solution of the ambiguity resolution: Partial overlap of face exemplars / coherent bursts of activity - a critical phenomenon. If you line up pictures in front of the neuron there is a difference in its sensitivity. Joint activity in the totem pole neurons. The question is: how are these neurons coactivated - how does the brain gets informed about the group coherence? A mechanism will tie and tell the brain that these neurons should act together. It is a high order "read-out" area - but this does not solve the combinatorial explosion problem. If it is not the single neuron it must be a group of neuron - we must look elsewhere in the brain for a specific mechanism that tells the brain: a fundamental property of cortical archcitecture is that neighboring neurons like to talk to each other - there is dense local neighborhood relationships. There is a dense reciprocal network among neighboring neurons. But how does the brain get informed about the joint activity? The neurons are not acting alone. It is a reciprocal reading-out, the neuron is receiving relevant information. Local ignitions emerge naturally in simple networks - there is spontaneous activity in neuronal tissue culture (M Segal, WIS):  mutual activation is a very basic mechanism in the neuronal dynamics. Mutual readout requires high firing rates and takes time - can be optimally implemented by positive feedback loop dynamics (axonal connections are mainly excitatory, i.e. basically a positive feedback circuit) Signatures of positive feedback dynamics can be traced in the human brain: "all or none" at threshold, and, persostent activity - outlasting the inputs. Ignition occurs when you cross the treshold. The network will continue firing withoug the initial input. The cortical dynamics was studied during visual perception - the method is called backward masking.
   Another method is single neuron recording in patients (T Fried et al) for clinical diagnosis (epileptics). Human single nerve cell responses at the threshold of perception can be mapped. "Ignitions" are linked to crossing the conscious perception border - identical visual stimuli recognized or not recognized. Ignitions of population activity (LFP) are not inherited from early visual areas. A movie shows the the neural activation pattern and the patients verbal identification of the picture ("face"). Can ignitions occur in the complete absence of a visual stimulus? The experimental paradigm: patient sits in front of TV-monitor watching a video clip and the video is turned off - patient is asked what he or she remembers - and the neural firing recorded. Blind screen - can the same neurons fire - recall: they can ignite of themselves (at "Oprah"). We have a very widespread global spread activity - the entire brain is informed about a visual event. The critical point: entire brain is informed when we have a cognitive activity. But ignitions happen at localized "hot-spots" where very few neurons fire. The emergence of a conscious visual percept is a high local ignition in content selective group of neurons. The visual system and the memory are not two separate system - they are part of the same system. Only the neurons that are matching the representation are a coherent group. Q: facial recognition programs - are there connections? RM: Can we record every neuron of a human consciousness? If there is a principle common to all human beings it would be possible to see what a person is thinking or imaging, but it is not yet practical. Q: the neuron began to fire shortly before the stimulus, explanation? RM: the patient was already imaging it. Or, there might be a subliminal consciousness that takes time to upload. RM: distinguish recognition and perception - we think that the two phenomena are associated to different localizations in the brain, at different hierarchical levels: I see the changes and it is "Obama" are two steps.
   Dieter Plenz, NIH, is interested in complex systems. Cortex organization is a folded structure connecting various areas. Grey matter volumes (cells) versus white matter volume (connections) can be compared across evolution. The design of cortex is about connectivity. Each site is connected to each other site. What kind of dynamics does that create? Cortical dynamics relate to neuronal synchrony, the single neuron concept is misleading, synapse unreliable and small current. Instead neuronal groups are the central functional entities - the activity can propagate and enable synchrony and balance, the two key signatures of brain function dynamics. LFP are synchronized local neuronal groups - spatiotemporal cluster of nLFPs, studied by extracellular microelectrondes. Neuronal avalanches in the awake macaque monkey - premotor cortex realtime ongoing nLFP activity from prefrontal and premotor cortices: you see the activities organizing. What is the order? Critera for patterns are needed. Causality is linked to events nearby in time. An unbiased neuronal group formation mechanism can be studied implanted electrodes, there are thresholds (SD) and spatiotemporal clusters: there is a power law in avalanche size: a linear log plot P(s) versus Size s (electrodes): large events happen much more often - because there is a tremendous connectivity between sites. There is no mean size if human height was distributed according to the power law. A look at avalanches in animal models shows a group distribution: acute slices, rat in vivo and wakar macaque monkey conpared, the latter has threshold invariance. Avalanches in human cortex: critical branching process results in power law with exponent -3/2 (Harris 1986: Theory of critical brancing processes) - See Neuronal avalanches as a critical branching by Beggs and Plenz. Neuronal avalanches: separation of time scales and active homeostasis. A system critically balanced - what will destroy the balance? The cascade formation can be stopped prematurely - the activity becomes epileptic: local and small becomes a global and large activity (a switch of regulation pattern): an earlier study shown inverted-U-profile of CA/NMDA mediated avalance regulation. Information theoretical aspects of avalanches are studied - particularly excitation / inhibition balance. A network has to find its optimal range not to be saturated too early, not too late. Other optimal criteria achieved by networks include maximal entropy patterns and maximal entropy synchrony. The Omori law is about organization of avalanches in time, peaks are clustered in time. Sequence are embedded in sequencdes which are again embedded in other sequences, etc. Avalanches are organized as fractals in space, time and intensity. The observing experimentalist has to pick a view to see the avalanche. Universal properties of relaxation systems include Gutenberg-Richter, Omori (likelihood of aftershocks) and productivity: neuronal avalaches follow these laws. The coherence potential (Tara Thiagarajan et al 2010 PLoS). Waveforms quite complex in monkeys are identical in different instances. Cortical dynamics - neuronal avalanches and coherence potential: patterns, intrinsic property: sizes scale invariant, propagation balanced, history aftershock, impact productivity and coherence potential binary.
   Under the theme Consciousness and Reality Menas Kafatos develops his view on Consciousness and the Universe - nonlocal, entangled, probabilistic and ... The underlying reality of universe defines existence, coherence and therefore also consciousness: give up trying to externally define the nature of consciousness and instead aim to understand its propoertiesm how it operates (Kafatos et al How Consciousness becomes the physical universe, J of Costmology 2011).First about Unity, starting with the end: Subject/Oject complementarity and processes linking them is central to consciousness (noetic science), to perennial philisphies (noetic sciences), to psychology (noetic sciences) and connected to quantum theory (QT). The physics of consciousness is the principles of QT: QT microcosm: cause and effect, complementarity, correspondence, sufficient reason, nonlocality, quantization, wave aspects including coherence superpostion and entaglement, role of observation and contextuality (Quantum zeno effect), primacy of process, vacuum and Planckian dimensions abundance in the nothingness (ZPE). Principles of Integrative Science first steps: cause and effect, elegance and simplicity, correspondence and scale invariance, indicvidual aspects, entanglement, complementatricym suffieicne reason, observation information and meaning, flow and rhythm, nonlocality, abundance in emptiness. The task is to finding the ocmmon in all: Unifying trends: the living life, Strucctures in the Universie: Universal Diagrams (UD) and bottom-up/Top-down approach (BUTD). Reveal deep underlying structures and interconnectedness over different multidimensional parameters. Up-Down approach: Universal Diagrams extending over 85-100 magnitudes. Boundaries are put there by our limitness of our knowledge. The UD diagrams illustrate the principle of complementarity, using it in an approach towards unification. QT and Gravity corresponds to Theoretical Biology: We go from phenomena (physical, biological) to Theory to Quantum-like Phenomena - nonlocality complementarity entaglement selforganization - then to Foundational Principles of Unification and Foundaitonal Mathematics...everything ultimately bases on mathematics. Towards an Integrative Science: generalized principles - complementarity - that spply at all levels. Progress in brain throey may arise from applications of these principles, e.g. in brain dynamics. We need both experimental and mathematical approaches to quantum-like phenomena in brain science. Brain science may be showing us the way to generalize QT. Revissiting Consciousness: we mean the fundamental "I-ness" - we cannot get the observer out of the context. It is outside space and time but operates within space-time. Human self-awareness is part of it. Levels of Qualia: Parama Shiva - the absolute undifferentiated consciousness all the way down to physics domain. Evolution and Involution towards increased Simplicity and finally undivided wholeness. From systems to objects increases complexity whereas from object to systems decreases it. Cosmology and Evolution. The human being will have to become the laboratory, the human experience and events are common, they have some common patterns, distribution probability, etc. Q: mathematics? MK: Einstein got qualitative ideas and translated them to quantitative terms. Q: "sutra" combines mind and body. MK: mathematics is great for dynamics, but we need a math that goes under the spacetime. Q: How can we connect with meaning, doubt that math will capture the essence of consciousness. MK: similarly there is an essence to music, to Mozart, that goes beneath the pythagoreans.
   Western science (WS) and Indian philosophy (IP) are two contrary perspectives, compared by Tarja Kallio-Tamminen: the concept of consciousness is connected to worldview, worldview being the ultimate context within which we try to conceptualize everythin we encounter, and it give the tools to understand consciousness, it cannot be formed without convsiousness. Should humans be seen as material biological beings whose brain produces mind and consciousness or as spiritual beings who are embedded in matter. Or can we get a better description...? Revolution at the beginning of the modern era was that science replaced religion. The particle mechanistic worldview was taken to be true based on solid mathetmatical theory and confirmed empirical observations - but it contained unwarranted metphysical presuppositions  such as atomism determinism reductionism and an objective external observer. The framwork was good enough to explain and solve countless problems, Yet disturbing anomalies and limitations were revealed in a clockwork reality: How are humans relted to nature? There was no solution to mind-body problem - dualism materialsm idealism functionalism, no place for consciousness freedom or responsibility; the split between the two cultures according to C P Snow - breakdown of communication between the sciences and humanities - such a severe dissociation would be damaging in an individual. The o"objective reality" is not immutable - the emergende of environmental problems, new tecnologies create new conditions for future generations. Humans do affect the course of evolution. Quantum physics collapsed the familiar worldview - the phenomena cannot be understood within the particle mechanistic context - wave-particle dualism entanglement statistical predictions measurement problem. The theory generated prolonged interpretation discussions - Copenhagen interpretation, many-worlld interpretation, statistical interpretation, Bohm's interpretation, Quantum logic, Decoherence, consistent histories. Who knows what is the basic stuff everything is made of? what relation between parts and snd whole? role and locus of humans? Obviously there is wholeness - inherent interconnectedness, indeterminism - irreversible development (history matters) Reality is not mechanical - there is room for the actions of human beings. Interpretation and Eastern ideas: parallels and similarities - founding fathers from Bohr Heisenberg and Schrödinger, Bohm and Krishnamurti, Fritjof Capry The Tao of Physics (1975): humans need mysticism (not so physics, and mystics do not need physics). Tendency to idealism - John Hagelin, Amit Goswami - unified fields the basis of mind and matter , everything is just vibrations on that field. The factual role of humans in the formation of reality has not been considered much - Indian philosophy provides realistic solutions. Plurality emerges from one immutable basis - consciousness and matter are intrinsic to the world The relation of mind matter and consciousness in Indian philosophy: Samkhya - dualism - purusha and prakriti - c is indeced to all structures, Vedanta - monism - Brahman and maya ultimately united - all things share the same consciousness - brahman = atman "tat tvam asi"; Tantra - elaborate anatomy of different energetic levels, subtle bodies whose functioning can be more or less cognized - evolution comes from instinctive responses to cosmic consciousness. These are potent frameworks to produce mental technologies - corresponding to the outer productivity of materialism. Yoga (Patanjali) philosophy and psychology is a primeval theory of human beings, cognitive structures, inner transformations and relations in to nature - it fits into the framworks of samkhya, vedanta and tantra - validity cannot be totally grasped without practice. There are 8 methods of purification to eliminate ignorance, cllarify the mind and realizs inner freedom: yama, niyma - moral principles, right way of living - nonviolence ruthfulness etc. What does this imply? humans conscicous beings can enquire into reality through external and internal methods - direct intuitive vision yet introspection is paramount to underanding the mental states nad realities - constitution of the mind, selves, agency, volition, etc. Both methods are needed to find out - the interrelations between mind and matter - mental causation? How much deliberate actions - therapy meditation can change the brain. The human potential to influence the formation of our future environment. Consciousness and its role in nature? Material and Conscious aspects, source of substance stability lawful repetition - source of knowledge change deliberation. Realm of life - generation of new species - generation of inner realities conceptions models theories and cultures. Why do all the models of consciousness fail? Models limited temporary representations - representation cannot grasp their creator. Ultimate reality is beyond common logic concepts and subject-object distinction. Q: the dualism of Western science - how does the eastern enlightenment reconcile with the cast slavery system? TH: no system is better than the other but everyone must understand the best of all. The human beings, you yourself are responsible for the organization of societies. Q: How science shall integrate experiential aspects? TH: the person who is doing science must be interested in mental issues - then it should be valued as such. Q: Ken Wilber has considered problems of reconciliation and an integral approach.
   We have a sense of intuition about what consciousness - Paavo Pylkkänen, Skövde and Helsinki, on Bohmian view of consciousness and reality: Much of contemporary philosophy is committed to physicalism: everything is physical or everything is in an appropriate way dependent upon the physical (dependence has a technical term - "supervenience"). Many philosophers find it difficult to reduce mental to physical and therefore defend nonreductive physicalism. Philosophers like Yblo, Lewis and Kim tried to develop mental causation - but failed. Alternative to look at science in more detail - modern physics require change of worldview which has not really taken place: The 5th Solvay conference 1927 - participators look very serious on photo. We are familiar with waves in water and can conceive of particles spreading through a membrane. Waves add up in some direcdtions and cancel in other directions - it is intuitively graspable.(called interference). What happens if you pass electrons through the 2-slits? Wave-particle duality - we cannot observe the individual electrons. The mystery is that the elctrons leave as particles arrive as particles one by one to the scree - and as a large number of them collectively build up an interference pattern Each prticle also has some waver property. This gave rise to several interpretations: Bohr meaningless to talk about the elctrons moving because we cannot observe them - wave and particle models are complementary. Von Neumann - the electron is a wave when it moves but collapses into a particle at the screen... but nobody has seen the wave nor the collapse. The "many worlds" - only the wave is real and the universe branches in each measurement. DeBroglie-Bohm - the electron is a particle accompanied with a "pilot wave" which guides it. Bohm: his interpretation postulates that the electron is a particle - this is why we see a spot on photo. The field guides the particle by quantum potential (for the slits). In the psychological domain information is a key to mental phenomena: how does information content act on matter? Could "meaning" be carried by physical vehicles? Bohm's approach: the information is carried by the quantum field (that has some exotic properties) guiding the electron. Information typically acts downward via a subtle medium. What did Bohm mean by "various levels of subtlety"? Bohm's solution - minds work on matter and the vehicle is subtle physical processes. This tackles Descartes. The Bib Picture: science seeks the general and necessary. Information is general and its action necessary. Can mind affect matter? Q: information is not knowledge. Our computers work with information but do not know what they do. But Quantum Mechanics works.

2011
-05-03 David McCormick's research at Yale - "Endogenous Electric Fields Guide Cortical Network Activity" - demonstrates that you can influence cortical electrical potential patterns by means of natural levels of influence from external electric activity (both frequency and amplitude are causative) to change and coordinate neural firing activity patterns. McComick's modesty is convincing - he is not claimin to prove anything about what potentials would be responsible for consciousness; the link between consciousness and electrical waves and patterns remains to be determined. In contrast, I question Susan Pockett's claim that the cortical electric waves, in connection with sensory modalities (hearing, seeing, touching) is identical to consciousness. Her research at Auckland places the electromagnetic fields and patterns at the core of the hard problem of consciousness. Although she shows what areas in cortex are correlated to conscious experience and relate these events to the cortical layers, she is too close to a conceptual category error: the correlation between consciousness and action potentials that arises in cortico-cortical activity is only a paralellism - until one category of concept is anchored in the other. Only external EM patterns with an exact shape will have an influence on consciousness (it is possible to obliterate LFPs without affecting underlying synaptic activity), according to Pockett. But is sensory awareness already 'consciousness'? The novel hypothesis she forwards is about the 3D shape of the EM fields that underpin conscious experience. "Produce" and "generate" she uses to describe the fields, but she appears to have difficulties in defining what is meant by 'consciousness'; it seems equivalent to 'awareness' and it is about coherence and correlates and long-range correlation. Her identity claim seems not sustainable - it is linguistic inflation - there is no connection demonstrated and no connection can be claimed. It is all relying on a categorical error! Unfortunately, this is not unsusual among even the best natural scientists and is seems to depend on a lack of deeper reflection on the conceptual tools adopted in the research.
   Johnjoe McFadden, Surrey university, talks about "The Cemi Field Theory - Gestalt Information and the Meaning of Meaning": The problems of consciousness are Why conscious (hard problem), the binding problem (what we see) as opposed to what the neurons 'see'. What enables the brain to represent hte object (the binding problem). Objects are experiences holistically joined-up (gesalt) information: joined up information and meaning - meaning is primary to perception (3ALL reads as "BALL"). The brain works from meaning to perspection, not the other way around. The letter is defined by the word you read. Wittgenstein (1972) pointed out that the meaning of a word is grasped in a flash (despite the fact that it is extended in time). Mozart finished an entire musical work in his head. Chalmers' double aspect theory of information: awareness is a property of information in much the same was as mass is propoerty of material. The CEMI field theory is first described in Quantum Evolution (Harper & Collins): EM: action potentials generate EM fields, while neurons communicate electrohemically. There is a scientific dualism in "energy field" contra "matter". Which substrate can encode gestalt information? The cemi field theory: first, there are EM fields, then conscious actions. Beta and gamma freewuency sunchronous oscillations in the primary visual cortex correlate with attention and yrousal in cat, monkeys and other animals. Attention and gamma frequency synchronization in humans - EEG and MEG - increased gamma activity for attentded objects in visual auditory and somatosensory modalities. Neurons that fire synchronously will geneate a field. Disruption of neuron synchrony impairs discrimination. External EM fields influence neuron firing. TMS - transcranial magnetic stimulation has cognitive effects (disturbances). Cemi field theory and field computing (MacLennan, 1999) may play a role in evolution. - gestalt information processing via EM fields provided early humans with an evolutionary advantage - e.g. the ability to create art or process natural language - put all informaiton together and process it into meaningful gestalt. The cemi theory solves the binding problem: the EM into the neurons enable them to communicate with the external world: a serial integrated stream of consciousness directed outwards (Baars). All information in am image is what is in an EM field - awareness in EM fields feels like from the inside. The hard problem: EM field experienced as electric field from one reference frame stationary - but information is expericed as from the inside; two aspects of it - information / awareness. The CEMI field theory - consciousness is dimensionless but an information rich point which encodes gestalt meaning; the theory explains binding problem, the correlation synchronous firin g to attention and consciousness, distiction between conscious and unconsciousness. The QUESTIONS: no concepts of meaning? Why not differentiate between background state consciousness and content of conscious experience?...
   Harald Atmanspacher, IGGP Freiburg, on Temporal Nonlocality in Bistable Perception: psychology is different from neuroscience - psychophysics is especially useful, mathematics is more than data processing, mathematical precision is more than quantitative. Observational processes are interactions of an observing system O with an observed system S: we have seak interaction (no significant effect of O on S), or strong interaction (effect of O on S makes a difference; classical case AB = BA commutative, but quantum case AB /= BA non-cummutative in which the sequence in which you make the observations makes a difference. In psychology almost every relation is noncommutative, it is the rule rather than the exception, O effects S. Theories of relevance: semantic networds, learning and recognition, sequence effects, decision processes, bistable perception. Bistable perception of ambiguous stimuli in watching the Necker cbe - we have a spontaneous switches between two possible 3D representations (a and b) at a time scale of some seconds. Misra and Sudarshan (1977) calles it Quantum Zeno Effect - two kinds of processes in an unstable two-state system: we have the observation s3 and the switching dynamics s1 - we have a periodic process: s1s3 /= s3s1. The associated cognitive time scale - intrinsic update interval DeltaT = 30 msec (sequentialization), time for a stimulus to become consious is P300 = 300 msec, T = 3 sec average "dwell time" for bistable states / representations. Temporal Nonlocality: can mental events always be uniquely assigned to instances without temporal extension? See Bergson, James, Whitehead et al, time is not an instance but has an extension. Temprally extended events - window of nowness or of the present - no further localization possible, no forward or backward causation. Nonlocality is known from quantum mechanics and is implied by noncommutative operations and can be tested experimentally. Bell's inequalities assume locality so that their violation demonstrates nonlocality. Violations of temporal Bell inequalities would indicate temporal nonlocality - but in QM time and dynamics are commutative. Sudarshan (1983) a mode of awareness - conclusions premises feelings coexist, it is not a step-by-step procedure. S(t1)=(+1,-1), any classical trajectory of t1, t2 , t3 falls into 2*3 = 8 possibilities. In the Necker-Zeno model the probability for state (-) at time t2 under the condition of state (+) at time t1 (and vice versa) can be determined. It is proved that observed states include the temporal nonlocality. The problem is that measurements must be as noninvasive as possible to establish a significant violation of Bell's inequality. QUESTIONS: Consciousness is smeared out in time? Yes, until the swithing point. How does it relate to Peirce? Extension in introduced from external by the observer but the subject himself does not have access to it. When I am inside the time window I experience but ouside of it I enter the realm of facts. This is exactly what happens in music.
   Sara Gonzales Andina, Geneva, on "Time back-referral in primates amygdala", asks how does the brain decides? Anticipatory neural activity reflects the value of upcoming actions. We need to anticipate the sensory consequences of actions and we have limited computational resources. Many daily life decisions are effortless - a study of acticipatory activity in amygdala: Eye movements on the Unexpected visitor painting (Repin Y), Yarbus et al. Amygdala engaged in emotion and fear reaction which are anticipatory. Damage to amygdala imparis recognition of emotion or attention and search strategies: autism, schizophrenia, sociophobia. It is a stuy of Local Field Potential responses in the amygdala to saccades, amygdala knwos the eyes are going to move before they move. Image scanning is effortless and stereotyped on faces - an automatic unconscious mechanism which is non-predictabls by visual saliency. Christof Koch (2006) showed that scanning can be guided by salient traits in a photo - or by the learned relevance of some aspects of the picture. Scanpaths vary as a function of image category. Faces attract longer fixation. Scanpaths on faces are informed by behavioral saliency...
   Leonard Mlodinow (coauther with Stephen Hawking The Grand Design of Universe; coauthor to "War of Worldviews") explores what makes a person human, friends and feelings, and gives talk on what the universe came from, What is the Grand Design of the universe?. Where did universe come from? Wha are the laws of nature what they are? (1) What did the universe come from? Einstein in his General Relativity (the "old" Big Bang) realized a contradiction in Newton's laws and got inspired to make the calculations. After 11 years of hard work he came up with the equation which is considered "beautiful" by physicists: Gmv + Dgmv = 8piG/c*4 x Tmv. It was confirmed by events, i.e. natural phenomena. Many mysteries with the oold classical theory of Big Bang include singularity, horizon problem, flatness problem, galaxy origin - and that time cannot be zero. Flatness could be flat like  a table top, curved or look like a saddle - when you look at the equations universe looks flat (?). This raises a problem - who made it flat and why?. Then, enter Quantum Theory which solves these problems. QT is not one theory but rather a group of theories. In a QT each particle appears everywhere with a certain probability - still a deterministic theory but different from the classical theory. When you put QT together with all four forces (gravity, stron and weak interactions, electromagnetism) Relativity you get Quantum Field theory - we now call it Particle Physics. Gravity + QM is the Standard Model - it solves the mysteries of horizon, flatness and galaxy formation! Evidence:  CMB, abundances of light chemical elements (universal background radiation from the bang), distribution of galaxies. The singularity problem is about Where did the universe come from? Vacuum polarization, "nothingness" - is not really nothing. Vacumm fluctuations applied to universe allows a universe from nothing IF:E=0 which is possible because gravitational E (energy) is negative. Is Energy=0 (Flat Universe)? Feynman sum over histories: objects follow the path that connects its initial state to its endpoint. The different universes or histories can have different laws. Can we explain the fine tuning of the equilibrium that makes universe relative stable - without we would not be here. physics is not addressing philosophical question. M-theory says that a great number of universes emerged from nothing without any supernatural intervention. Einstein said: "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is incomprehensible. In science because of experiments with time truth eventually wins over false ideas...
   Deepak Chopra - Vedic Approaches to Consciousness and Reality - asks: What happens three second before the Big Bang? Do we have a way to find out? The parameters of universe - when did they turn up? Did they appear suddenly? Do we know how DNA came about? Do we know how the brain manufactures creativity? Mlodinow: we do not know how consciousness is created. DC: where do the equations exist? Science is one avenue to explore the truth, but there is also the empiric way to explore the truth throughh my experience: But there are also questions like Who am I? Why am I here? - these are questions that science does not address. The scientific pursuit of the truth of the origin of universe - spirituality. Can my subjectivity be in touch with that, the questions that I ask myself? Language creates mental images in the mind. And in the West it was a materialistic language. Science is great but it is time to expand it: it should be about the process. Let's go back to Heisenberg. Science need to be expanded onto the realm of spirituality. PUBLIC DEBATE: One has to be dareful about dogma in science. Physics is not driven by experiment but by string theory. QT has shown that atoms exist in empty space, they have a nature of potentiality to manifest themselves: science is empirical activity and by empirical research we arrive at the view that the atoms exist and electrons exist as potentialities and waves without weigh. How did it arise in quantum chemistry - forms of potentiality. St Augustin said the thought has the potential to come out in any form or language, the thought was before it appeared in either Greek or Latin. A wave is a unit of number, a form and a nature of potentiality but no mass. Atoms are thought-like: all connected existences of forms of potentiality, it is wholeness, and it makes it possible that universe if a cosmic property. The nonlocal reality - is it transcendent i.e. outside time and space? In quantum theory it is possible for particles to be in two different places at the same time. DC: wholeness is holy and healing is the same word......


2011
-05-02 The annual huge Tucson conference is located to Stockholm this year: the title is Toward a Science of Consciousness - Brain Mind Reality: Peter Fenwick introduces with a speech on End-of-Life Conscious Experience within Science Consciousness and Spirituality, presenting a carer study of Loosening of consciousness - process of dying. There are early premonitions, death bed visions, e.g. a dead relative coming to fetch the dying subjet. Dead people seem to come closer, dead relatives may sit on the bed (60%). Who came for the dying: parents, persons unknown, friends, other relatives. mom or dad in 25% of cases. Moving on to another life, you move into a new realit, an area of light and compassion; differences in reply reflect ethnocultural particularities: "You must not worry, I see wonderful things, and I am taken care of". Consciousness is fractionated and goes non-local. Death bed coincidences (awake) do occur - if you are in Florida, dying, and your mother is in UK. The dying person seems to contacting another person at another locality. Or, a comforting vision (asleep). When consciousness fractionate: body becomes surrounded by light: you can negotiate with your visitors to live a few days more, but they come back. Dying is a process of love, a spiritual event, a very powerful time for reconciliation of families. Death is shutting down and starts a journey, but it may not be the end. The book by Fenwick is entitled "The Art of Dying".
   Ignacia Silva on God and Quantum Mechanics: we try to relate theological questions, how to relate Christian concept of divinity to quantum mechanics. We focus on Interpretations of Quantum mechanics framing our responses to questions like what is God. M-theory interpretation is a strong picture of the universe, Copenhagen interpretation. The universe can recreate itself from nothing because there is such a thing as gravitation - we do not need God in physics. If existence of God is assumed - how can we then account for providence? What is a divine intervention? We do not see a breaking of nature laws. But QM provides a collapse of the wave function. Is God Einstein's hidden variable? Is God a designer, and architect, engineer - but becuase of gravity he does not need to 'create' the world. God is bound by laws of nature (Russell) - Nancy Murphy is right God is contraint by the laws of nature. Stephen Hawking's proposal: creation does not require the intervention of a supernatural force; first step - a multiverse, spontaneous creation of quantum nothingness (vacuum) - is not nothing any more, space is never empty (Heisenberg); 'creatio ex nihilo' means absolutely and a constant upholding of universe by God - a radical dependence, a different kind of relation and of causation. Notes to a conclusion: God is always active, Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, science and theology can humbly continue its questions from any and many different perspectives.
   Tarja Kallio-Tamminen on Quantum Physics and Eastern Philosophy: Eastern Philosophy is not dependent on Western science and its division against religion: there is a split between science and humanistic knowledge, healing this split is paramount for our future. Platon and Spinoza conceived great systems that bridge nature and human being. We are active participants orchestrating reality - our knowledge views and values act on reality: there is room for the influence of spirituality. Progress of culture means to get rid of limitations and rigidities. Science and spirituality are not contradictory, they are tools.
   This broad philosophical lecture bridges over to Deepak Chopra talking on Consciousness and Ultimate Reality. He thinks the M-theory suggesting that 500 realities replacing God is a ridiculous theory. There are only three worldviews: Decartes is dualistic and divides the mental and the physical worlds - this view is no longer relevant - it is off. The next worldview is Leonard's view - it is material monism - there is only matter, everythin else is an epiphenomenon of behavior of matter - and consciousness is an illusion caused by interaction of molecules; the mechanistic laws of physic's classical laws rules the brain and therefore how it works; then we are zoombies and free will is an illusion. I have no free will, no creativity and human experience, intuition is a dance of molecules; molecular networks are talking to each other, etc. The fundamental premise in science is that all matter is non-material because most of it is vacuum. We use quantum theory to explain the microworld, but it is totally inelegant. The third theory is monistic idealism saying there is no dualism; consciousness is what makes experience possible requiring a process of observation; you have to have an observer, a process of observation and an object observed. The ultimate reality is - all three: the observer, the process of observation and the object of observation. Then there is the transactional interpretation, M theory, taking me to the realm of the inobservable. It is a field that is selforganizing with possibilities collapsing into qualities of consciousness, qualiy: soul (observer) - mind (process) and reality (object). How and when got constance get created, when did mathematics be created, where are the laws of nature written?.
   A panel is commenting, including Leonard Mlodinow: we do not give promisory notes, we may never solve the consciousness problem, in science everything is built up on observation. M theory on where universe came from and about the original forces allows that different universes have different laws. Science is driven by trying to predict how things behave, not by explaining everything philosophically. Menas Kafatos: object-subject duality might be created by the brain; there are striking similarities between Greek and Indian philosophies; There was no divide between science and philosophy, it was natural philosophy; Plato asked the questions, Sokrates was not so interested - Archimedes was the greatest scientist in Greece. Lluis Oviedo, catholic theologican, finds it important to follow scientific research because if consciousness is only an epiphenomenon it does not make sense to be a theologician; Swinburne is still a dualist (Niklas Luhmann and others tried to integrate the three, observer process and object). Hameroff describes Roger Penrose's concept which accounts for both consciousness and spirituality. Roger's recent idea is also including the origin of universe in the model. Fenwick replies that in blind people other modalities can create consciousness, auditive experience through the eye, etc. Georgio Innocenti: on localisation of brain function we know that visual perecption occur in the visual cortex but there is also a plasticity so that visual cortex can overtake other senses. Chopra, the nonlocal consciousness is transcendence. Fenwick: you lose yourself in higher states of consciousness - you lose the differentiation in transcendence - we often talk of only a very narrow band of consciousness.


