Constraining happiness
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Constraining happiness



Summary
An epistatic meme suppressed for a thousand years reemerges during the enlightenment. 
It was a poem encapsulating the ideas of Epicurus rediscovered by a humanist book hunter
Greenblatt describes the process of suppression and reemergence.  He argues that the rediscovery was the foundation of the modern world. 
Complex adaptive system (CAS) models of the memetic mechanisms are discussed

The Swerve
In Stephen Greenblatt's book 'The Swerve' he explores how an epistatic
Plans emerge in complex adaptive systems (CAS) to provide the instructions that agents use to perform actions.  The component architecture and structure of the plans is reviewed. 
meme
, in the form of a classical Latin poem 'On The Nature Of Things',
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Key research is reviewed. 
reemerged
after a thousand years of societal exclusion, due to the serendipitous adventures of Pogio Bracciolini an apostolic secretary to Pope John the 23rd.  Greenblatt argues this reemergence was a foundation of the world becoming modern. 

Pogio was from Arezzo, near Florence in Italy.  Following the imprisonment of John 23rd Pogio spent time travelling across Germany looking for ancient manuscripts maintained at monasteries.  Greenblatt explains he was following in the footsteps of Petrarch searching for accurate copies of classical Latin masterpieces.  

In 1330 the scholar Petrarch had pieced together Livy's History of Rome.  It sparked an interest in the study of 'humanities are the study of humans as a collection.  It now includes philosophy, history and literature.  At the time of Pogio Bracciolini its limited focus was on ancient artifacts and ancient texts that illuminated details of Latin language.  '.  It made him famous and interested contemporary Italians in book hunting.  It was realized from references in the recovered texts that many of the once famous books were missing.  For example Quintilian wrote "Macer and Lucretius are certainly worth reading". 

The prime hunting ground for discovering lost books were the monasteries spread across Alpine Europe.  This was because:
  • In general after the collapse of Rome there was a loss of interest in education and books.  The educated were thrown out of work.  
  • Prior to printing, the building or maintaining of a library required an emergent system.  The copying of the texts must be without errors.  Scribes were discouraged from understanding the texts because it was found that this encouraged changes. 
  • The monasteries were required by holy orders to have libraries and scribes who were tasked with making copies of the many old manuscripts to 'keep them alive'. This made sense since the church was a very wealthy landlord.  Monks protected their power and assets by force.  They were expected to know how to read.  They were allocated time to read and one monk was required to read to the others during meals.  This resulted in a requirement for books.  Since the parchment collapsed when handled they were copied by monastic order. 
  • The unsearched areas were Switzerland and Germany. 
Pogio was a particularly effective book hunter because he:
  • Knew what he was looking for. 
  • Was credible enough to gain access to the monastic libraries. 
  • Could recognize a masterpiece when he saw it. 
  • He could personally produce a perfect copy relatively quickly. 

In 1417 Pogio came across a copy of Titus Lucretius Carus's 'On the Nature of Things'.  Greenblatt asserts that this document destroyed the dark middle ages. 

Lucretius died in 50 BC is Before Christ also reffered to as before common era (BCE). 
.  There are no details of the man.  St. Jerome suggested he was mad.  It is known that for greater than 200 years after 27 AD is Anno Domini also referred to as common era (CE).   the poem was celebrated.  Cicero disagreed with but conceded the power of On the Nature of Things.  Virgil, Rome's greatest poet admired the poem.  His Aeneid is an attempt at an alternative being pious rather than skeptical, patriotic and sober rather than pacifist and seeking pleasure.  Ovid argued "The verses of sublime Lucretius are destined to perish only when a single day will consign the world to destruction."  Pogio and other humanists were probably aware of Ovid's comment. 

Greenblatt explains that in the 1700s a private library was unearthed at Herculaneum preserved by the ash from Vesuvius.  It was a specialized library containing the ideas of Philodemus, a contemporary of Lucretius and another representative of the Atomist school of Epicurus.  Greenblatt asserts that the influential Roman owner of the library and his friends lived and died at a time when 'they found themselves in the peculiar position of choosing among sharply divergent visions of the nature of things and competing strategies for living'.  He says they chose the vision of Epicurus 'a Greek who triumphed not through force of arms but through the power of intellect.  '

As a student of Democritus's idea that everything was built from atoms Epicurus thought deeply about the implications.  To him it implied there could not be godly effects but instead a natural order.  This freed his followers from religious constraints including Hell.  Consequently they were free to pursue pleasure.  This appears to have been a philosophical exercise with him and his followers living simply and frugally.  But his enemies associated pleasure with hedonistic excesses.  These enemies benefited from maintaining rules, punishment and fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amydala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala. 
to constrain their followers and enemies. 

