the trap (doc)
13 min – john: seeking separate optimizations.. like poker players.. doing something very non-coop, very selfish.. then what all of them do works together.. that is the equilibrium
would only happen if everyone played selfishly.. if they coop’d.. not predictable..
actually.. perhaps.. would only happen if did both.. echo chambered/protected authenticity.. and one/protected attachment.. and perhaps.. can only do both with mech simple/deep/open enough.. to facil that chaos.. (ie: part he’s talking about coop\ing being unpredictable.. but too.. of self\ing being undanceable)
16 min – theory of whole of society via nash: one could have a society based on individual freedom that wouldn’t de generate into chaos.. but price.. everyone would have to be suspicious and distrustful of their fellow human beings
nash equilibrium: rational pursuit of self interest.. lead to kind of order in which all players agree on strategies.. and strategies make sense to them.. but paranoid.. idea of individual sitting in room alone.. bent on destruction of other players
17 min – when secretaries in rand corp played.. they didn’t use those strategies.. they opted for coop ing..
and what rand corp didn’t realize at the time was that nash was suffering from schizo.. believing all around him were communist spies..
18 min – john: you don’t want to admit that you are crazy…. i heard voices.. and ultimately realized i heard what i created in my own mind.. i was talking to myself mentally
and.. self-talk as data
1959 – nash forcibly committed to a mental hospital & would spend next 10 yrs battling schizo
19 min – but those at rand.. saw the equations of nash’s theory fitting with the new form of society based on free individual… alt vision hayek had called for
nash’s ideas spread.. via rd laing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._D._Laing)..
Ronald David Laing (7 October 1927 – 23 August 1989), usually cited as R. D. Laing, was a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness – in particular, the experience of psychosis. Laing’s views on the causes and treatment of serious mental dysfunction, greatly influenced by existential philosophy, ran counter to the psychiatric orthodoxy of the day by taking the expressed feelings of the individual patient or client as valid descriptions of lived experience rather than simply as symptoms of some separate or underlying disorder. Laing was associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, although he rejected the label. Politically, he was regarded as a thinker of the New Left.
forbidden cures ness
During his medical degree he set up a “Socratic Club”, of which the philosopher Bertrand Russell agreed to be President. Laing failed his final exams on his first attempt, in 1950, but, after spending six months working on a psychiatric unit, passed them in a subsequent re-sit at the start of 1951
Laing maintained that schizophrenia was “a theory not a fact“; he believed the models of genetically inherited schizophrenia being promoted by biologically based psychiatry were not accepted by leading medical geneticists. He rejected the “medical model of mental illness“; according to Laing diagnosis of mental illness did not follow a traditional medical model; and this led him to question the use of medication such as antipsychotics by psychiatry. His attitude to recreational drugs was quite different; privately, he advocated an anarchy of experience.
in 1956, Gregory Bateson and his colleagues, Donald Jackson, and Jay Haley articulated a theory of schizophrenia as stemming from double bind situations where a person receives different or contradictory messages. The perceived symptoms of schizophrenia were therefore an expression of this distress, and should be valued as a cathartic and trans-formative experience. Laing argued a similar account for psychoses: that the strange behavior and seemingly confused speech of people undergoing a psychotic episode were ultimately understandable as an attempt to communicate worries and concerns, often in situations where this was not possible or not permitted. Laing stressed the role of society, and particularly the family, in the development of “madness” (his term).
Laing saw psychopathology as being seated not in biological or psychic organs – whereby environment is relegated to playing at most only an accidental role as immediate trigger of disease (the “stress diathesis model” of the nature and causes of psychopathology) – but rather in the social cradle, the urban home, which cultivates it, the very crucible in which selves are forged. This re-evaluation of the locus of the disease process – and consequent shift in forms of treatment – was in stark contrast to psychiatric orthodoxy (in the broadest sense we have of ourselves as psychological subjects and pathological selves). Laing was revolutionary in valuing the content of psychotic behaviour and speech as a valid expression of distress, albeit wrapped in an enigmatic language of personal symbolism which is meaningful only from within their situation.
Laing expanded the view of the “double bind” hypothesis put forth by Bateson and his team, and came up with a new concept to describe the highly complex situation that unfolds in the process of “going mad” – an “incompatible knot”.
Laing never denied the existence of mental illness, but viewed it in a radically different light from his contemporaries. For Laing, mental illness could be a transformative episode whereby the process of undergoing mental distress was compared to a shamanic journey. The traveler could return from the journey with (supposedly) important insights, and may have become (in the views of Laing and his followers) a wiser and more grounded person as a result.