2011
-05-02...Today at Svenska Läkaresällskapet, with the support of Torsten Söderbergs Stiftelse, the Swedish Physicians Association, Stockholm, the foundation for friends of justice in the state, Stiftelsen Rättsstatens Vänner (SRV), is convening a conference on "Modernare rättegàng - större krav pà nämndemännen - minskad rättssäkerhet?" (Modernization of court procedures - requirements for the jurors - decreased safety in justice) The issues are the legitimacy of the juror system (nämndemannainstitutet) and the state justice question (rättsstatsfràgan). A process is now, finally, at work in order to scrutinize the system of justice in courts and create a constructive debate to ensure an improvement of quality of assessment in the legal system. For more information, see the homepage of SRV. Maria Abrahamsson (m) focuses on the problem of lack of competence among jurors: lack of knowledge, errors in logic, and prejudice among jurors in court is risking public confidence for the law and court. The juror system (nämndemannainstitutet) - why do uneducated jurors enthrusted power to judge? Why should amateurs elected only on political grounds handle complicated legal cases; the system opens for intolerance, prejudice and incompetence. Other contributors who gave speeches included Fredrik von Arnold, Elin Blank, Tomas Nilsson and Claes Sandgren.
   The key question, in my interpretation, is the fundamental issue of knowledge integration between the use of epistemically safe evidence (as in science paradigm) as opposed to the exercise of power in legal procedures. My argument relies on a reinterpretation of the historical and sociological development of the interplay between knowledge production (and its methodology) and the administrative sovereignty: the general development of societies was a historic movement towards increased democracy, inplying safety in justice. It means that power had to be controled by knowledge; the need for safer evidence assessment, for the sake of knowledge integration, is a road towards a balancing of the implications of the law and the 'factual' bases for an epistemic knowledge process. More simply, there should be carefully considered processes relying on methods of sciences to ensure an updated usage of interpretations
supported by both monodisciplinary and interdisciplinary patterns of knowledge integration. Although the lectures at the conference, and the debates, were focused of the reforms (due to a pending investigation and proposal - "EMR" -on the table of the government - about prövningstillstànd and resningsinstrument), the key fundamental criterion for epistemically safe methods of knowledge integration in courts, is about the way the legal institutions are communicating, and assimilation, important insights from other disciplines. There has to be a qualified analysis of the internal procedures established in court - and this is largely already in place - but also a new mode of reconsideration of conventional concepts to see how they fare in the more complex context of a transdisciplinary deliberation on the way to the point of a conclusive and valid decision. There is reason to suspect that legal epistemology has not been prioritized during the historic development of the legal system in Sweden - as opposed to the domain of sciences which have been developing quickly and reached the frontier of current international disciplines. There is now "a process of healing" on the way - as a number of shocking cases has provoked an intense public debate on justice - and human rights - in the legal system. What remains to be done, above all, is probably a more in depth fundamental reconsideration on how and by what procedures such fields as social medicine (and its sister disciplines) can best be integrated to weigh in the process of legal decision. There is an obvious need for more education at law schools on the methodologies - and epistemic statuses - of assessments in empiric cases - complementary to the purely epistemic and metatheoretical readjustment of conceptual logics. The conclusion, for our transdisciplinary dialogue, is that the state must take a deeper responsibility for warranting quality in assessment in legal systems. Needless to say is, there are implications for the whole society, including fields such as social welfare and security, research funding and resource allocation in the political administration of a democratic country. As quality is a concept that requires sharp analysis of criteria at stake, a good metascience of judgment is a democratic necessity following the dictum of human rights. Philosophy of law is not only an academic discipline - it is the fundament of the epistemic platform for legal systems in society.

2011
-04-29...Stuart Hameroff (SH), consciousness scientist and leader of the Tucson conferences on Consciousness, is lecturing at KI Neuroscience department, Hillarpsalen, at 16.00: Although the lecture is dedicated to the mechanisms of memory at the frontier of experimental research (flyer), his and Roger Penrose's theory of consciousness (as a phenomenon relying on the microtubuli (MT) as the structure central to its correlative mechanism) can be recalled by reading an earlier abstract. As an anaesthesiologist Hameroff is interested in clinical application, especially an understanding of the physiological indicators and correlates (the tau protein) of the pathology in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Tau acts as a traffic signal for motor protein transport of synaptic materials such as delivery of synaptic precursors. In Alzheimer disease zink-deficiency was detected which causes the amyloid and the diagnostic tangles typical of its pathology. At the same time, is was shown that too much zink causes excessive binding. Destabilization of  microtubules is what is causing the cognitive symptoms. Hameroff's team believes the zink is the link between the amyloid and the neurofibrillary tangles. Among other possible applications for which Hameroff's research might prove relevant he also discusses remote control of brain activity using ultrasound (US) accordingg to William J Tyler, Arizona State university; Tyler has a company that develops initial prototyping of ultrasonic brain-versus-machine interfaces for use in Transcranical Ultrasound Therapy (TUS): the ground is that ultrasound works on microtubules (MT) and could work to improve recovery of a traumatized brain - of relevance in Trauma Therapy, Rehabilitation and Emergency Medicine. With Roger Penrose Hameroff worked on a model where microtulus is seen as a quantum computer: there are superposition of states. This theory encountered some objections: physicist Max Tegmark maintains that the brain is too warm and wet to produce any quantum effects. The background to this is complex, including a reasoning about the main point that at least two benzen rings switches here and forth: you get van der Waals forces. Conformational change is another point where the model has been criticized. Conformational switching however, is not required, according to Hameroff's rebuttal of the critique. Hameroff's reply also relies on adducing Frohlich condensation (weak, strong and coherent, Pokorny). MT have enormous coactivy or information processing regulating biomolecular functions. Objections to his and Penrose's Orch OR / quantum theory, he claims, is invalid. DISCUSSION: (NGA) Who is the orchestrator in the Orch OR theory, and what is Objective Reduction  (OR). In searhing critically at the epistemic status and logical structure of a theory one can see a (potential?) problem in adducing concepts from at least three different scientific disciplines or scholarly traditions. In order to have a valid theory on reality one would have to bring all concepts of a theory valid and concise into the same system and demonstrate that all these concepts used are linked, anchored, compatible and possible to integrate. The theory is using concepts derived from three different disciplines with very different methodologies; how do you ensure compatibility and the knowledge integration from physics, biology and philosophy? A problem of knowledge integration arises on the conceptual level - despite the possible empiric merits of each discipline adduced to support the theory; a theory does not become valid only by demonstrating empirical findings in each of the adduced disciplines: how do we bring different things together? Konrad Kaufmann (KK): are we serious about solving a problem. Roger Penrose failed in his book, he says it is "objective reduction" but he got rid of "decoherence". SH: I think we are going in the right direction although we have not solved the problem. There is some realtime information code in the MT junctions, MT is the vessel for the information just as DNA is the genetic code. About US: it is mechanical vibration above 20000 per sec and MT are sensitive in that range of frequencies: MT rapidly grow on MHz and KHz Ultrasound stimulation: mood and synaptic plasticity, stroke and brain injury. Ingemar Ernberg (IE): what would be the real experiment to destroy your theory, in a Popper sense, and the theory could survice? SH: we are already doing that in anaesthesia where patient's consciousness is gone, we are doing evoked potentials. We take away consciousness but not the processes. KK: a fully active brain, easily distinguished states, disproved that consciousness is in the system, if it is an illusion; you are dreaming asleep, MT is active but consciousness if sleeping. Who is talking about consciousness?...We will soon return to these fundamental questions and put them into the context of a science constituted by integrated epistemic procedures of interpretation. 

2011
-04-28 The transdisciplinary dialogues today continue at Nobel Forum, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. Sir Peter Gluckman (FRS) is giving a speech on "Why the early environment matters: epigenetics, evolution, development and disease" (an abstract is provided to invited listeners). Brief Notes from the lecture to recall some selected points: Hugo Lagercrantz introduces. PG gives a base of familiar concepts with basic concepts in evolutionary medicine: fitness (reproduction) longevity and health are not the same, natural selection acts to protect or promote fitness in the selectional environment, fitness is primarily affected by life history traits (e.g. age of puberty in humans). Human longevity has increased dramatically (selection acts very weakly after peak reproduction). Epigenetics: its evolution relies on the same biochemical mechanisms (DNA methylation, histone modifications etc) as the genetic evolution; and are coopted by evolution for multiple mechanisms, gene dosage control - prokaryotic fusion, transposon silencing - eukaryotes, cell differentiation - essential for metazoan development, developmental plasticity. From insects to mammals - polymorphisms (discontinuous phenotypes eg female bee worker/queen) - continuous phenotypes in response to developmental cues (the reaction norm), chromosomal sex determination. The role of epigenetics in evolution: evolutionary transitions - complexity - metazoa, handle variable environments - polyphenotypes. The geopolitical context of diabetes and cariovascular disease: 70% of all deaths are due to NCDs, the problem of obesity, T2D and CVD is well recognised in the West, but the war is being lost, over 250 million people now have AIDS, etc. Why is it? a mismatch and non-cummunicable disease: nutritional transition is an evolutionary novelty, no selection for the nutritional ranges we now live with, life spans have increased enormously, as nutritional loads increase more individuals....develop disease. The subtlety of early NCD pathogenesis: obesity, vascular dysfuntion and insulin resistance do not require gross changes in physiology...E.g: cumulative effect of small daily intake of fat... Why are we losing the war against NCDs? Obesity is a major risk factor for NCDs, but people have variable responses to an obesogenetic environment: genetic, epigenetic, etc. Developmental plasticity and human health: early development (embryonic, fetal, neonatal, etc) linked to mortality in early adulthood - born in harvest season means higher surviving than born in hungry season - an effect that remains during older age. CHD - coronary heart disease standarised mortality rations (SMR) in 10141 men & 5586 women, body weight is a causal factor. Maternal nutrition in pregnancy has cardiovascular effects on the offspring in late childhood independent of birth weight.
   Questions: what are the mechanistic bases of these developmental relationships? Ultimate explanations - evolutionary, proximate explanations - epigenetic. How important are developmental pathways in the aetiology? How can we modify outcome? Responses to environmental cues: disruptive to the developmental programme (teratogenesis), adjust the developmental programme (developmental plasticity) - potentially adaptive (i.e. promote fitness) - but can have maladaptive consequences, responses to cues such as altered nutrition. Trade-off with immediate benefit: early adaptive advantage with potentially longer term consequences - e.g. we find accelerated metamorphosis in the spadefoot toad in response to trying pond with greater later mortality because of smaller adult body size. A little bay - premature - early adaptive advantage with potentially loonger term consequences. Another kind of response: changed developmental strategy with delayed but no obvious immediate benefit - altered developmental trajectory for potential fitness benefit in later life - very common phenomenon across taxa - e.g. altered coat thickness in the meadow vile (thick is born in fall) Developmental plasticity - when does the benefit occur? Relationship birth weight and desease risk is an epiphenomenon of predictive adaptation being induced but becoming maladaptive. Developmental pathways to obesity or NCDs include the mismatch pathway - evo mismatch (beyond evolved capacity) - including such diagnoses as obesity sarcopenia fatty liver hypertension endothelial dysfunction impaired thermogenesis insulin resistance etc. Prenatal-postnatal interaction - impact of prenatal nutrition in response to obesogenic environment. Under-nutrition alters neonatal hepatic epigenetic profile (female, liver, p2 methylation status). A life history approach to interpreting a poor start to life - two illustrative phenotypic extremes: perceived optimal environment-predicted benign life course-investment for longevity or perceived deprived environment. Predicted uncertain life course ....(see David Nettle Dying young and living fast: variation in life history across English neigborhoods). Who reached menarchee among young girls (birth weight and menarchee). Marasmus and kwashiokor study (M and K, 240): 6 months after recovery M can reduce protein turnover while K can not - there is a difference in their birth weights. Testing the anticipation model: tricking the neonatal rat into thinking they are fatter -- does it reverse the cue effect? Leptin blocks all phenotypic consequences of a high fat diet in antenatally undernourished pups. Leptin reversed obesity hyperphagia and other conditions. Maternal nutrition affects infant's epigenetic state - mother's meat intake counts causatively. Why is plasticity affecting metabolic outcomes - a pervasive physiological phenomena? Bias in anticipation: safer to predict a bad world out there. The fitness cost of error in prediction. Maternal Constraint: fetal growth primarily determinded by the nutritional environment, constrained to allow passage through a key developmental bottleneck, limits on nutrition transfer. The impact of parity, first pregnancy - first born are 100 g smaller (Godfrey et al JCEM 2010) - compare primiparous with multiparous. The impact of democratic influence increased risk of becoming a beast (West to China). Southampton Princess Anne Hospital Nutrition Study - sequenom analysis of CpG methylation. Epigenetic state at birth predicts body composition in childhood. The functional significance of RXRA CpG is studied. Low maternal carbohydrate intake in early pregnancy associated with higher RXRA gene promoter methylation. Hypernutrition / adipogenic pathways - pathways of evolutionary development. Maternal undernutrition (MUN) or overnutrition (MHF) induce both common and specific obesity in children. Gestational diabetes rapidly rising in Asia. Intergenerational switching of pathways: women malnourished and low pregnancy weight gain is very poor postnatal environment (Stuntin)...Summary: Path dependency - changed response to later environmental stimuli: timely intervention produces substantial risk reduction. Epigenetic effects on phenotype: within the life course and across generations: genomic, cultural e.g. learning shared environment assortative mating, trans-meiotic - epigenetic inheritance e.g. microRNAs? Beyond the gene environment interaction. Concept of genotype-environmental interaction is problematic - we need to develop a more sophisticated concept here. Methylation explains the variance in childhood adiposity.
The epigenetic profile at birth is related to the mother's diet. The epigenetic state is reversible (experimentally). Public Questions (Qs) after speech: Could also prenatal factors be causative? Yes, for example if father was born prematurely. Ingemar Ernberg (IE): The paradox of reversibility of epigenetic phenomena and that what blocks it up so early, i.e. why do we not adapt to it? Why do we not stay plastic the whole life? The problem is to measure what the cost of plasticity is. There is an enormous risk of cancer etc. If you expect environmental stability it makes sense to fit to it. Q: evolutionary background - what are the drivers of fitness (who dies first in a concentration camp?). Q: adaptability and plasticity - could that be genetically determined (some individs better at it?) - variabilities selected through evolution? How do you look for variation (CpG)? Q: bias in anticipation, the cost of plasticity is too high; we bias our thinking - is simple genetic monocausalism warranted? If things are determined of your past life more than your will and choice of life style - taste and food preference is established during the first year of life: 20-30 % determined by things that are fixed. The nutritional and social environment we did not make ourselves - PG does not believe we are going back to the caves. A longterm view to changeing health The perspective is: is it our fault or not? POSTSEM with Ingemar Ernberg at Nobel Forum: You have been very succesful in finding these CpGs. How do you do that? Other researchers are going for more shores. "We all live in a fat world", "the world is about variation". We could go for the candidate gene (in other methodology people do that) or secondly we could go for chip on chip, we look for a lot of variation in methylation, particularily when it is not much methylation around it. We take the first 50 and ad to that arbitrary mathematical criteria: I have only validated. Two random selections on the cohort, in the way the epidemiologists suggest. It could go either way, 25%;. Q: RXRA was that random popping up, or? Only the alfa, the other were random. We actually took DNA from the umbilical cord, frozen. Subsequently, we had to do investigation of 10 CpGs. Cords contain 3 major celltypes (white cells, etc), we looked at it. In Singapore we take cells at birth, or what we have in the freezer. We can't collect placenta, because of some ethnic issues. IE: about plasticity, on the outsides of shores you find enormous variation, also if you look at single cells, so there is a gene driven process. PG: there is variation in the degree of methylation, must be random, spontaneous? We have variation we cannot explain. It is good for the species to have randomness. IE: an environmental crisis it will look in something which is survivability. Could epigenetics driving phenotype evolution ("Evolution of Plasticity"). The "Baldwin effect" raises the Q how the traits get fixed during evolution? Animal behavior appear to be inherited, stereotypic behavior - how do these behaviors being incorporated into the genome. There are a 100 cases of epigenetic inheritance, e.g. if you inject RNA you find it four generations afterwards. There are clear evidence of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. How could those get fixed into the genome? It may start with repetition of the phenotype, it has to be maintained through generation until the random versions are eliminated. Methylation to T or deamination from A. IE: Your latest book? PG: an account of basic principles of evolutionary biology for doctors is my book from last year. Evolution changes the risk of getting the disease. Why does something happen as opposed to how it happens.
   The Collegium will return, in due time, to the issue of epigenetics and the role of cultural development in human civilization.

2011-04-24 Eastern in Sandsbro outside Växjö, Sweden. For once, Swedish TV (www.svt.se) is broadcasting a memoir program, "Jag är sân här - ett program om Sten Broman". It is a culturally rich indicator for those who can read and understand the undertext and the implications, and is a useful specimen for a dialogue on Swedish culture, its advantage and disadvantages. I met and talked with Sten a few times - I remember especially once in Stockholms konserthus when one of his symphonies (No 3) was performed - and he was himself a poignant mark of a musically personality during the decenia from 1960s to the early 80s. His wiki provides the facts.


2011-04-23 Meeting with Dr. Erich Franzke and his wife Vera at Toftastrand café, Sandsbro. Beautiful spring at the lake Toftasjön.

2011-04-20 Meeting with Professor Dr. Raymond Battegay, Swiss psychiatrist who authored 37 books, at his private townhouse in Basel, Switzerland. Documentation will be available.

2011-04-19 ETH CCSS Interdisciplinary Seminar with Tobias Preis, chair of sociology ETHZ, Center for Polymer Studies Dept of Psysics Boston University, Artemis Capital Asset Management GmbH: "Trend Switching Phenomena in Financial Markets", with publications in PNAS, a Special Topics Issue and a book. You have the Gauss curve on the old DEM bill. Gauss theorem is one of few that is still valid for price change, times series and random walk. Outline of content: (1) econostatics and econodynamics: time series of crises makes you interested in price changes (histogram of price changes); (Gabaix et al article in Nature). Milestones of trading: speculation in 17th century in Netherlands, tulip buld bubble, 1848: CBOT trading of future contracts in USA, CBOT innovations, electronic and high frequency computer trading. (2) Analysis of complex pattern-based correlations, (3) time ordering of time series and data structure with high resolution.


2011-04-18 Talk with Dominik Sackmann, ZHDK, 11.30-14-00.


2011-04-12 Within Interdisciplinary Seminars at ETHZ, CCSS is providing a series of lectures of high relevance to urgent problem solving in present society. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, Essex university UK, is a researcher in conflict theory specializing in developing forecasting conflict methodology. He distinguishes four modes of forecasting conflict: (1) Informal expert forecasts ("crystal ball" gazing on future events) is problematic: overconfidence, low precision, unclear theory (Tetlock 2007); there are "foxes" and "hedgehogs" who appeal to media (overly conservative or excessively confident about dramatic events; e.g. Friedman and Lebard Coming war with Japan, 1991. (2) Game theory approach to individual events (e.g. Bueno de Mesquita 2010); some evidence of predictive success and commercial applications (POLICON); short time horizon, applied to ongoing crises and negotiations (issues and actors known), but less helpful for longterm forecast. (3) Aggregate forecasting: conflict time series, overall distributions, periodicity (Hegre et al 2011, Cederman 2003, Miranda Perondi & Gleditsch 2011): some predictive success, "coarse" aggregate predictions. (4) Structural statistical models: statistical models of risk of conflict by dyad or country periods; CIA sponsored State Failure/Political Instability Task Force 1955 - present, based on a series of covariates (economica, political and social factors); SFTF intended to generate forecasts of states at risk; statistical models of interstate disputes (Oneal & Russett 2001) or intrastate conflict. Skrede asks how we can improve forecasting methods? Conventional models rely on generalized linear regression; some looked to alternative methods to improve forecast
with more complex and non-linear relationships, e.g. Beck, King & Zeng (2000). Conventional models of interstate disputes (especially Oneal & Russett) focus on what alleviates conflict. Contentious issues in interstate disputes: conflicts, or disputes, are defined by MID (that labels each dispute with a number); Skrede provides a list of actual versus predicted dispute dyads, out-of-sample. Summary: prospects for forecasting may be less dim than suggested by conventional wisdom; a focus on incompatibilities / theories of motiations is helpful; sources of rivalries (territory vs separatism) and effects of agreements (Schultz 2010) should be included in studies design; it is possible to identify broader sets of incompatibilities / proxies for incompatibilities and better information on conflict management; it is helpful to look at incompatibilities to identify risk set and to update forecast at interaction/events. The debate included a question about whether alternative definitions of 'conflict' would invalidate the suggested way of method improvement or make method incompatible with the other definitions; one could focus on conflict of interest which does not translate into war or physically hostile actions or violence. Or we could think of 'conflict' as a cognitive sociopsyhologic term adopting a perspective of the individual behavior and aggregating towards a social group or mass action. Would these definitions, alternatives to the interstate or intrastate dispute, be compatible with the methodological development recommended by Skrede?.

2011-03-25 Meeting with Professeur Jean-Pierre Changeux, at Cercle Suedois, Paris. Se special documents archive of Are Akademi, including his letter "lunch at the Cercle Suédois", Saturday, March 26, 2011.

2011-03-24 Meeting on invitation by Bernard Kouchner, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the Ministry of Foreign Affaris, Paris. Documentation in the special documents archive of Are Akademi, for March 24, 2011.

2011-03-20 Paris is the center of the world and presently the site of forceful responsibility; the French government has been leading the way to achieve an international agreement among the coalition to enforce accordance to human and democratic conventions. The strikes against Libya commenced yesterday: if possible more than else justified the whole story here is about insane dictatorship; and about how that came inte force. My earlier proposal for a remedy by introducing a certification of political leadership (and other kinds of leadership as well), seems again valid, and special means for enforcing conflict resolution by handling personalities (and team dynamics) in a more insighful and proactive way. The syndrome of Qadaffi is clearly a deep personality disturbance, a moral character deficiency leaning towards sociopathy; a very dangerous type of personality that you often find as a leader of criminal gangs. Clearly I understand the necessity of the joint military action to protect civilians at this crucial late stage of an infected conflict with many enmeshed dissonances of harshest grade; but it is an important question to raise, for future instances of this kind, if not UN could install preventive procedures to screen for personality deficiencies (and Power Man's Syndrome) in similar cases. That would certainly help implement top priority, to save many lives and prevent human suffering, in addition to reducing the cost by sparing material destruction. Robert Danin today writes, at Council on Foreign Affairs, on the "Libyan Strikes..." that "Clearer Objectives [are] Needed", suggesting that all participating countries in the military coalition might not have exactly the same agenda. That is a paramount concern, but in such a crucially urgent situation, one understands if there were hardly time to fine-tune strategic formulations; to wait and see is no option if waiting means the rebels lose its fragile power to the dictator; and it might then have been too late for any reasonable intervention. Handling psychopaths sometimes calls for extraordinary measures and forces you into a realm of hard and quick decision-making to prevent a scenario potentially even worse - the loss of more lives. The mission is legitimately a passioned intervention to ease human suffering and stop violations by a relentless tyrant - a concerted action driven by a shared concern for human rights wholeheartedly justified from medica, ethical and legal perspectives. The issue on how to develop efficient preventive measures - on the basis of a qualified knowledge integration between medical disciplines and social and political sciences - should perhaps be adopted on the agenda of a leading europhile but still critical think tank such as the Centre for European Reform (CER) in London; among many top priority fields listed among their research topics I miss health and human rights as well as the key function culture for creating core values of the European identity - which is then what is supposed to provide an underpinning of such domains as justice, foreign policy and even the governance of internal economic affairs. In the field of education and research CER launched a report both concise, constructive and critical, concluding Europe needs more diversity in place of conformity, and a dedicated interest in fostering elite institutions. Universities, however, are not just competing for Nobel Prizes and for top places in ranking lists among other academies, not do we have our institutions of higher education only to serve business and administration; the deeper commitment required to achieve quality reaches down to the roots of the personal and national identities, combining historic anchorage and tradition with foresight and modern technology, which is clearly the recipe of the leaders, Cambridge and Oxford in UK. 


2011-03-04 I have often argued that the public media in Sweden suffers from chronic lack of critics who are truly acute, unafraid, and still competent enough to say something relevant. That was a somewhat sweeping, a bit too generalized, judgment. When people from different countries ask me about Sweden they pressed me into a corner until I was willing to mention a few representative names. It is totally impossible to get a deeper grasp on a nation's mentality, its advantages and disadvantages, without access to a qualified debate in daily public media. Let me mention two names, if only to ensure that I can travel around the globe without being harrassed in that particular way. In business magazine Affärsvärlden (No 48, 2010, p 12) - a bit more serious than Veckans Affärer - Johan Hakelius is frank about the decay of political life in Sweden: party membership has fallen dramatically from 19% in 1979 to less than 3% in 2010. And only two categories have stayed inside the party cultures, the monomaniacs and the power careerists. But still, the governance system is respected and people continue to pay taxes although the gap of confidence is severely undermining representativeness of the democratic system. Worse still, when these two groups happen to intersect of share an opinion, for different reasons, we get an evil alliance. Hakelius article is a memento to politicians and to the intelligensia: perhaps party politics will wither away and suddenly dissolve as ice cubes in the early sun during the prolonged Scandinavian spring. Another name is a standing leader commentator in Dagens Nyheter (DN) - a newspaper that has seen a very quick decay into disintegrating populism - who is upholding a certain sharpness in his well-targeted critiques, Peter Wolodarski: Under "Public service" he is targeting Mats Svegfors, formerly an advocate for free opinion, now severely questioned for his politization on his post as chief of the public Swedish Radio which was once meant to guarantee an independent voice, advancing free speech and stimulating debate among the broadest possible public. Svegfors is too hungry for political power while he sits in the very wrong place for such an ambition. The problem, however, seems to be, again, the weakness in recruitment, shamelessly displayed by the present government.


2011-03-02 Although meticulously following a handbook would probably signal that you are not really up to the task of evaluating governmental (and intergovernmental) policies that kind of criticism would come more naturally to your mind after a brief look in a useful volume, The Sage Handbook of Evaluation (edited by J.C. Greene, M.M. Mark and I.A. Shaw, 2006). For instance, under "The Role and Purpose of Evaluation in Society" Eleanor Chemlinsky provides a useful framework for the purposes of evaluation in a democratic society: the issues relevant to such an evaluation incude five points: (1) the structure of governement is fragmented, (2) each level and branch (department or agency) protects its allotted powers and independence against incursion by others, (3) walls, suspicion and secrecy across divisions co-exist, (4) a check on too much executive independence nd too little transparency is often needed, and (5) citizens need access to knowledge to be informed about the activities of their government so they can function as a primary control of the authorities (39). The core of the governmental need for independent evaluation then include: (1) to support parliamentary oversight, (2) to build a stronger knowledge base for policy-making, (3) to assist agencies develop improved capabilities for policy program planning and implementation (as well as analysis of results), and (4) to strengthen public information about the government activities through dissemination of evaluation findings. Alan Clarke covers "Evidence-based evaluation in different professional domains" (559-577). A few other useful references given as examples of evalutation organizations, resources or networks in this handbook include ECGNet, Euforic, IDEAS-Int, Intrac, Monitoring and Evaluation News, OECD Evaluation of Development Programmes, UNDP, Worldbank IEG, and Alnap. I wonder if such an evaluation manual would be welcome in other disciplines, or, if generalizable, in the knowledge and competence domains of business, culture, health and social services, and in whatever field the citizen need to look into transparently to ensure accountability of the governance. If criteria can be objective, or more often intersubjective (or better interobjective), as in qualitative research, it is still an individual who is the 'last resort' carrier of the personal value perceptions. But a well done structuration of the epistemological approaches and methods of evaluation can inspire improvement through an injection of creativity - so an enlarged application of evaluative concepts might demonstrate its merit.      


2011-02-27 The largest Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) in Europe is Wissenschaftskolleg ("Wiko") in Berlin. At a spontaneous encounter with its Principal, or Rector, Prof. Dr. Luca Giuliani, showed me around in their Fellow Library, where the 'products' of their collegiates are displayd in the shelves, and the session room (with a grand piano). Its selection of fellow collegiates is global and focuses on a few clusters or themes of related disciplines which create opportunities for enriching dialogues and interdisciplinary fertilization. Professor Giuliani responds to my inquiry with regard to the epistemology of interpretation and transdisciplinary knowledge integration and states that he does not believe so much in metadisciplinary programmes; successful collaboration among collegiates may become emerging projects but these teams form spontaneously around a shared interest among scholars and you cannot command such collaborative projects. In addition, they need to rely on solid root competence - this is how I understand Professor Giuliani. Wiko also invites a composer in residence and history of the arts, music included, is not excluded from the scope. It is connected to a network of partner institutes (NetIAS). At the bookshop of Berliner Philharmonie you can see a few of the products of one of its most notable Fellows, pianist Alfred Brendel, who is also lecturing as a guest professor at the partner institute in Cambridge, UK (CRASSH). CRASSH is supported by The Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London, a Lord Weidenfels independent high level organization dedicated to "bridging divides through political innovation, education, leadership development and cultural exchange". 

