OPTIMAL ACHIEVEMENT IN FLOW

Flow is optimal achievement. According to Mihaly it requires the performer to fully engage  with an achievable goal using her performance skills. She focusses on the next part of her decomposed goal. Suspending disbelief and throwing yourself totally into a performance takes courage. Such total commitment may seem reckless to others and can bring jeers in the dressing room before a performance, but seldom after a personal best has been achieved. Flow is absolutely competitive and exposes the weaknesses of others who are less committed and less practiced at achieving their goals. My novel Time is Gold has a runner in Extreme Flow break a world record.  htpps://martinknox.com

CAN PARTISAN POLITICS PREVENT NATIONAL LEADERSHIP?

My crime fiction novel Presumed Dead is set in a Westminster political system with a partisan legislature hung approving a casino development. When a politician disappears, interests in the casino are investigated and the government process depoliticised. Available on Amazon https://martinknox.com

FUTURE OF THE PASTORAL IDYLL

In 1995 Theodore Kaczynski wrote Industrial Society and Its Future in which he proposed overthrowing the economic and technological basis of the present society. His reasoning was that individuals had become over-socialised, pursued false goals and lacked autonomy. Scientists and technologists were culpable of pursuing surrogate goals and marched on blindly regardless of the welfare of the human race. His evidence of the failure of the industrial system is leftism, which he regards as a symptom of the disruption of the power process. His solution after revolution is to disperse technologies and organisations, with most people accepting hardships to live idyllically close to nature, feeding themselves as peasants, herdsmen, fishermen or hunters. His paper is available on the Internet.

My novel The Grass Is Always Browner (2011) tells a different epic fictional political thriller of several generations of a people, beginning in the year 2237, based on current technological trends, including climate change. Independently of the Kaczynski analysis, industrial society collapses after famine and coastal flooding, with the population dispersing from urban centres to grow their own food and self-sustain on acreages. Political organisation is led by a dynasty of Aboriginal people, who arbitrate in religious conflict between the descendants of European settlers and immigrants from Asian countries.

Both works forecast attempts by ordinary people to regain the idyllic state of nature idealised by the Romantic poets and later by hippies. To reach it, dystopian transition conditions could be necessary. However, lives could be improved by it and this story enables us to consider modifying the direction of technological development or even rejecting it.

The Grass Is Always Browner is on Amazon. Further information: https://martinknox.com

BALANCING PANDEMIC CONTROL

The table attached compares central and devolved responses. 

Some individuals would be better off under the devolved strategy but others could regard it as creating unacceptable risk. Devolvers must obey the centralists’ laws without access to exemption by conscientious objection. By contrast, devolvers do not make any demands of centralists. Separate arrangements for centralists cannot be made by devolvers, nor can they compensate centralisers.

The centralists enforce a model of human behaviour that devolvers could find inconvenient and pessimistic. The centralists do not have evidence that their strategy does more public good. It can create more economic and educative harm. The centralist case is predicated on the disease being transmitted to more people by devolution because spreaders would be controlled by regulations. In the same way that government welfare reduces some peoples’ donations to needy people, social control of spreaders by friends, neighbours and strangers could be more effective than official regimes of isolation and social distancing. The centralist strategy discourages individuals from social responsibility and allows excessive arbitrary control over behaviour against peoples’ economic interests.

To portray humans as either social animals or as individualists reveals both have limitations. Responses should draw on both strategies. Centralism rolls up a snowball of regulations, when behaviours might be better dealt with by voluntary action. The onus is on vulnerable and infected people to limit their sociality and take care of themselves, before demanding others be constrained.

Accepting voluntarism by others requires trust, but so does observance of regulations. Many people prefer intervention by authorities to imposing their concerns on others who threaten. Trust of others has been lost at great cost, perhaps because the exercise of civility has been delegated to authorities to resolve, as has happened with road rage. When I went to work or a party with flu symptoms, some good person would remind me to go home. Could a pandemic be controlled like this?

Question: What if it would take only one miscreant to infect my loved ones?

Answer: Irresponsible behaviour is unlikely to be prevented by any regulations. They might reduce awareness of clear and present dangers.

My writing on Covid-19, trust, performance, government and economic growth is at: https://martinknox.com 

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