In The Divided Self (1960), Laing contrasted the experience of the “ontologically secure” person with that of ..
a person who “cannot take the realness, aliveness, autonomy and identity of himself and others for granted” and who consequently contrives strategies to avoid “losing his self”.
In Self and Others (1961), Laing’s definition of normality shifted somewhat
..(laing) ..wanting freedom for everyone.. via questioning fundamental ideas of trust and love
20 min – 1950s .. mental hosptials in glosgow..violent/frightening.. trying to control schizos.. laing – noticed.. psychologists hardly ever spoke to schizos.. so he took 12 women and spent months talking to them about themselves/lives.. results dramatic.. after a few months .. all 12 well enough to leave hospital.. but 12 months later.. all had returned to hospital..
21 min – laing: no one knew why they had come in in the first place.. and no one knew why they had to come back again.. that shifted my focus on attention/interest/research.. into the actual circumstances where this thing called madness is incubated..
laing began to investigate the families of schizos… how the members of the families behaved toward each other in private.. on sending patients back to the private horror that was creating the madness
23 min – laing used techniques of game theory.. to study the power struggles in family life.. he had learned about game theory in palo alto.. when scientists where using it as a way to analyze interaction.. laing saw it as perfect tool to see what went on between family members
schatzman (colleague): he was concerned with games not in the sense of fun.. but games in the sense of rules.. some of which they were aware of and some of which they weren’t.. he thought he’d uncovered a fresh way at looking at human relations.. those secret games that people have… this was a way it could be subject to sci investigation.. it could be quantified.. could give people questionares.. it was very much.. the application of game theory..
24 min – laing took 20 couples.. and kept asking questions.. of what they secretly thought of the other.. following game theory.. he then coded the responses and had them analyzed by computer.. then he produced matrices that showed how just as in the cold war.. couples used their everyday actions as strategies.. to control and manipulate each other..
25 min – his conclusions were stark.. that what were normally seen as acts of kindness and love were in reality weapons.. used selfishly .. to exert power and control..
clancy sigal (colleague): laing really did feel that the family was an arena for strategizing.. love was a way in which one person tried to dominate another person…. i love you.. but i’m making a condition for that love.. which is impossible for you to fulfill.. so there’s nothing you can do to earn my love.. even though i’m telling you.. you have to earn my love..
so from this research .. laing found that the modern family.. far from being caring/nurtuing institution… was in reality a dark arena.. where people played continuous selfish games with each other..
out of this struggle came stability in society..but a bleak and limited existence for all the individuals involved..
so ginormous to importance of.. rp ness.. et al..
26 min – laing: the so-called normal factors.. it was like walking into carbon monoxide gas chambers.. people induce their children to adjust to life by poisoning themselves to a level of subsistence existence that they called life..
laing was radicalized by his findings.. he believed that the struggle for power and control that he had uncovered in the family was inextricably linked to the struggle for power and control in the world.. in a violent and corrupt society the family had become a machine for controlling people.. laing believed this was an objective reality revealed by his sci methods… above all by game theory.. but these very methods contained within them.. bleak/paranoid assumptions.. about what human beings were really like.. assumptions born out of the hostility of the cold war
27 min – what laing was actually doing.. was helping spread these bleak paranoid ideas.. into other areas of society.. into the very way we thought about ourselves and our relationships to each other..
no need for paranoi.. but for awareness… being awake.. questioning things.. like ie: you have to eat these salmon patties.. check off these boxes.. et al..
clancy: he gave a message .. that i have seen things that you can hardly imagine.. a bleak cold landscape out there.. that i’m going to do my best to armour you against.. we’ll do this together.. but don’t you ever bullshit yourself.. that it’s any better than that.. because that’s where it is..
ok.. too far.. on human potential.. because.. sci of people.. but right on the need for a and a..
28 min – so laing heads up counter culture.. that none of institutions.. aiming to help.. can’t be trusted.. really part of system.. that was trying to control your mind.. destroy your freedom.. had to be constantly on guard.. never trusting anyone.. even those who said they loved you
and see.. i’m thinking.. trust everyone.. if.. everyone.. every one.. gets a do-over..
29 min – what laing and counter culture were doing was tearing down britain’s institutions in the name of freedom… they were about to find the most unexpected allies.. joined by.. elitist.. rand-corp/hayek ers.. brought with them sophisticated math techniques.. to show.. that the idea of british public duty.. that had underpinned for generations.. was a sham.. corrupt hypocrisy
early 70s.. destruction of institutions..B B B .. a group of right wings in america could now explain a theory of why this was happening.. the heart of it was game theory.. they said the fundamental reality of life/society is one of millions of people continually watching/strategizing against each other.. all seeking only their own advantage… an assumption.. had become a truth..