Yesterday Das Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, in Philharmonie (Berlin), conducted by Rainer Koch, Bielefeld, performed a programme on the theme "the three big B:s": One can ask why Konzertdirektion Prof. Victor Hohenfels (implementing the will of his late wife's donation), as well as a recent series in IHT are hunting for the ranking lists; as if music was a sport event? Well, it isn't really that bad; the Hohenfels wanted the transcending atmosphere of high quality entertainment, creating favorable conditions for a peak music experience in the huge and intricately built Berliner Philharmonie; truly a legitimate intention. And, in IHT, the series of rankings of the best composers during history had a touch of playfulness, like a game of guess, a distraction for the business or political minds who need to contemplate the world today more than ever. Why is this? Because a governance without values will eventually decay; a business with responsibility in mind will soon suffer moral bankruptcy. Why are these value-oriented peak experiences important in present society? Not only that it provides a source of renewed energy to the social cohesion badly needed in society. It generates learning experience at the crossroad of social and individual 'cultivation', or socialization in the best sense of this word. We are facing a return of barbarism. And this is reason for alarm. Educational systems are not up to the task of balancing depraved forces in media; this also generates unmoderated resistance, accumulated into paranoic overreaction to the problem. Low level competence gets primitive in the encounter with evil forces and resort to brutalism in governance. There is no bypass around the honing of ones competence; the problem is that the ones elected for some admirable faculties need a time-out to bring there talent to maturation on a broader scope of their personalities. Personality counts. But the investments in material infrastructures are still many times what is spent on education of the people. There are interesting attitudes to this problem in Finland, where basic education is constantly top-ranked in international comparison..
 

2011-02-26 With a pending series of elections around in the federal states of Germany one wonders if the German people is the ones having Europe's fate in their hands. A sunny Unter den Linden exposes this hardworking disciplined people to a few rays of Mediterranean warmth in a chilly wind when strolling around comfortable on Saturday afternon. While Sir Simon Rattle, who invited me to visit him at Berliner Philharmoniker, is away in Amsterdam for a concern tour, I inspect the famous concert house, Philharmonie, designed 1956 by architect Hans Scharoun. Music is what keeps Germany together by means of a storng root meme. That is the societal function of culture. You get this view confirmed by a fine exhibition at Willy Brandt Stiftung at Unter den Linden; it honors Brandt and puts his whole political life in context of the European heart: the long way to recovery, morally and economically, culturally and intellectually, from the catastroph of WWII, intertwined with photos and memorabilia from Brandts exile years in Norway and Sweden. No, it is not possible that music is not connected to life; instead, I submit, it is always reflecting biographical dimensions, not in the concrete mode of depiction, but deeper on an emotional level where the experiences our course of life displays to us resonance in vibrant inner life of emotion, commitment, and empathy; because music is inherently social, interactive, participational....


2011-02-24 A visit to the Institute of Affective Sciences at Geneva University, led by Klaus Scherer; it is a bold and forward-looking action to include this in the federal priority programmes ("Schwerpunktsprogramme"). It shows that the Swiss at times are able to demonstrate strategic determination on a national scale; although constitutionally a federation of cantons it is surprisingly coordinated and with well-integration infrastructures; this is also an advantage that will translate to future business innovation; intelligent people need freedom and resources - without freedom they are constrained to behave according to limitations drawn up by somewhat less intelligent administrators and without resources their ideas remain genial visions that fail to be tested against reality. On the other hand the inevitable comparison shows that Sweden, although formally an 'absolute' hierarchy and indeed well-integrated administrationally, it is functionality that counts: and here the distance between the politicians and administrators on the one hand and the professionals on the other is much too large. The efficiency of policies remains a formal measure of 'success', i.e. implementation of rules and regulations, consensus alignment via powerful decrees from agencies and authorities, far from the dynamics of real content-driven innovation; there is a loss of momentum and competence-in-action because of fragmentation on the real level; this is a common error in top-down governed autocraties, in this case an autocratic democracy. In contrast, the Swiss system builds on participative and responsibilities shared by all citizens.

To pursue the task of an independent observatory of human rights of the intellectuals we have earlier commented the Swedish legal system, and especially noted its lack of a consistent and valid interpretational logic when it comes to issues which seem infected by gender policy. The modern welfare state appears to show its Janus face when allowing law to be contaminated by politics. A new tenet among critical formulations was reached today in the international media (IHT), Mr Assange reportedly having referred to Sweden as "the Saudi-Arabia of feminism". But the question is if such a comparison is really warranted. At least the critique should lead us to scrutinize the more general conditions that must be met for a modern democracy to qualify as a state that fulfills its obligations in protection of human rights. It is especially sensitive matter if feminism in Sweden has gone extreme to the extent that intellectuals, including foreign visitors in academia and industry, no longer can feel safe against sophisticated forms of evil persecution. Although beyond circumstances in an individual case, the general systems at work in Swedish law, and the way authorities handle their responsibility to live up to both word and intent of the conventions of human rights will - together with the level of ethics among leading functionaries - should be subjected to a closer look. It is unfortunate that we do not find any signs of responsible monitoring of such problems in any of the many international organizations established for just that task.

2011-02-22 At Collegium Helveticum Wolfgang Gessner gives a speech on what an individual person is; what constitutes the personal identity; the cognitive map of actions, emotions, is explored as "exakte Wissenshcaft des Geistes (EWG)".
A cognitive science of the mind is epistemic possible - that assumption can be drawn from his talk. Then he compares with "Bewegungsmaschinen", Robots and Androids, which have some ability to interact and communicate. The task would be to construct an android with mentality and mental states and emotions that is enacted in posture and movements, and give meaning in communication. An android could make interpretations of inner mental states of its interactive partner and actively offer a self representation of its inner state in communication with others. "Mental Zustandssysteme" are proto-consciousness in androids. The semantic, inner meaning generator, and guiding actions to a cooperative and interactive behavior, is still lacking in androids; interaction, action, thinking, communicaton, and interaction are among the core faculties of the human mind. Would there then be several homo sapiens versions?
   Hartmut von Sass continues with a speech, deriving from Heidegger's "In-der-Welt-Sein", "In-Anspruch-genommen-Sein", "Vertrautheit mit der Welt". The core motif of his philosophy postulates that you are what you are in the context of the world you constitute, contra atomism. It is a version of holism. How looks the inner world to Heidegger? There is an existential freedom, situations point at something, we step into the world and are embedded by a "Stimmung"; the world is turning towards us, we have a preunderstanding (Vorverständnis) of the world. How can you come from nature to man? Playing tools have "Bewandtniss"; you cannot bridge from particularities to the wholeness of intentionality; reduction and naturalism are not possible. Mediator Prof Gerd Folkert asks if my cat lives in the world; how can I determine what it feels, can it be among the things in the world with "Befindlichkeit", "Vertrautheit", "Bewandtniss" - does it have "Sorge", "Entsorgung"? Do I only project human imaginations on my cat? von Sass: One is the assimilational view that does not see any ontological difference between man and cat, properties are seen as assimilated and we do no longer after Darwin have a clear line between animal and humans. The property of being a person entails a legal status which is not defined to belong to animals. It is now becomng a somewhat relaxed panel talk: Folkart: My cat's name is Hermine, can a Hermine 2.0 be built? Gessner: the objection is that we project, but each child is personalizing its teddybear. Folkart: consciousness systems can be tested by the Turing test; Hermine 2 would not be able to show more complex responses to situations or produce true emotions. Is it not a construction, could we not ask the cat? Are the two cats identical although we cannot ask that to get the evidence. Gessner: the robotness in the humans is also to be considered. Folkert: would androids reproduce, and how, would that be a threat with overpopulation of androids? Folkart: What is an exact science of the mind? von Sass: stringent, or the most simpe rule that replicates the result. Gessner: rule models do not always work; there are two theories to base the hardware, connectionism and algoritm. Rules can be domain-specific. von Sass: the digital ontology is a "Binnenlogik" in the science, perhaps the best in practice, bottom-up, but not the only one: there are other ontologies, holism top-down, entities should be graspable, and meaningful, but they should work. Gessner doubts "Möglichkeitsbehaupten". 

An e
xcerpt from my academic diary (from an imagined world observatory for knowledge integration) would include a note on the intersection of technoogy and social science, e.g. a series of seminars on the interface between science and social sciences at ETHZ: "Modeling Complex Socio-Economic Systems and Crises 6", today offers a presentation by Michael Szell from Section for Science of Complex Systems, Medical University of Vienna, on "Social Networks in Massive Multiplayer Online Games": Szell is studying social networks in virtual society by means of an interactive game (www.pardus.at) constructed to bring light on human behavior. The goal is to establish a socio-economic laboratory for socieoeconomic behavior (behavioral economics) of whole human societies; social balance is among social theories that can be tested by this method; the study of social networks today is often 'computational social science'. Pardus is an online browser-based game where every player is guiding a spacecraft and acting in economic life (trade, make profit or spend money), having social life (chat, make friends, alliance diplomacy), or exploring life ('science', universe and lifeforms, e.g. encounter a space monster). Is technoogy used here to explore social reality or is there a risk that the technological approach narrows down the complexity of the reality of human behavior. The game allows for an emerging society with parties of different poitical profile, from pure capitalism to communism; players are participating in a closed community and generate a variety of connections, activity games and interaction patterns, growing in complexity. The data buids on over 2000 days with timestamp of unobtrusive information, with three universes. A question is what factors are scarce resources: actions points (the unit of time); you start with 5000 points which you can spend on travel or play etc.
   There are six types of social networks, directed one-to-one interactions: positive/negative, friendship/enmity, communication/attack, trade/bounty. Nature of relations can be available multiplex networks, such as girlfriend, colleagues, family, friends. Reciprocity is high in positive networks, clustering appear if I * others do they * others, among other structural differences between positive and negative interactions. Conflict leads to fat tails, by strong negative emotions.(Szell, Lambiotte and Thurner, PNAS 107, 13636-13641, 2010). But an objection is that the game studies only the behaviors, not the thought and deliberations before actions. The importance of being multiplex at ignorance of relation types is a loss of important information. Network-network interactions describe coexisting links ba link overlap. Communication and friendship correlate, as expected; you look at link overlap, degree correlation, degree rank correlation. Social balance theory, triads of friendship (3+), balanced triads are overrepresented, unbalanced underrepresented (+ is friends and - is enemies)(see Leskovec, Huttenbecher and Kleinberg). In Granovetter (Amer J of Soc 87, 27, 1973) communities are connected by weak ties: the weak ties hypothesis states the degree of overlap of two person's friendship networks correlates with the strength of the ties; studies of mobile phone networks confirm similar findings. The second part of the lecture is about network evolution: does network growth follow preferential attachment? (Barabasi et al). You have 16 variants of triadic closures and we should expect an overrepresentation of among friends. Balanced triadic closure of a positive relation is more frequent, but conversely your friends enemy can become either your enemy or your friend with equal probability. (www.eccs2011.eu) What are the questions raised by this research? Is economic behavior in games for entertainment the same as behavior in real economic life? Is there not a crucial difference between "virtual" and "real" here? Somehow, the sociological dimension, the degree of change from real to virtual life, comes into the scope of observation. Aims among players can be very different. How can one be sure that people who knows it is an online game behave the same as in the real world. I asked whether it can be an epistemic problem to use this game as a method to study economic behavior in real life, when people participating in the game know that they are doing this as an entertainment only.  

WHO is vying for funding of their programmes. But if you by some incidence have some important information to forward to WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan nobody is answering the phone number given for meida contacts on her website, no email either. A recorded voice says that "nobody is available to take your call", no reference to another phone number. WHO is a highly effective organization when it comes to stopping interactive feedback on the quality of its activities, so in this case they will never know what I know, they are not interested in communication; very arrogant organization, closed and not up to date in its communication management. I doubt that sponsors will be willing to fund it. Perhaps one should think of reorganizing it from scratch, building it from the bottom up through an entirely new and sound organizational culture, something that is not in place today.

2011-02-21 Lars Håkanson at Copenhagen Business School apporaches the realm of interpretation theory and knowledge integration in crossing epistemic boundaries in a beautiful article, The firm as an epistemic community - the knowledge-based view revisited (Industrial and Corporate Change, vol 19 Nr 6 pp 1801-1828), where epistemic ommunities and interpretation systems are treated along with knowledge governance. He sees four types of knowledge processes in a Harvard square of horizontal dichotomy Creation fo new capabilities versus Exploitation of existing capabilities against the vertical dimension of within respectively between epistemic communities: articulation, replication, integration and combination. The typology of knowledge transmission and exchange engendered allows for low or high degree of codification crossed by within (apprenticeship/personal interaction) or between (integration/combination) epistemic communities for the low degree of codification, and (information exchange) versus (design and definition of interfaces) for the higher. A useful conceptualization of important core processes of epistemic integration with a frame of organizational governance, and with hints to interpretive processes at work here. Thank you.

2011-02-20 A speech given on August 4, 1969 by physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) at a conference held by Herbert-von-Karajan-Stiftung in Salzburg carried title: "Das Schöne in der Natur", the beautiful in nature (printed originally as "Die Tendenz zur Abstraktion in moderner Kunst und Wissenschaft", in "Schritte über Grenzen", /Collected works/: gesammelte Reden und Aufsätze, Piper, München, 1971:264-74). This is one of the most beautifully flowing speeches I have read, and so because of the integrity of its form and content, making simple and yet overarching observations bearing on conclusions with great implications for art and sciences both: the transgressional flow of phenomena are incisive and convincing; in a reprint of papers collected to honor Herbert von Karajan ("Mensch und Musik. Festschrift für H v K" ed Walter C Simon, Otto Müller, Salzburg, 1979: page 58) Heisenberg's evidential simplicity pinpoints the essential: "Die Kunst hat ja andere Aufgabe als die Wissenschaft. Während die Wissenschaft erklärt [explains], verständlich macht [makes comprehensible], soll die Kunst darstellen [express; perform a designed presentation of...; a gestalt], erhellen [enlighten], den Grund des menschlichen Lebens sichtbar machen [make visible the ground for human life]. Art is expressing the sense of life of the people and especially of young people; but the youth does not feel well integrated in society and life; they aim for "Entstaltung" instead of "Gestaltung" with worrying signs described by psychologists. If art is expressing this confusion - and there was also a long confusion during the theory shift of quantum theory and relativity theory - we will be able in due time to see the pattern of how the world is reflected in this art - and grasp the logic of its higher level of abstraction; this is a process necessary to get beyond mere chaos which is uninteresting for the human mind: "...dieses Streben nach Vereinheitlichung und Zusammenfassung führt notwendig zur Abstraktion, wahrscheinlich in der Kunst ebenso wie in der Wissenschaft." (63) The personal tone of this speech, where Heisenberg is relativizing his own judgement by disclaimer due to inexperience in the arts, bring us close to a great mind. Greatness in this case is honesty and absolute integrity of the reasoning that links his observation with his simple and yet incisively convincing reflection on the phenomena evidently experienced. I can think of no better example of a transdisciplinary integration that stays close to the original phenomena of nature and mind.

German author Thomas Mann (1875-1955) was asked to summarize his relation to music, next to last year in his life, by Swiss radio (1954, the programme is published and was recently resent): his reply starts with the oldest memory of a strong and essential music experience, from Hans Knappertsbusch conducting Richard Wagner prelude to Lohengrin, in the cultural ambience of the Lübeck theater where the Mann family was deeply embedded. It was a decisive experience of his youth. Mann notes that the summit of the Romantic era was in music, not in literature or painting. It is an interesting phenomenon, not unique to geniuses, that a peak experience of music is capable of changing the biography of an individual or resetting conditions for the course of life (Gabrielsson et al). Such a link between music and life essentially bridges and reinforces the strength of the role of creative arts in society. It arts (e.g. composers of opera and symphonic works) can model the complexity of the world of an individual, we do not only have a powerful tool for integration (psychosocial development) but also an explanation that defines the role of arts in society as an important promotor for social maturation through culture. This would have clear political implications for any sensitive and intelligent mind. Mature societies also seem to have realized this opportunity and implemented policies to directly (by state funding) or indirectly (by allowing tax exemption for private donations) to promote cultural quality in a variety of forms. But the discussion among politicians on quality criteria is either very weak or even, at times, non-existent - likely because of a populist fear of exclusion that would not attract masses of votes in the way the mandates of the people is commonly acquired.

The query on the issue of insanity among the ones behaving evil (e.g. the cruelties of Nazis and comparables in wars and conflicts) and among terrorists is a question which regularly resurfaces in media: I have my invested stake in the discussion since I launched my project proposal on "Global Dissonance Resolution and Symphonic Order" which was favorably commented by Professor Kurt Spillmann at ISN (ETHZ), Lennart Berntson (Roskilde Univ), "UD" (Swedish Foreign Ministry), the Pope Johannes Paulus, Kofi Annan, and many other notable personalities; it layed out the idea to use much more of knowledge trangressing disciplinary borders, such as psychiatry, personality analysis, clinical and cognitive psychology and psychopathology, even transdisciplinary musicological knowledge integration (providing models of dissonance resolution for the work with conflicting counterpoints towards harmonization). But the solution, as I said, does not lie within only political science. Unfortunately, media perseveres in believing just that - look for instance at Patrick Loughton "Are Terrorists Insane?" at Project Syndicate. I think a correct reply to this essential problem - that of ensuring forthcoming generations leaders wise and sane - has a solution that can be reached, but only by a considerable scholarly collaboration. It is somehow disturbing to see how huge research projects and programmes (like HUGO, the decoding of the human genome) can "easily" win support and be funded whereas a similarly interdisciplinary research conglomeration to solve huge problems facing mankind through a social sciences frontier initiative (that integrates medicine with political science and history, as well as many other useful pieces of knowledge) does not trigger the public donators to act properly; this does me increasingly suspicious of the power players dancing on the political scenes, as they may have a reason to appear blind at such a challenge.
   It seems to be more fruitful to look at how prevailing patterns of value orientation in present society tend to distort human thinking (and acting): "Is Economics the problem" by James Kwak is worth a look at the bog The Baseline Scenario. If economics is a 'deficient' science, or otherwise scholarly untrustworthy (because it lacks reference to a value system), then surely living in the right (i.e. in a good) emotional and social environment, with values embedded in society and reinforced by culture, is a prerequisite for preparing our leaders for their challenging tasks; we need a new kind of vaccination effect of a more encompasing notion of education that 'incorporates' maturity and wisdom, i.e. a certain level of resistance to weak values and weak identities in the environment that put a pressure on the leaders integrity in decision making. This gives us the reason for our suggested method of dissonance resolution.
   In a country used to longstanding compromizes as "best solution" as a resolution to political conflict (such as CH) the publicly produced folders laying out consequences of voters' alternatives are often very thorough-looking and 'close-to-objective' in its presentations. But people also need to know their representatives better. Therefore, Smartvote, which produces opnion maps along important bipolarity dimensions is used; and even better, its reliability is critically scrutinized (today in NZZ Sonntag). Handelszeitung is repeating one of Roubini' worries, that our G-20 might deteriorate to a gobally instabilizig G-0 where nobody provides the functioning framwork needed for gobal agreements (
"Die führunglose Weltgemeinschaft birgt enorme Risiken"); but I start to wonder if Nouriel is a bit speculative; it is too easy to invent an imminent danger and get the 'automatic' credit of media exposure for an idea whose reliability and predictive power cannot be tested until it is much too late (and at that point noboby will be interested in the worries - especially if they proved unsubstantiated). Perhaps you should not speculate about reality because reality will almost always tell you you were wrong; better perhaps to 'speculate' over something beyong the knowable, especially if it a constructive vision you are providing; then it can guide the good towards a better goal that if you hadn't published your idea. But it has to have powerful implications and an inherent road to reality that can be truthfully implemented within the frame of what is both conceivable and possible for reality... 

2011-02-19 A few distractions on the importance of a doctorate: In some societies and for some people, such as the German Minister of Defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a doctorate counts as a confirmation of trustworthyness and reliability to the extent that, for example NZZ in its commentary today, recommends that the man cancels his career plans for becoming the German Bundesminister after Angela Merkel. And the Tagesanzeiger reports that Guttenberg gives up his doctorate at Beyreuth university, due to alleged plagiarism. But this is also a clear indication of what counts in Europe's most powerful economy, Germany: "Ehrlichkeit", "Zuverlässigkeit", "Fleissigkeit", "Ernsthaftigkeit", etc. Another thing is that a doctoral dissertation is never more that the status of scholarly knowledge or science at the time of its public defense. Given so, who would not want to get the chance to update, complement or amend details of his or her dissertation many years after; the reflections on the status of knowledge itself requires time to flow. Switching to another discipline, for instance, although Celibidache affirmed the chapter on his "musikalische Phänomenologie" in my thesis (1994), at Gasteig Kulturzentrum in 1993 (three years before Celi deceased), there are some publications I should want a new edition to include: Klaus Umbach' "Celibidache - der andere Meister. Biographische Reportagen" (Piper, München & Zürich, 1995) is a "distant" account of his life, his sayings and the public critique his workings engendered; much of it would be fervently rejected by Celi himself had he been still around. But this indicates how important a "double exposition" is, the need of counterpoints to get an interpretation in relief; this reflects the "principal" difficulty of direct access to "the real" reality, and confirms the fact that we always and constantly try - again and again - to reach the closest account of reality to catch all or most of its properties in words; and still, how futile is not this effort or ours? Apparently, on this point, maestro Celi himself was right on the spot: he questioned verbal interpretation (sometimes called by him "literarische Quatsch") as having nothing with reality, i.e. experiential phenomena of music, to do, as being an incomfortable and disturbing circumvention on the path to our direct experience of the music; but the question remains to be explained to contemporary audiences, on how the truth of an individual access to experientiable phenomena of reality can be trusted. Well, for this question, read my thesis, and keep in mind, that the truth is potentially at hand inside your mind, released by the encounter that precisely triggers the lived experiences, the emotions and the inner feelings, the images and processes internal to your consciousness and filled by its content...(sounds complicated? You need to take some time to reflect on the fundamental epistemology inherent to consciousness' functions and the acts of phenomenal experience, and music is not a bad example to use, to epitomize and modeling that process of understanding. For those devoted to music a booklet - Sergiu Celibidache Über musikalische Phänomenologie Ein Vortrag in Celibidachiana I Werke und Schriften edited by Patrick Lang and Mark Mast published by Sergiu Celibidache Stiftung, Wissner Augsburg 2008).
 
But many things happened in science since those days. To give but one brief example (to which I will return at next instance): We do have a serious and thorough development in the scinece of consciousness and in neural sciences which by now has reached forward to the frontier of the fundamental conditions for the epistemic questions (albeit not found yet a final and "complete" explanation), a Swedish neuroscientist as Björn Merker is one of those having presented his independent theory of consciousness: "Consciousness as reality format. Position paper for online Workshop on Theories of Consciousness, 2009", highly worthy of a closer study; the text has been revised and extended and I read his expanded version, a highly condensed piece of logic for the basic functioning of the mind, "Nested ontology and causal options: A paradigm for consciousness" (2010), prepared for printing in a forthcoming anthology on fundamentals of the functioning of human consciousness; keywords include "architecture of consciousness, constraint satisfaction, control theora, egocenter and naive realism". His essential reasoning derives from three core premises: that consciousness implements a mutual interface between sensory targeting selection, motor action selection and motivational ranking.
 

2011-02-16 What is really meant by "The Experience Economy" is a query posted by David Brookes in IHT: he points (by adducing convincing example) to the difference between wealth and standard of living, although both these distinct experiences are related and felt 'subjectively'. The catch is that most innovations in the internet era, such as Facebook, Twitter and Ebay, do add some form of social happiness (or potentially so), therefore making people feel 'richer in life', but in fact do not increase economic output or production; in fact they reduce the number of jobs available (cf. the heavy industries, like automobile and other material goods). Brookes point is that this divergence between subjective experience and economic reality makes people live beyond their economic means. But, at the same time, I find it unfair to blame the economic crisis of US on overconsumption only; the formula seems to forget that regulators denial plays a decisive role in the potentiation of desastrous direction of budget balande, and that is an entirely different thing. But it is a good starting point for a transdisciplinary diaogue, and a theme that should be put on the agenda.


2011-02-13 It is a surprising reveal to some people in our time that music functions as an explanatory to modern physics: a beautiful example is "The Elegant Universe - superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory" (1999) by Brian Greene: In chapter 6, the foundations of superstring theory is "nothing else as music". But what is meant by this? Greene is quoted by Frédéric Chaslin in La Musique dans tous les sens (2009; préface by Aldo Naouri), but it is not the basis of a new music theory. Such a basis would require a law of universal derivation from natural laws to social, cultural and aesthetic phenomena.


2011-02-12 Tonight I am seeing a film on Austrian author Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989): his existence respresented a phenomenon of societal sanity; the fact that he was tolerated and his works published is a healthy sign indicating that society at that time (before the full revolution of internet) had ample space for free speech. A hundred years ago that was the case also in Scandinavia, at the era of Strindberg and Ibsen. But despite progress of technology, and its dissemination among all layers in society, the new options were quickly ursurped by public authorities and used in an increasingly ambigous way, to control and regulate the flows of thought, by means of permissive pressure. One reason why power pathology grows increasingly malign in our days is the ease of access, and the simplicity of duplication of its use as a control measure. The exercise of regulatory function in society needs the distribution of power claimed by political theory now more than ever. The legitimately elected power players are themselves caught in the web of a perfidious logic; such as when, following IHT, PM Reinfeldt's less envious and only remaining option is to answering the international critique of the Swedish justice system (described as "flawed" by lawyers of Mr Assange) by the word: "condescending". To get society to become a tasteful cake you need at least three ingredients: competence, resources and power, in that order of importance. If there is a antagonist relation between power and competence (unidirectionally so, power rejects competence, not the reverse of it) the power will win over competence in the struggle for the same resources and leave competence starving. Tension increases and competence may move internally to embody other functions more tolerated by power (intellectuals may try becoming entrepreneurs in response to withdrawal of support for free speech and free research; this is also the case when governments direct the sole resources of research inte what they decide as useful domains); polyhony is reduced to plainchant, the feathers of firebird suddenly appear less colorful. The malignity is in the inability of the societal power layer to absorb and make use of the products of free critical intellectualism. Only pluralism, allowance of a multitude of critical voices of opinion, in simulateous combination of a far-reaching distribution of resources on many hands, can provide society with the promise of a healthy development. But, of course, there is a possibility to let diplomacy save the face: the double-play is an external denial of any upcoming problem - while at the same time the wise leader (even if he or she is caught in the web of power relations) will start a process of reforming the errors revealed by his critics. The critics are actually the blood and brain of society, but their existence depend on the tolerance of the power-players unless the intellectuals withdraw from the flawed legal systems of selfdenial used to thwart intellectual opponents. When business climate is affected by this intolerance, and innovative thinking is infected by the narrowing of the scope, exodus will inevitably follow and drain society of its precious competence resource.
   I should ask Horace Engdahl, the former secretary of Svenska Akademien, presently sharing his time between Stockholm and Berlin, why Thomas Bernhard never got the Nobel Prize in Literature. Bernhard was a greatly original author, driven by an emotional ambiguity in his way of living, observing and interpreting the immediate reality. His societal critique is based on lived experience, and a mode of observing that retains the evidence of a child's perception, and then, his literature are elaborated from the evidence of the states and responses to what he sees. Only the experienced reality counts as a source of his writings, and therefore, his autobiographical works is seminal evidence of his method. There is also a truly musical feature of his literary work, more so than perhaps any other contemporary author; the process of his thinking generates a sequence of theme and variations, deeply anchored in modes of musical cognition. Beyond music, his reading most essentially comprised of scientific and scholarly works, and indication of his critical view on reliabiity; perhaps he was implementing an epistemology of reality interpretation anchored in his personal phenomenology. Than is then aready another sign of how his musical mind worked in any other, widely applicable field of reality....    