Epicurus wrote prolifically.  At the time the expensive process was typically financed by a wealthy patron who received a dedication in the book.  That process was the main funding mechanism until patent protection in the 18th century. 

Epicurus argued that:

Christians were teaching that God was focused on humanity.  Pleasure was a vice.  This was consistent with the bad situation within the Empire as Rome collapsed.  It was clearly God's wrath.  Christians promoted the view that Epicurus was mad and or a fool for the next 900 years. 

By 384 AD is Anno Domini also referred to as common era (CE).   Saint Jerome argued that he loved Cicero's elegance but was dismayed at his skepticism towards dogmas -- including the claims of religions.  He similarly loved Latin's elegance in comparison to the dreadful guttural Hebrew.  Christian scholars attempted to make improvements to the Jewish ideas.  They adopted Platonism to develop the soul is an ancient concept that was eternal according to Plato.  In his cave analogy he promotes the ideal and the sensory which highlights the dualism of soul and body.  The soul was eternal - being simple, pure and generated by the creator.  Bodies were associated with souls by gods at birth.  Epicurus argued that souls were constructed from atoms, were complex and died.  , Aristotle's prime mover is Aristotle's explanation of what causes all other movement.  He argued that everything that moves was moved by something else and proposes that some immortal non-mover was the initial cause.  He was comfortable with calling this god. 
and Stoicism's Providence is the idea that the world is ruled by blind fate, originally developed by the Stoic philosophers.  Its association with a divine plan was noted by the Greek historian Herodotus.  Stoicism's divine providence was contested by Epicurus.  .  But key doctrines exalted divine humiliation and pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.   and arrogant triumphalism.  Epicurean ideas were particularly challenging to these dogma. 

Julius Caesar first proposed a public library which was built on Aventine hill.  Augustus Caesar built two more.  Emperors founded 28 by the 4th century AD.  It became the fashion all across the empire for the wealthy to have a private library.  It was surely one of these that had been preserved by volcanic dust. 

The drive to build and maintain libraries eventually collapsed.  Greenblatt uses the development, maintenance and collapse of the Alexandria library in Egypt to illustrate the process.  From 300 BC is Before Christ also reffered to as before common era (BCE). 
Ptolemaic kings gave life appointments, including free food and lodging, to leading scholars, scientists and poets such as Galen, Euclid and Archimedes.  But following a war and the growth of monotheist sects including Jews and Christians, libraries were viewed as pagan shrines. 

When Constantine transformed the Empire to follow Christianity the anger is an emotion which protects a person who has been cheated by a supposed friend.  When the exploitation of the altruism is discovered, Steven Pinker explains, the result is a drive for moralistic aggression to hurt the cheater. 
of the monotheists became sanctioned by leading religious leaders who argued that pagan shrines should be converted to churches. 

Patriarch Cyril expanded the attacks by Christians on other groups to include Jews.  Leading scholars such as Hyapatia refused to expel Jews from the Alexandria system.  Christian mobs tore her apart as a witch in 415 AD is Anno Domini also referred to as common era (CE).  .  Cyril was canonized.  It was the downfall of Alexandrian intellectual life. 

In general the Romans abandoned serious reading. 

In 476 AD the Christian Goths entered the western empire and sacked Rome.  There followed a thousand years where pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.   seeking overcame pleasure seeking.  Curiosity was a mortal sin.  Life was governed hierarchically and rigidly. 



Pogio grew up outside of Florence.  In the Fifteenth century Florence was a typical medieval city with no open spaces and no 'Roman' architecture.  There were constant power struggles within the city and with other cities including Venice, Milan, Naples and the Papacy in Rome.  The Duce, aristocracy/Guilds/Church and poor artisans of Florence all struggled for power.  In general the rigid societal hierarchy limited mobility.  However Pogio leveraged a number of enablers to rise up:
  • He had developed exceptional hand writing.  He and a partner had taken Carolingian miniscule and developed it into a script that was clear and simple, italic and roman for copying manuscripts.  Pogio's contribution was truly innovative.  But he was also a master of this new writing style.  This skill allowed Pogio to rise up the hierarchy within Florence. 
  • He became a Latin scholar. A generation after Petrarch, Pogio shared his contempt for the corruption, triviality and ignorance of his time.  He wished to recover Italy's classical Roman heritage.  Added to his skills as a scribe Pogio was especially enabled to become a book hunter.  Petrarch had proposed a 'resurrection' of the ancient body -- a Christian justification for his objective.  Pogio thus became an accomplished Latin scholar. 
He attracted the attention of Florence's chancellor Salutati. 

