YOU DIDN’T NOTICE BUT YOUR BRAIN DID: SATISFIERS AND REINVENTION

EPISODE 19 MUSIC IN PHASE SPACE

The first concept comes from Max Neef and is called Satisfiers, the second is from Jordan Hall and he calls it Reinvention.

When we look at a social function like “the music industry” we must be clear: it has absolutely nothing to do with the medium. The music industry is not a function of Spotyfy, Itunes. , MTV, Rolling Stones, blogs, etc. These are all instantiations of the “generator function,” but they aren’t the essence.

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. The common elements of music are pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Not only does music reach us on intellectual, social, and emotional levels, but many describe it as spiritual or mystical. The use of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic devices in music can induce a psychological state in both the musicians and the listener that is beyond words to describe. Music can bring us back to ourselves, be our mirror, and show us a side of us we may have long forgotten or never knew existed.

It is part of a larger complex that includes science and education. Creating and curating music and disseminating it within the social environment to maximize its use for our “collective intelligence.” Within this larger complex, if we pull at the threads of “the music industry” specifically, we might say that music industry makes sure that music is routed to the right people with fidelity and clarity.

Looked at in this light, we can see how poorly our legacy institutions, The Big Four Plus Apple, Spotify, satisfy this need.

As we go through the process of reinventing, we are going to consistently come face-to-face with the perhaps unpleasant reality that all of our contemporary institutions are failing at doing what they are supposed to do. Ultimately, this is a good thing. It means that every day it gets both easier and more important that we detach from obsolete institutions and replace them with reinvented ones. In some cases, this will be a relatively easy task. For example, given the contemporary state of our legacy institutions, replacing them with nothing would be a decided improvement

Jordan Hall

Fundamental human needs are finite, few and classifiable. They are the same in all cultures and in all historical periods. What changes, both over time and through how groups come together to find ways to more effectively satisfy human needs, is the way or the mean by which the needs are satisfied. Prehistoric people used carving and piercing tools to create instruments. India has one of the oldest musical traditions in the world — references to Indian classical music (marga) are found in the Vedas, ancient scriptures of the Hindu tradition etc. In the modern era we go out to a concert or we make money to subscribe to spotify.

What is culturally determined are not the fundamental human needs, but the satisfiers for those needs. Cultural change is, among other things, the consequence of dropping traditional satisfiers for the purpose of adopting new or different ones. It must be added that each need are satisfied within three contexts:

1) with regard to oneself (Eigenwelt);

2) with regard to the social group (Mitwelt); and

3) with regard to the environment (Umwelt).

Summary

The main conclusions we can draw are:

1. Any fundamental human need not adequately satisfied generates a pathology.

2. Up to the present we have developed treatments for individual and small group pathologies.

3. The understanding of these collective pathologies requires inter-disciplinary research and action.

Our institutions were invented a long time ago and have by all accounts have had a pretty good run. It’s not hard to see how poorly our current institutions satisfy our real human needs. But over the decades they’ve suffered from what Joseph Tainter calls “decreasing returns to complexity” which is to say that their only response to any new challenge is “more of the same.” And ”the same” isn’t working anymore.

What’s happening now is that rather than providing healthy, effective “satisfiers”, what we see is a system that produces and provides pseudo-satisfiers like social media that present themselves as satisfying needs, when they really annulling the not too long term, the possibility of satisfying the need they were originally aimed at fulfilling. Their main attribute is that they are generally induced through propaganda, advertising or other means of persuasion.

Or worse “violators” like fast food that present themselves as satisfying needs when they actually make things worse. When applied with the intention of satisfying a given need, not only do they annihilate the possibility of its satisfaction over time, but they also impair the adequate satisfaction of other needs.

Though we likely don’t need to articulate an architecture that satisfy all of those needs before we are at the other side of the adaptive valley, let’s assume that all these needs will ultimately need to be satisfied by the abundance society

Inside of satisfiers there’s two components, one is the underlined need the other one is how the satisfier is linked up also to another satisfier associated to productivity and how to produce goods and services in the economy.

SATISFIERS AND ECONOMIC GOODS

While a satisfier is in an ultimate sense the way in which a need is expressed, goods are in a strict sense the means by which individuals will empower the satisfiers to meet their needs. When, however, the form of production and consumption of goods makes goods an end in themselves, then the alleged satisfaction of a need impairs its capacity to create potential.