2011-02-11 One would not only risk insanity precisely by trying to list all the insanities of our time. It would also be a useless exercise unless you are able to provide corresponding remedies. One sensible point of departure would be, instead, to discuss the principles of their categorization. Obviously, among these 'insanities' (galenskaper i vàr tid) the bureaucratic nightmares would amount to a fare share of the whole cake; but lack of accountability is but one of the well-known causes of irresponsible acting - that violate 'true' human rights - among public authorities' treatment of individuals; and these things, however awkward they are, are probably more evenly distributed among developed and developing coutries that the former would like to admit. At least, in some countries, people react against insane governmental policies, Egypt being the most obvious case at the moment. Even a top-rated country like Switzerland is exposed to internal social tension that takes considerable forms of expressions; fathers take action and send packages of stones to Bundesrätin Simmonetta Sommaruga in Bern to protest against a delay of a proposal of intriducing shared custody in the country (20 Minuten, today). Only, is it a mystery that Swedish fathers are so passive, and naive, or do they in fact not see the dangers of a longstanding femifascist polica that deprived them and their children of human rights. What counts in this world is not what is written on papers, or stored in a electronically manipulative manner, but what in effect becomes the result of decisions and policies given the fact of social reality at hand. Therefore, formalist democracies are dangerous as long as they are not underpinned by a true commitment to lasting human values; to get many people to understand that is possible only of they are subjected to a specially designed treatment of their cognitive faculties - but as antielitism suppressed the knowledgeables, and feminism killed psychoanalyses, the very basis for developing further the tools needed for a maturity coaching program for leaders (the licensing of politicians and others in responsible positions) were efficiently removed. Nobody is anylonger capable of complaining, nobody would listen to their claims; the singing of these sirens are silenced once and for all. There is no way back to a society that is respecting people for what they are since the ones who are in charge will always govern from the approximation of their populism mandate; noting is supposed to exist above the intellectual level of the officials in power; the difference on this point is not large between democracies and other forms of government.
   If it is clear that state systems will always be 'dangerous' to the higher human intelligences (and destructive to the finer talents), it is true that the alternatives are not much more encouraging; private or public governance seem to engender the same problems; would it be preposterous or arrogant to assume that it should be a fair step to investigate whether the causes of the same problems in both fields are also the same? The difference in appearance between the private and the public power systems is clear on the surface (the politicians claim to be ethically representing their voters while the directors of commercial corporations act to soothe the greediness of their stockholders, to put it bluntly); but underlying the surface, on a deeper layer, the problem seems largely to be the same: it is in the thow dimensions of depth and scope of understanding that the leaders fail. The deeper level of commitment entails a set of values that is not only sustainable but also defendable from a coherent well-designed systems of ethical logics. To reach an acceptable quality we need to introduce additional criteria in the processes of recruitment to leading and responsible positions both in public and private organizations. When we think about Fukuyama's book on Trust we understand the essential conditions for building functioning organizations that create value (whether social or corpoate in kind), but remember that trust is the outcome of underlying processes of dialogue understanding; and dialogue understanding is a kind of interpretational process that balanced selfinsight with sense of reality. Therefore, no bypass around the maturity of personality on the part of the leaders on the post are available; no political process is immune against the errors implied in deficient interpretive processes. It is simply a condition for 'sanity' of cognition that must be reached in order to fend off costly destruction of social and cultural values; and the problem is that these values are to a large part potential, they are not yet real; but peasants and farmers around the world and during ages have understood that killing the calves comes to a price, and it takes an effort to abstain from instant gratification of the immediate dinner table. How much science or scholarly effort do we need to support this claim? First, one can say, surprisingly little; the course of history provides sufficient stories on how things went wrong; if we subtract all the bad cases from possible vistas we do not get many left over to consider seriously; but modern neuroeconomics and behavioral finance are among the intersciences of interest to explaining the driving biological and neurosocial correlates to these phenomena. In the end, cognitive philosophy together with neuropsychology will provide us with very comprehensive explanations of the trends and options of the acts of interpretation that led the human mind through evolution.
   For instance, Humanity's Memory Bank, Legacy, tries to encourage leaders to donate the best of their selfexperienced wisdoms and creaty a repository of modeling behaviors: there you meet proponents of the leadership role from very different organizational settings and industries. The idea is that we should learn from listening to their life stories; the word listening is essential here, although we are provided with videos, because nothing is more revealing to human emotion than the sound of a human voice; the honesty of the intention can be assessed in no other way than through the human voice. Personal qualification becomes the sole asset on comparison; just take a look at, for example, Cornelio Sommaruga and Daniel Vasella, and a number of Nobel Laureates on the menu. The attractivity of the initiative is confirmed by its participants and easy to understand if you consider the less cumbersome effort needed to act in an interview than to write your own memoir. Perhaps some of the most important human experiences, potentially useful and valuable in application, do easily get lost when old people decease; trivial impediments to writing books are overcome and the dialogue process in the interviews can help focus on the essentials to others, and make the process of derivation useful to inumerable situations. 


2011-02-10 Values in Science is an issue key to interdisciplinary research not only because values, at core of the epistemic processes of scientific production, are one of the most basal common denominators in knowledge society. The debate origines in the works by Max Weber (1864-1920) - G. Zecha edited a authoriative account, "Werte in den Wissenschaften. 100 Jahre nach Max Weber (Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2006) - who assumed sciences were "wertfrei". Martin Carrier at Bielefeld university examines the drivers of science in society in "The Challenge of th eSocial and the Pressure of Practice. Science and Values Revisited (Univ of Pittsburgh Press, 2008): there are value-driven and need-driven research, with or without defined practical goals in advance of the research-work itself; grand programmes can be successful - as the Human Genome Project - or les so (Nixons political "War on cancer"). Philosophers and scientists during the ages, including Galileo Galilei, Francis Bacon and Karl Popper - struggles to get a coherent grasp of these intricacies. Carrier sees four basic forms of values: epistemic, ethical, utilitarian, and social, and believes all sciences is carried through in a field of values making a complex matrix of these endeavours, as reported in a readable article, "Werte in der Wissenschaft" in Spektrum der Wissenschaft, Nr 2, 20100, pages 66-70.
   Since when did homo sapiens actually become homo oeconomicus? And: does risk beaviour depend on genes? These questions put evolution and Darwin right into the trading floor of Wall Street. Science journalist Sascha Karberg delivers a readable essay, "Die Wurzeln von Geiz und Gier", in Bild der Wissenschaft (Nr 2, 2011, pp 18-25), on Genoeconomics. Related readings include: Haim Ofek Second Nature - Economic Origins of Human Evolution (Cambridge UP, 2001) and Hnry Harpending & Gregory Cochran The 10 000 Year Explosion - How Civilizations Accelerated Human Evolution (Basic Books, N.Y., 2009). It is suggested, building on research around the Martin Nowak group and David Rand at Institute for Evolutionary Dynamics,
at Harvard university, tha people with the DRD4-mutation are more risk-prone than others, and, on the other end of the scale, the AVPR1a gene should make altruism possible, an advantage in societal communities that rely on collaboration to survive.
    The conditions for big pharma is becoming more critical: many of these companies, such as Glaxo, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, need to downsize its large laboratories for drug research; innovation development is becoming too expensive and outsourcing becoming one of the solutions. The other way is to readjust the strategy; more and more of these companies, even the giant Swiss ones (Novartis and Roche) are feeling constraints; most of them align to health consumer thrends, especially relating to nature related and food related innovation products. Prescription drugs appear less attractive from a business perspective. FT is covering the theme today by Andrew Jack, "Supply running low", which together with a couple of recent articles, "The new model for bioscience - The industry has not recognised the complexities of human biology" and "Medical research hub to be built as planned" (by Clive Cookson), is painting a more mixt picture than since long. However, facing the shutting down of Pfizer's plant in Sandwich, Brittons are feeling urged to set a record to signalize they are in the future biotech to stay: two of its many Nobel Laureates, Tim Hunt and Paul Nurse
(both 2001) will lead a new large interdisciplinary center biotech research, following the trend to get better joint efforts together with academia; UKCMRI will be situated in the middle ot London, at St Pancreas and the British Library, to mark this stance. The cost of commercial presentation will thus be reduced and much of the preproduct phase can be performed in risk-sharing projects with smaller and medium specialist companies; the dynamics and the potential is much greater for such a constellation. This is a major shift in the industry, felt in UK but also in Sweden (where Lund lost a large plant driven by AstraZeneca). The new centre in London, UKCMRI, eplains its mission with two headers on its homepage, "Better healthcare through innovation" and "Discovery with a purpose"; this releases the governmental funding for it, even in an age of utmost austity felt by the British authorities at this time. We should remind us of the other huge initiative, Nya Karolinska in Stockholm, and compare how competent authorities behave with taxpayers money; the more there are of them, it seems, the less responsible the elected people act; in Stockholm the weekly investigative journa Forum has revealed shocking irresponsibilities that likely will cost the Swedish taxpayers dear billions of kronor. It has to do a lot with the inability to combine broad interdisciplinary perspectives with excellence in specialisation already in the planning process of such huge investments (50 billion SEK in mentioned in Stockholm; a little more moderate in London) over a number of coming years. 
   

2011-02-02 At Inga-Britt Ahlenius' presentation at Hedengrens of her report book on UN's Ban Ki-Moon, Mr Change FN:s förfall under Ban Ki-Moon (Niklas Ekdal, Brombergs, 2011) I entered the public debate by asking: (1) It is obvious how important personality is for leadership of these posts in higher organizations. But then, how come there is no process or instance of recruitment that looks closer on the personal character and qualifications of the candidates of such positions? It would be possible to use the knowledge we have on good and bad leaders, in psychology and psychiatry, ethics and executive skills, to select and test their capacity to bear the implicit responsibility; and (2) I suggest a licensing procedure for politicians to higher posts comparable to what we have for other professionals such as medical doctors, psychologists and priests; Mrs Ahlenius answered there were not really enough interest among the five larger countries in the General Assembly of UN but it would then need to be the many smaller countries that could express their invested interest in such a due dilligence process. I will revise my article in which I made that proposal some years ago and reactualize it for the present needs.
   There is a great potential for an interdisciplinary research project with important applications on the global political arena at this point, but unfortunately, it is difficult to see what organization would be willing to fund an effort in this field. Governments would become afraid they would come under increased scrutiny, and there are no evident sources of funding for this kind of project; independence is key for such an undertaking - requirements on trust in the procedure and result of the research would have to meet extremely high standards to qualify as a proposal to be taken seriously by an international organization; and what organization would have the mandate to forward such a proposal. In addition, international gremia are most often only reached by the prolonged arms of national governments, and there you are back again stuck in your own backyard.
   For instance, the on-going discussion in FT on the democracy of the west (US) versus autocracy of the east (China) by Fukyuama and Rachman and others would be framed in a different context if the governeance systems were discussed in terms of leadership styles; managerial administrative procedures of purely formal kind would be replaced by clear values criteria that the leading person is committed to by means personality structure. This would change the whole political arena and convert it from a place for bulls' fights among power hungry predators, sociopaths or manodepressives, etc, and instead make place for a serious value oriented organizational diagnostics, a new visional yet realistic method for improving the selection process of leaders candidating for posts that need a specially careful scrutiny in recruitment to international organizations. The responsibility and stress tests would also be needed in major corporations where decisions, and especially false decision, could harm or risk huge values, material and human in nature. I will come back on this issue after due elaboration of my former proposal to introduce - as additional criteria in democracies - a licensing for leaders program, a legitimization of competence and personality qualifications for political and corporate leaders with influence on the course of the world.
  
At Karolinska Institutete (KI) Joseph LeDoux, guest neuroscientist professor fron SUNY who wrote The Emotional Brain, lectured on Amygdala: its memory functionality and the possibility of using experimental findings for extinction therapy (e.g. in PTSD) to treat trauma, much an elaboration on his book from 2009 (wiki).

2011-01-25 Gideon Rachman, in response to the "Top 100 Global Thinkers" list in Foreign Policy (FP), is asking (FT): Where have all the thinkers gone? I would say the problem is where the great thinkers hide. Well certainly not among the editorial at FP, and not among those at The Economist, deliveringa 14 page special report on the "global elite". There is something deeply worrying with the lack of depth and reflection on values among these authors. And we do not really need these superficial rankings anymore to incite true change.


2011-01-22 A lucky coincidence: at Royal Library of Sweden (KB) I met one of the few I regard as the leading top among great thinkers we have in Scandinavia, Björn Wittrock, Principal at SCAS (cv at SCASSS, Uppsala university); we had a brief but good talk about the role of history and values in the formation of collective identities; Björn having written an amazingly lucid chapter on Early Modernities: Varieties and Transitions in a book edited together with Shmuel N Eisenstadt (1923-2010) whom I heard and met briefly in Zurich, and Wolfgang Schluchter, Public Spheres and Collective Identities (2001). Björn Wittrock, himself honored with an anthology (2010),
The Benefit of Broad Horizons: Intellectual and Institutional Preconditions for a Global Social Science (edited by Hans Joas and Barbro Klein), coedited the Festschrift for S.N. Eisenstadt the same year, Collective Identities, States and Globalization; Essays in honour of S.N. Eisenstadt. These works are a portal to great global thinkers today who expand our understanding in both scope and depth, dimensions needed to get a perspective on the current continental disorders.   
2011-01-21 Do we need culture to display our values and identities in society and to ensure necessary social cohesion? Do nations need to relate in ways that form hierarchical systems? In what fields could that be an advantage or a drawback, respectively? Well, I think, of course, about what Europe is, its core identity; how that arised, how it was disseminated and established as a root meme of the European culture. It follows that somehow a national culture policy must determine what relation it should have to the larger unity to which it belongs; a national culture policy will inevitably display in action an inherent view on itself, on what it self is, and on what is "other than self"; Swedish culture related to European, and European culture on the global arena. The historic awareness and knowledge of the roots of ones own culture is key for defining "itself", and therefore also for managing the relations to other people and their cultures. Without a clear perception of 'who you are' it will be hard to make sense of any relation with something else; it is as general as that. There is a kind of scale of specificity in the cultural idioms that belong to national core cultures; for example, Norway has defined itself as much more specific, much more 'folkish', than Sweden. D
   uring some considerable time Sweden had more international diplomacy to rely on than Norway for its cultural exchange with other countries; perhaps its identity was not threatened to the same extent and Swedes felt less defensive; but that depends on what era in history you talk about. In the 11th century, Norway was a well structured kingdom whereas the Swedish teritory was split on several weaker rulers; there was a lack of cohesion. The identity formation seem to have taken longer time and developed slower in east and faster in west of the Scandinavian peninsula, at that early time. But later, Swedish identity was consolidated by means of imported style and values, especially from France (during Gustav III, 18th century): the major cultural institutions, including the Royal Academies of Sweden, were formed in these days. They still provide a backbone to the institutional structure, although the innovative flows today derive from other sources. This all is why the story of the culture that formed the national identity works so strongly in all diplomatic connections; and this is why a country needs its storytellers (in literature, music, science and other arts); the richer their story, the more open their critique, the deeper their contact with the original meme, the better defined is the national identity; and this national identity is the currency with which you trade in exchange with other nations, with other cultures, with other people. But the concept of culture is often narrowed down, sadly reduced in public debate (at least in Swedish and for some reason also Norwegian media). Once you have studied the fields of business, science, healthcare, and arts (etc), covering the major playing fields of society, you need to come down to the essentials, a common root of what takes place in these professional arenas; and that is culture: the core of it is built up by the perceptions of values and identities that are sustainably congruent (and coherent). Culture need to be constituted by certain founding features to enable both creativity and critique on its arenas for dialogues and for innovation to be sourced at the core roots of what is perceived as national idiom; that is only one of the conditions, but an important one, for it to be communicable; another condition - quality - is severely underestimated.
   The false shortcut of cognition made the concept of quality related to democracy; there is not such a direct connection between these notions; certain values are linked to democracy and certain values are constituting quality critera; there may be interactions and overlappings; but they are not the same and should not be mixed of diffused. If cultural production is tolerated it can provide a provisory replacement for the dialogue arenas that would have been much too sensitive to establish in a prevailing political climate. History is replete with examples of sensitive issues that were spotted in advance or particularly well interpreted implicitly in the arts, and of course, more explicitly, in literature. If these sensitive issues are denied, erased from the arts and media agendas; then processing of national traumas and inclusion of (or adjustment of) 'updated' values of the core identity, will be impeded or delayed. This is not a problem that is fully covered by the issue of freedom and freedom of speech; it is much more, and it reaches the core process of identity formation in a society. Many crucial issues, like for instance the question why Sweden did not reach out with its classical composers and conductors in the same efficient way as Finnish colleagues, could have been treated on a dialogue arena had the Royal Swedish Academy of Music (KMA,wiki) or some other central institution wanted to provide a place for creating a momentum of change in its area. But history will always reconstruct truth even if it was far from the best of possible worlds that were implemented. It is an indicator of competence in the cultural policy of a nation how it is able to respond to the opportunities inherent to its talent pool or in other ways create a quality level of cultural production that radiates far beyong the national borders. Although consensus populism is a handy method of seemless implementation of a thorough 'democratic mentality', a permeating climate of societal layers, paradoxically, that particular idea converts to a totalitarian thwarting of creative imagination among many innovative people in the cultural professions; this 'harsh observation' implies that arts need wider limits to freedom than otherwise permitted in society; a recent example is artist Lars Vilks whose freedom of expression is vehemently defended even by people who did not agree to his critique of religion (the Muhammed drawings). I know his thinking in depth (because I was present at his public defense of his dissertation in Lund and asked some questions); one must acknowledge that he in fact is capable of a high level of aesthetic reasoning and well oriented among modern aesthetic theory. He is pushing the borders and challenging the rules on may frontiers; for instance, not without interest, he has proclaimed a new state as 'sovereign', named Ladonia; and this challenges in an artistic way the political processes that have formed states during history; it makes us reflect on this phenomena in a new way (regardless of its aesthetic value, or of other values it might display). So, obviously, political art, or art with political implication or themes, are in many ways important to defend, not only to respect the dictum of freedom of speech. The problem must be solved, or the treshold overcome, that when the interactive part in a dialogue fails to function, learning is impeded or the process of assimilation of new ideas is stopped; this is a loss of cognitive resonance which makes any effort to bring forward a valid argumentation useless or ineffective; lack of qualified cultural dialogues are precursors to incompetent cultural policies - such that we have seen too much of during a period of authoritarian exercise of politically determined directives, built on a lower level aggregate of median consensus (Rikskonserter). 

2011-01-19 Danse macabre in Swedish Parliament: Today editorials in leading dailies are commenting on the political befriending party that introduced a year with new mandates. The election in September 2010 had given strong support to the PM Fredrik Reinfeldt and more or less decapitated the opposition since 1996 (the Social Democrats are presently incapacitated). Instead a small party, Sverigedemokraterna (sd), made entré on the scene; although it is not generally seen as a worthy combattant to lead opposition, its leader was one of the few who offered the incumbant some resistance. Here is the dilemma: while the system allows you to reach power only if you silence some incomfortable critics, once you are there on the top you need them and regret having beaten them. The surviving critics are so weakened that they either need to collude with the power or make coalition with other insurgents; the latter is impossible because we have now an entirely new situation on the Swedish political arena: we have a strong middle in power (the Alliance of m, fp and kd), however still a minority; they will need to seek support from either its former major opponent, the Social democrats, once and for long time the largest party in Sweden, or from the small newcomer, sd, which is still considered not 'clean' to enter the arena from what is defined as a populist or far right position on the map of opinions in Sweden. To dance with life or dance with death? The problem is that you need to get in the creative and competent views in polity to get a constructive dialogue and a driving momentum around key problem areas. You might otherwise end up in a political standstill where the only actions seen are 'more of the same' policies.
   The Swedes pay a huge price for their anxious repulsion of wild birds who could have contributed with their creative ideas; the system leaves to air for highflyers badly needed to reinvigorate a grayish political climate. When the incumbent plays the role of least resistance and in a low-key style talks about not more than the self-evident themes, jobs and criminality, the whole agenda stays very mainstream; the challenge would be to "do something", show some courage, make a commitment to a large and forward-looking investment that can position the country more favorably in a changing and challenging global competition; or make some commitment to new alliances that will create a platform from which actions can be envisioned to take steps to ensure prospects of future strategic advantages, for example with Nordic or European colleagues. One should not need to feel worry that the extremely narrowing consensus focused political tradition in Sweden deprives the leaders of the capacity to take creative initiatives. Sweden is a major player among the Nordic countries and no longer only a small country that can be ignored on the global or continental arena; but it needs to make up its mind about its future identity in this more challenging context - which is also offerring the country huge opportunities to take on roles that were earlier unthinkable of. This amounts to redefine its fields of excellence where it can develop a leading role, whether that sould be in business, science, health or culture or some crucial combination of these strategic fields of opportunities. But there is a disease in the social and cultural climate of communication; it is a difficulty to combine in some fertile way the concrete critique (mostly about simple arithmetics of wages and allocation of state subsidies) with an expanded space for visionary ideas beyond the daily needs and duties; how that vision would look like is a thing I would like to come back to; but where is the arena for such a dialogue; the key problem is (and that is a structural deficiency): it does not exist (in countries of prevailing consensus populism). Such visions are almost without exception rejected from the central arenas of political debate; these arenas are anxiously guarded; if you write to them you will normally not get a reply (it is not a society of decent gentlemans' respectfulness); we are dealing with the descendants of the rougher Vikings here preferring to stay at home fighting a harsh nature and surviving winters instead of enjoying a more developed cultural climate or tradition; but now as internet has arrived and lowered the treshold of communication exchange could have become more swift to assimilate some cultivating experiences to enrich the here and now with a then and there carrying the values from a perennial past. Both editorials (in SvD and DN) are retrospect accounts of a retrospect session of sentimental farewell greetings among political colleagues whose identities as politicians were stronger that their commitment to drive crucial themes across opinion delineations; such is the curse of consensus populism... 

2011-01-19 The Annual Parliamentary Party Leaders Debate, broadcasted in radio and web-tv from Sveriges Riksdag: Fredrik Reinfeldt is now very comfortable in his role as Sweden's PM; his style of talk is very relaxed yet humble and simple, while the content of his talk is indeed focusing with few words succinctly on the essentials of the policies of the governmental 'middle field': I see it as a middle field not because it is a minority mandate but just because great sense of consensus and of the auspicies of continuing compromize, while not ideal, seems to have endowed his appearance with a greater distintion - a charisma of a national father ("landsfader"). Maria Wetterstrand (mp) held a passioned talk against the development in Denmark where she cited examples of extremist laws and xenophobic trends. As this was her last talk in the parliament, she stressed euquality and pluralism as bases for a society that she wants to se in Sweden. Because both Mona Sahlin (s) and Maria Wetterstrand (mp) leaves their mandates in the parliament, a number of emotional thank speeches were delivered, and the formalities of the debate was stretched until the border of recognition. There have seldom been such an opportunity to see how the party leaders function as personalities - because of the unusually sentimental atmosphere.
   The party leaders engaged in personal communication and also disclosed their interaction some of their personal feeling for or against (sd against s) each other. Mona Sahlin gave a classical social democrat talk with clear priorities between the social and economic policies, as expected. At this annual inauguration debate it was also a debut of the populist party leader Jimmie Åkesson (sd), critical of the liberal immigration policy and a sole defender of the Danish model of harsh rejection of foreigners. Lars Ohly (v) Göran Hägglund (kd), whose mandate weakened in the last election, continued the sequence of speeches of thanks. Jan Björklund (fp) made a dramatic incision when he addressed the tragedy of the Stockholm suicide attack and the necessity of handling the fears that risk gripping society; there is no place for closeness, we have to mobilize internal strength against the terror. Björklund is the minister of education and leads a reform program in this field: he is a seasoned school politician. The goal is to allocate 1% of GDP to research and totally, private industry contributions included, a total of 4% will be invested in research, development and innovation; Björklund appears as a well-structured and sturdy school reformator and loves to lead the change, but, unfortunately, his understanding of the field of his responsibility is not enough sensitive: does he know what he is talking about, despite his robust and clear rhetoric? Why is it that a politician with a energetic appearance and a good managerial ground as an officer in the military educational system (his sole educational merit is an officersexamen), does not meet the challenge to lead the development of Sweden's educational system in an era of increasing global challenge? His thinking reveals an analytic level not much above the simple arithmetic of preparatory school. It takes more to govern wisely the complex competence fields and opportunities of the country that manages the Nobel Prize; there are dishes on the menu within reach that never appear in the scope of ministers' vision and I will return to what I mean by 'the deficit of critical insight in knowledge-based policy-making'. But that is also a speciality on the Swedish smörgàsbord: because of the extreme equality nobody is in position the evaluate competencies and match the challenges to the people with capacity to solve the problems; the level of cognition is not bad, but inferior to the best only becuase of the fairly reasonable level of knowledge among all people. You can get a country to develop, if it has natural resources, with a simple managerial standard; but you will not reach the level of excellence in leadership that would take a nation from mediocracy to greatness.
   The great potential to make that leap happen lies in the department of education, research and innovation; but it takes another level of insight to make it become real. Lars Ohly (vp), the communist, is fervently criticizing the allocation policies and claims that withdrawals of funding to communcal activities for social purposes cannot be accepted while facing contributions to private industry where, as he states, public subsidies are converted to private profits. Maud Olofsson (c), minister of enterprise and energy, has her mandate from the old opinion structures of Swedish center voters society, a party that has largely lost much of its identity and motifs of existence in the modern world. It was not necessary, according to the prevailing consensus of Swedish society, that a minister in this field should have an education; she is a curious phenomenon on the disordered firmament of Swedish political scenery. There is an apparent difference in intelligence in the debate on the Swedish railway system and its dysfunction during hardships of winter cold: Maria Wetterstrand argues that the railway travel system is the one that is increasing in importance but Maud Olofsson, responsible for infrastructure, has decreased support to sustaining the quality and repair of it. Swedish media has recently put its spotlight on the surprising difference between reliability of the public communication systems in two such similar countries as Sweden and Switzerland: you have had extreme problems with the trains and with failures of technology of the Swedish railway system; Sweden is since long in desperate need of a fast train system of the sort you find in 'more developed countries': France, Germany, Japan, and China, all have trains with extreme speeds; and Sweden should have had both the need and the opportunities (because of its engineering tradition) to develop such a thing to make connectable its distanced regions and boosting business. Lars Ohly (vp) made a point, at least rhetorically, when he brought his copy of today's Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), the leading liberal newspaper, which, according to Ohly has an honest news reporting, and which is displaying a number of severe cases of less fortunate social consequences of the present policies; his argument is that the government has lost contact with reality and is already, in its second mandate period, getting carried away of its own success; although it is often easier to criticize than to defend a power policy, one should have expected that Maud Olofsson had the ability to reply on the critique; avoidance or introducing other themes does not take it all forward. Ohly continuing on an objection from Jimmie Akesson, explains that preventive measures are the most effective against criminality; increased punishment and penality does not work as examples from research and from other countries with higher criminality and higher penalties. Göran Hägglund (kd) introduces his major address on suggesting fictional "prizes" to what he senses was the tenets of his political colleagues. He recounts the successful management of the post financial crisis but stresses the need to having forward-looking visions; the nationa was built on sustainable values such as wisdom, decency, thrift, and compassion. These are the bases still necessary to move on and handle the problems still remaining. Society is coherent by a sense of community and shared values; not only materialism or individualism is the solution, family conditions are important. Sweden needs an idea debate; children and young people who display symtoms of depression and various health and social problems needs to be addressed; healthcare for the elderly is an increasing challenge with the progress of longevity in sight. These are perspectives built on values that are needed to improve society. Because Hägglund is social minister in the governmental coalition Ohly is adducing a sensitive extradition case where Sweden is sending people back to regions where they (Christian Iraquies) face (religious) persecution; people who demonstrate in solidarity for human rights are detined by police; Hägglund answers not concretely, by referring only to the general laws and immigration policies in place, actualy avoiding to face the critique as such; suddenlty his values are not so valid for cases in the real world?....

2011-01-16 An important debate on CNN's GPS with Fareed Zakaria
on the present state and prospect of US economy with Lawrence Summers, and on US and its weapons with Mark Ames, James Taranto, Bernard Henri-Levy and Richard Cohen: "Why US so different?". It needs a French philsopher, Bernard Henry-Levy who's promoting his last book "Public enemies", to introduce the idea that "US must wake up to break the gun lobby". What is it that went so wrong so that America now needs a new and larger dose of humanity injected into its culture from its root code, Europe? A theme worth returning to.

2011-01-15 In his IHT column Paul Krugman addresses the "fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government" that deeply divides American political morality, the ones who feel socially responsible against the "tyrannical" liberty activists who desperately want to keep every dollar they earned for themselves; Krugman worries that he lives in i society still really far from equal opportunity. He is right that thwarting chances of implementing a productive life, in contribution to others (family and society), is a drawback for economical recovery. But he focuses on the "question for now": what it is possible to agree on given the deep divide. If we have two different opinions (I say 'voices') we can either focus on measuring the gap by any suitable standard, or you can try to
determine the elements that constitute the difference against that similarity; but it might be both more realistic and constructive to focus on what keeps the divergent voices conceivable as 'keeping together'; there must be something or some point, some argument to rely on that is common or shared, to which you can revert and to which both positions despite their apparent divergence can refer. To get divergent opinions into the same conceptual system of principal value terms is a useful first step in the analysis simply because it provides the basis necessary for any communication. Then, as David Brooks maintains, there are narcissists who believe they themselves or their party have sole access to truth; these are the fundamentalists who prefer monologue to dialogue. But it would be a false and dangerous illusion to try to revert to cold war theologian Reinhold Niebuhr; he had his time. The roots of the personal modesty that he preached have long since been severed and cannot be reestablished by means of neomoralist opinion-making in a guise that might not attract modern people (not that I am against religion, but we need first to find effective strategies to solve urgent problems at hand); but a reinterpretation of Niebuhr's ideas converting them from political philosophy into a tool of the social psychologist's analysis may contribute to understanding psychologically some of the underlying drivers and motivators that move people off the road into one or the other of the two ditches. Worrying over the lack of overarching common concepts for the interaction in Sino-U.S. relations, Henry Kissinger warns of two contrarian versions of exceptionalism which risk derailing into self-fulfilling prophecies. The multi-billion dollar question is how this divergence can be reconciled. For now, it is a clash of styles; the America pursues its problem-solving approach and the China masters the management of contradictions; the former is the efficient method for quick-fix that built great organizations, world-leading universities and corporations, with fervor and impatient speed, the latter is a process-oriented long-term strategy that established one of the most sustainable cultural societies in human history. They now both need to learn from each other. They need to selectively discern similarities, explore differences in values, ideas, approaches and methods to society-building in a global context. The emotional containment of the millennium-aged Chinese culture can help Americans transcend, expand and modify a tendency centering in on 'shortsighted actionism'; but the financial crisis seem to have demonstrated a limit to the application of the success model of "the American dream" in all fields; and the society struggles with social problems (such as violence and criminality) which tarnished its reputation.
   China faces a tremendous challenge in its efforts to guiding the released momentum of an heretoforth unseen economic expansion and chanelling the fruits of a sharply rising new form of capitalism to its billion-headed population in need for benefiting from its goods. The blessings of the US experience of pragmatic policies are welcome tools to implement and control the grand design of the soaring dragon. A new integrative framework is much needed to 'enlist' the most successful organizing principles in both of the super-powers. This will require a new level of the art of 'symphonic' interactive exchange and new skills in extended processes of combining strategic elements into a coherent global policy; in the present situation individualist withdrawal is obsolete and, what more, it is an inapt attitude to survive and prosper in our century; Kissinger sees the challenge to leaders who continue to act on their common interest in building "an emerging world order as a joint enterprise". International media is relentlessly putting a spotlight on the most sensitive points that hurts on either side. The gradual opening-up of transparency and human rights is a slow and laborious process witnessed by global observatories as the western and eastern systems clashed (for example in the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize conflict), as is also the process of consolation after the losses from the clash between violent rampages and the blunt denial of responsible commitment among the extremists (I have not looked into the politics of the Tea Party but, as a physician, might have felt inclined to order a closer examination of its leader Ms. Sarah Palin, before determining if and to what extent the diagnostic criteria of a particular form of femifascism could be met at that instance; there is certainly an ugly sociodynamics at work in the case). Exceptionalism on both sides need to be replaced by a somewhat more sophisticated form of inclusionalism for these processes of negotiation to become a true salvation of the world. For that purpose I think we need a new epistemology of reinterpretation capable of providing a framwork for a successful knowledge integration of both longterm prospective strategy and hands-on problem-solving skill. My vision is that Europe, with its cultural history as an invaluable but still largely untapped asset, could provide the best possible platform for such a round of revigorating global neotiations and 'contain' that laborious process of global strategic integration, act II. I cannot see why not the Nordic countries, together with international NGOs in Switzerland (including World Economic Forum), should not play a much more actively inviting role in such an opus operandi.