Salutati was an exceptional leader and scribe.  He was a follower of Petrarch and searched for antiquities.  But he used his interest in antiquities to create something new.  His dispatches, protocols, manifestos and letters were read and copied throughout Italy.  They demonstrated that the ancient rhetoric was alive.  He presented Florence as a modern republican Rome. 

Salutati cultivated a group of young followers including Pogio.  He trained them to continue his fight for Florence. 

Pogio and his colleagues were not aiming to be creative like Salutati or Petrarch for they were interested in obtaining accurate copies of the ancient texts.  And since Pogio did not have inherited wealth he needed employment.  Salutati was pleased to help. 

The Lie Factory
To initially become an apostolic secretary to the Popes, Pogio first gained access to Cardinal Bari in Rome using a reference from Salutati.  Subsequently Salutati pulled strings giving Pogio the position of scribe to the Pope Boniface 18.  Scribe was a secular business position assisting the Pope in governing the towns in central Italy.  The Pope's challenge was to:
  • Limit the power of competitive states, defend if attacked, and make war. 
  • Set theological doctrine influencing all Roman Catholics of the Christian west.  This doctrine affected the fate of their souls.  Papal dispensations, exceptions from the rules of Canon law, could be granted.  He needed to process over 2000 requests a week!!
All of which required a large governmental apparatus.  Pogio was valued for his rational administrative skills and legal acumen.  The papal court was rife with bribery and corruption.  Most of the members of the court were clerics but Pogio chose to remain a layman.  He viewed the churchmen as totally controlled -- A corrupt hierarchy of hypocrites with vast power.  Pogio argued they would be punished in the afterlife. 

Pogio rose from scribe to one of the six papal secretaries with direct access to the pope.  This access provided the secretaries with indirect power.  It protected the scribes and secretaries and led them to conclude they were better than the prelates they served.  It also made them insular.  In 1410 Pogio accepted the post of apostolic secretary to Baldosar Cossa who became Pope John the 23rd.  It was a highly lucrative position since for payments the secretary arranged pardons freeing the payer from Purgatory. 

As apostolic secretary Pogio was involved in the pope's strategies including dealing with:
  • Neighboring powers focused on taking papal territory. 
  • Heretics in Bohemia
  • Two rival claims to the papal thrown maintaining a three way schism.  One group based in Avignon was backed by France.  Another by much of Italy, England and the German states. 
  • The Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund the king of Hungary, intent on ending the schism.   
John 23 was an effective general but he was forced to flee the attacks of Naples, weakening the authority of his claim to the Papacy. 

In 1414 Sigismund called together the council of Constance drawing secular and church leaders from all over the west.  It had three stated goals:
  1. End the schism
  2. Reform of ecclesiastical government. 
  3. Repression of heresy.  Bohemian princes were protecting Jan Hus a follower of English heretic John Wycliffe who argued for: vernacular translations of the Bible, the primacy of Scripture-based faith over works; and who attacked clerical wealth and selling of indulgencies.  Hus further argued that the secular states should supervise the church. 
The council was a major threat to Pope John 23rd.  His strategy was to have the council focus on the repression of heresy to limit the risk of his being removed from power.  Sigismund had encouraged Hus to meet the council, offering him safe passage.  But once within the councils grasp he was tortured and cruelly executed. 

The council also moved against the three popes.  John 23rd panicked and fled only to be captured, returned and imprisoned. 

Pogio was out of a job.  He made the best of a bad situation travelling through Germany book hunting and succeeded in rediscovering 'On the Nature of Things'. 


Lucretius's On the Nature of Things is 4,700 lines of hexameters imitating Homer's Greek.  It covers:
  • Lyrical beauty, Philosophy, Religion, Pleasure and Death. 
  • Complex theories of the physical world,
  • Evolution of society,
  • Perils and joys of sex,
  • The nature of disease. 
Greenblatt notes that its language is difficult and its syntax is complex.  But he writes it would take an understanding of the whole thing for Pogio to grasp that it threatened his whole world view. 

It argues that:
  • Everything is made of invisible particles which means:
  • They are eternal, once created they are not destroyed. 
  • Things are combinations made according to a code which could be understood. 
  • Matter is particles and void.  
  • The soul dies.  It is made of particles. 
  • There is no afterlife.  Death is nothing. 
The logic stimulated the painting of Botticelli's Venus.  It was however anathema to Christian orthodoxy. 