So within the satisfier concept there are satisfiers that are less effective at meeting our needs and other satisfiers that take maybe meet multiple needs simultaneously say for example going to a concert which might meet meet needs around being in nature sharing with other human beings and possibly surfacing potential mating opportunities or creative collaboration opportunities in addition to listening which is very different than going through a Spotify playlist.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are satisfiers that show up as meeting your need but don’t. Let’s say for example a piece of fast food music that doesn’t have any nutritional value or even worse is the satisfier that makes the problem worse so say for examples the “Live for Now Moments Anthem”; it features reality star/model Kendall Jenner its gist is that we should all unite and “join the conversation.” In that way, the soft drink ad succeeded. It did indeed provoke conversation — about Pepsi’s tone-deafness.

In the 2-minute-39-second “short film,” Jenner throws off the chains of the modeling industry by taking off her wig, then leaving a photoshoot to join a protest.

Or Imagine three shops. The First is ITUNES, the Second IS WALMART and the third is your local Record Store (there are still around 1500 record stores in the US only). Both Itunes and Walmart satisfy a human need-you can get your music. You can do that relatively quickly and cheaply enough that you feel fine about the transaction. But then consider the third shop. You can also get records. It might be a little more expensive, and probably you don’t really care about higher quality but the big difference is in the sense of community. The third place is alive, bricks and mortar. You see friends greeting each other, you feel can talk. Dudes know your name and probably have something in store for you that is gonna blow your mind.

There are four or five different human needs being satisfied all at once in a place like this. This is called a “synergistic satisfier”. Synergic satisfiers are those that satisfy a given need, simultaneously stimulating and contributing to the fulfillment of other needs. It seems clear that the abundance Society will probably constructed from synergistic satisfiers. A little goes a long way with synergistic satisfiers.

GAME A and its basin of attraction , in turn, leads to cause people to feel isolated or estranged engaged in a senseless productivity race. Life, then, is placed at the service of artifacts, rather than artifacts at the service of life. The question of the quality of life is overshadowed by our obsession to increase productivity.

Within this perspective, the construction of a human economy poses an important theoretical challenge, namely, to understand fully the dialectic between needs, satisfiers and economic goods. This is necessary in order to conceive forms of economic organization in which goods empower satisfiers to meet fully and consistently fundamental human needs.

From Efficiency to Synergy

The satisfaction of fundamental human needs as Subsistence, Protection, Participation, Creation, Identity and Freedom is restricted by the demands which the TOP-DOWN centers of power, either explicitly or implicitly, impose upon the people. The patterns of consumption, subject to relationships of exchange that make dependence more acute, perpetuate internal imbalances and threaten culture.

It is the GAME A that is also responsible for propagating the message that such technologies along with their accompanying products as absolutely essential for any society seeking to improve the welfare of its members.

To break away from imitative consumption patterns not only frees us from cultural dependence, but also creates the conditions for a more efficient use of the resources. The various forms of dependence reinforce one another. The different domains of dependence — economic, financial, technological, cultural and political — cannot be viewed in isolation from one another, since the power of one is derived from the support it receives from the other domains. It is because of these multiple dependencies that development geared toward sovereignty and the satisfaction of human needs is inhibited.

RE-INVENTION

In local spaces, which are more human in scale, it is easier to generate initiatives in sovereignty that could be potential alternatives to pyramidal structures of power. It is in human scale spaces that personal and social Sovereignty can reinforce each other. We do not consider accumulation as an end in itself, or as a panacea that cures all the ills.

Although it in no sense minimizes the importance of generating surpluses, its emphasis is on the consolidation of groups, communities and organizations capable of forging self-reliance. Through its expansion and articulation from the micro-spaces to national settings, economic accumulation can eventually help lo progressively satisfy the fundamental human needs of people.

For all of their flaws, contemporary architectures like Reddit, Yelp and to a lesser extent Wikipedia are embryonic forms of what our future “collective intelligence” architectures will look like. The challenge lies not in human nature, but in how we design our environment to express the aspects of human nature that are most collaborative and generative.

It is certainly not a trivial task to design systems that reward honesty and integrity while downregulating “defection” behaviour. It is important to remember that in the context of actual complexity, experiment and learning are necessary. There is no way to “get this right” all at once but from what we know in cognitive-neuroscience and behavioural economics, we don’t have to be close to perfect to be vastly better than anything we’ve seen before.

We should always be mindful, of course, that little of what we conjecture, architect and design will survive first contact with reality. We should be certain that the pioneers of Abundance will discover, create and construct in ways that we can only vaguely sense. Nonetheless, if you want to get to the New World, you must first build some boats.