2011-01-13 So while it is true that patterns of cognition seem to be released along with certain historical styles of thinking pertaining to a specific language (English, German, French, etc) - and we expect deeper differences between the cultures from more distant continents carrying their respective language-styles - this does not allow any reverse conclusion on the capacity of cognition. But cultural style counts. Societies and economic systems are built on cultures; a differentiation into language-bound conceptualization brings us to specialization in "smaller" cultures where professional networks and peer groups are formed. Promise comes with peril. The group might not be able to see beyond the borders and domains it belongs to. If thinking is no longer adaptive, evolution might start spiraling downwards. Then comes music. Because it is live motion in real time process and a structuration of time flow by the sounds organized into rhythmid patterns, it makes you look in another direction; it makes you transgress the details, transcend the material sounds by an intentional act that extends your intuition forward into an imaginary landscape thus created in our minds. This powerful effect, itself an outcome of neuroevolutionary pressure, works into everyday life; deeper explanations to why music means so much to people in present society are to be searched in this direction. But the problem is when you get a gap in society: large groups who do not follow development getting behind the front curve and unable to manage their lives in an environment of new rules and rules that change faster than ever before. It takes some competence, but not necessarily in form of higher education; rather a form of interpretive competence, neurocognitively or sociopsychologically, to bring these masses of people to the point of selfawareness and selfgovernance. That is a great challenge in present society; and a proactive measue is badly needed to evade upcoming social unrest; sociologists will be able to tell us about the group preferences and perceptions, the dimensions along which we must explore ways to provide them with a sense of sharing and commitment....


2011-01-11 Violence comes again, this time in form of the tragedy of assassinations in Arizona: Gideon Rachman touches briefly an issue (FT) that can be reformulated: These attentats cover targets from the left to the far right, and violent killers in public space like this one (and many earlier in US and Swedish history) are often deranged or disturbed in one or another way. Media and investigators are even worse than the forensic psychoatrists in assessing risks, simply becuse of deficiencies in the diagnostic systems used. But another question received much less attention: Is there a link to politics? And how are these phenomena connected, if so? It is the general political debate climat that counts, and the degree of paranoid demonization, the gap to reality, on which perpetrators act. This is because they need some kind of trigger or even a justification (more or less twisted) to overcome the treshold between imagining and actually acting out the deed. Surprisingly, purely rational political motifs are rare - because violence proves not to be an efficient way of getting your policy implemented; on the contrary, it backfires; the only effect it leaves in society is a tenser level of fear. So there you are again, we have established the vitious circle - fear and paranoia increases tension and triggers i higher magnitude of bipolar pendling of actionable emotions.
   It takes political courage, such as Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt when he recently calmed a shocked people after the Stockholm suicide bombing incident saying something like we shall not be paralyzed; but it also takes competence to understand the underlying dynamics. This competence is often provided by people from the military security intelligence or related agencies. They are political analysts, specialized on terrorism, but not behavior scientists. Sometimes a forensic psychiatrist is consulted, or part of the governmental advisory team, but then it boils down to what the present stage of maturity that discipline can present these days. I have my doubts - have seen and heard them all. In a small country, there is simply not the understanding of what they need; how can they then even search the right qualifications; not a surprise if they do not know how to import nor to develop inhouse the needed knowledge. The problem is just another consequence of a bureaucratic divisions of disciplines that has next to nothing to do with reality; you can have a lot of worthless papers produced on command of a government that does not really know the deeper nature of the problem nor how it can be solved. Illusion-makers are cutting gold from the treasuries filled with inknowledgable taxpayers money in this way; a very efficent but not so funny circus. The essential task of leadership is to create a basic level of trust that impregnates all societal institutions, a safe playing field on which people can act creatively and productively. The key element in such a leadership is not achieved by legislation or other formal commands; it must be built into the culture that people feel they share; it must become a sense of security to provide the deeper relaxation needed to counter paranoid overtension prone to potentially dangerous disinterpretation...

There are actually only two traditional arenas for debate in Swedish paper media, Brännpunkt in Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) and DN Debatt in Dagens Nyheter (DN). Both these places have shown clear tendencies of increasing alignment with prevailing consensus populism. I hear friends and colleagues, all experiences and higly competent people with long professional careers and often with doctorates from recognized universities (especially if these merits are earned abroad) who complain individually or in chorus of the lack of interest among the editors in these media to publish anything that amounts to a critique or a counterpoint in an actuality debate at of the societal agenda.
   Today, the editor at DN Debatt gives space to another of the many "alarmist" voices spreading distrust and insecurity among especially the less well educated parents on what good parenting is by infusing a culture of panic in society against the presumed occurrence of sexual offenses against children. Granted, the theme is important for a number of reasons such as for the sake of prevention and the introduction of effective therapy programmes (this is not a generalized critique but there is no arena for specification available); and as it is highly emotionally loaded perceptions and opinions on the matter are intensely contagious. But if you are posing as an authority, you need to make sure not to be carried away beyond what sensible balance and moderation allows; it is obvious that the two authors in this case do not live up to that challenge; very often it is because of a personal immaturity - against which it is not so easy to find a working remedy - that quality distiction in the working is imperiled; the methodologies within which the authors have been working are much too limited for the scope of fullfilling the expectations on the part of the commissioners of their investigation; as the report was ordered by the government, this is a worrying circumstance; it supports many of the voices currently questioning serious reliability of the policy procedures in Swedish society. While you cannot expect that editors even if they should prove to be experienced investigating journalists will be able to distinguish the weaknesses in the logical reasoning in a policy article from two formally purported autorities, Màns Rosén and Niklas Långström, one must deplore that the Swedish society has declined to the extent that it is no longer possible to pursue a serious dialogue on what in depth is a scientific dilemma. Given that these two authors, chief of the Statens beredning för medicinsk utvärdering (SBU, in Swedish: SBU, press release and report) and professor in Psychiatric Epidemology at Karolinska Institutet (KI), seem not to be aware of the fundamental problem of attribution and diagnostic differentiation, it becomes difficult to see the link between the scholarly ground they adduce and the policy conclusions made for an investigation commissioned by the Swedish government. Unfortunately, for such an important issue at stake, this weakens their argument; there would be an immediate need to scrutinize the bases of their policy conclusions as some of these but not all can be motivated and likely to be efficient, but other point among their suggested measures are unfounded and even potentially counterproductive, if not outright dangerous for society, for adults as well as children and young people who depend on building up a longterm trusting of each other without disturbind interference of suspicion, and possible increase of the common paranoid level in society. The authors should know that Harvard square has four positions, in this case: (1) false admittance, (2) true admittance; (3) true allegation, (4) false allegation; these should be reduced to real/false event and delineations defined for all positions; there is no way to avoid this labortious work, even if you are in a hurry to deliver on the governmental order. As this is a complex and important problem to disentangle and not easy for the government to sort out, it should require considerable analysis in detail to explain the grounds of a critique which is, in its conclusion, withdrawing the entire foundation of the policy recommendations built on a faulty investigation. One should, however, not engage in a debate where one is not given due airtime and where there is a total lack of commitment to open and democratic dialogue on a crucial point. Societies imbued in their own illusions are seldom welcoming political freedom and with deterioration of freedom of speech they soon lose even their commitment to human rights, and, in this case, especially the human rights of the child to a quality parenting during its development. There will be opportunities to discuss the problem of quality deterioration in Swedish science-bases policy-making at a high-level seminar arena in another country where there are still some decent moderation, some wisdom and values left. The key problem lies at the level of scientific epistemology and is an encompassing and challenging problem that has not yet reached the borders of Swedish society, much less become an integrated part in the work towards ensuring a higher qualification standard among those who work with sensitive societal issues where the consequences of their cognitive failures, illogical interpretations of evidence and invalid conclusions, can be devastating to the individual and deprive children (and the next generation) of the most valuable opportunity of contribution of good parenting to their personal maturation and to stability of forthcoming society. This is not the place to deliver the analysis I made here (as it takes several pages) of the epistemic failures of the report and its partly erroneus policy conclusions. In addition, people in policy, largely in collusion with the state governed university system in Sweden, who are already convinced of a faulty fact, supported by a illusionary or delusionary thought system, are never willing and often not able to reconsider their opinion, not even facing inevitable fact against their conviction, as long as the disinterpretational system of thought is massively funded by state funds for policy and research in a somewhat curious mixture reminding on the obsolete Soviet era. Let me just mention that I was present as an alumnus at a presentation at KI by Niklas Làngström during the autumn term 2010 and intervened with questions during the few minutes given for that (the session was organized by by Alumnus society at KI); he could give no satisfactory answers to my inquiries; and afterwards, as he quickly tried to "escape" by saying he had things to attend at the institute, I walked with him a few meters at the KI campus, and asked firmly if he had at all read some of the literature dealing with the criteria for differential diagnostics between alleged and real violations - mentioning a few key authors such as W. Bernet (2009), K.D. Pruett (2000), W Boch-Galhau (2002/03), and Gardner-Sauber-Lorandos (2006) - whom he said he had either never heard of or in any case not read anything of. I leave to the informed reader to rely on his or her own intelligence and make the necessary conclusions as far as the state of science and policy in Sweden, and in leading Swedish institutes, to form their opinion.
   Needless to say, in the report by SBU, entitled "Medicinska och psykologiska metoder för att förebygga sexuella övergrepp mot barn" ("förebygga" means prevent; very well but unfortunately you must know first what it is you shall prevent), none of these authors, nor anyone dealing with the initial differential diagnosis necessary for the attribution of cases to the category addressed in this metastudy, are even mentioned, much less known by Swedish scholars, officially appointed. It is easy to disclose how deficient their research is when you see that they are making a metastudy - and among their selected references you find a website for a partisan prevention group in the US which provides no evidentiary original research as its ground (www.stopitnow.org). At the same time, there is no reference to, for instance, the British organization for the false memory syndrome, which would have been needed to ensure methodology is safe in excluding first the cases of false allegations, to the extent that it is only the true cases of real perpetration that you want to investigate. As I asked Professor Lågström he was not interested in knowing the sources I had seen on the proportion real/false and probabilities of such assessments; neither the distinction and differentiation critera in the literature on parental alienation which should be directly relevant to the reliability of his own studies and conclusions. Surprised? No longer. So much for the credibility of some of the key researchers at the KI, ranked as the foremost among Nordic universities. So how is the state of the art in others places around, one humbly wonders. The title of the report does not cover its content, simple becuase they failed to look critically at the studies available on differentiating false from real, and to identify the cases they claim they investigate. Methodology however, looks flawed, îrreliable, invalid; and I am sure neither the editors, politicians nor the authors want to hear that; not surprisingly a proposal to give an information on an alternative conceptualization of the theme, sociohistorically aware of the effect of "The Great Disruption" on families (Francis Fukuyama) and relying on a broader scope of epistemological problematization, was beyond the horizon, and therefore rejected by the Alumnus society at KI.
 
2011-01-08 Equality of opportunity should not imply antielitism. The reason to state this no-brainer is an article by Martin Nyström in Dagens Nyheter (DN) in support of the recent proposal (by a couple of politicians, who, as an exception, have demonstrated some creativity of mind) to construct a new opera in Stockholm. The lack of a modern functional opera house in Stockholm begins to feel penible now that Helsinki, Copenhagen and Oslo have completed their grand opera projects; I was invited at the inaugurations of two of them, in Helsinki and, lately, in Oslo, where met and talked to former minister of culture, Mr Trond Giske. Opera is one a the few art forms which display the same level of complexity as society itself. This is one of the reasons of its recent renaissance. Also, the unmet richness of its means of expression, ranging from purely dramatic-actional to the purely musical emotion to serve the reflected representation of both collective-social and individual-personal perspectives in society, provides a great pool of resources to creatively bring awareness to attentive people; it also provides a sole opportunity among musical genres to point at issues too sensitive to be printed by any publisher, things that might be crucial to the direction of society; elaborations of historical themes allow us to experiencing the double exposure of our present time and become intuitively aware of both perils and promises of the current society. The many layers of artistic expression allows the sensitive - as well as the prejudiced - to bypass ingrained resistance which remain an obstacle to change in the younger generation who never got the chance of learning how to benefit from the wisdom of ones peers; instead, today, the prevailing paradigm seem to be to stay in a state of narcissist immaturity on justification that opinions are relative; in such a society the momentum for change and for improvement dries up and there is not much hope for learning and development on a groundbreaking level. This is why opera as an art is the most politically relevant artfrom and one with a huge potential; few have realized that during music history - Richard Wagner was able to do that, despite some other curiosities of his; but unfortunately some of the best conductors, Celibidache and Blomstedt, did not use that opportunity although I feel that both of them were aware of the political potential of music, the former even at a philosopical-sociological level. Guess why my comment on the opera house project in Stockholm? It will be time to return to it. Needless to say, I warmly welcome the proposal! For once, well done by the politicians who stand behind the proposal which is driven by a party (although I am generally critically on parties and believe that system reflect an earlier stage of development in the history of society, I give forkpartiet (fp) credit for their boldness in this case.) But here and now is not the place for elaborating on these policies.

The state of current affairs in public (and private) governance is reflecting a critical problem in the art of listening. That the art of listening is an art more than a science does not imply we shouldn't try to look at the basic underpinning of the cognitive mode of listening from a science point of view; both perspectives are relevant, science in the understanding of the functionalieties and art in the practical performance requiring a form of integration that transcends the overwhelming chaos of details and creates meaning by interpreted structure. The ability to listen is a prerequisite for social cognition, and by implication, for any 'making' of a social policy worthy of its name. It might even by wise to launch a project or two in cognitive neuroscience with this objective. But the relevant argument here is that governments fail to cultivate the art of listening; and there might be something to learn from the quality culture provided such a thing is still included in the budgets; for instance, although cultural heritage is perhaps the most distinctive advantage of the old continent (Europe) to build and develop its identity on, socially, economically, and legally. But if decision-makers are not trained in the art of listening? If music is not in their lives, and musicology not at hand to help learning them this noble art; then it is of course hard to see how societies can make any in depth progress, and in the long run. For policy implications, I will return to the rigidities in research policy among the Swedish state funding agencies.

We note today an unusually frank policy analysis on the dismal prospects of EU economic growth by Fredrik Erixon at the Ecipe (DI Debatt, page 3) think tank in Brussels: the gist of it is that EU has developed into a bureaucracy of anemic thoughts. It should dispose of its 2020 agenda which is an obsolete expression of old-fascioned mercantilism. Instead of worrying over competitive growth figures from other continents EU should look after its own house and work to remove internal barriers for trade. In addition, among a number of promising measures that EU could undertake is also developing a common service market and cancel (or reduce) its huge subsidies to non-competitive agriculture. 

2011-01-07 A quote on the sovereign debt problem by James Galbraith reminds us that old wisdom might withstand the tooth of time: "
Unless the underlying private economy can be made to recover...the deficit is not going to go away no matter what Congress does. It's a King Canute problem - [Congress] cannot wish the tide to recede."

2011-01-06 How to combat poverty? Tina Rosenberg (never ever to be mixed with Tiina Rosenberg, her total reverse it seems) is a former editorial writer for New York Times and a fellow of World Policy Institute (WPI) with a forthcoming book ("Join the Club: How peer pressure can change the world") on how
successfully to combat global poverty. Her summary in IHT today is highly readable: "to beat back poverty, try giving money to the poor". Her argument is convincing, lucid and simple, and underpinned by the astounding examples set by Bolsa Familia ("Family grants") in Brazil, initiated by former president Lula da Silva, and subsequent programs in Latin America. Followers of the same generic method, conditional cash transfers (CCT), endorsed by the World Bank, are expected to be launched in other continents with the same need for improving human life conditions by implementing broad social and economic development programs. She draws on conclusions from - and proposes an expanded use of - the CCT policy along the lines of Ariel Fiszbein's (et al) World Bank report "Conditional cash transfers - reducing present and future poverty" (2009; partly made available by Google Books) where abundant scholarly evidence of its impact is provided beyond doubt.

Is extremism a disease? Or a policy? What is the difference between insanity and policy? That is a question governments should reflect on. They have to make up their minds on where to draw the 'borderline'. Only at some crucial point in the history of modernism, in the arts, extremism (such as the Italian futurism, which shared too many traits with fascism) has been a legitimate method to overcome a treshold, transgress a line of conventionalism. Or, sometimes entrepreneurs displayed extreme traits which might have facilitated their novel move as this odd character left them more independant of the prevailing mainstream mode of thought; they could test their radical ideas and at times it worked: an invention was inaugurated. But in policy, not in politics? Well, policy entails the respect for human rights of all people, adults as well as children (and for all living things and the nature) so policymakers must find a balance, a trade-off, an optimal point of compromize. But in politics, about who is going to govern the process and exercise power, it is different. Obviously, revolutions or revolts sometimes have freed people from authoritarian dictatorship, from terror and oppression. So it is a delicate competence to effectuate the distinction between cases when extreme personality traits, or even transient disorders  (micropsychosis: short-lived psychotic attacks) causes disarray and destruction from the rare cases where (not the least among artists and inventors) a creative burst actually produces some useful or valuable progress to humanity.
Dangers arise when extremist personalities start acting out their imbalanced or even distorted interpretations of reality on the scene of everyday politics. This is the highly form of disruptive activities that is commonly misunderstood by political science. In that discipline, and in a flood of books on terrorism, extremist personalities are frequently classified as one form of political activism; but it isn't. It does not really have a clear goal on how to structure or restructure societies in functionable way; these movements are more or less purely destructive, or at least their views on society are severely primitivized. Therefore extremist actions should not, I claim, be accepted as policies; they are distorsions of social behavior; sometimes asocial disorders or sociopathies. I know that political sciences largely disagree on this point; they do not want to lose their jobs by referring these cases to the shrink; I  also know that much of public policy debate would reject my position as it in their view would entail a medicalization (which they, for good reason, fear) and that even my professional colleagues at medical faculties, including many psychiatrists, are prone to disagree - often because it is a sadly underdeveloped discipline: unfortunately, psychiatry has been often misused to fend of legitimate political trends and became miscredited. Naturally, with that background, it is not other than expected that my effort to increase the realm of relevance for psychiatry is encountered with strong skepticism. But what critics miss, is the decisive point in my argument, namely, I say: by means of interdisciplinary knowledge integration, psychiatry along with its sister sciences, bears the potential of becoming much more developed tools, by which we can improve our understanding of human behavior and essentially arrive at a safer society. This is relevant 'in both directions', implying that there are both a belittleling and a trespassing of the limitations of psychiatry, which both have to be taken into consideration. The gist of my argument here is the following: psychiatry needs to be developed in a new context where it takes a broader range of scholarly disciplines into account; possible it needs to be renamed. It is a new clinical neurocognitive science and it should be allowed to take place in a much more social arena that before to replace (with a modernized version of) what was formerly known as social psychiatry. I would be able to demonstrate how the authorities are much too primitive in their bureaucratic efforts to go ahead and find solutions for the problems of current times and the future; how in fact millions of tax money disappear in the black holes of a variety of agencies without due service to the people; there is no benefit for society in letting undereducated officers write memory notes which are useless while at the same time people are suffering pain from preventable disorders and risks are bypassed due to limited scope of competence. When we today see that competence is replaced by intolerance, due to rigidity and limitation, that is a bad recipe for a society in transition.  


2011-01-05 A note of honor and congratulation to our friend Professor Jean-Pierre Changeux, member of l'Académie de sciences and professeur honoraire au Collège de France for the earned "dignité de Grand-Croix" he received from Le Présidence de la République." (Le Figaro 2011-01-03, page 20) He is an extraordinary brilliant scholar, one of the leading experts in cognitive neurobiology but with the perspective of a French intellectual, that is, he understands the epistemological underpinnings of (his) science; very few in the world are able to seamlessly bridge philosophy to natural science in the way he does and his research, although conducted with the utmost empirical exactitude, always has an interdisciplinary dimension, or even transdisciplinary implications. It is worth exploring his homepage(wiki)and reading his books, if you were unable to attend his last lectures at Nobel Forum and Astrid Lindgren Hospital at Karolinska, that he visited on invitation by Professor Hugo Lagercrantz.  


2011-01-04 Good to see that the Editorial of IHT welcoming readers back to 2011 by selecting neurologist-author Oliver Sachs for a finely suggested New Years pledge, "This year, change your mind" (Sachs visited the Nobel Forum at Karolinska, a few years ago, and replied briefly by email; he is doing a great work in both pursuing his creative clinical writing, epitomized from his experience in neurology, and managing his precious time, a busy agenda including also a good portion of selfpromoting salesman ("American style"), but of the better sort; he needs to be prudent and exposes himself on his website as the "best-selling author" which he is, but that's not my style; his wiki-articles on person and title are well edited and instructive reading). As a prolific writer he capitalizes on the neurocognitive phenomena usually encountered in the clinic, that we learned during the years in 'med school' (
my was in Lund. His alma mater was Queens College, Oxford, before he converted his UK qualification into a US recognition, and practiced as neurologist in N.Y.). His is the preeminent writer of some highly readable books in music neurology, including "Musicophilia - Tales of music and the mind" (2007, homepage) which I will return to in other context when I have seen also his last book, "The Mind's Eye" (2010). In IHT, he epitomizes a good overview, true but I am unclear about his broad definition of "music" (there is also the term 'musicality' in store): "Music is an especially powerful shaping force, for listening to and especially playing it engages many different areas of the brain, all of which must work in tandem: from reading musical notation and coordinating fine muscle movements in the hands, to evalutating and expressing rhythm and pitch, to associating music with memories and emotion." (page 6) 

The components of a complex problem well discerned: that is the good note for Richard Milne's essay ("On their heads be it", FT, page 9) which elaborates on a list of fears inextricably connected; fear of war between creditors and borrowers, and the rolling over of debt from private housholds to banks and private sector and to governments ending in sovereign debt crises; fear over extraordinary measures by expected from governments desperately pressured by declining appetite among investors; etc. Nothing new, but well explained with quotes from authorities like Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard, and Mohammed El-Erian, Pimco: the gist of the pragmatics is that larger nations in possession of monetary printing machines and quantitative easing measures, like US, UK and Japan, can weather the crisis; worse then for the peripheral eurozone. Other viewers, Jim Fetgatter (AFIRE), sees a revival of investor interest in real estate sector where US, and the Big Apple, ranks first. But Milne touches on one point which is more fundamental, questioning a broader philosophical question on the "nature of the financial system" per se. In the end, the only sustainable longterm resolution in case of a full-blown crisis would be a huge transfer of capital from the creditors to debtors, as a viable method for investors to save themselves. But that is something which a country like Germany can delay by injecting new cycles of debt-fuelled liquidity into the failing system. Outside of the mainstream economist streamlined paradigm signs are now erupting of increased tension - potentially leading to social unrest and disruption (the recent student revolt against funding austerity in London); for example a number of leading figureheads on the investment firmament, including George Soros, Warren Buffett, Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs, announce it is time to rewrite the contract between society and banks by introducing a Robin Hood Tax intended to "turn the global crisis into a global opportunity." So it wasn't the markets, after all, that were supposed to be able to save the world, it was a new policy, or rather: a new economic philosophy, that is what the world needs today. Interestingly, other notable academics are on the same track, for instance our Swedish nestor sociology professor (formerly at Columbia, N.Y.) Hans L. Zetterberg in "The Many-Splendored Society" and other papers on his homepage, where you will find an in-depth excitingly bold and insightful sociologic-historical analysis of the nature of wealth; it reminds me on some of the best in phenomenology but he is more into disentangling our neuroevolutionarily (he refers to the mirror neurons) inherited symbols of value categories (and then you know he was hte pioneer and authority in policy and opinion measurement during the whole era of the welfare state, constructed by the Social Democrats, now inherited, and under managed transformation by the Moderate Alliance at head). Other not entirely similar ideas, a Dutch initiative to launch an alternative currency built entirely on real (i.e. not financial) value, replicating the Swiss WIR Bank as a model for a "new currency for crisis", should not be rejected prima facie - they are attempts, more or less skilled, to reform the philosophy of the economic system (in practice, my doubts macroeconomically relies on the fact that the WIR money works well in Switzerland as an alternative to the CHF and is convertible one-way into the latter more because of the strength of the "Swissie" than of the WIR; and that condition is not so readily available in other places, and currently not in the eurozone): Actually, I see it as a philosophy of financial system relying on a particular interpretation of real values. Such interpretations can then be codfied in currency system representing the defined categories and contents of value - but this is not the place to elaborate my theory of value categories and conversions.    

Is there a way back from politicized selected attention or are we facing further polarization? The benefit of polarization can be that it clarifies contrast, outlines your identity of the self and of the group who share your view. But polarization comes seldom without isolation. That entails a risk: without communication, without social dialogue, without counterpoints, the ideological edifice of a continent, or of a culture (even a gender-specific style of thought) becomes rigid, monumental, potentially autocratic. At LSE Catherine Hakim concludes, in a study of equal opportunity policies (among her very readable works: "Feminist Myths and Magic Medicine - the flawed thinking behind calls for further equality legislation", IPR, 2011), that these policies, at least in UK, have been successful, and therefore: the war is over. But not so in Sweden: Here intolerance against "the other" was a poisonous ingredient in a patented drink of death to the family, destroying the culture of delicate interaction between the sexes and in courtship; approaching a state of terror society by massive funding of feminist biased gender studies that served to demonize the other sex; monopolize parenting; deprived innumerable children of their human rights to their fathers, isolated fathers from their children or sent innocent fathers in jail on false accusations. While government is busy producing the media and public relation coverage of their new and vigorous action against the external threat of physical terrorists something has happened more silently during the last 25 years: an increasing internal terror within society has decreased social cohesion and increased diverging fragmentation riding on a wave of intolerance, vilification and violation of fundamental human and social relations on whose basis the family formed the ground of the societal structure. Integration policy in Scandinavia is about migration whether the harder line in Denmark or the more lenient approach until recently in Sweden which just got its first xenophobic party in the parliament. But the focus should be shifted towards measures against the internal disintegration because that is laying the ground for society's development in the long run. 


2011-01-01 If you were on travel through Europe during New Year you would be wise to have packed two books which will enrich your insight on who we 'humans' are and how we became what we are; two very different aspects, the aesthetic versus the neurobiological, but with a common underlying logic: the human evolution. These are Dennis Dutton The Art Instinct - Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution (2009); and Steven_Mithen The Singing Neanderthals 
- the Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body (2006). Both seminal readings, well worth the invested time, for leasure and profession...(more on this...).

Today a published letter to IHT compares Russian judiciary - politicized selective prosecution of the convicted tycoon Khodorkovsky - to US governments' desperate search for "some arguable legal hook from which to hang the politically awkward...freedom-of-information advocate Julian Assange"; several articles in IHT and FT report on the decay of Russian justice. But what about Swedish judiciary? It does not bode well for the nation that global trust in the Swedish justice is on the verge of collapsing once the situation is decoded and made public. Only for human rights groups in Scandinavia - such as NKMR - the recent news spotlight on human rights in Sweden, proves welcome. The protection of free expression of opinion and of civil society at large, is at stake this time; and so, it comes very untimely, at a moment when the sustainability of the EU building bloc is being questioned, albeit for entirely different reasons; unfortunately for a legitimate reason as it concerns the coordination of macroeconomic currency policies. On the other hand, this would actually provide nothing less than a great opportunity for EU to show on whose side they stand. But it has been doubted that the EU leaders, with few exceptions, are greater minds and personalities with integrity enough to mark civil courage on the public platform that their media access would allow them: they are the ones who could save the situation, but it would take a determination I doubt they will mobilize; and with split views on the course ahead for the great eurozone flagship it will be difficult for them to mobilize  themselves to effective action, even in a field of comparatively less controversy among the top people, as in matters of human rights.

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THE LAST DAYS OF OPEN SOCIETY: CAN WE TRUST JUSTICE IN SWEDEN? IT DEPENDS ON WHOM YOU ASK (a reply to Katrin Bennhold, PageTwo IHT, Dec 29) - Do we need to watch out for signs of growing "soft" persecution of intellectuals in Sweden?

   If you ask prosecutors they want to optimize the exercise of power that democratic decisions entrusted them with even if their arsenal will prove to include a weapon of social mass destruction: they may collude with social services in their eager ambition and join to destroy not only what is left of the social fabric of trust but (by implication) also the ability of young people to pursue budding love into family formation and deprive children of their parents, their most essential bond in human social and emotional attachment. The destructive potential of their endeavours is huge.

   Although democratic principles are deeply anchored in the mind of Swedish citizens, the leaders of our society failed to understand the crucial basis of cultural rootedness in the shared human and social values that link interest and partisan groups in a structure of social cohesion. Basically, it was a neglect of education that paved the way for a greater rift between the sexes, following massive state funded gender propaganda in favour of adopting women’s perspective in societal analysis. This eventually led to deficiencies in the psychosocial maturation process among many young females who lost track of ethics in relational behaviour.