Pogio's copy was recopied 50 times and eventually printed as the version in use today. 

After his successful book finding Pogio accepted a job in England with Henry V's uncle.  But he was disappointed at the state of English society and the lack of ancient books in its churches. 

In 1422 Pogio accepted a job at the Vatican.  He became wealthy and a collector of antiquities.  He accepted the role of chancellor of Florence. 

By the early 1500s Florence was becoming more fundamentally Christian and held a bonfire of the Vanities.  But Lucretius's ideas surfaced wherever the renaissance bloomed. 

The 50 copies of Pogio's 'On the Nature of Things' were important in enabling this reemergence.  Greenblatt explains that Machiavelli had a copy which is now in the Vatican library.  Indeed the authorities read the poem so as to undermine its ideas.  In 1516 the Florentine synod banned the reading of Lucretius in schools.  They effectively halted the printing of the poem in Italy.  But copies showed up in Paris, Bologna and Venice.  In England Thomas More's Utopia argued that England had become corrupt.  He described an imaginary island 'Utopia' focused on pleasure.  More imagines an entire society that makes the pursuit of happiness is an emotion which functions to mobilize the mind to seek capabilities and resources that support Darwinian fitness.  Today happiness is associated with Epicurean ideas that were rediscovered during the renaissance and promoted by Thomas Jefferson.  But natural selection has 'designed' happiness to support hunter-gatherer fitness in the African savanna.  It is assessed: Relative to other's situations, Based on small gains or losses relative to one's current situation; and so what makes us [un-]happy and our responses can seem a counter-productive treadmill.  For Pleistocene hunter-gatherers in the savanna there were many ways for losses to undermine fitness and so losses still make us very unhappy.  Smoking, drinking and excessive eating were not significant and so don't make us unhappy even though they impact longevity.   the collective goal.  However More's arguments were inconsistent.  He demanded Utopians punish anyone who denies divine providence and the afterlife.  Both More and Machiavelli felt that punishment was a necessity to governing. 

Greenblatt argues that Lucretius is reflected through Montaigne into Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' and on to Spencer and Bacon.  Ben Johnson had a copy of Lucretius. 


A century after Hus his followers: Luther, Zwingli and Calvin's Protestantism was a major threat to the church establishment. 

Catholic orthodoxy reacted at the Council of Trent.  While the major threat was Protestantism it saw Epicurus and Lucretius as a problematic second front.  It responded by proposing a nature of truth totally incompatible with Epicurus.  Atomism was made inconsistent with the key distinction made between substance (Christ's flesh) and accidents (Bread).  The inquisition was asked to detect atomistic lies.  The Jesuits prohibited and condemned the doctrine of atoms in 1632.  The inquisition attacked Galileo.  His 'Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems' was declared heresy but there were powerful humanists who protected him. 

Newton argued in the Opticks that he is an atomist, but stated that Atoms were created by God. 

Empirical science allowed a new basis for Atomism.  Greenblatt comments that the foundation was influenced by the philosophical speculation of Epicurus as Einstein acknowledged.  Still the empirical method was able to replace 'On the Nature of Things' and allow it and Pogio Bracciolini to be almost forgotten in scientific method. 

However Greenblatt notes that Thomas Jefferson had five Latin editions of On the Nature of Things.  Jefferson included the central pursuit of happiness is an emotion which functions to mobilize the mind to seek capabilities and resources that support Darwinian fitness.  Today happiness is associated with Epicurean ideas that were rediscovered during the renaissance and promoted by Thomas Jefferson.  But natural selection has 'designed' happiness to support hunter-gatherer fitness in the African savanna.  It is assessed: Relative to other's situations, Based on small gains or losses relative to one's current situation; and so what makes us [un-]happy and our responses can seem a counter-productive treadmill.  For Pleistocene hunter-gatherers in the savanna there were many ways for losses to undermine fitness and so losses still make us very unhappy.  Smoking, drinking and excessive eating were not significant and so don't make us unhappy even though they impact longevity.   in his visionary Declaration of Independence.  He wrote to John Adams in his old age about the meaning of life reflecting the ideas promoted by Lucretius. 