31 min – self interested model of human behavior that had been developed in the cold war to make the mathematical equations work.. had now been adopted by these economists as a fundamental truth about the reality of all human social interaction
this is so fitting.. of the problem… of the why not yet ness… what laing found is so on spot… but we take it to a level that is not us.. and so we never see it working..
thomas schelling (economist/game theorist): we’re always trying to infer the intentions of the other.. always trying to convey our intentions.. either deceptively or truthfully…always trying to find ways to make believable promises.. and sometimes.. believable threats.. i think what we’re doing is called strategizing.. what does he think that i think that he’s going to do…. it has to come to some equilibrium.. what is something we can both recognize ..it’s the obvious thing to do
32 min – what this meant was.. politicians..bureaucrats who said were working for public good.. was a complete fantasy.. because to do that.. *dependent on creating shared goals in society based on self-sacrifice and altruism.. but in a world that was really driven by suspicous/self-seeking individuals.. such concepts could not exist..
and shouldn’t really.. again.. playing extremes here… today we can go beyond.. *shared goals in society.. so we can’t not.. because public consensus always oppresses someone (s)
out of this came a theory called public choice.. and a group of economists who wished to destroy a politicians dream.. that they were working for the public interest… their leader: james buchanan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_M._Buchanan)
James McGill Buchanan, Jr. (/bjuːˈkænᵻn/; October 3, 1919 – January 9, 2013) was an Americaneconomist known for his work on public choice theory (included in his most famous work The Calculus of Consent), for which he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in 1986. Buchanan’s work initiated research on how politicians’ and bureaucrats’ self-interest, utility maximization and other non-wealth maximizing considerations affect their decision making. He was a member of the Board of Advisors of The Independent Institute, a member (and for a time the President) of the Mont Pelerin Society, a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute, and professor at George Mason University.
james: there’s certainly no measurable concept … that’s meaningful that could be called the public interest.. because how do you weigh different interests of different groups.. and what they can get out of it.. the public interest as a politician thinks does not mean it exists.. it’s what he thinks is good for the country…
33 min – james: and if you come out and say that.. that’s one thing.. but
behind this hypocrisy of calling something the public interest.. as if it exists..
that’s what i was trying to tear down..
33 min – 1975.. margaret thatcher (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Thatcher) becomes leader of conservative party.. and buchanan’s ideas had a powerful influence on her and the group of radicals gathered around her..
buchanan explain to thatcher.. via game theory.. because there’s no defined.. public good/interest.. politicians build their own to build up own empires.. claimed to be helping others but in fact very opposite.. result was econ chaos and a breakdown of society..
actually that all came when we started measuring transactions.. i’m thinking.. a quote of his from his wikipedia page: Economics is the study of the whole system of exchange relationships. Politics is the study of the whole system of coercisive or potentially coersive relationships (In What should Economists Do? 1964)… and i’m thinking.. exchange becomes coercive when we thing we have to measure them.. esp in order to validate us..
34 min – madsen pirie (founder adam smith institute): it was chaos .. there was no other word for it.. and then.. public choice theory came along and told us why.. it’s because the self-interests of the groups that have managed to acquire control of process is such that they’re directing these activities to their own advantage at the expense of the rest of society…. when public servants/politicians say they are pursuing the public interest.. the words are those of public interest.. the actions are those of self-interest.. maximizing personal advantage..
35 min – as british economists spiraled out of control.. the political bureaucratic elite who had dominated since the war.. found themselves under attack from both the right and the left… where once they had been heroic figures who would create a new world.. now they were being accused of being agents of control.. not freedom..
these new theories began to spread into the public imagination
sitcom (yes ministry).. as well as being funny.. ideological propaganda..for a political movement
36 min – anthony jay (creator of yes ministry): the fallacy that public choice econ took on was the fallacy that govt was working entirely for the benefit of the citizen… this was reflected by showing.. in programming.. we’ve shown that almost everything that the govt has to decide is a conflict between two lots of private interests.. that of the politicians and that of the civil servants.. trying to advance their own careers.. that’s why public choice was at the root of almost every episode of yes ministry…
37 min – at same time.. laing continuing his assault on what he saw as corrupt – the med/psychiatric statutes.. result dramatic.. but outcome.. very different from what laing intended.. his ideas would undermine the controlling medical elite.. but far from liberating people.. what would actually emerge.. would be a revolutionary new system of order/control.. driven by the objective power of numbness (?)
