Monday, August 31, 2015

Whither TIMN: an update in bits and pieces (Revised)

Despite another prolonged abeyance, not to mention the digression about cars, this blog is still functional, still poised to provide new materials for developing TIMN and STA:C as theoretical frameworks that have practical implications. Even though my productivity keeps faltering, my responsibility remains to keep presenting materials here, on grounds that TIMN and/or STA:C (or something like them, even if by someone else) will ultimately prove a valuable way to go.

This post provides an update about what is currently on my mind for new posts about TIMN. I’ll try to do likewise for STA:C in a subsequent post.

A few months ago, visitors graciously stopped by my home to chat about TIMN. So I drafted a one-page outline summarizing what I’ve had in mind. Our conversations gave little heed to the outline, but with some annotations it can serve here to update interested readers, as follows. It lists topics for posts I hope to do in the months ahead.

Notes For An Update About TIMN (April 2015)

Proximate concerns (likely blog-post topics)

• Understanding reversions to preternatural tribalism
— usage / meaning of term: synonymic vs. systematic; comparative + evolutionary form
— ISIS as more about tribalism than religion; more about “reactionizing” than radicalizing
— American conservatives gone tribal

• Explaining corruption: when forms not shielded, T & M forces penetrate +I (Mexico, Russia); U.S. gov. protected by Madisonian checks and balances, but not immune; studies by others

• Exporting U.S.-style democracy and market systems problematic: we foster agents, but not systems (Cuba next?); how learn to constrain T, get +M right; Carnegie studies pertinent

• Awaiting +N: Right ignores, Left errs (but commons idea good) — long slow unfolding

Broader challenges for building TIMN (slow-going but still on-track)

• Getting TIMN forms right / wrong
— Arab world full of chronic problems
— defining limits of forms, plus boundaries and balances between forms
— military-business hybrids distort: Egypt, Iran (gov.-bus. hybrids distort too: U.S., Japan)

• Rethinking complexity, collapse, and progress
— convention that social evolution goes from simple to complex
— Tainter’s view about collapse of complexity (complicatedness) vs. TIMN

• Designing grand strategy with social evolution in mind (and TIMN)

• Comparing TIMN to other frameworks / models: Fukuyama; P2P; Darwinists at SEF blog

Prospects for big-picture endeavors (too much for me at this point)

• Book not likely — blogging to remain my key outlet for TIMN (not to mention STA-C)

• Focus should be on building model and applying it, visually as well as quantitatively
— specifying indicators (of each form, their interactions, bright and dark influences)
— identifying outputs and uses (TIMN statuses? rankings? potentials? problems? fixes?)
— wishing for RISE (RAND Index of Social Evolution)

UPDATE — December 15, 2015: In case any readers notice, what’s above is a trimmed version of the post I originally put here in August. What I thought I was going to do back then hasn’t worked out — i.e., issuing this post in sequential parts, with each part providing a paragraph or two about each item in the outline above. Thus, in August, this was a longish Part I post, creating a requirement for me to do longish Parts II and III posts. But the way life has unfolded, that has not worked out. So I have trimmed this effort back to this single post, leaving just the bare outline and cutting out the several pages of elaboration that were once here. I intend to still use them, but now for stand-alone single short posts, as life allows.

Addendum (December 2015)

While most items in the above outline are likely to result in their own posts, I don’t foresee doing a post just about the second to last item: the unlikeliness of a book about TIMN. So I might as well leave my basic thoughts about that item here:

Blogging will remain my key outlet for TIMN. I will not be able to write a book. But my sense of what a TIMN book’s table of contents would look like remains the same as I noted in a comment years ago (here):
Chapter 1. How Societies Progress: The Basic Story
Chapter 2. Rethinking Social Evolution
Chapter 3. Evolution of Tribes and Clans
Chapter 4. Modern Manifestations of the Tribal Form
Chapter 5. Evolution of the Hierarchical Institutional Form
Chapter 6. Evolution of the Market Form
Chapter 7. Evolution of the Information-Age Network Form
Chapter 8. Assembling the TIMN Framework: From Monoform to Quadriform Societies
Chapter 9. Structure and Dynamics of TIMN Evolution
Chapter 10. Future Implications
Much of Chapters 1-4 already exist in draft form in my RAND paper about tribes as the first and forever form. Ingredients for Chapter 7 on the +N form exist in scattered pieces, mostly in my writings with John Arquilla. Meanwhile, I'm using this blog to field materials that pertain to prospective Chapters 8-10. That means Chapter 5 on the +I form, and 6 on the +M form, are far from getting done. I'd want them to be comparable to what I wrote about tribes, and that would require much more new reading and writing than I can imagine undertaking as I slow down. At least I'm fielding some of the ideas here at the blog.

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