Solving Complex Problems

A problem is an objective(s), condition, or situation that demands change, correction, or solution. And a complex problem is a problem that has obvious patterns and relationships, that are conflicting, competing, or have dynamic objectives (or equilibrium states). States which may or may not be immediately identifiable; some of which might be recursive. The problem itself is also an equilibrium that satisfies the objectives defined to be the problem. Otherwise, it is only transient.

With such problems, the solution is not immediately obvious to the parties, and typically seeks to derive one equilibrium state that is designed or acceptable. It may be straightforwardly arrived at or straightforward in itself, with hindsight.

Making an otherwise ‘fixed’ problem state transient, such that it may evolve into a solution (or desirable) state marks a process of solving the problem. It is also possible to make the problem worse by shifting its equilibrium point along the wrong path. We typically find out that this is what we think we have done, with hindsight.

A complicated problem is marked by apparently convoluted and patternless relationships. It becomes less complicated when the understanding of the associated situations increases. (Understanding is defined to be the recognition of patterns and principles; the realisation of truth.)

Whether or not a problem is complex or complicated is a function of perception. The two are the same because there is nothing that exists, no situation, without pattern or principle. A solution to a complex problem, hence, whether or not optimal, is also a function of pattern and principle. It should implicitly require simplicity.

We may thus say that there are no complex or complicated problems for the one who can be God. Because his perception must be perfect and full, and his ability to effect optimal solutions, illimitable.

Still, we can conjecture that there are fundamentally no complex problems as it relates to an individual in his personal life, and that every solution required by mankind for himself is simple to him, however challenging it might be to discover or implement.

But complex problems are everywhere in our human society, and in the sciences and engineering. All demanding change, correction, or some sort of a solution.

If a solution to a complex or complicated problem isn’t simple, then the solution itself is a problem to be solved. And if this complex solution cannot be solved in simple(r) ‘terms,’ then, the chosen solution is sub-optimal, and may represent a problem for the future.

Practically, the best solutions are those whose relationships to simple effected elements can be simply or directly traced. A simple effected element is the most basic building block of the solution to a complex problem, whose effect can be traced to helping solve the problem with no (or little) side effects, and without contravening natural law.

When the full solution is solved, it can then be said to be beautiful. This is the reason why love, the natural world, and natural law are beautiful; beautiful solutions.

Sustaining the Welfare State

The three pillars of every social welfare system, arguably, are health, education, and productivity support. A prioritisation becomes necessary where required resources are, or will be limited: we say health above formal education and both these above productivity support.

Formal education, ideally, itself, promotes productivity; while health is a necessity for both. Health is important because life is for the living to live healthy, and good health supports survival. Education is useful to promote enlightenment: the basis of civilised and healthy living, reasonable frugality, peace and order. Productivity support provides a humanitarian oriented survival line for individuals who lack the basic resources of food, clothing, and shelter in such a way as to help reduce their need for the same support.

A simple financial inequation for a sustainable welfare system:

(IPY – SAS – YOC) > (0.8*RMW)*(WEP) + FED + MIC

IPY = Income from previous year
SAS = Strategic annual savings for reserves (say, 20% of IPY)
YOC = Contribution from 0.8*IPY to current (non-welfare) operations and capital budget
RMW = Reasonable minimum wage per year
WEP = Estimated welfare eligible population for income support
FED = Computed annual cost of free public education through high school
MIC = Medical insurance support cost estimate for WEP

Obviously, it proposes that the current budget be funded from the previous year’s income, and promotes the elimination (or reduction) of deficits. A useful way to use the inequation is to observe and pursue fulfilling the demand it places on the management of the nation to ensure that the left-hand-side is maximised, and the right side minimised. Notable, reducing the WEP increases the value of the right-hand-side. And a well design education system might reduce the MIC. The devil is in the details, so what this translates to practically has to be worked out.

The RMW should be able to support local transportation to/from work, reasonable portions of home cooked meals of reasonable cost, basic shelter and clothing and the ability to save 10% of what is left after these basic expenses.

If a nation’s economy does not support delivering 80% RMW as minimum wage (allowing for a bearable 20% stress due to inflation or other factors) then its economy is imbalanced to the degree that it doesn’t sustainably support the RMW.

The foremost aim of the strategic annual savings is to develop a national reserve that can support continued operations for seven years without any other income. It is essentially an emergency reserve that may be used to bring financial relief during force majeure and major economic structural adjustments. A portion of it may be used for strictly capital projects.

Issues with the above inequation include that its terms are dynamic, and estimating the values of the terms on the right-hand-side might be challenging if not problematic. In order to alleviate this, at the most, half of the previous years SAS my be used to support deficits due to incorrect estimation. This, though, places an upper limit on uncertainty-based errors.