38 min – laing leading anti-psychiatry movement.. psychiatry said laing.. was a fake science .. used as a system of political control.. to shore up a violent/collapsing society…
its categories of madness and sanity had no reality..
madness was simply a convenient label.. used to lock away those who wanted to break free..
100s of young psychiatrists came to laing’s talks… one was inspired .. was there a way to show what laing is saying is true.. david rosenhan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rosenhan).. sent self and 7 others to psych hospitals across country (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenhan_experiment).. telling on duty psychologist.. they were hearing a voice in their head.. every time heard word thud.. that was only lie they were to tell.. otherwise .. to behave/respond completely normally
39 min – david: then.. they were all diagnosed as insane.. admitted to the hospital.. there was nobody that could have judged these people as insane..
so.. hospitals refused to release them – 2 months.. diagnosed 7 as schizo.. one from bi-polar disorder.. all give powerful drugs.. they found there was nothing they could do to convince the drs they were sane
40 min – it quickly became clear that the only way out.. would be to agree that they were insane.. and pretend they were getting better..
david: the only way out was to point out that they were correct.. they had said i was insane.. i am insane.. but i’m getting better.. that was affirmation of their view of me
when david finally got out and reported it.. he was accused of trickery.. one major hospital challenged him.. to send some more fakes.. guaranteeing they would spot them.. rosenhan agreed.. after 1 month.. hospital proudly announced they had discovered 41 fakes.. rosenhan then revealed.. he had sent no one to the hospital
41 min – the effect.. was a disaster for american psychiatry.. it destroyed the idea that they were a privileged elite with specialist knowledge.. but those in charge..realized they couldn’t give up.. another way had to be found to understand/manage people’s feelings in modern society… set out .. to diagnose inner mental states in which all human judgement would be removed.. replaced instead.. on a system based on the power of numbers.. they gave up on the idea that they could understand the human mind and cure it.. instead.. american psychiatry created a new set of *measurable categories.. that were only based on the surface behavior of human beings.. many were given new names like: attention deficit disorder…. obsessive compulsive disorder…
there’s that *measuring again.. our demise..
42 min – paul mchugh (psych chief john hopkins): psychologists just said.. we don’t know the causes of these disorders.. and then they said.. this is what they look like.. ie: this is what depression looks like.. adhd.. ptsd…mult personality.. whether they exist.. in same/different way.. didn’t matter.. this is just what they look like..
what mattered was that these disorders could be observed and thus recorded…
the psychiatrists created a system in which the diagnoses could literally be done by computer… specific characteristics.. yes/no questionnaires given to people.. computer would then decide if people were normal/abnormal
43 min – robert spitzer (creator of new diagnostic system 1979): the lay interviewer asks specific questions and notes them.. that person is not making the diagnosis.. computer program looks at the pattern.. no clinical judgment required..
decided to test system.. end of 1970s.. send questionnaires out… 100s of 1000s of people selected at random interviewed… up to this point psychiatrist had only dealt with people who had come in and asked for help.. first time of going out and asking ordinary people how they thought/felt..
44 min – results astonishing.. more than 50% of americans suffered from some type of mental disorder
jerome wakefield: there are very very high rates of disorders out there.. and general conclusion was.. a hidden epidemic
more surveys done with same results.. surveys showed that underneath the surface of normal life.. millions of people who never would have been thought of before as mentally ill.. were secretly living with high levels of mental anxiety… psychiatrists began *screening programs across the country.. for many people.. the checklists were a liberation.. their private suffering was finally being recognized..
45 min – these labels of disorder.. took hold of the public imagination.. but as this happened .. it had unforeseen consequences.. many people began to use the checklist to monitor and diagnose themselves.. but by defn.. this also set up a powerful model.. of what were normal behavior/feelings.. to which they should aspire..
46 min – psychiatrists began to have more and more people coming to them demanding to be made normal..
paul: was just a matter of asking people a couple of questions.. most people don’t want to have a psych disorder.. but now they have an ideal.. so they come to me..so they can fit..
47 min – this new system of psych disorder came about by attack on the psyche elite.. in the name of freedom.. but what was beginning to emerge.. was a new form of control… an objective guide to what were the correct/appropriate feelings in an age of individualism/emotion..
a very different system of order.. no longer were people told how to behave by an elite.. instead.. they now used the checklist to monitor their feelings and police their own behavior..
they were reassured that these new categories were scientific.. and could be checked by the power of numbers..
48 min – 1979 – thatcher comes to power in britain.. she promised to create a society based on the dream of individual freedom.. liberated from arrogant elites and state bureaucrats… but she knew.. she would have to find a new way of *managing/controlling these free individuals.. in a complex society.. in order to avoid chaos..