Once we have isolated the essence of the function, we can take a pass at trying to implement structures that will satisfy our core needs using our “design constraints from the future”.

  • Data aware: in principle all possible transactions are stored and searchable
  • Transparent: in principle all transactions can be viewed by all participants
  • Distributed: in principle no levels of hierarchy. The Need for Horizontal Networks. The invisible actors should organize horizontal networks, undertake mutually supportive action, articulate individual and group practices and thus develop shared projects.
  • Anti-Fragile: designed to maximize and benefit from “black swan” events rather than minimize and suffer from them.
  • Segmented: intrinsically difficult to capture. Strengthening Micro-organizations. As a potential means of solving the crisis, the invisible world creates through survival strategies a myriad of community organizations as well as productive micro- organizations. In this sub-world, the ethics of solidarity that have evolved from within are an indispensable resource for survival in the milieu where a dominant logic of competition prevails.
  • Transient: Beyond the basic resilient holon and stored data, every function or organization is built with the time or conditions that warrant its death built into the design/plan.

SOVEREIGNTY YET AGAIN

Sovereignty presents a contrast to the uniformity of behavior among social sectors and actors that is conventionally expected. People are no longer just instruments for the efficient accumulation of capital. Dependence inhibits the satisfaction of fundamental human needs and, therefore, is a price which should not be tolerated. It means that people are manipulated in relation to the demands made by GAME A and that heterogeneous forms of culture, production and organization are considered mere stumbling blocks to growth.

The Logic of Economics Versus the Ethics of Well-being.

It is necessary to counter a logic of economics, which has inherited the instrumental reasoning that permeates modem culture with an ethics of well-being. The fetishism of numbers must be replaced by sovereignty. The state’s vertical management and the exploitation of some groups by others must give way to a social will encouraging participation, autonomy and the equitable distribution of resources.

A commitment to Sovereignty makes it necessary to encourage individuals to assume responsibility. In this respect, the central question for Sovereignty is: What resources are to be generated, and how should they be used in order to nurture sovereignty in individuals and in micro-spaces?

Sovereignty involves a kind of regeneration or revitalization emanating from one’s own efforts, capabilities and resources. Strategically, it means that what can be produced (or worked out) at local levels is what should be produced (or worked out) at local levels. The same principle holds true at the regional and national levels.

Sovereignty changes the way in which people perceive their own potential and capabilities.

Thus, sovereignty must of necessity acquire a collective nature. It must become a process of interdependence among, equal partners so that forms of solidarity prevail over blind competition.

Articulation Between the Personal and the Social.

The prevailing political models and Sovereignty styles have been unable to make compatible personal Sovereignty and social development. The exercise of power, especially when inspired by restrictive ideologies, tends to either lose sight of the person in the archetype of the masses or to sacrifice the masses to the archetype of the individual.

Articulation Between the Micro and the Macro.

Relationships of dependence flow from the top downwards — from the macro to the micro, from the international level to the local level, from the social domain to the individual domain. Relationships of self-reliance, on the contrary, have greater synergic and multiplying effects when they flow from the bottom upwards; that is to say, to the extent that local self- reliance stimulates regional self-reliance, which in turn fosters self-reliance.

MIGRATION STRATEGY

The other piece of our task will be to imagine our migration strategy. Human beings and our social institutions are naturally conservative and for those who have power in the legacy architecture, change can be perceived as a threat. Consequently, we can be sure that the movement from the Society of Scarcity to the Society of Abundance will not be seamless.

Jordan Hall

As long as economic and social organizations remains framed within a pyramidal political logic, it will be extremely difficult locate and

diversify resources. Forces of control — both from within and from without — will react with fear. It will take some care to construct a new social architecture that can detach from the old without devolving into darkness.

Again, we don’t know the precise path, but we can venture some hypotheses:

The new system must run concurrently with the old in order to avoid inducing general collapse. To achieve this end:

1) It displaces due to choice and not force. Bit by bit and not all at once.

2) It can leverage mature services of the old system to gain capabilities rapidly and supplement deficits.

3) It must be able to defend itself against predation by the old system.

4) It replaces old system functions when able.

5) Connection to the new system is a function of desire/membership and a willingness to live by a set of rules, both at the individual level and at the level of the resilient community. Membership is not based on geography or accident of birth, it is earned through behavior.

Jordan Hall

Constructing this system will be no mean feat. At the same time, we should be reminded of the fact that our existing institutions are failing. Our construction of a new Music Industry is as much a consequence of necessity as opportunity.

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