From this, with a view towards sustainability, and given global competition and a finitude of national income and resources, we surmise that the basic objective of the welfare state may best be defined thus: to eliminate or minimise the need for the welfare it provides. A complex problem that appears harder with higher population size, but also alleviated by cultural norms of mutual sustenance within familial groups.

The Purpose of Law

The need for law is the need to make a man a certain kind of man; to make a society a certain kind; to make a system a certain kind. It says that the man, or the system, has a potential/tendency to decay, deteriorate, or dissipate energy wastedly; to attain to an undesirable state, one that flows from the opposite of truth or the accepted facts.

What are we really doing when we make laws for our children and ourselves?
Every law that the government produces makes a statement, not just of what is legal, but also of what we should aspire to: how it wants us to be. Law is a codification of the ethics (imposed rules) of our existence, citizenship, and residence.

The purpose of law is to make the perfect man; the purpose of law is to make the ideal citizen; the purpose of law is to make the ideal society. But the ideal does not exist where the law exists, otherwise there would be no need for law.

If full love ruled, then perfection would be real. Husbands, fully love your wives, and wives, your husbands. (Love for your children is implicit in loving your spouse.) Imperfect people leading ideal lives.

So the law functions to train one’s conscience. Your conscience is the arbiter of personal convictions. Convictions which may be of truth, or falsehood in the guise of facts or feelings. The law trains us, like the media tries to do.

Lay Thinking on ADHD (Part 1)

First remove the ‘D’ so that it’s the description of a tendency without the connotation of disease, illness, or even something to be treated. The persons attitude, simply, persistently, borders on an unconventional. (To them, we might be the ones ‘unnormal’ or unusual.)

Its character, like many others, is a statement of love and pain.
Love: the face of God. He runs towards it.
Pain: a face of fear. He runs away from it. We escape some noble joys that must come through pain and discomfort—like with childbirth.

What puts a baby on this path? Somehow grooming him to think that his attention needs to persistently be shifted physically and/or mentally for him to be at peace? Perhaps augmented by feelings of inadequacy, or ‘missing out’ when other things might be going on. (Guesses, guesses: where science begins.) Which asks the question whether it starts from the womb or is developed/learned after birth.

Even if the origins are chemical, the brain is plastic, and the soul drives synapses; people get better regardless of origins.

They say it’s more prevalent with boys. Girls concentrate because they play with dolls; they’re living, caring, in a story they’re making, so they’d stay for longer.

ADH is really more movement than attention; there’s an itch somewhere.
‘Tis more about interest, albeit dynamically shifting, than illness;
An intriguing stream of consciousness acted out or inside.
Call it H for hyperactivity of mind—and body—if you like.

Shifting Attention Algorithm SAA():
Loop{
The grass becomes less green once I’m on it;
    Break condition? No;
This becomes burdensome fast;
    Break condition? No;
That looks more exciting;
    Break condition? No;
We go there.
    Break condition? No;
}

This is the algorithm that should be reconfigured.

ADH stems from a superpower—a certain energy—we need to learn to redirect and harness. A hint at giftedness in an unconventional way.

It’s a big issue how to help, we hear
To control, drug ’em, tie ’em….
To redirect, lead ’em guide ’em ….
Perhaps, not that easy; indeed easier said.
I don’t know what to do.
Love is patient, Love is kind, Love is persistent … [1 Corinthians 13:4-8].

PS:
Part 2 was published a week before part 1.
Love is something that will always exist.
Thinking to remove the grasses, make things all grey, remove delineations… Get a so-determined extremely ADH person alone in an almost empty room, a still place, like of a monastery, to engage in one activity, with a deadline or a prize. What might happen with practice?

The Phantom Limb in Life

There’s this amputee, he sees his hand isn’t there anymore, but he feels and moves same amputated hand and it’s fingers.

He knows his mind, or brain, is playing tricks on him, and that his eyes see correctly, but the feeling is too real to ignore or treat as false.

So he writes this poem (with the one hand left):

It isn’t there, though he feels it
So that it’s like it’s there, but it isn’t 
Neither a hope to grow back
Nor a denial that it’s gone
But vicarious experience through sticky recollection
Of a natural perception with no basis for reality

Phew!

He’s not mad, certainly not deluded
Has a confusion instead
Wired by holding on to that past so strongly
That he can’t feel the now thus clearly
And he sings the song this way
‘You don’t know what you’ve lost till it’s gone’

One treatment suggested in a ted.com talk by neurologist, V.S. Ramachandran, (three clues to understanding your brain) is to correct the false perception in our brains by using a mirror. This is like how he showed it:
 “…And we all, with unveiled face, the glory of the Lord beholding in a mirror, to the same image are being transformed …” [2nd Corinthians 3:18].

Not exactly the same, but you understand:

Her husband died; she doesn’t miss him.
But she feels him like a fanthom limb;
his dictates remained.