   Add that the Swedish legislation is not a masterwork - but in that respect the Sweden does not differ much from other European countries, except Germany who revised its laws thoroughly after WWII. However, there is a problem specific to Sweden when it comes to interpreting the law in individual cases. There the Swedish system allows much more room for arbitrary judgement because the system of legal interpretation was neither systematized nor was it anchored firmly in conventions of rules of thumb (as common in UK). There is not only the widespread problem among national legislations; the modes of interpretation are not logically safe as there are no defined grounds neither epistemologically (to support reasoning) nor empirically (to underpin judgement by recourse to independent scientific support). That interpretations are arbitrary means that decisions depend too much on the personal qualifications of the judge; as there is no control instance to ensure sufficient knowledge level among judges it is no surprise that the competence in practice among judges has declines steeply, even if it was never impressive compared to other professional disciplines (such as medicine). Not surprisingly, it is not the best talents who chose a career in law as the profession is low-paid and not very respected among the elite; and it entails much  administrative work seen as tedious and truly not optimal to develop personality. There is no way for a judge  seriously intending to develop his or her talent to get the support needed; no qualified training is provided by the state, more often by private associations of attorneys. This is a catastrophic deficiency when it comes to cases which are complex and require extrajudicial competence - such as from psychology or sociology - because they appraise the behavior in relations, a matter inextricably rooted in values and social traditions.

   The insecurity in justice, secondarily, feeds a paranoid society, as the accused - most often men and fathers (who might start imagining themselves as potential victims of false accusations) - subject to the arbitrary interpretations of a prosecutor or judge - can never expect to get a fair trail in the sense that a pristine procedure promises a predictable outcome. There is no way to predict arbitrary interpretation in law.

   A culture of false allegation emerged in Sweden on that base and spread to what amounts to a mass psychosis: the delusions became ingrained in society - supported by rich-funded authorities (myndigheter) - and disseminated by contagious assimilation of smaller extremist parties to larger levels of government-supported projects and massive programmes consuming billions of SEK. The delusions spread from smaller extremist to larger parties and established institutions.

   You might have visited one of cafes in Stockholm, nice places for contemplation not only in the fine Scandinavian summer (I am sitting in one of my favourite places right now); these places for free discussion among friends, colleagues and families, or for individual work with your laptop, build on the older form of Swedish konditori, café houses with bakery, at that time abundantly around in the countries, cities and villages. These are still the centre of true opinionation in the private sphere. But these days you might also see groups of women, sometimes students in law, who advice one another in how their best friend is going to get it all from her latest divorce; I have often heard, by hiding behind IHT in a corner, how these advices among feminist friends include the construction of false allegation to get rid of the ex and keep the kids in that way. This is commonly known as the most effective way for women in Sweden to be quite sure of retaining custody (including the shared apartment for themselves); this misinterpretive practice has been very successful for the mothers as the share of men among those having sole custody is only less than 1 in 10, without any scientific support in favour of mothers parenting as compared to the qualification of men to exercise good fathering.

   As there are no serious platforms for concerns dialogues on crucial social and political issues in the public arena, only the organization-led think tanks remain; their weakness is that they often rely on partisan movements highly directed from established perceptions or depend on funding from authorities. With no place for free thinking risks have risen for dangerous collusion: the monotony of ideas is devastating and very few are able to develop a truly critical and constructive thinking in that climate.

   With a lack of dialogue arenas in the public space the media chorus was the only voice heard and listened to. Critical voices outside the mainstream were silenced or marginalized, open society closed. Initially to stay on payroll of the rich state the academics were forced to remain in the play and those among professionals (doctors, psychologists, social workers) who certified sufficient amount of false acclaims climbed in their career ladder to their much sought of professorships. Libraries for long ignored books about implantation of false belief and parental alienation so as not to disturb the shared paranoid illusions. To get the equation to balance a preferred scapegoat had to be appointed: most men were available for that role; many men willingly took the blame as a trade-off, disregarded it as marital gnaw, as this proved to reliev them from family duties and a vindictive spouse - but many of them lost their role as fathers, many of them permanently - or not so few of them ended up in jail as innocent convicted; to ensure survival in that society most were not willing to fight against sinister auspices; or those who campaigned got thwarted by personal persecution ending up in disease, loss of jobs or more often both. With broader support gender delusions were embraced by societal trends and shared delusions entered the stage of systemic distortion. But the heaviest toll was carried by the children who are now among the many adults with ingrained misconceptions; some of these alienated adults are now working as prosecutors and judges, doctors and shrinks; their deep personal frustration were never resolved but only compensated by mobilization of considerable aggression; they are able to secure massive funding of tax money to make "investigation" in special "development centres" (one in Gothenburg); as times favoured females on the job markets, it was easy for these not entirely cured minds (of induced paranoid disorder) to carve their way through the career labyrinths. The society of false perceptions was established.

   If a mass psychosis of false allegation is supporting some political trend - as in this case feminist movement - distortion become particularly severe. It enlists not only the originators of the delusion - personal frustration and immaturity of mind - among extreme groups but also gradually engages wider circles including a majority of (female) public officials in social services and legal institutions: Then the delusion reached the governmental offices and the whole PR machinery with the political executives went off with a true feu d'artifice in the same direction.  
   At the highest responsible offices in government and national authorities the competence was to weak to spot the trend of falsification or to resist the windfall of "convinced opinion-makers" loudly pressuring the officials, encouraged by hoards of enraged feminists: political leaders, embracing the mantra of consensus populism, felt forced to cater to these aggressive claims as it amounted to a considerable share of voters, capable to tip over the majority in equal and delicate parliamentary balances. These movements soon legitimized themselves by conversion to political parties who developed their program, partly publicly and partly secretively. For example, the last line, to be seen vehemently repeated on a Youtube clip, of the Feminist Initiative (FI) party campaign song sounds: "We shall tear them apart" ("Vi skall slita dem i stycken"; Google search on "Feministiskt Initiativ kampsång"). It refers to men in general, as did the diatribes against the Jews 80 years ago. The murder threat was never prosecuted.

   Among mainstream political science some definitions of fascism as ideology build on three pillars (Juan Linz, Roger Griffin, Eric Voegelin et alia): it is a movement that is (1) antidemocratic, (2) willing to use violence to enforce its goals, and (3) totalitarian in its claims (implying efforts of silencing adversaries). The female form of fascism - (the concept femifascism was introduced in Swedish public debate on Newsmill)- relies much more on manipulation of the minds, emotional maltreatment, and alienatory abuse that the historical male (physical) forms of German Nazism and Italian fascism, although both Nazism and Hitler personally was supported a good share of women. However, paranoid femifascists with borderline or psychotic tendency tend to cross the line if provoked and physical violence is not uncommon, not even in comparatively peaceful Scandinavia. (I regard the recent Islamic suicide bombings and assassination plots in Sweden and Denmark as beyond our subject - unless it heightens the general level of inclination towards violence as a substitute for true problem solving - , because they build on an entirely different agenda, although some femifascist movements share traits with the more 'external' terrorism).

   The destructive impact of femifascism in society is huge; it can be compared only to similar phenomena in closed societies such as in Soviet and the East European communist dictatorships, but as the country (Sweden) is small - and it inherited an efficient authoritarian bureaucracy - it is comparatively easy to achieve consensus across all organizational systems controlled by one hand. This is a favourable condition for the foreign intelligence services working in Stockholm to take advantage of even in cases where they prefer light manipulation to outright conspiracy. The inclusion of femifascism on their payroll is difficult because of their lack of reliability; many of the femifascists suffer from clinical levels of psychiatric conditions which include emotional instability, lack of self-control, and disconnected touch of reality. Although the literature on the subject provides the methods needed for effective protective action, politicians remain passive as they fear the loss of votes more that a disruption of society. To ensure the votes at the extreme end, leaders in society had to loosen up the policies in the health system that could have been geared in a mobilization of competence resources to combat the deeper roots the problem.

   The causes behind the deterioration of the Swedish judiciary is complex: the decay in quality of judges was worsened by a lack of contact with other disciplines, for example between law and psychology; law ("juridik") in  mainstream teaching at Swedish universities failed to develop; it remains until very recently fairly isolated among academic disciplines most of which embarked on an evolutional journey to maturing and qualifying as modern science; it basically neglected modern science and refused to incorporate its results even if proved relevant for the issues at stake in courts. Instead, law studies in Swedish universities is the only remnant of methods adopted unreflectively from the darker side of the middle age we would like to forget. It took a private initiative of an association for the Friends of the Justice in Society/State (Stiftelsen Rättsstatens Vänner) to put the theme of Justice on the public agenda. It was able to carry through a number of conferences (thanks to the financial support for freedom of thought in the civil society from one of the few independent private foundation in the country) despite boycott from most of the invited high-level politicians. Another factor was that a state of denial soon reached the highest professional level in some widely recognized research organizations, for instance the chief of research at Karolinska, professor Martin Ingvar, responded apropos parental alienation: "It doesn't exist" (as a medical entity); on the question if he had read any scholarly publications on it, he responded, with the same firmness: "No". Although the increasing political alignment of scholars has severe implications for the future reputation of research universities, femifascist groups are often quick to exploit for their purpose such careless statements separate from the context. The state fund for social research ("FAS"), pursuing its prejudice with extraordinarily impressive stamina and rigidity, silently avoided to comment their repetitious decline of received applications proposing to scrutinize the systemic distortions at hand. Only a few insightful psychologists (earlier Carl Lesche, Lena Hellblom Sjögren, Max Scharnberg, among others) were capable of detecting and productively disclose the full dimension of the widespread and ingrained fraud. Professor Scharnberg was facing the destruction of his critical book on the subject following an eerie decision by Uppsala university, one of the many campuses that embraced the recent form of biased gender studies; despite warnings society embraced extremism in a number of instances (such as the case of Tiina Rosenberg, presently Professor of Gender Studies at Lund university) and the world now begins to realize how Swedish establishment faces the consequences of its problematic recruitments.

*

2010-12-31 The truth is that outstanding quality in 'policy analysis' is rare because most think tanks adopt limited perspectives on reality and do not arrive at valid conclusion. Quality is measured by several dimensions including (1) strategic implication, (2) the width of encompassing scope, (3) capability to assimilate the facts on reality, (4) level of intelligence in categorizing, assembling, comparing, and selecting the most salient and relevant facts that has sufficient impact on the future course of development to qualify as 'foresight prognosis', (5) the integrity of the interpretive processes, (6) the firm bases of human values and the balance in perspectives that allow for social cohesion to sustain, (and more). Partisan bureaus driven by political parties in opposition or in power can never achieve the neutral stance initially needed to proceed prudently in their analysis; many academic institutes originally having maintained a scientifically guised approach to the societal problem at hand revert to alignment with political power as funding dries out. Business strategists (such as McKinseys and similar consultancies) offer hands-on management advice and experience of the real conditions on markets but build on meager value grounds. In academia, philosophical and theological research institutes can provide in depth knowledge on value anchorage, too often lost in naive perceptions on entrepreneurship and engineering.....

2010-12-30 Do we need a conductor to manage the world economy? Or should all voices improvise an emerging chaos? Can chaos after a system collapse of the whole monetary system provide exactly the fertile ground creative minds will need to make a new start for better human conditions and quality of life? Or should we try to steer the ship slowly off the cliff it is heading at? There are many voices 'on the market' (in double sense). Some are in the market, some outside of it: here are a few singing in the chorus: The Baseline Scenario, The Independent Institute, Mercatus Center, Clouded Outlook, Vox, Falkenblog, Chicagoboyz, Wilmott, and a few more. Did you get it? Or, did you get the gist of it all out from them?


2010-12-29 Eurocracy is the new term, minted by Irwin Stelzer in "Euroland moves from tragedy to farce"
(WSJE): it stands for the farce in EU governance that proved the Euroskeptics right in their assumption that monetary union without fiscal union (such as the euro) is not tenable. Europhiles can celebrate: the union can only be celebrated by trading money against control, by centralizing into a German-guided government. But the perfection of the union comes at a price. Members will lose some of their economic independence while Germany and China buy their influence. Question is how the Nordics will approach this dilemma. Only Finland adopted the euro fully while Denmark only pegged its currency (DKK) to the euro. Sweden stands more separate with its own Swedish Krona (SEK) although member in EU. Norway and Switzerland are the two strongest among smaller countries, both outside the EU, and with strong currencies (NOK and CHF). In "Euro's woes offer skeptics some vindication" (IHT), Landon Thomas Jr., sets out the perspectives for the even greater tests that the euro might be facing. Others, among bank analysts, believe the euro is more resilient because slowly the EU leaders will start tide up the mess and find functioning structures that stop the decay of their common currency.

I much regret the lost time and energy on such idiotic issues that are put up as obstacles to a functioning society, but it is very unusual, and welcome, that Sweden is scrutinized on "Page Two" of IHT: Today space is provided to Katrin Bennhold, somewhat inadequately published under "The Female Factor", entitled "Is it rape? It depends on who's asking". I think Sweden now has lost its honor and good reputation, but for what reason? And how did Swedes end up with a femifascist legislation, a totalitarian power exercise in the field of gender conflict where controversy in the social and cultural life of family and loving relations is determined by law, not by free deliberation of independent people, and where prejudice like gender discrimination against men is apparently redefined to law in the hands of incompetent authorities. How can I say incompetent here? Because, this whole area is about our private lives, protection of privacy, psychology, sociology and human values, about culture, and not about law. There is a great danger of overusing law against your political adversaries, as in Nazi Germany against the Jews (need a refresher on Nuremberg and Julius Streicher of Der Stürmer?). But how did it all happen?
   How did a fairly well developed country like Sweden lose its track so quickly? First, it was not so quickly, it did not happen overnight; instead this was a longterm political propaganda work among feminist groups that gradually began to realize they might have a chance to enter the platforms of power much quicker if they used politization of false accusations, creating a kind of internal terror to scare off men from participating in public debates on sex and pair relationships; the feminists and their growing supporters scented the perfume of potential of power by claiming priority in themes that were considered 'female' in the old days of marital roles diversification. Men backed off not to hurt themselves by the new amazons and affiliated warriors among Swedish politicians (some less reliable social democratic lawyers could be mentioned here).
   There were several steps taken to implement femifascism, and it all started, as usual in history, on the battlefields where resistence was minor: here the weakness of the Swedish mens' communities were a facilitating factor, they are also to blame for the decay of balanced society. The steps were: (1) politization of sex, something that inherently has nothing to do with politics, (2) realization of the opportunity to use the political arenas as power positions in the revision of legislation in the fields most closely associated to the old domains of female power. The new power position was used to replace a lack of competence in the disciplines of social psychology; sexology and psychoanalysis had to be discarded entirely (and prima facie) because they could potentially reveal the hidden agenda of the feminist plot; (3) total feminization of society, beginning with expanding the scope of themes and by expanding traditional strongholds of women, could only be put in force gradually and not to 100%; but (4) by intense and broadly targeted populist lobbying efforts during many years, resistant opinion-makers among those groups, fathers and men, defending family values were finally fagged out, and lost the battle. The result is that the soil is prepared for the femifascists to take over society.
   Beware, all childrens, fathers, and men; and if you are intelligent or has a valuable competence, leave the country, save yourselves and your children from an unending pain, and from hidden dangers that will appear, unless our European friends can mobilize to get the country back on track, and in social order: A very expensive and sad experiment that cost Sweden its reputation and trust in its system of politics and justice.
   To rebuild trust: well, it is not impossible, but it takes an enormous amount of effort and time. Who is willing to spend their lives quarreling with "idiots", getting your life destroyed and not having any time left to creative and productive work, only to do the work that the politicians failed to do what they were paid to do? One cause of the confusion of concepts among "law people" (prosecutors, judges, attorneys and whatever they call themselves) displayed on the global media scene emerge from the diverse epistemic roots of administrative construction of reality images, suitable to political predilections, building on ad hoc redefinition of concepts to suit a system with inherently distorted reality percpetion, as compared to serious scientific efforts to anchor reality descriptions by first studying how reality works, what phenomena appears and their linkages to each other, and get them connected to notions and concepts carefully crafted after empirical investigation.
   In science, you have to know how reality functions, and you need to have multidisciplinary perspectives helping to catch the essentials of reality before you can govern and dictate; laws do not create reality nor basic relations in nature, but it can influence deliberate behavior of people who are aware of its implications in society. The other way around, nature works in a specific way, and if you do not know anything about it, you should probably not try to force your misperceived fantasy in form of homemade concepts onto reality in the delusional belief reality will suddenly start obeying your command. In such an immature culture as the legal systems in Sweden, and possibly in other countries (I do not know enough about it to dare to say anything with any claim) you will quasi automatically get a lot of immature people who thrive and want to work in such an administrative structure. This is very dangerous as it gives momentum to any insanity that is imposed in the hierarchical structure of the administration. This is the process by which dictatorships are created. This can lead to misuse of central power and to prosecution becoming persecution of intellectuals who question parts or the whole of the distorted system; this is how intolerance is being built into the system of governance, silently poisoning truth, compromizing values. This is the death of liberal values, the silencing of counterparties who are demonized and vilified unto the point of zero.
   Walter Williams has a point - by extrapolation applicable to the problem of justice addressed in European societies - when he explains why an obsession of fairness might destroy freedom and why freedom is absolutely necessary to avoid tyranny ("Free Trade or Fair Trade", The Daily Home). An obsession of fairness, sometimes derived from an immaturity in selfreflection (unawareness of the values and options you embrace or inherited) is a childish misunderstanding that any difference is injust, and any difference must be levelled off into equality, similarity; this leads to deletion of identity because 'no identity without difference': personal character will be dissolved, form and design that takes a specific shape is liquidized. Then we are all equal and treated with fairness but we fare less well because at that point of identity extinction - we are dead! The failure to accept and understand that people are and should be, or at least should be allowed to be different, appears to be a obstacle insurmountable in the optic of the gender partisan perspectives. To overcome that immaturity it needs a dosis of integration. But not precisely and exactly the kind of blunt form of integration that is the mantra of most ministers;  they talk only about immigration rules with an endlessly unproductive quarrel on quotas and quantities, often useless or destructive policy measures which do not go beyond the surface. They fail to see the root.

   A Symphony of Whistleblowers Needed to Crack the Code of Swedish (In)Justice: Beyond the surface: While opportunities on the labour market approached gender equality resulting of huge policy programmes (overshooting the goal in some professional fields) ended in a heavy bias to the privilege of women. But when it comes to social justice, especially on issues of family and parental role, Sweden is not for heterosexual men. Risks in the court's procedures of evidence appraisal were widely detected and a group of high integrity intellectuals demanded a commission for investigation of judicial murder to cure the trend of many miscarriages of justice (SvD 18th Feb 2010). But the deeper perils of populism as a societal trend appear at first when the misperceptions are already ingrained. How can justice ever be secured when the same pattern of misinterpretations are maintained by different authorities which then confirm each others' delusions.
   For example, it becomes part of the culture that social service investigators do not hesitate to propagate false allegations provided handedly by the mothers to deprive  fathers of access to their children and cut the links between generations on the paternal side: Parental alienation became an epidemy in Sweden and in many other countries, the 'Nordics' included, in the west in the 80's but since the forces of critical correction to counter the trend among investigative journalists and mediators lost the link to the public area of opinion-making it soon became endemic of the Swedish culture of justice. In fields of social justice Sweden and some other Nordic countries were soon functioning as matriarchates where the opportunities for children to enjoy the lifelong benefit ot good fathering, and for fathers to exercise good parenting (a protective zone would be needed to ensure that), are severely restricted by the distorsions in the system of justice. As all signs of a mass hysteria (or, say, a mild form of mass psychosis including the symtoms of delusion) soon moved from the private sphere entering the arenas of public opinion Sweden has a long road of recovery towards the vision of a state of open society. Child psychiatrists often colluded with the prevailing trend and played a false part in the web of voices by aligning to the demonized description of men as sexual monsters and molesters while they were bending the corners driven by the need to compromize their professionality and securing their climbind careers among a shrinking pool of tenured positions. The title of full professorships were luring those who could prove their meritation by reference to a high rate of cases of alleged sexual abuse and other efficiently shocking means of manipulating public opinion. Media were selling the scandalized targets, the same story copied again and again, catering to the hidden lust of perverted sensation-seeking among the simple-minded majority and those starved of love and passion. Many devoted fathers and innocent men, targets of female frustration, very convicted falsely and still serve long sentences in jail, unable to get higher judicial instances to admit their faults. A full-size investigation led by Professor Hans-Gunnar Axberger, "Felaktigt dömda" (Erroneously convicted, JK:s rättssäkerhetsprojekt, 2006,
ISBN 91-85333-13-1, 497 pages) reported serious systemic malpractice in the methodology of evidence appraisal in justice, but the voice disappeared in the roar of the feminist choir, and never provoked any political effort of correction. Other academics, as Max Scharnberg, got a whole edition of his critical book maculated by Uppsala University, a campus heavily infiltrated of a mature form of ingrained femifascism. Basically, court procedures in Sweden are naive, judges are severely undereducated and lack training in basic critical epistemology; most often there is no sign of awareness among these officials that conclusions built on so-called evidence, in case of incompleteness and problems of reliability, might have been concocted by means of biased misinterpretation; there is no such thing in this world as an epistemology of interpretation to bridge the gap between established fact and decision in an intelligent and cognizant way; slightly overstating the situation, one can say that the practice prevails since middle ages; only the food and accomodation in jails, where the intellectuals facing persecution are kept, are much more livable and at some places fairly comfortable. For that price, incomfortable opinions are silenced by comparative social comfort but the true cost is loss of freedom. Responsible politicians surfed on the trend driven by their eager populist agendas and contributed to the worsening of a distorsion already severe of social justice. By means of skilled diplomatic lobbying Sweden was able to evade critique by placing loudvoiced leftist politicians on positions to lead gereralized expensive crusades against "sexual exploitation and trafficking" and spread the meme globally (Thomas Hammarberg Council of Europe, Margot Wallström United Nations, Eva-Britt Svensson European Parliament). Public debate and critique in Sweden was publicly silenced be the feminist minister of justice (Beatrice Ask) who effectively propagated the paradigm established by the Social Democrats in the new moderate alliance government. Sweden has a long way to go.
     

2010-12-28 'Pathological incompetence' - or only a weakness in the political system in its ability to assimilate knowledge and convert it to actionable competence? Or just the unhappy fact of nature with a biological variation of intelligence ranging from idiocracy to genius? An ingrained illusion of less well anchored not to say unrealistic ideas which once emerged as a replacement for lacking knowledge was needed to govern society? A delay in adoption of modern knowledge and a failure to see reality's complexity and its impact on social relations in current societies? A predilection for primitivity due to lack of cultural values? "Pathological incompetence" is not a regular diagnosis included in the DSM nor the ICD, but (to the extent that we need these directories at all) beyond these bureaucratic products, some in depth thinking on the tools we need to understand currect deficiencies in the function of society (and societal systems) may well point at a crucial fact: So-called political science and social sciences need to sharpen their instruments. Why? How easy is it to fool people? One can look at the Swedish government's homepage today and read that the Swedish government has allocated 1 (one) billion SEK to a project to combat men's violence against women - and let their own agency (Brottsförebyggande rådet) evaluate the "results" of its "action plan to counter violence against women". How much do you think such an evaluation is worth? Ever heard of 'bias'? 10.000 polices, 1800 personnel in the courts and 350 social services people have been "educated" in case they didn't know what to think and say. Not a word on interaction, social dynamics, complex causes; neither are the two genders nor children problematized. How far may stupidity go before a society revolts or fragmentizes? Ever heard of discrimination, ever gave it a thought how it may relate to democracy and ethics? Are we heading towards a full-blown idiocracy? Criminal policy in a so-called democracy to align freethinkers and silencing whistleblowers to support a predominant delusion of the government? Are these ministers just irresponsible populists or are they really misinformed, 'retarded back to' a somewhat simpler level of competence than the one needed to target any crucial issue in present global world? These kind of policies will not solve any problem; these policies are implemented only to waste taxpayers money among a circle of supporters, which could be used more efficiently, but for a similar, wider purpose: the intention is good, the insight is close to zero; quality of governance require both factors. 


2010-12-27 Has globalism come to an end? Not exactly. But among megatrends spotted by two Swiss futurology institutes, Swissfuture (a member of SAGW since 40 years) and the one-man think tank of Dr. Andreas M. Walker Weiterdenken - "your partner for future, hope & responsibility", greater selfreliance is becoming the antidot against the ailings in the wake of unlimited globalization: no surprise that Obama, standing for the falling empire of the US, is no longer perceived as the promise of the people (the attitude change detected is revealed in two documents Hoffnung 2010 and Hoffnung 2011). People revert to their arenas of private life as the place where trust can be formed as a basis for a promising future for themselves and their children, as the place where societal needs more likely can be catered to by adopting means you are yourself in control of and where chances they are satisfied might increase in the future. Hope is an essential component in the selftrust required for an individual to develop his or her 'self' and learn to interact productively in society....Is there hope also in Scandinavia? That issue has to do with the willingness among its political and corporate leaders to understand and commit themselves to converting some of the material wealth to rising awareness and dissolving rigidities inherent to social diagnoses of these northern countries.....

Are moral mistakes which turn into persecution, perpetration and offense more unforgivable if enacted by a public official or by a person representing an authority such as an employer or someone paid by a public service or institution? A private individual is never more than what he or she is him- or herself, and many times hardly not even that. Typically all kinds of excuses will surface and suddenly become valid in court because court is just another of these public instances held to be autocratically beyond doubt. But the moral problem of forgiveness is much more subtle and complex than that: here I would refer to a Professor in Philosophy, Charles L. Griswold, who has written extensively on this issue: in the Opinionator in New York Times and in Tikkun Magazine. I think he has a point in showing how a number of notions relating to forgiveness (apology, reconciliation, reparation, hatred, repentance, contrition, etc) of an offender links to the victim and to highly sophisticated concepts of our established social moral. The problem is, however, that authorities, who should be careful to check their concepts with leading minds, are often much more primitive that the subjects of the rules and interpretations. This means that we are facing a low level, destructive influence of the public sector on the people which is essentially capable of moral judgment of a more subtle kind than the rigid administrators of the law. In modern society, these have often lost their ability to think, if because of malplaced bureaucratic burdens or simply a lack of leadership in public sector. The authoritative power exercise hits back on these enactors of the rigid letter of the law, because it silences social pressure and critique from the people. Therefore the people who are free in their minds and capable of (among other things) dialogues will continue developing their competencies while the public administration deteriorates: this might look as a recipe for conflict and social unrest. What I would emphasize is the oportunity that the encounter between offender and victim offers an option for restoring interaction (if so suitable) and diagnose treatable deficiencies in socioempathic skill... 


2010-12-26 What is the media noise all about? What did you expect? Assange just encountered Swedish femifascism. We had en epidemic of it since ca 25 years and now it is endemic in society; societal sociopathies are much harder to cure that individual sociopathies (but some forensic psychiatrists doubt there is remedy even for the latter). But the key question is what is the cost of the destruction of national trust? Social trust being known as one of the most precious assets a country can have in ensuring a climate of investment willingness. Is it still possible to reverse the tide? Or is it already too late - and a greater share of the well-educated among the country's talent pool will leave their homeland and seek out new places to settle, cleaned of femifascism and insane gender bias; a country that can provide a serious and neutral platform for dedicated research, and for a cultural and economic development within society's established framework: a land of promise is eagerly sought by more and more earnest people who refuse to play the roles assigned in the public farce. Is it still worth the effort, if at all possible, to save Sweden from becoming devoured by a maelstrom of femifascism? Germany was 10 times larger than Sweden in the 30s but it took a costly effort to the allied forces, US, UK, France and the Soviet to save it from the stranglehold of the Nazis. It had been less expensive to head off the hydra early on. Societies have often become blind to the trends on their backyard. It once needed foreign observers, internal whistleblowers, qualified people with integrity, to alarm neighbors. At least it is now clear to the world how whistleblowers are taken care of in Sweden (and some other places). I hope the world will awake to awareness and mobilize the energy and momentum needed to revert to the soundness of sense of reality. The potential downside otherwise seems unlimited.

2010-12-25 So how does one arrive at a conclusion to base a crucial decision on when it comes to the allocation of industries to Sweden? Well, the new colored brochure from Swedish Institute, a governmental PR agency, "Up North - Down to Earth", will confirm your perceptions about a great natural scenery, but certainly not provide insight in the more duplicitous side of the Swedish justice system. There are many blog comments out there, and CNN asked "Can we trust Swedish justice?" - not without reason.
   Transparency, as Charles Schwab of World Economic Forum realizes, is just the new reality governments and corporate leaders have to get used to, and he is absolutely right. The transparent exposure of the Swedish legal system we are witnessing is a painful but necessary procedure: it is the only way ahead to close the gap between the rosy perception enticing us by vis-à-vis the reality governments try to hide. It is only a matter of time until the process will create a momentum of critique that can provoke a change; it is the sole way and it depends more on media than on regular democratic procedures; the legal institutions, like the ECHR and the EU courts, will see the world change without even people asking for their opinion; a surprise is on the way for them. I know the answers for the corporate leaders who are considering taking the step and allocate their businesses to Scandinavia, and having Sweden in their minds, I know the culture in depth, and the risks to assess for the personnel, especially male managers...there are solutions to bypass the problem. There is one point from a widely quoted interview with Mr. Assange, whom Professor Schwab would have wanted to invite to the Davos convention 2011, where the Australian is reported to having said: "transparency is for governments not for individuals"; this is not to be interpreted as hypocrisy but instead it is an important argument inherent to which is the following fact: governments are representing some other people than themselves namely their voters and better still the interest of the whole people and nation they are set to govern whereas the individual is not representing at all, only expressing his or her personal interest and not obliged to represent any other interests, albeit with the limitations that human and social context of interaction implies; law is referring both to individuals and governments and is restricting the radius of action of both categories, assuming, fundamentally, that justice is functioning as a codification of rules that are anchored in a sane exercise of social epistemology. The problem seems to be that the people who are hired by the state to run the rules are seldom politically innocent and have often not even the slightest idea of what is meant by "epistemology". If one would mention the phrase "epistemology of interpretation" at a seminar on Swedish justice system, many would run after the dictionary in an effort to quick-fix their deficiences of basic schooling. Today, I would like to honor Professor Schwab at World Economic Forum for his civil courage and his balanced statement! 