Complex adaptive system
This page introduces the complex adaptive system (CAS) theory frame.  The theory is positioned relative to the natural sciences.  It catalogs the laws and strategies which underpin the operation of systems that are based on the interaction of emergent agents. 
John Holland's framework for representing complexity is outlined.  Links to other key aspects of CAS theory discussed at the site are presented. 
(CAS) theory
applies directly to the
Plans change in complex adaptive systems (CAS) due to the action of genetic operations such as mutation, splitting and recombination.  The nature of the operations is described. 
genetic operations
on
Plans emerge in complex adaptive systems (CAS) to provide the instructions that agents use to perform actions.  The component architecture and structure of the plans is reviewed. 
memes
which Greenblatt details in his exploration of the influence of On the Nature of Things

Plans are interpreted and implemented by agents.  This page discusses the properties of agents in a complex adaptive system (CAS). 
It then presents examples of agents in different CAS.  The examples include a computer program where modeling and actions are performed by software agents.  These software agents are aggregates. 
The participation of agents in flows is introduced and some implications of this are outlined. 
Agents
use
The agents in complex adaptive systems (CAS) must model their environment to respond effectively to it.  Samuel modeling is described as an approach. 
models
to describe their
The complex adaptive system (CAS) nature of a value delivery system is first introduced.  It's a network of agents acting as relays. 

The critical nature of hub agents and the difficulty of altering an aligned network is reviewed. 

The nature of and exceptional opportunities created by platforms are discussed. 

Finally an example of aligning a VDS is presented. 
environment
Epicurus and Christian philosophers developed contrasting models of the world.  Beginning with Constantine the Roman world increased the priority of the Christian models while abandoning the Epicurean ones. 

Epistasis sustains the poem in the meme pool even as it is deprioritized by the
This page discusses the benefits of bringing agents and resources to the dynamically best connected region of a complex adaptive system (CAS). 
centralized
society of post Constantine Rome and the West until the enlightenment.  The monotheistic (Christian) memeplex was reinforced by its
This page discusses the benefits of constraining the flows in a complex adaptive system (CAS) until you are ready to act. 
maintaining restrictions
, its
This page reviews the strategy of collective punishment of agents who game agreements in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its consequences are discussed. 
guardian morality
and its leader's
The position and operations of different agents within a complex adaptive system (CAS) provide opportunities for strategic advantage.  Examples of CAS agents leveraging their relative positions are described. 
value chain position
.  Christianity
This page reviews Christensen's disruption of a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism is discussed with examples from biology and business. 
disrupted
competitive memes as it connected with their
This page discusses the effect of the network on the agents participating in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  Small world and scale free networks are considered. 
networks


This page reviews the inhibiting effect of the value delivery system on the expression of new phenotypic effects within an agent. 
Extended phenotypic alignment
destroys the agents actively promoting the poem during the leadership of Patriarch Cyril. 

This page discusses the impact of random events which once they occur encourage a particular direction forward for a complex adaptive system (CAS). 
Frozen accidents
support the
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Key research is reviewed. 
reemergence
of the ideas of Epicurus.  And then as Greenblatt notes the support of atoms by the scientific method was promoted by Newton. 
David Bodanis illustrates how disruptive effects can take hold.  While the French revolution had many driving forces including famine and oppression the emergence of a new philosophical vision ensured that thoughtful leaders were constrained and conflicted in their responses to the crisis. 
Voltaire's
Barriers are particular types of constraints on flows.  They can enforce separation of a network of agents allowing evolution to build diversity.  Examples of different types of barriers and their effects are described. 
isolation
and championing of Newton's ideas then cascaded to the adoption of Epicurean ideals by Jefferson


The Swerve is an astonishing book demonstrating key aspects of
Plans change in complex adaptive systems (CAS) due to the action of genetic operations such as mutation, splitting and recombination.  The nature of the operations is described. 
genetic operations
and
This page reviews the inhibiting effect of the value delivery system on the expression of new phenotypic effects within an agent. 
phenotypic alignment
via the history of the West from the time of the ancient Greeks until the birth of the USA is the United States of America.  






































































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integrating quality appropriate for each market
 
This page looks at schematic structures and their uses.  It discusses a number of examples:
  • Schematic ideas are recombined in creativity. 
  • Similarly designers take ideas and rules about materials and components and combine them. 
  • Schematic Recipes help to standardize operations. 
  • Modular components are combined into strategies for use in business plans and business models. 

As a working example it presents part of the contents and schematic details from the Adaptive Web Framework (AWF)'s operational plan. 

Finally it includes a section presenting our formal representation of schematic goals. 
Each goal has a series of associated complex adaptive system (CAS) strategy strings. 
These goals plus strings are detailed for various chess and business examples. 
Strategy
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  • A business can gain focus from targeting key customers,
  • Business planning activities performed by the whole organization can build awareness, empowerment and coherence. 
  • A program approach can ensure strategic alignment. 
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