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herds and the individual

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New translation, the Magna Carta


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in the beginning

thing is a number
herds and individuals

  1. Universals do not exist in the real world outside the heads of individuals.

  2. But people cope with the real world using their internalised universals.

  3. They even tend to locate their positions in society in terms of generalisations (universals).
    For instance:
    • I am a chess player
    • I am a socialist
    • I am a brain surgeon

  4. Many of these categories divide the person into slices.
    Example: I am not just a chess player or a shopaholic, I am both and many more. I remain the same person. I am not any of the slices, or even a compendium of the slices.

    Thus an inclusion in a group - a universal.

  5. Humans also divide themselves up into bits.
    Example: This is my hand, this is my liver.

  6. People also look outward, imposing similar categories on others. Thus the group is seen as a collection of slices.

  7. Remember, none of these slices or groups consist of collections of real, functioning people.
    They are just ways of coping or relating to a complex world where individuals strive to manage.
    That is, they (what?) are merely points of view. (See also chance, cause, choice.)

  8. Nobody knows what si in the mind of another.


Humans act as

  • members of a hive (working to a common end)
  • members of a flock (following a group or perceived leader)
  • individuals.

These behaviours are not mutually exclusive.

thing is a number

Counting is entirely a matter of choices.You can count herds or flocks, or you can that the herd or flock appear and concentrate on individuals. Of course, you could also take the individual apart and concentrate on molecules or amino acids.

The herd can be treated as an individual, which is what is done with codeitures ? or universals, as in socialism or the family, the beehive or the corporation, with the dictator or the queen bee as the hive mind.

The Catholic Church doesn't care whether a state is a democracy or a dictatorship, it cares whether the state respects natural human rights. Rerum novarum.


A good example of how swarms behave can be seen in the programme boids.

herds and individuals

  1. You cannot understand how a human being works by cutting them into pieces.

  2. You cannot understand how a human being functions by watching them in a crowd.

  3. The way a person thinks about a problemaffects the way they act.
    For example, if a person thinks in terms of class divisions, they will think in oppositionist terms, such as "the class war". They will tend to attack their superiors or inferiors.
    If they think in terms of one society, they will think in terms of resolving problems between people. Thus the following question matters.

what is the difference between...

...sorting out solutions that suit all the family,
resolving conflicts of interest?

Thus framing matters (framing meaning the way a problem is described).

If you frame the judiciary or parliamentary system as adversarial, for good or for evil, you will not arrive at the same outcomes.
However, if you look at a problem in more than one way, you are more likely to end up with more options.

This is no idle question. It has been at the heart of the disputes about methods of governance, and it figures strongly in modern psychobabble.

I posed the question because I can see little difference beside semantics and political attempts at framing. I wanted to see how others responded to the semantics.

The psychological state of persons appears to me to change according the semantics used. For instance, introducing the word 'conflict' tends to encourage a person to assume the must be a 'conflict', whereas maybe there are easily available 'solutions'.

But even the term 'solutions' suggests puzzles. If all in a group love ice-cream, there is no real problem. If both want to play with a toy (or a gun) at the same time, there may be a 'conflict' or 'a puzzle' .

Leftist dictatorships try to impose a frame such that everyone really agrees with the Fuhrer's 'vision'.

'Dictatorship' tries to sweep difficulties under the carpet, and dissent is regarded as 'false consciousness' or 'treason'. Distraction and fear serves the purposes of dictators and despots.

Dictators act as if there is no problem, that everyone acts and feels the same, as the dictatorship dictates. A dictator expects the people concerned to act as a herd, following his/her orders.

The nation (the herd) has only one interest or purpose, and the dictator is the perfect expression of that will. (Similar processes can be seen in corporations and families.)

Much of UK democracy is built on conflict resolution, that is pragmatism and 'adversarial' legal and parliamentary processes, whereas the French legal system tends to be 'investigatory' (to find a resolution of a 'problem').

Thus the framing tends to predispose the political approaches, whereas there may well be no, or very little, reality difference between the events being discussed or resolved.

related material
franchise by examination, education and intelligence
reality, laying the foundations for sound education






ISBN-10: 0140063277
ISBN-13: 978-0140063271



, Penguin, 0141187379, £4.79 []
1980, Harvest, 0156421178, $10.40 []

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