2010-12-24 With great pleasure I devour the book that came with author dedication with the post through wintry cold and snow warming an interior landscape of a starved mind: "Nobel Prizes and Life Sciences" (World Scientific, 2010), a gift from Professor Erling Norrby at Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA); I will come back to it under "current precious readings".

Christmas Eve (Julafton) is the day of unselfish love in the Christian tradition, manifested by uninterested or altruistic giving primarely to those who most need within the circle of family and friends. But Christian tradition also urges us to include the ones in the wider world who are stricken by poverty, misfortune, unhealth and whose prospects in life are thwarted by unlucky or narrowed conditions; people around the world, not only in the so-called third world but also among us are still too much afflicted by injustice or hard-stricken by violence or inhuman behaviour. Very timely, therefore, in FT, James Bowell reports about how the Buffett "Giving Pledge" fares in Europe. The very idea of benevolence having rather emerged or taken social form in a millennium of a tradition of catholic compassion and its social commitments, originating in Middle East and developed on European soil, is now back again via the grand style American version of philantropy: The US is the continent of great contrast, where the egoism were emblematic but also where society came to rely on the greatest charitable organizations of the west. It is about a dynamics of inherent cultural contrast that makes society function and about strong "patriotic" feelings of sharing a common destiny dependent on the responsible contribution of all citizens. While the charitable commitment were kept private and generosity exercised within the realm of individual freedom, the central core of US civil identity, the public authorities on national and regional level usurped social responsibility and developed social policies much as a continuation of old forms of royal, noble or
bourgeois benevolence. Martin Wolf reflects on "Scroogenomics" - essentially embracing the Victoran values of public prudence and private philanthropy with roots in the figure from Dicken's world.
   The more surprising it is to read another 'record' instance of public low level cognitive logics, at this time published by SvD on Brännpunkt: the Swedish Archbishop would need some serious training and some advice to overcome the rigid primitivism he concedes to supporting himself on the shaky ground of feminist theologism (the naiveté of the title should appeal to the level of expected readers: "Låt det bli kvinnornas Jul i år" sounds superficially warm and inviting; under a nice heading you can smuggle a lot of distorted views onto unaware readers). It means that leaders in the church are not up to the challenge of today in demonstrating resolution and judgment. The days when you could expect some seriousness in anchoring opinions to objective evidence are gone and in this quick-fix society nobody seems to ask anymore after knowledge to adduce in debate (saklighet is the Swedish term for that latter phenomena), argumentation and policymaking. So what is wrong? It is simply stupid to write and publish an article on a policy site (like Brännpunkt - literary "burning point" or "focal point", inviting to social debate) in which a one-sided stance and perspective is adopted in matters of gender-related issues. The result is only a wasting of paper and nothing is contributed to an essential issue and a potential constructive debate is thwarted. The Archbishop of Sweden should have been wise enough to know that he should have introduced a debate theme by inviting people to complete an agenda of the most pressing problems relating to the gender issues. The loss of ability among leaders in that country (Sweden) is, unfortunately, widespread and severe. The worst effect of it is the educational, or the lost chance of fostering the reading part of the people towards balanced and integrated opinion-making. To reduce the views on justice to a limited (and limiting) partisan or party perspective might prepare for worse: it risks inviting to the worst form of orthodox monologue, a primitivized form of communication that is commonly seen in dictatorships and countries on the verge of collapsing democratic conscience. The belief in issues like gender balance must be a belief in integration, acceptance and love, not in exclusion, privilege and shortcut triggering of prejudice. The authors of this article, Eva Brunne and Anders Wejryd, who are no longer authorities in re (they just consumed their trust capital), have lost their credibility, and draw down their institution (The Swedish Church) with the lowered perspective embraced. It is no recipe for future processing of social conflict, but rather one step backwards in social development of the country they represent. There seems to be no limit of the primitivity of perspective adopted and accepted by the editorial of SvD, and no responsibility for a fact-centered debate - no limit to the disease of progressive decline of intellectual debate level in Sweden these days. What is worrying is the almost complete lack of correct awareness and relation to reality; the lack of reality anchorage is one of the most dangerous indicators of cognitive deficiency among opinionmakers. And now they seem to believe in themselves and disseminate their confused reality perception to even weaker followers who seek social protection under the roof of the church during Christmas. If there is a public place for a serious and qualified social debate...no, not i Sweden. The failure to understand the process of a value to opinion link and the tolerance it allows for is a potential danger, especially in a society prone to consensus populism on the scale we witness here and now......



2010-12-22 There are mandatory readings in FT: "Eurozone can learn grim Latin lessons" by John Paul Rathbone, and in WSJE: "Britain's public borrowing surges" by Laurence Norman. A recapitulation of the history of sovereign defaults since the 80's, Rathbone, lucidly structures the problem ahead of eurozone leaders: "there is no road map for how the crisis might pan out; I would add: "there is no roadmap for a concerted strategic action as an integrated program targeting the future scenario of Europe in a global context and with a leading value-based vision taking us from a gloomy here and now toward a promising and prosperous continent, anchored in its cultural identity and using this stepstone as an advantage for fostering creative minds to developing innovation into resulting growth. Again, according to Rathbone, Latin America was deep in debt to the US financial system which had come under severe stress had not the crisis been solved via debt write-offs. The comparison between Latin America and the Eurozone is intriguing: (1) debts were issues in 'another' currency (USD resp. EUR) over which the borrowing country had no control; (2) that the debt crisis follows a period of easy credit is almost a trivial if still a causative fact, as is the fact that (3) both debt crises coincided with a global recession (both triggered by heavy corruption in the system). Mexico defaulted on interest payments in 1982 and asked for a moratorim and IMF support whereas Brazil stopped paying interest in 1987 ("betalningsinställelse"); a comparable trigger was the Lehman crash. Debt forgiveness ("haircut"; "skuldavskrivning") via the Brady plan was the immediate solution in 1989, introducing two kinds of bonds: the par-bonds with prolonged maturities and reduced interest rates and the discount bonds with reduced face values but with a shortening of maturity deadlines and higher interest load. These measures were backed by US Treasury collateral as a reassurance to investors of the real value of the restructured deals and by reform programmes commitments in the debtor countries. Rathbone calculates that loans to developing countries in 1982 amounted to twice the capityl base of US banks while total claims of foreign European banks on eurozone debtor countries is twice (EUR1800bn) the market capitalisation of European banks (EUR900bn): European banks' exposure to potentially troubles eurozone debt may therefore be around twice their capital", he concludes. How much will sovereign debt bonds need to be cut to get societies on track again and provide a firm basis for a kick-start of a new economic development? Generally, a plausible scenario would require that smaller countries approaching insolvency, like Ireland, will get greater discount (perhaps of up til 50%) while larger economies still retaining some solvency will shave away about 10-20% of their debts. While continental banks are building capital buffers to prepare for this financial war, Britain is escalating its public borrowing needs despite painful austerity programmes in place: that scenario is a worrying recipe for loss of social cohesion, a time bomb more encompassing that any terror attack imagineable. But, Britains are used to endurance and seem to have a secret cultural immunity against horrible strains, to judge from the survival skills they developed during the second World War. Nothing can hit them down and if necessary and once mobilized their impressive resilience as their umost weapon they seem to even be able to defy logic to prove it: it will be interesting to witness how they solve their equation, but the most important insurance in their independence and their control of their own currency; given that, they have more options to form en effective strategy than the countries bound to keep the euro...

I believe "central intelligence" in Scandinavia is underestimating the quality contribution to policy and civil liberties themes in Europe made by German speaking countries. It is really vexing that current culture is still influenced almost only by US and UK media, while the degree of anchorage in values and thorough reconsideration of weighted arguments is not seldom on a much higher level in German and sometimes French publications. This, I admit, while simultaneously conceding that I do not agree, "in principle" and for several reasons, to the hard core conclusion by Suzette Sandoz in her article on Wikileaks, "Wer Geheimnisse preisgibt verrät die Demokratie" with the subheading "Wikileaks legt die Grundlage für ein totalitäres System des Denunziantentums" (NZZ, 2010-12-19 page 20): essentially she objects to the view that disclosure of secret agreements should be defined as "democratic transparence". It is not, according to Professor emeritus Sandoz (Department of Law, Université de Lausanne, UNIL), because agreements are formed by representatives elected democratically by the people; instead, she argues, leakage is bypassing due democratic procedures. I recognize fully the force of her argument, and the seriousness of her attempt to save an orderly process as the sole guarantee for balanced democratic decision-making in society. But I still believe that representatives, although democratically elected, are not immune against corruption, and therefore often transgress their mandates - with deleterious result for the close implementation of the true opinion of the people; they simply
deviate from their representative roles shortly after election. Therefore, it is often argued, one would need to introduce much more efficient and faster control mechanisms, including requirements of accountability reporting, or some other orderly process to ensure the continuous alignment of parliamentarians to their voters' will. I fully recognize Mrs Sandoz' adherence to the structured form of policy-making and implementation through a resposible administration, but I think she overestimates the inherent ethics of the majority of politicians. Another measure, to emphasize the cultivation of their rootedness and personal anchorage in core values and identities, would be a feasible remedy on the way to an idea integration of the seemingly diverging arguments of Professor Sandoz and that of mine. I think this is an issue that should be carefully discussed in form of dialogues and trialogues on an arena for themes on the future forms of democracy in the age of internet and on speedy dissemination of information across all borders globally...it is truly a crucial point, also for the social cohesion of Europe, i.e. both EU and the countries outside it (such as Norway and Switzerland). To ensure accountability and sustainable representativity I have proposed a competence licensing for politicians in EU and European countries.

Idiocracy is governing the world. Yesterday a student showed me a youtube clip of the Swedish feminist initiative party (FI) campaign song. It is a tirade of generalized hatred against men including the verse "Vi skall slita dem i stycken" (we shall tear them in parts), actually an explicit murder threat against the other gender. In a normally functioning knowledge-based society one would have noticed the pathological indication and referred these angry ladies to forensic psychiatry. But Sweden is neither a normally functioning country nor does it any longer offer the benefits of socially knowledge-based services that is needed to protect more than half of its citizens. How could it all deteriorate that far? Well, there was since long a very arrogant attitude and an antipathy among politicians against developing psychiatry and developing it further to a modern state of art. By instead not only letting slightly disturbed groups of people gather to form their programmes in media and in other ways form partisan parties but also supporting these dark movements with profuse amounts of surplus tax money the whole field of professional diagnostics and research-based treatment efforts in psychiatry was politicized. One of the leaders of FI is Gudrun Schyman, a both aggressive and rhetorically eloquent former party leader of the communist party (vänsterpartiet). She was a member of the parliament until 2003, paid salary by common means. In effect, Swedish authorities are blinded by their bias and ignorance, trying to gain power by politicizing civil liberties, from a weakened opinion-making among the people. In fact, politicians and others should look much closer to themselves to find the true terrorists of societal values that they embrace; they are loudly shouting to get more mandats and more money to "hunt them down". But sometimes hunters are dangerous to both others and themselves. There is a parallel phenomenon with the recent islamist attempted terror attack in Stockholm: indications are in place for a classical psychiatric diagnosis, but the procedures of authorities have since long excluded competence among requisites needed to solve rising social problems...


2010-12-20 Isn't it typical? When international newsmedia directs their spotlights towards the last events in Sweden, at this time "Terrorism in Sweden. A close shave" is reporting in The Economist (Dec 18) on the attempted deadly attentat in Stockholm on December 11th with the conventional assumptions, reservations and conclusions. But media entirely miss the point: the solution to understanding the underlying forces driving the mind towards an inclination to violence is a much more psychological and psychiatric process; even an issue on cultural and societal values. The core process is a gradual development of disinhibition with an accompanying effect of shortening of the mind's perspective on the consequences of the premeditated action; it is about the cognitive and socioemotional processes of imagination, about the subtle and sensitive (easily disturbed) functions of empathy and lexithymia, both central to mankinds formation of sustainable social cohesion that makes the fundament of civilized societies. Printed media and broadcasting stations fill their time with speculations on the allegedly chocking fact that such a large portion of terrorist attentat attempts are "home-grown" and fitting into a pattern of emerging amateur terrorism (the Economist article refers to a study by Manni Crone and Martin Harrow of the Danish Institute for International Studies). The impression was the same at the Swedish Försvarshögskolan (FHS) at KTH campus in Stockholm: many of the lectures, held at the place in a series of newly invented security disciplines miss the target and appears not to have the competence means to grasp the fact that precisely humans and the human mind in social interaction in particular is at stake in these cases, not the ordinary "political science" nor the geopolitical or geoeconomic issues. At the bottom, we need much deeper knowledge on the human being to tackle these problems. We should not be surprised of the recent radicalisation that admittedly is an increasing threat to people in western society. One of the causes must be sought in the lack of quality in sociopsychological understanding and this is a costly deficiency to the societal system. The situation also reminds us on how things look when we do not have sufficient focus on longterm strategies for adequate competence to provide the public systems with sufficient human resources. It is an illusion that the much needed human resources can be replaced by material deliveries, but a popular delusion in administrative bureaucracy not only in Sweden and not only in Europe...


2010-12-19 The Independent article by Katrine Kielos (Saturday 18th) confirms the worrying threat to the political leadership in Sweden that could be provoked by a new burst of critical debate on civil liberties. Not only is the cost of the national reputation at stake but a shaky support in the parliament of further restrictions of free informaiton flow in Sweden could cause a crisis for the government if a votation were triggered in the aftermath of the FRA debate. The FRA bill pushed through the parliament by the present alliance government allows authorities to monitor all emails and phone calls in the name of national security. Swedish society is deeply divisive between on the one hand strong protection of journalist's sources and on the other hand the acceptance of an eavesdropping state. The level of trusting the state, as represented by government, recently got a blow following wikileaks disclosure of close collaboration with the US security services. But a weakened opposition is presently unable to collect itself and enforce hearings of what would amound to illegal collusion.
   The late conductor Sergiu Celibidache, a 20th century star on the global firmament of elite geniuses, once told me he thought the Swedes were among the most intelligent peoples, together with (surprised?) the Italians. Born in 1912 he had been around for a while untile he died in 1996. But that was an impression he had got while working in Sweden (and seeing PM Olof Palme). Paradoxically, during the former
Social Democrat era the elite were tolerated (if not more than so) because the government had no other choice to implement its forceful development program for the country (to meet expectations among its populous voterbase): it had to mobilize the best people available to do the hard work of building an outstanding organizational framework for an industry functioning socially and served by sciences. Things look different today: The battle of winning votes became increasingly a play on the strings of populist emotions - and that was understandably necessary to secure the powerbase. But then reality enters the scene and hard core work must be achieved. Only a burst of deregulations will not recreate lost industries of excellence (as in pharma: Pharmacia and Astra) which are capable of serving also the interest of society on a large scale and longterm view. It is in this perspective that questions are beginning to surface concerning the capability of the team of Reinfeldt's ministry: is he willing to seriously build a knowledge-based society on solid grounds that can withstand the challenges the west will face within nextcoming decennia?
   The intellectual weaknesses at the bottom of the present problem facing the Swedish government is the price they pay for having tasted the sweetness of power. But the cost of thwarting intellectual freedom of the elite were never calculated in the price of the meal that will be served to the Swedish voters. Although unrelated, the present case against Assange has triggered the first spotlight scrutiny of the Swedish legal system unless the case can be closed. But too much prestige on the part of the strong feminist movement in Sweden is invested. These feminists are a great number of the female (and even some male) voters, much more than a few brilliant industry strategists who still reside in the semi-arctic Scandinavia, and the alliance knows for once how to count votes.
   To mention a few readable articles covering the question on whether allegations toward the Wikileaks leader could be driven by security agency interest will leave interpretation to the reader: Andrew West and Sarah Whyte "Victims, jolted lovers or undecover agents" (Sun-Herald, p.4-5) and Anders Jallai "Militär expert: Underrättelsetjänst har sannolikt gillrat en sexfälla för Assange" (Newsmill 2010-08-21). The qualified opinion of one of the most experienced authors and journalists on cold war 'intelligence', Philip Knightley, can be consulted on these matters.
   The future of the freedom of the word and civil liberties in west appears suddenly under threat. Freedom of opinion and "freedom of speech" were the cornerstones of western open societies since the 18th century and implemented on models originating as far back as ancient Greek history: the basics of open society, as it developed in the west, emerged from the classical mode of intellectual dialogue in an atmosphere of total freedom of opinion among an ancient elite. It was a meme that became quickly disseminated over vast areas of the whole continent despite strenous communications at the time. It is seemingly a tragic paradox would it disappear at the moment of effortless global internet connections, unless you believe we have gotten too much of the good. But nobody has really been able to prove that privacy cannot be protected in an open and communicative world. If there are two goods, why not let them engage in a dialogue?... .

  

2010-12-18 In today's session we conduct dialogues on themes like: (1) Governance gone astray explains Swedish "justice", (2) The economic implications of consensus populism, (3) The relative isolation of governance from vital core competence leadership (and how governance in chair can protect its consensus populist powerbase and thwart the intelligentsia), (3) A proposal to strike a deal between the European peripheries to boost exchange between southern and northern peripherals and redrawing the map of EU (central core versus peripherals), (4) Further proposals concerning the future of the Nordic area, (5) The report on health policy and health economics in Sweden following a seminar at SNS (press release, webcast and report) and the future of the pharma industry in Sweden (SNS seminar Oct 14 with Torun Nilsson on her book När Sverige s
ålde Nobelprisindustrin (SNS förlag),(6) Crediting the Swedish Government for its crisis management of the islamic suicide bombing in Stockholm (the general aspect of leadership; AreScope does not deal with particular events or cases but can provide analyses and advise on strategic issues relating to specific situations)....
  
Comments in place: So the Germans need to make up their mind if they want to become Europe, because Europe will never become German. And even if they take on the challenge to incorporate Europe in their scope of responsibility they will face the problem of dissolving remaining tensions originating in the perception of Germany as conquerer during the WWII. But this is a cultural issue - or actually, the solution is cultural, not to bring about by means of security policy. Do they all understand the strategic implication of the situation, and the great opportunity for all Europeans it contains. I am not so sure. The major way of defusion resistance is through presenting the greatness of the German culture, mainly the classical one, and pave the way for acceptance and economic exchange via the heart, not via the wallet. Given that reflection, it is a catastroph that EU's cultural programmes are the weakest part of their budget activities. The country outside Germany that has a capability of comprehension in fields of culture and cultural values is France. The increased adoption of German culture would go through them. Just think of how the operas of Wagner disseminated through Europe: it was via Paris that his music was accepted in wider circles. And the French were able to accept Wagner with their hearts, perhaps not so much with their brains. For a deeper understanding of the history of reception of Wagner through Europe you might consult the late Professor Carl Dahlhaus' works, an eminent scholar in theat field (whom I met at first in Copenhagen 1974)....


2010-12-17...More eurozone woes. This will be a long story (FT and IHT is reporting).......

2010-12-16 The impact of Wikileaks, a brief note: Is it too conspiratory to ask if the effort to silence whistleblowers feeds the suspicion that the prosecuting (or persecuting) state has more to hide? Is the information war - or "cyberwar" - we witness actually an attack to destroy the last autocratic bastion against a final form of democracy involving all people and the whole society. The priviledge of handling sensitive information is desperately defended by autocratic nations: But, should this be interpreted as a weakness. If nations earn the right of this priviledge, built on trust, they would not have to defend it. But they miss the upside in the Wikileaks event, that revealing hidden reality can work to strengthen peoples trust in their administrations. Administrations, yes, that is perhaps what the new society, in the age of internet, is needing: opinions are formed among people in their social communities, networks and contexts. People do no longer need the rigid form of political representation, party structures are obsolete, as is also the highly convoluted, not to say contorted courses of decision making in public systems. This all puts democracy at its edge and challenges the existing practices....

The future of Europe and the issue of European integration: Most media talk about the future of the euro, eurozone or at most the EU. But these are only a set of agreements made on the European soil. On its land history evolved, culture emerged and the European identity was formed. For example, Stephen Castle and Judy Dempsey reports from Brussels and asks (in IHT): "In defense of the euro. who speaks for Europe?" European Union leaders will gather for another meeting to restore confidence in the monetary union which is, according to authors, threatened by one of Europe's persistent failings: "its inability to speak with one voice." It is assumed that lack of clear signals from a representative with a clear mandate to represent the union is the problem. In this belief leaders plea for "harmony and discipline", frightened to a reactive mode by Moody's threat to downgrade Spain on their credit ratings. That is a dangerous strategy, or, actually, that is a lack of strategy; it is no more that a tactic, a mode of social cognition that is too short-sighted and that risks end up in panic reactions when next fire flame up. It is a bit too primitive to rely on ones spinal reflexes as an answer to increasing stress. Mr. José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, is calling on the pupils to matintain discipline in the class to "show that the EU is in control of events". So how should you encounter the problem? By tightening or losening? Too much tightening of discipline might force some members out of the union or make them resist cooperative initiatives while they prefer relying on themselves. The idea that EU should speak with one voice is either unrealistic or you might need to find someone with outstanding integrative talent. The opposite way might be more reliable, i.e. to let many voices be heard and see what chord or discord that polyphony produces; then take a course in dissonance resolution to understand how you dissolve a discord into harmony, by gradual steps, as in all classical modulation. EU leaders, burried in papers at their Brussels offices, have forgotten the best heritage of the European culture, and they seem to have lost their ability to listen and learn from history. When several diverging voices are heard you start by listening to them all, separately and in consort.

2010-12-15 Is more or less integration effective to secure the eurozone? Two former German ministers, Steinmeier and Steinbrück, and macroinvestor veteran George Soros comment on what Europe should do now to this end? (FT, p.11) The ex-ministers suggest the required solution is a conserted strategy including measures such as (1) a haircut for debt holders, (2) debt guaratees for stable countries, (3) a limited introduction of European-wide bonds, combined with (4) more aligned fiscal policies, suggesting none alone of the measures would restore stability. They urge leaders at next European Council to commit their countries to regain momentum and end the crisis. This goal, authors submit, can be attained only by combining a debt restructuring for debt-burdened countries at the European perifery with eurobonds that send a strong message that Europe is capable and willing to deal jointly with whatever critical problem faced on the markets. Soros notes that beyond the incompletenss of the euro inherent to the construction of a monetary only union (without a political one) already at its introduction, other imperfections of the currency have surfaces since then: The euro was supposed to bring convergence but did in fact bring divergence due to imbalances emerging not only in the public sphere but also in the private sector. Soros finds it unacceptable that "bondholders of insolvent banks are being protected at the expense of taxpayers" and his critique is based on the diagnosis that (a) authorities are falsely determined to avoid defaults or haircuts on currently outstanding sovereign debt for fear of provoking a banking crisis" and (b) "higher interest rates of rescue packages make it impossible for the weaker countries to improve their competitiveness vis-à-vis the stronger ones". As an effect of growing resentment between creditors and debtors Soros warns of a destruction of political and social cohesion in the EU...

2010-12-14 The world in search of the Golden Egg: Gordon Brown, former UK PM, acurately targets the longterm outlook of the whole, in "How west can reverse a decade of decline" (FT Dec 8), but his strategies fail to anchor in the kind of selfgenerating social value processes that will be needed to solve the problem. Looking at the strategic interests of the players on the global arena, to endowing Sarkozy with the task within G20 to coordinate a global growth policy (invest in the west to boost production for the growing middle class in the east) sounds far from realistic and the other mandate suggested, to coordinate financial institution reform underway, will help reinstating trust in the banking system but is not a sufficient driver of growth.
   Under the editorial heading "Stockholm's bomb" (FT p. 10) the subheading appears to provide the answer: "Western values are the best defence against attack on them". Sweden has long since lost its innocence and "is less of a paradise than is somtimes thought". But with favorable conditions in place one might ask why isn't it the paradise or something close to that? Although no connection suggested, remember that Sweden is the country that jailed the defender of open and investigative journalism, Mr. Assange of Wikileaks. It takes long arms to jail an opponent to open society far away in another country. How easily can it not then be to thwart or silence inopportune critics on its own national ground? Imagine for a moment, as an experiment in social sciences, that the problems addressed have a common root. To render plausibility to such an hypothesis the root problem would have to be demonstrated on the level of societal system. It would have to do with the crucial processes of opinion formation and the forms of chanelling of opinions in the party structure. It would also be necessary to prove that serious analysis, crucial critique and whistleblowers somehow are not listened to or simple silenced in a not too overt way. The country has been fairly successful in maintaining a shining facade not the least by tax-paid massive public relation campaigns and the effect of the golden radiation from the Nobel ceremonies. But these are both superficial measures not valid in a serious inquiry. The editor of FT concludes (italics mine): "Terrorism emanates not from the plight of the marginalised poor but from the twisted sense of justice of people in the grip of aggressive ideologies, who are set on bringing down the social order. That is a pathology neither new nor alien to Europe". It is time to ask about the nature of this pathology, how it should be diagnosed and treated; what are the prevailing systemic errors in the societal value system that allows Sweden to derail into such an abyss? What should be done in terms of strategic changes (and political measures) to cure the disease? What are the crucial hindrances (in media, system of institutions and power balances, etc) which create a formidable resistance to necessary improvement in a superficialy well-organized societal system of the Scandinavian model. The necessity of installing functions of selfreflection and selfcritique is but one of the prerequisites for a further move towards a Nordic integration. As the cards stands today, signs in the cards suggest the opposite development, toward a value disintegration (e.g. in the behavior of the Norwegian government in connection to both the Gripen affair and the narcicism of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee).
   Also International Herald Tribune (IHT) for once dedicates prime place among its World News to Sweden, with Swedish police plot suspect
's movements" and "Extremist torn between family and cause", the former just an ordinary report of the investigation, the second providing scant suggestions of an analysis. The same deficiency is exposed in "UK Police probe links to Swedish suspect" (Wall Street Journal Europe, WSJE, page 4). These news media are far better than the usual social pornography of the boulevard press (Expressen, Aftonbladet, etc). The lack of social analysis in cases like these (there have been a comparatively large number of apparently irrational violent attacks of similar kind during the last couple of decades with assassinations of prime minister Palme and foreign minister Lindh as the most noted) is not a sign of lesser average intelligence among the population. But it might be a reason for critically reviewing the lack of quality in leadership of the determining structural functions in the societal administration of certain countries. While the democratic principles are held sacrosanct and are also formally implemented in a meticulous party system that was once meant to assimilate views from its members that picture of consensus populism is often naively seen as describing the mentality of the nation. It seems, however, that a highly driven democratic system, petrified in a party system that long since lost its capability to listen, engenders its opposite in the realm of practising power in a great number of selfsufficient bureaucratic state agencies. Due to a lack of competence in the practice of the social epistemology of knowledge and perspectives integration (understanding and listening to people's true needs and incorporating these findings in a differentiated actional scheme) the dilemma is that the political elite cannot exercise high competence because that would go contrary to the prevailing consensus populism: this says that the politician must reflect on the man on the street and nothing else. Actually, tolerance on this point is very low. A certain immaturity, or simplemindedness, was always a merit in the political recruitment system. Then signals reached public authorities ("Myndigheter"), part of a system that were never critically revised since Gustav Vasa (16th century usurpated regent who burnt the libraries of our catholic abbeys and thus introduced the not so clever strategy of power against opinion still partly governing the state apparatus).
   If one needs to take protective measures in a multicultural country (where the implicit clash between religiousness and secularization are higher on top of formalist administration) the only way to reach effectiveness is to build measures on in depth psychosocial understanding. If governments try to replace professionalism with power exercise that will sooner or later hit back due to the pathological ressentiment it engenders (for a reminder read the wiki on Max Scheler's Ressentiment, 1913). With that frame in mind we have addressed the issue of the health of society, although Scheler's ressentiment also entails the psychosocial health of the individual in society, given the conditions and opportunities that it provides him or her. It will come as an unwelcome surprise for most politicians, read parlamentarians in Sveriges Riksdag, that they will have to take the time to digest a bit more substantial literature than the daily overdose of bureaucratic papermass handidly provided by the efficient administration.  ........


2010-12-13 Monetary union is not sustainable without fiscal union. That is the conclusion by Wolfgang Münchau, drawn from consultations with notable economists. But the gist of his argument for a viable solution to the problematic threat of disintegration of the eurozone (and perhaps of EU) is summarized in "How a mini fiscal union could end instability" (FT p. 9). Because banks in some of the rich countries in EU (Germany, UK, Austria, Benelux, Nordic countries), especially in Germany and UK, have "crippling exposure" to the weaker economies (Ireland, Spain) a sovereign default would trigger an extremely costly chain-reaction hitting even solid banks in the north of EU. It would then be cheaper to solve the problem, according to Münchau, by establishing (1) a liquid bial-out fund, (2) a common policy to address asymmetric shocks, and (3) a tax on excessive and persistent current account imbalances.

2010-12-12 I notice a coincidence in papers from two small independent countries, Sweden (SvD) and Switzerland (NZZ Sonntag). In both voices are heard that the freedom on internet has to be defended; and for the first time I see clear positions opinioning that we should no longer rely on the US as a defender of the freedom of speech, in the era of virtual and electronic communication. It is a clear change we are witnessing. It will be difficult for the US, a crippled empire, to maintain its former leading position on the global arena. More and more countries will probably start reconsidering their interdependencies and revising their alliances open and concealed. Now, this is not an easy process and will take time. It is not easy because while many countries will start questioning the silent alignment to US perspectives on the world...there will be no clear alternative beyond doubt. No other country can stand up to the challenge of leading the world toward a safer state on a common arena of dialogue. China just stepped in as a clumsy elephant on the stage trying to influence not only the outcome of the Nobel Peace Price but also by exerting coercive pressure on other governments. China bluntly declares, inherently by its move, that they are not willing to listen; they are preparing the world for its pure powerplay. You should not forget to read the article "Eaten by the Dragon...." in the last issue of The Economist; not the least Sweden must think twice after having sold Volvo to chinese Geely. The "free" world (how free it is after the US decided to hunt journalists as terrorists, I do honestly not know) might want to reconsider its alliances and prepare for the new power balance if they are going to be able to protects their core values. More on this...