All that condemnation from outside.
Over time it fades away.
And now that the eyes sees that the bond is no more,
the butterfly has refused to leave the jar,
and the elephant, to roam free.

He left her, but her mind hasn’t left him;
living in emotional mementos,
holding on to the ‘in love’ she still holds.
Experiencing him like a phantom limb;
the brain marked with what isn’t, as though it is.

He’s retired and a janitor
Formally a Sergeant Major
Barking commands and uplifting insults
As if the people should pay attention

“Sir,” a teacher said, “place it in the pot of truth using a mirror until the truth sticks.”
So help you God.

Thoughts:
Imprints on the mind and brain, of what isn’t=Patterns of repeated synapses that need to be interrupted, or better, redirected.

If elephants never forget, likewise do butterflies.

This is like the functional experience/perception of something that was once part of one, with the knowledge that it isn’t. Is it ‘bad’ if you actually do control it? Isn’t it unjust to covet the experience?

The Plight of Citizenship

The plight of citizenship is this: that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. If this were not the case, nationhood, hence citizenship, would not exist. And when the citizens, i.e., that ‘parts,’ move to change the whole, whether or not the whole (nation) changes, they remain citizens and subjected to the collective’s tyranny by presence and belonging.

Slaves, yet free.

By being born into a nation (or tribe, family …), one is forced into subjection—or slavery even—to the organization and operations of that nation. One is automatically stamped with an identity driven by the expectations and experiences of others; by peoples of the same or other nations.

The guardians and ambiance then puts one through a process of transformation and acclimation, to, unwittingly or otherwise, shape the modelled citizen. We all had few choices because we had to be cared for—our first few years.

And however volitional and voluntary an individuals identification with any nation may be, or subsequently become, there’s always embedded within it that element of training, and of an innate/imbibed love for one’s origins.

Slaves, yet free.

Side Notes/Thoughts
Train up a child in the way he should go.

Make yourselves slaves of righteousness—godness. Paul said in Romans 6. It’s a good master …
so that it is not as though we’ve lost our liberty, but rather that we have gained ourselves.

Then elsewhere he says:
All things are lawful to me but not all things are necessary/expedient;
all things are lawful to me but I will not be brought under the power of any;
all things are lawful to me but not all things make me a better person.
(1 Corinthians 6:12, 10:23)

One context should be obvious: that our liberty isn’t an occasion to kill ourselves, or souls. Rather, it is to live in the preservation of human dignity (of self, and of others), in the discovery and promotion of truth, and in the experience and communication of the divine presence in love.

The Smoking Bushfire

The estimated annual burning of the millions of tiny leaves on lips of like number amounts to something of a bushfire with similar environmental impact.

In perspective, let’s say 10 million cigarettes get smoked, burned, in, say, China, daily.  That would in a year be 3.65 billion cigarette sticks, hence, many stubs for the streets.
That’s a lot. How would it stack up?

We could make a conical hill of stubs that is about 20 meters high with a base radius of 18 meters (approx. 1000 square meters). The Smoking Landfill.

How big a bonfire would those cigarettes make on aggregate?

Imagine about three times that for the hill, thus a volume of 22000 square meters would get burned. That’s going to bushfire dimensions, with the associated environmental impact spread in time and space.

22000 square meters is the size of a rectangular tank measuring 100 meters long (think Olympics 100 meter dash), 100 meters wide, and 2.2 metres high (picture Michael Jordan’s height plus about 20 centimeters).

PS
That’s just China, and we think we underestimated the number of cigarettes smoked there per year. We also get a sense of the size of the business; from the farms, through the producers, to the mouths of users. It’s quite some momentum to go against in order to eliminate the consumption—if that is an ideal to seek. There are noted health reasons for this ideal.

Taxation is a noted means to discourage/reduce consumption while lining up the governments pockets to at least support medical remediation for the effects of smoking on citizens. Environmental remediation for the effects of cigarette smoke, or any smoke for that matter, is currently hypothetical.

If the EU is as serious about the climate and environment as they appear to be, should they do something about cigarettes also. Should it still be managed/endured, or eliminated. How can consumption be effectively significantly consistently reduced?
Charge environment tax on cigarettes? What could this achieve?

(Stub/Cigarette diameter assumed to be one centimeter. Stub length assumed to be one inch, i.e., 2.54 centimeters and burned length estimated as three times the stub length.
I think that ten million is a reasonable minimum estimate for the number of cigarettes smoked per day in China; assuming that number, less than one percent of the a publicised 1.3 billion population, smoke one cigarette a day.)

If You Keep Adapting You’re Never Going to Converge

If you keep adapting, you’re never going to converge.
And your stability may be called into question.
Or regarded as quasi-critical at best.
You only know what you don’t want.

(Thinking of adaptive control in a system whose uncertainties are dynamic or highly fluid.)