*why not yet ness..
a nother way.. to ground the chaos.. of 7 bn free people..
she would do this.. just like psychiatrists in america.. to systems based on the objective power of numbers… but underlying the new math models.. would yet again be the dark/suspicious visions of human beings.. that the cold war strategists had assumed.. this vision would now penetrate to the very heart of the british state
49 min – thatcher.. brings in system.. public servants via incentives to follow self-interests.. via buchanan: we’re safer if we have politicians who are a bit self-interested and greedy than if we have these zealots.. the greatest danger of course is the zealot.. who thinks he/she knows best for the rest of us
50 min – buchanan: the zealot is not as readily influenced by monetary/office/rents incentives as the non zealot.. so don’t want too many zealots.. so can use incentives.. if our success depends on the goodness of politicians/bureaucrats.. then we’re in real trouble..
a dark .. pessimistic vision.. of human motivation.. about to become.. the basis for a new system of managing the british state..
51 min – thatcher turns to alain enthoven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Enthoven) – who’s job .. back in 50s.. had been to think the unthinkable.. to plan how to fight/win a nuclear war.. he had used math.. and nuclear weapons as incentives.. to manipulate the other side
52 min – out of this.. he developed a technique he called.. systems analysis.. technique of management that he believed could be applied to any type of org… aim.. to get rid of all emotional/subjective value.. that confused system.. and replace by rational/objective methods.. mathematically defined targets/incentives
first tried this.. 1960s macnamara had asked his help… he started by getting rid of idea that patriotism should be guiding force.. replacing it with a rational system.. based on numbers..
53 min – alain: from political to analytical.. anti patriotism.. slide rule ish.. the military hated it
and it ended in disaster when macnamara tried to run the nam war in a mathematical/rational way.. thru performance targets and incentives..
54 min – ie: the body count.. a rational measure of whether america was winning the war.. but in fact troops made up.. or even shot civilians to fulfill their quota… in 1967.. macnamara had resigned..
but enthoven was undaunted.. he applied his systems to national health care.. he began in america.. .but in 1996.. thatcher asked him to come and do the same for the nhs in britain..
55 min – alain: in both cases.. with military and drs here and in britain.. you have the power of organized elites/authority/hierarchy.. and the system needed to be reconfigured in such a way as to give incentives to do a better job… and it was a matter of .. *how would you rewire the incentives.. to motivate self-interest.. to create proper incentives to reward efficiency and can we measure it.. so that was a challenge to the power of org’d med
*how would you disengage from the outward incentives..
alain proposed.. he called.. the internal market… a mathematical simulation of the free market.. numbers used to create measurable output/performance targets at all levels.. competition was created .. driven by a system of incentives.. all of this mimicked the pressures of the free market on public servants.. to those set out to create it.. they were engineering a new freedom.. liberating public employees from arrogant control of older elites.. instead.. numbers sets targets.. and they were free to go after them
madsen: before were instruments doing what they were told.. now suddenly they were creative minds allowed to say.. why don’t we do this.. these were their targets.. that was a huge part of motivation.. they felt they owned their targets..
56 min – but it was a very narrow and specific type of freedom… it meant shedding all ideas of working for the collective/public good.. becoming instead.. an individual.. constantly calculating what would be to one’s advantage in a system driven/defined by numbers..
57 min – root of this.. was simplified self-interested creatures that john nash had created in the 50s to make his game theory equations work.. but now the aim of the systems of targets/incentives was to transform public servants.. into just these simplified beings.. individuals.. who calculated only what was best for them.. but did not think any longer in wider.. political terms..
philip mirowski: there is this vision of these individual/isolated humans that they are only info processors.. that there’s no emotion involved.. that people don’t get some of their motives.. for participating in politics.. from emotional feelings.. from being part of something larger than themselves.. none of that is allowed in this particular theorem.. and so we have this image.. of these little info processors who might possibly care about their family.. but the idea that they have the interests/welfare of the whole at heart.. is thought to be naive..
58 min – nov 1989.. berlin wall collapsed.. cold war finally over.. it’swonderful.. new era of freedom had begun.. but the shape that freedom is going to take would be defined by the victors.. the west.. and the idea of freedom.. that had now become dominate in the west.. was deeply rooted in suspicion and paranoia.. of the cold war..
59 min – it seemed to offer a new/better alt to democracy.. what it actually leads to .. is corruption.. growing rigidity.. and the dramatic rise of inequality.. and we will come to believe that we really are the strange isolated beings that the cold war scientists *had invented to make their models work… this bleak vision.. far from liberating us..
will become our cage..