2010-12-11 Many voices on the eurozone lately sound not exactly as a well-tuned choir. An experienced conductor would easily detect the discord between the following not yet harmonized voices, still requiring som qualified training in both eartraining and sightsinging: On Dec 4th Ben Hall reports the ECB president Trichet's warning that "Governments not off the hook..." and that national capitals need to up ante in fighting the debt crisis (FT, p3). The next few days were filled by comments on Angela Merker's firm and unconditional rejection of euro-wide bonds - as reflecting the German "critical level of pain" (under Eurozone woes: "Merkel rejects debt crisis proposal", FT Dec 7th, p.2). The PM of Luxembourg J-Cl Junker and Giulio Tremonti, FM of Italy, had proposed such an instrument as a technocal solution preventing aggravation of the eurozone debt crisis, in "Euro-wide bonds would help to end the crisis" (FT 6th Dec p.11), on the same page as "A Europe doomed by design flaws" by Wolfgang Münchau. Quite at the core of the problem is the sharp analysis by Martin Wolf who asks: "Is there the will to save the eurozone"? (FT Dec 7th, p.13) and pinpoints the three crucial questions: (1) whether the debt-burdened countries can avoid sovereign debt restructuring (so-called haircut); according to Rogoff, formerly att IMF, the answer is pessimistic because "the salient characteristic of lending to sovereigns is the absence of collateral" so if "confidence disappears, liquidity dries up and sovereigns are driven to default". Despite this gloomy outlook, Wolf asks (2) whether the eurozone will make the politically extremely costly changes needed to prevent defaults? and his reply, again, is probably not. Surprisingly, the reason is that creditors, such countries as Germany, would want the restructuring in order to be able to see the end of the abyss. This would give them a foothold for the future instead of eternally treading in trecherous waters. If these answers are plausible or even proving to be revealed as correct predictions, the third, more constitutional question, is in place: (3) whether the eurozone could survive a wave of debt restructurings? The crisis would probably escalate as one default triggers next, etc, and big banks risk to fall. For European banks their vulnerability correspond to ca 15% of the GDP. But still, this does not necessarily force a dissolution of the monetary union, which is primarily an issue of political will. But there is a risk that smaller countries find a way out of the community easier that staying inside with all the obligations it entails. This risk implies a possibility of triggering runs from liabilities of weaker countries which might consider reintroduce their own weaker currencies at a certain level of national stress.

2010-12-10 So What Is The Nobel Vision actually meant to be? Fredrik S. Heffermehl is publishing his critique on the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee, in Dagens Nyheter "Debatt". Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbj
ørn Jagland, a politician, is there accused of not having paid attention to the original charter of the Nobel foundation for the peace prize...
 

2010-12-08 We are having the Nobel Lectures today: In Physics, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov on Graphene - the perfect atomic lattice. In Chemistry: Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki on Great art in a test tube - palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis. Finally, in Economics: Dale T. Mortensen, Peter A. Diamond and Christopher A. Pissarides on Markets with search costs, at Aula Magna, Stockholm university. Realtime video here: live webcast via
KVA. Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, Peace and Literature will not be treated here (see proceedings of Are Akademi):
   Dale T. Mortensen's Nobel Lecture "Markets with Search Friction and the DMP Model": The Flows Approach implies a critique on the classical model, (1) from the viewpoit of the classical "supply and demand" apprach to markets, unemployment arises only shen wages are "too high", (2) but in fact, large flows of workers are finding (losing) jobs...in both 'good' and 'bad' times, and (3) unemployment (employment) is a stock that trends toward a level that balances inflows and outflows. The "DMP Model" changed the perception of the problem of the joint benefit of the economic matching process, in papers by the three Laureates (Diamond 1982, Pissarides 1985 and Mortensen and Pissarides 1994). The Matching Function and the Beveridge Curve plots the relation between Job-Finding Rate and Vacancy-Unemployment Ratio (monthly rising curve for US 1951-2003), and Vacancies against Unemployment (quartely falling curve). Joba are created up to the point where the marginal vacancy has zero value. This implies that fewer vacancies are created per unemployed worker when wages are higher. The BMP Model plots Wage Promise against Vacancies/unemployment (J to C falling and W to E rising). Expectations determine the curves, if future looks rosy the curve is far out, if more depressing outlook curve is closer in. As demand contracted expectation decreased, future looks pessimistic, pressure on wages fell and it took longer time for people to find jobs (curve came closer towards origo 0). The Great Recession, i.e. US Beveridge Curve Dec 2000 - June 2010 fell dramatically. From June 2008  to June 2009 it plunges, while the last year the curve got stuck. Up til a year ago the model says precisely what went wrong. What are the policy implications. They are straight forward: first try to get employment back by providing liquidity and loans for small businesses before fiscal adjustments.
   Peter Diamond on "Unemployment, Vacancies, Wages": With a focus on labor market a retain market example is illustrative of the thinking: in search markets (a model which is, by definition, an incomplete image of reality) the time it takes to find information to get a job consumes time and should be included in the model that shows resulting job finding, etc. The search process can be to go to the stores to see if they all have the same prices for the same product. But it will cost you something to go to the next store. It is not only the competitive price that counts but also the cost of finding information on a possibly better deal nextdoors. The realistic price equilibrium model shows that when search cost approaches zero we are close to the competitive monopolistic model of pricing. In the context of research community, it is about finding a framwork to work on because research is much a collective endeavor. There are failures of job markets to clear: for monthly worker flow rates 1990:2-2009:4 as a percent of workers with initial status, see Robert Shirmer's data at https://sites.google.com/site/robertshirmer/research/flows . Search theory was set up to see how relevant governmental policies are. "Moral hazard" doen not mean you should not have insurance, but the designern of unemployment allowances must be aware of the effects of the allowance on the search process. Extending unemployment benefits at this point in the cycle must consider that not having a governmental policy does not mean you get a perfect or rational market. In his paper 1982 he delt with friction, inefficiency, equilibrium and their relations. In the present situation, static views on the employment market is distorting the critique against the potential efficiency of Fed's measures. We shouldn't be overinterpreting the data because the situation is unique in the sense that we never experienced this kind of unemployment since the time when data used very different sources. Historically, new technology such as internet and other innovations, shows an error of fear that these innovations create unemployment - the mistake depends on the fact that it is new people or other people who are hired when the economy takes a step into entirely new markets.
   Christoper A. Pissarides on "Equilibrium in the Labour Market with Search Frictions": Searching for what? For a high wage, two-sided search for a good match, and the matching function. Search theory seemed to have a reason from intuition: we look for a job and for a good work match. The process of matching jobs takes time. Both workers and firm search for each other. The worker choses whether to work or not. The two-sided matching theory would have a better chance to describe reality as it is. We need to bring in the matching function and some of the processes that are hidden, in the black box. In 1986 he used the matching function to get a simple equilibrium model between wages and employment. The bargaining model was integrated into the theory towards an equilibrium model on wage bargains and job creation, and the Beveridge (the relation between job vacancy and employment) curve equilibrium came into the picture. Most countries have changed from passive to active labour market policies. Comparing economies, one with more friction and passive policies and fewer vacancies to an economy with active policies and an evonomy driven by aggregate economic activity, e.g. GB 1975 versus 2008-2010. Applications of the search theory and its implications include relevance for issues like wage stickiness, job destruction and employment protection legislation. Search theory is including considerations of incentives to leave an obsolete job and to change job for other reasons. Southern countries (in US and Europe) have stricter legislations in employment protection than northern countries. Net impact on employment is the result if inflow and outflow, job turnover, employment and unemployment. The effect of training of long term unemplyed is accounted for. Where do we go next in our approach to employment market? The first models were formulated 30 or 40 years ago. There is still a lot to do. Skill is key to understand employment market. Modern theory should explore more fully all these factors, including stickiness of wages. Market with frictions needs to be explored. The recent financial crisis provoke a new approach in designing new models and can incite a progress in modeling of salient factors to be more fully captures by theory.

2010-12-08 Just an addenda to the Wikileaks-Assange case which is covered in The Guardian, the paper edition today, pages 1,2,3-4, including, under Public accusations, by Esther Addley "Conspiracy, slander and misogyny: how rape claims sparked an information war". It is only interesting to note, for the record, that the details given there are not being presented by media in Sweden. The conclusion is simple. If we are having a small country, the risk of group think penetrating even only partly independent media rises to the level where social ostracism can easily reach a new pitch close to a persecutory paranoia, affecting also less clever or less well educated bureau officials in a marginalized European culture such as the Swedish one. The picture of Sweden as socially responsible is therefore both true and false, as there is simultaneously a tendence toward split values and a low level of value cohesion in society: this does not open ways to a higher degree of freedom of speech but rather the opposite, it creates a mentality of imbalanced societal paranoia where everyone, eager to fight against all others who challenge individual delusions, promote his or her arbitrary opinion on matters whatever experience or knowledge needed for sound judgement, actually is lacking in the field. Anyone who is forming an opinion in a case like this should remind himself or herself of the detailed account, page 5 in The Guardian, and the international community will now have an opportunity to see if the Swedish legal system is up to international standards for human rights, and for the protection of privacy.

2010-12-07 Today Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, was arrested in London by the UK authorities on a Swedish warrant. This points to a problem: the Swedish justice system is under heavy critique by leading intellectuals in the country. Along rising feminist and femifascist movements the Swedish justice system has, since long, lost its credibility. Worse, it is presently fragmented by the weak and incompetent leadership of the minister of justice, Beatrice Ask. Due to a rigid and outdated party polica recruitment system it is more rule that exception that the position of justice minister in this country is filled by a person who lack thorough education in the field. This has to do with the fact that - from the point of view of the PM - it is easier to show political flexibility towards potential voters (in a quasi populist way) with a not so serious minister in position at the department of justice. Because Sweden retains its "beautiful facade" there will be no protest among the international organizations that were set up to warrant credibility and seriousness in the field of human rights. Now because of the fragmentation of leadership in the field of justice, the situation is actually as dangerous as suggested by the case of Mr Assange, because there is no system in place in Sweden that can guarrant him a fair trail. On the contrary, a law Professor at Stockholm University, Mr. Axberger, investigated trials and found evidence of a proportionally great number of convicted innocents in longterm jail incarceration. This, since then, became a Swedish specialty, along with a few tourist attractions in summer time: the feminists at helm in the Swedish justice system are proud of having invented it alone: people in Sweden are sent to jail not only on the basis of their proved guilt; the original innovation also allows our system to put accused innocents and false admitters in the same place. For a feminist empowered by the efficient administrative system there is no difference between accusation and guilt. The new paradigm sound: accused are guilty because the accusation is proof enough. There is only scant and shy criticism within the state system and independent political groups are too weak or underfunded to achieve momentum of change. Swedish law has made too many mistakes to deserve credibility and authorities have not yet realized that they have a long way back to establish trust. Such a problem can often lead to further fragmentation of societal cohesion in a nation and it takes a heavy toll on its identity. Applied to the case that is filling newsmedia these days, there are simply a number of reasons why Mr. Assange, regardless of his guilt or innocence, cannot expect to get a fair trail in Sweden, and the major reason for that is a deficiency in the legal system that allows for arbitrary interpretation and heavy politization, without safely anchored methods of objectivity, neither on the level of investigation nor on the higher level of evidentiary epistemology. If you ever come to Sweden, bear in mind that most authorities would not even have heard of such a thing and would not know where to turn to ask what these two curious words mean. Most administrators in the legal system in Sweden are, educationally, lower level people (not even having a legitimized themselves by earning a doctorate) who have not even dreamt of trying to go for a doctorate. And in a society heavily marked by populist values - everyone's rights are "right" regardless of competence - this makes for an extremely dangerous environment for intellectuals, artists and high level competence actors who need freedom of opinion and wording in their work to achieve quality results. In fact this kind of work should not stay in Sweden and the country is a willing exporter of both products and people.

Percecution or prosecution is the theme of the day: If allegations against Assange are revealed as false, then judging the case against an international standard - the case must be reliably assessed by an international tribunale (not by the unreliable and politically derailed Swedish system of law)- then it is a tragedy that Sweden has put its power behind repressive forces and not defended the free opinion and democracy. It is then really another of an increasing number of worrying signs of intellectual, moral and legal decay of once a great country. The cost of reputation to the Swedish people and to Swedish business which is heavily dependent on export income will be huge. But this is far beyond the imagination of the leading people in these fields. There is an article on the net taking a strong stance with regard to the Swedish legal system and its consequences for Sweden's reputation as a model of modern society: the implication is that the Swedish governement should reconsider its processes for revising legislation; these must rely on competence more than on political trend, such as feminism and the like. We can expect opinion against Sweden expressing doubt about the country as a legally safe place for intellectuals under persecution and under political pressure, with the dangers that follow from femifascist entrapment methods applied by eager officials implementing their policies on behalf of the authorities.

The Wiki article on persecution informs that gender persecution would be counted as a crime under the agreements supervised by the International Criminal Court which relies on the history of the Nuremberg principles.

How is the free word of the world going to survive govermental persecution against the messagers of truth? The question needs to be posed, in principle, at this point, but still, unrelated to the case of Wikileaks.
 


2010-12-07 Yesterday I heard Caroline Szyber and the Christ Democrats (kristdemokraterna, kd) at Gamla Stan: there is a considerable forward looking vitality for this party that was severely hit by voters withdrawal at the last election. They have sufficient self-reflection, and even self-critique, to review their situation and reposition themselves in the new mandate period. The decisive criteria, however, is flexibility, and the rare combination between attentive listening and respect for knowledgebased opinion-making. There are visions, but these seem not yet sufficiently anchored (neither among its members nor in a firm reality analysis) - so there remains much work to be done here until they reach a new platform solid enough to stand on and act from.

This week the Nobel Lectures in medicine at Karolinska (KI) and in the other disciplines at Aula Magna, Stockholms university, organized by "KVA" attract attention. What a contrast. How come that the democratic systems fail to create a function for incorporating the knowledge-based dimension into its political deliberations and considerations? Why is it that critical dialogue seems to have so little influence in the political world? There are two parties, one on each side of the problem, and both are to blame: The politicians for lack of attentiveness, for their lack of respect for solid and serious argumentation, for the validity or invalidity of the logic of a reasoning, and for their failure to integrate information of different kinds and derived from a variety of sources; and the scholars for their indifference to extrapolation of their findings, for their lack of interest for the whole context in which they would need to put their knowledge of details in a particular expert area, and for their selfinflicted errors in knowledge integration across disciplines (which comes with a lot of feelings of territorial ownership that lack substantiation). These are all among severe impediments to the birds-eye view needed to solve many of the most pressing problems of present society.

Today I read the list of EU funding provided by Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) and Financial Times (FT): Who got paid? So if you compare two statistically wealthy countries, Luxembourg and Sweden, you understand that Scandinavia is far away from the Brussels centre allocating ca 4meuro to Luxembourg and 12 to more than 10 times larger Sweden, etc. What is this cohesion money for? A few example from the list contains etanol and chemistry producers and other companies of neither social nor infrastructural essence. Worse, these allocations do not correspond to a vision about future Europe, although such visions are available and alive. Is this more than a bad joke? Who is prepared to defend this? Are the responsible people who decide on such matters on the same level of competence that you find in political groupings? Do not ever say there were nobody who didn't notice.

Who are these people who are selfbloated bureaucrats who destroy talents and get paid for it? You find them all over the place in Sweden, the overorganized megabureaucratic populist democracy where "political science" is just an eufemism for egotic and immature opinion which is blindly forced on "the others", i.e. the ones not in position. A form of real dictatorship of ignorance in a society keen to show a beautified face towards other countries, sensitive only to global public relation on the whole, and in deep need of a critical review from abroad to lift the illusion of the fake paradise.

The Nobel seminar for Professor Robert G. Edwards, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, at KI begins at 1.30. The following comments are in place: We deplore that the Laureate is not able to attend the ceremonies this year, due to health conditions.

Much of the news flow in media these days revolves around new and emerging forms of democracy. Provoked by modern forms of journalism and the versatility of internet, one can ask if this is the pivot of a crisis of the old bureaucratic powerbased form of democracy, and if that is gradually via a series of cyberwars being replaced by new forms of social involvement. If that is the case, the ensuing events will have a profound impact of societies not only in the West, but globally. And for old Europe, it will stand clear, after a while, which countries are truly committed to the core essence of democracy, and which ones only use the concept as a weak pretext for exercising their own power on behalf of their innocent peoples. I fear a wave of social unrest and disorder might follow, and the peoples who are victims to not so innocent powerplayers will not be able to remain so innocent themselves. If I am right in my assumption, economic and social unrest risk becoming potentiated, and the result more devastating to the coherence of Western culture that we have ever imaged before. What I am in search for, but not finding, is effective commitment to empower counterforces that would be in place in a situation like this. Why are governments incapable of interpreting the strategic impact of a concrete threat like this? There, I fear, administrative tradition is an impediment to the modern strategic policy thinking much needed just now and for the future - i.e. for the benefit ot the lives and the quality of life of the next and forthcoming generations. We have to extend our responsibility beyond our immediate needs. Why is that so difficult? It is difficult only for the immature. But what can then be made to assist people in society to attain maturation, beyond conventional educational programmes? Not much. Understanding for the essential role of culture in this context, as a facilitator in a maturation process, is scant.

2010-12-06 Wolfgang Münchau is a prolific writer in Financial Times (FT): today he pinpoints four grounds for what he perceives as "A Europe doomed by design flaws" (p.11) and uses for once the German word "überfordert" to describe the eurozone's crisis management: the present diagnosis of its state observes four failures: (1) the tendency to repeat the same mistakes, e.g. in fighting solvency problems by liquidity policies, (2) to show a lack of political coordination, (3) to conceal whatever agreement made by the hype of an underlying breakdown of communication, and (4) the tendency by governments to blame investors when things go wrong rather than attempting to solve the problem. But he is overlooking the fact that not only governments are to blame; don't forget that the decision-makers of private businesses also need to be responsible for their own long-term survival and rely on safe methods of evaluation to reach that goal.
   To get a perspective on Europe and the risk issue in a global setting, a look into full report "Global Risks 2010" by World Economic Forum is recommendable.

What is the impact on trust in the government of the daily Wikileaks releases that continue to dominate media? Aftonbladet, the evening paper, releases some uncomforting statements of the US embassy personel, formulation meant to describe the personality and personal qualifications of foreign minister Carl Bildt. These words are quoted in all newspapers these days. However, what is interesting in it is the insight it allows into the level of competence at work among the US ambassadors. It is well known among the intellectual elite in Sweden that most politicians are "normal" people of ordinary talent, rarely one finds a great talent among leading politicians in countries like Sweden, simply because of the fact that the recruitment process is guided by alignment criteria to the core opinions of the party. In fact, Carl Bildt, is a rare exception, that he is one of the very few who have been allowed to keep some of his personal traits despite his exposed positions in the state apparatus. In younger years, his a little bit arrogant squareness in the personal touch was a charming feature of the young nobleman who dedicated himself passionately to politics. The fact that he is capable of passion in politics is a good sign and has protected him over the years from drying out and getting reduced to formalism. What the US authorities say is that Bildt has limited political capability, but that is actually an insurance against ignorance and recklessness. In all his stubornness and a bot stiffness in the interpersonal relations that he retains, this can also be interpreted as a good robustness, needed in a job like his. As the political system is built in Sweden and in most Western democracies, representativity is a primary criterion, much more important that intellectual qualification. Swedish ministers seldom have doctorates, and many of them would have been happy if they had at all been able to earn an academic degree of modest level. That is rather a severe problem when it comes to Beatrice Ask, the minister of justice, whose lack of proficiency is so apparent that her personel has to do a hard work in constantly covering up for the minister's mistake. Unfortunately, while the prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, has shown excellent political versatility and a flexibility of the mind that allowed him to transform the party (the Moderates, m) into a totally renewed organization, attentive to the interests and key concerns of the people, he has not been so successful in his capability to pick the right people for exposed ministerial positions. If this is a slight weakness, as in the case of selecting Beatrice Ask, it does not, however, prove that Reinfeldt is incapable of listening. Actually, precisely the ability of understanding attentiveness, innate and also a result of training, is one of his strongest competencies in action. It is just that the higher levels of personality assessment, the specific psychological understanding of personality structures, does not yet come easiliy to him. While the party structure has become much more open-minded and sensitive to opinion, its key people have not yet understood the importance of the true expertise that is available in this field. Unfortunately, this minor failure, might well prove to make the ride somwhat bumpy along the folling years towards next election. Today, a social democrat, not unexpectedly, has filed a complaint to the constitutional committee, only by scrutinizing a few of the rigid utterances that minister Ask had to produce in response to the blamage exposed by Wikileaks on the international relations between Sweden and the US. While this will not more that incite a nod or a laughter among the elite, it is sad that a wonderful country loses its chances in such a cheap game. The inherent cost of these kind of mistakes, the loss of reputation among the well educated, the gradual realizing of the prevailing incompetence among the leading key figures at the helm, cannot really be estimated. The problem is to embark on a way that leads to a reconstitution of trust for the leaders of the country. Needless to say, this is difficult in a time when the opposition (the Social Democrats, s) get their material served with breakfast every morning via new Wikileaks releases. Comparatively, because of small size, though, this is a minor problem.

For the US, though, the effect on global trust in the country, after the video release of "Collateral Murder", which seemingly depicts a blunt violation against human rights, id devastating. To rebuild trust would require a complete "remedy" and rectification, with full compensation of victims (or their relatives), perhaps, as I suggest, via a new global tribunal for social justice. The problem is, that many of the systems built to protect human rights are weak constructs, such as UN body for human rights and the European Court of Human Rights. There remains the ICC, International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague, for war related offenses of this dimension. However, what is completely new, is this first instance of a cyberwar, and that is a new framework, that a kind a media and information war needs a new arena, and a neutral one. Therefore, one is awaiting with great tension on some form of reply and an explanation by the US authorities. Not even in a case like this, media can be the judge alone, but we need to hear also the other side, audiator et altera pars. Silence is not in the interest of US which is still a great economic power, and the country that hosted most of the scientific breakthrough projects that were awarded with our most prestigious Nobel prizes. It is a tragedy to witness the incoherence of core values of a great nation in decay, and a great tragegy to see how a nation endowed by such immense resources is still unable to coordinate its strategies in the multiple related disciplines needed in this situation. The worst conclusion, also from the financial crisis and Wall Street "collapse" we experienced recently, is that the world has lost its leader and no replace is in sight, and we have started to get a series of indications that we should be careful not to follow the US example; the old success machine is no longer working because the world is different and is constantly changing faster than ever. The changes of the power relations and of the advantage of initiative (including the first mover advantage) is no longer an American privilege, and people around the world have not yet realized the thorough implications for the global human culture that it will have. We will soon see...


2010-12-04 Notes on the impact of the present crisis between Norway and Sweden provoked by the Wikileaks information on the Norwegian government's double play in the ethics negotiation on military industrial product purchase (the Saab Gripen airplane). The betrayal implicit of a potential crisis is downplayed by defence minister Tolgfors as he states Norway is free to decide on its military purchases and alliances on whatever grounds it prefers. Is this a good strategy, or only a superficial policy statement issues to calm down debate and critical media. We prefer dialogues as a basis for strategic policy. It brings strategy on par with policy making and improves the world of open communication, while reducing the role of secret diplomacy. We feel dialogues take into account the need for completing the democratic project, even in the field of journalism, politics and international relations. Is it really a good idea, after this, to let Norway continue manageing the Nobel Peace Prize? You probably think it has nothing to do with the present diplomatic problem, and legally the Nobel testament is a document of civil rights status not relating to the relation of the involved states, Sweden and Norway. There are many other arguments against an escalation of tension between the two brother countries. The arrive of the news about the Norwegian deception is untimely and kills immediately an attemtpt in Sweden by Gunnar Wetterberg, a historian and policy chief at SACO, to launch a process of forward-looking Nordic integration ("Förbundsstaten Norden") in view of a Nordic federation within 20 years or so.

Wolfgang Ischinger is right as he replies to the Wikileaks, in "The End of Diplomacy as We Know It?" (IHT) that "once trust has evaporated, it is difficult, sometimes even impossible, to rebuild". But if the content of the secret communication is able to stand the test of the daylight, then it should also be able to create sufficient trust. And trust, in addition, is not build on one instance alone, it is the consistency of the other part in a negotiation, that is the basis for continuation, simple because the expectations must have some defined and interpretable direction, to count as a basis for further dialogue.


2010-12-02 As expected, Swedish authorities is playing a particular ugly game against the free word, if the suspicion will be confirmed that allegations against Mr. Assange has been provoked by means of political pressure, or other deceptive methods, to entrap the founder of Wikileaks. We finally seem to get a global spotlight on the Swedish system of justice. Beware what they will discover if they can uncover the truth about the form of institutionalized corruption in place in that country!
  
A somewhat surprising fact to be drawn from a few of the published leaks these days is about the lack of qualified competence among the hoards of workers within the 53bn $ US national intelligence programme...One might wonder how the world would look if this money had been used in a productive manner, or to alleviate the federal deficits. I fear the leakage of the US battleship is worse in the other direction and that economy is approaching some kind of pivotal point of collapse. The recent fall of the USD among currencies might be an ominous indication...


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CROSSDISCIPLINARY EXPLORATION OF ONLINE SOURCES - SELECTED REFERENCES: The AreScope is navigating critically through selected sites on the web to analyze the rootedness (or lack of anchorage) of policies in social and cultural values: a few selected sources of current interest to our critically reconstructive syndication of strategic review: First,  mandatory daily newsmedia include: International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal (Europe), Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Finanz und Wirtschaft, The Guardian, The Independent, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Nyheter. Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London are among leaders providing quality work. The Association of Swedish Foundations (Föreningen Stiftelser i Samverkan) provides a collection of links on civil society and organizations for non-profit fundraising. Second, after initial screening of Global Events Calendar, SourceWatch, Think tank directory, and The Global "Go-To Think-Tanks" 2009, a few sources of ideas on society and future, are reviewed on a regular basis: The Edge - of the world's knowledge through leading minds. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (wikis in en and de), Open society Institute (OSI) - "building vibrant and tolerant societies",  Open Democracy - about WikiLeaks, The Frontline Club - "championing independent journalism", and World Economic Forum - "committed to improving the state of the world". The portal Vox provides research-bases policy analysis for Europe and the eurozone. Harvard Business Review (HBR) and The Economist are among the classicals. Sites like Crikey and Svensk tidskrift are under our scrutiny, as are a number of online news media such as The Local and The Swedish Wire. Wiki informs on modes of investigative journalism, such as Wikileaks, and on current forms of internet-based democracy. Bank Credit Analyst keeps track of debt cycles. Among think tanks and futurist institutes we observe the International Institute of Finance (wiki), a global banks consortium, the Cato institute, the Heritage foundation and the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA); in Sweden: the Swedish Government, Studieförbundet Näringsliv och Samhälle (SNS), Timbro, Framtidsinstitutet and Svenskt Näringsliv. For the global outlook we value the online resources of the Digital Library of ISN at ETH in Zurich. Among think-tanks (more or less global, partisan, phantom, scholarly and activist) we observe: Re-define, Brookings, Chatham House, SIPRI, Council on Foreign Relations, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Rand Corporation, European Council on Foreign Relations (and two institutes of Nobel Peace Laureate Martti Ahtisaari: CMI and MAIGBE), Utrikespolitiska Institutet (UI), Bertelsmann Foundation, Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS, Brussels), World Policy Institute (WPI) New York, Amnesty International (UK), French Institute of International Relations, Fraser Institute, European Policy Centre (EPC), Centre for European Reform (CER),  Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Hoover Institution, Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Stratfor Global Intelligence, Hudson InstituteNuffield College (University of Oxford), World Justice Project (WJP), New America Foundation, The Hastings Center, INTERS (DIFS),  The Linacre Centre, Pontifical Academia Pro VitaAcademy of Arcadia (historical), Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Arts & Letters Daily, The Edge, Future of Humanity Institute (FHU, Oxford Martin School) University of Oxford,  ......
                                                                                      

FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN HISTORY ONLY: The Arreschovian legacy relies on a Nordic tradition of values. The historical roots can be traced far back in time.
καλὸς κἀγαθός [kalos kaːɡatʰos], the beautiful with the good (ancient Greek proverb), ancient virtues of Arete ἀρετή .  Time and tide wait for no man ("te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet",  St Marher, ca 1225, ascribed to Canute the Great, 995-1035, King of England 1016; "Ego Cnuto inclite ac speciosae gentis anglorum regnator basileus", 1019, WCM 12093),  Cnut expanding into a "North Sea Empire" (coronation of "Imperator" in Oxford 1018). "Maeth logh skal land byggas", With Law Land shall be built (Jydske Lov, Danish King Valdemar, 1170-1241). 
Website reference : "Arelites" and Links. For history: Arreskow (släkt).
On the author, consult wikipedia
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The mission in Paris: dissonance resolution on many levels - prevention of international violence, intrafamilial violence, fostering of differentiated modes of expressive maturation; the role of selfinsight in public policy and interpersonal relations - the code we learn from culture; the underestimated potential of cultural production and sociocultural analysis.









Obituaries of the living and dead.


When power criticizes people - save us from steering stupids.



Who is competent to govern you?




Whose information is it all?

What is information for?



Who is understanding our world?




















Who is leading the world?

















Who is saving our world?
Who is saving free word?



























Who's knowing the world?








































































Whose world is it, anyway?















Moral or morass?



































Persecution or prosecution?




















Law in Sweden - out of State?






Still any Noble Truths left to Christmas?



































































What does it take for a leaked opinion to become a dangerous truth?









































The seduction of anarchy?






















Trust or Truth in brotherhood?
































DECEMBER 2010