Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

Peak:  Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
NY:  Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt Publishing, 2016
ISBN 978-0-544-45623-5
(15)  Purposeful practice has well-defined, specific goals.

… The key is to take that general goal - get better - and turn it into something specific that you can work on with a realistic expectation of improvement.

Purposeful practice is focused.

(16)  You seldom improve much without giving the task your full attention.

(17)  Purposeful practice requires getting out of one’s comfort zone.

(19)  Generally the solution is not “try harder” but rather “try differently.”

(22)  So here we have purposeful practice in a nutshell:  Get outside your comfort zone but do it in a focused way, with clear goals, a plan for reaching those goals, and a way to monitor your progress.  Oh, and figure out a way to maintain your motivation.

(23-24)  As we shall see, the key to improved mental performance of almost any sort is the development of mental structures that make it possible to avoid the limitations of short-term memory and deal effectively with large amounts of information at once.

(56)  …meaning… allows us to make sense of the words using preexisting “mental representations.”  They’re not random;  they mean something, and meaning aids memory.  Similarly, chess masters don’t develop some incredible memory for where individual pieces sit on a board.  Instead, their memory is very context-dependent:  it is only for patterns of the sort that would appear in a normal game.
NB:  random versus  pattern;  the importance of context everywhere

(56-57)  These years of practice make it possible for chess players to recognize patterns of chess pieces - not just their positions, but the interactions among them - at a glance.  They are old friends.  Bill Chase and Herb Simon called these patterns “chunks,” and the important thing about them is that they are held in long-term memory.

Simon estimated that by the time a chess player becomes a master, he or she has accumulated some fifty thousand of these chunks.  A master who examines a chess position sees a colleciton of chunks that are interacting with other chunks in still other patterns.  Research has shown that these chunks are organized hierarchically, with groups of chunks arranged into higher-level patterns.

(60)  This explains a crucial fact aobut expert performance in general:  there is no such thing as developing a general skill.  You don’t train your memory;  you train your memory for strings of digits or for collections of words or for people’s faces.  You don’t train to become an athlete;  you train to become a gymnast of a sprinter or a marathoner or a swimmer of a basketball player.  You don’t train to become a doctor;  you train to become a diagnostician or a pathologist or a neurosurgeon.  Of course, some people do become overall memory experts or athletes in a number of sports or doctors with a general set of skills, but they do so by training in a number of different areas.

(61)  The thing all mental representations have in common is that they make it possible to process large amounts of information quickly, despite the limitations of short-term memory.
NB:  Alzheimer’s and chunking?

(71-72)  The superior organization of information is a theme that appears over and over again in the study of expert performers.

(75)  The main purpose of deliberate practice is to develop effective mental representations, and, as we will discuss shortly, mental represenrations in turn play a key role in deliberate practice.  The key change that occurs in our adaptable brains in response to deliberate practice is the developoment of better mental representations, which in turn open up new possibilities for improved performance,  In short, we came to see our explanation of mental representations as the keystone of the book, without which the rest of the book could not stand.

(76)  Obviously the mental representation for a book is much larger and more complex than one for a personal letter of a blog post, but the general pattern is the same:  to write well, develop a mental representation ahead of time to guide your efforts, then monitor and evaluate your efforts and be ready to modify that representation as necessary.

(79)  The researchers found, among other things, that the more accomplished music students were better able to determine when they’d made mistakes and better able to identify difficult sections they needed to focus their efforts on.

(83)  It’s like a staircase that you climb as you build it.  Each step of your ascent puts you in a position to build the next step.
NB:  Not quite how you build stairs, first layout notches on stair stringers, setting the run and the rise

(90) … more than a dozen bowing techniques in all.  Spiccato, for example, involves bouncing the bow off and back onto a string as the bow moves back and forth across the string, producing a series of short, staccato notes.  Sautillé is a faster version of spiccato.  Then there are jété, collé, détaché, martelé, legato,  louré, and more, each technique with its own distinctive sound.

(94)  But two things were strikingly clear from the study:  First, to become an excellent violinist requires several thousand hours of pracice….  And, second, even among these gifted musicians - all of whom had been admitted to the best music academy in Germany - the violinists who had spent significantly more hours practicing their craft were on average more accompllished than those who had spent less time practicing.

(98)  First, it [deliberative practice] requires a field that is already reasonably well developed - that is a field in which the best performers have attained a level of performance that clearly sets them apart from people just entering the field.

…. Second, deliberate practice requires a teacher who can provide practice activities designed to help a student improve his or her performance.

…. With this definition we are drawing a clear distinction between purposeful practice - in which a person tries very hard to push himself or herself to improve - and practice that is both purposeful and _informed_.  In particular, deliberate practice is informed and guided by the best performers’ accomplishments and by an understanding of what these expert performers do to excel.  Deliberate practice is purposeful practice that knows where it is going and how to get there.

(99)  Deliberate prctice develops skills that other people have already figured out how to do and for which effective training techniques have already been established.  

… Deliberate practice takes place outside one’s confort zone and requires a student to constantly try things that are just beyond his or her current abilities.  This it demands near-maximal effort, which is generally not enjoyable.

… Deliberate practice involves well-defined, specific goals and often involves improving some aspect of the target performance;  it is not aimed at some vague overall improvement.

… Deliberate practice is deliberate, that is, it requires a person’s full attention and conscious actions.

… Deliberate practice involves feedback and modification of efforts in response to that feedback.

… Deliberate practice both produces and depends on effective mental representations.

(100)  Deliberate practice nearly always involves building or modifying previously acquired skills by focusing on particular aspects of those skills and working to improve them specifically;  over time this step-by-step improvement will eventually lead to expert performance.

(103)  In practice this often boils down to purposeful practice with a few extra steps:  first, identity the expert performers, then figure out what they do that makes them so good, then come up with training techniques that allow you to do it, too.

(105)  Research has shown that the “experts" in many fields don’t perform reliably better than other, less highly regarded members of the profession - or sometimes even than people who have had no training at all.

… Contrary to expectations, experience doesn’t lead to improved performance among many types of doctors and nurses.

(106)  In many fields it is the quality of mental representations that sets aprat the best from the rest, and mental representations are, by their nature, not directly observable.

(113)  There is no point at which performance maxes out and additional practice does not lead to further improvement.  

(121)  The first step toward enhancing performance in an organization is realizing that improvement is possible only if participants abandon business-as-usual practices.  Doing so requires recognizing and rejecting three prevailing myths.

The first is our old friend, the belief that one’s abilities are limited by one’s genetically prescribed characteristics.

…. The second myth holds that if you do something for long enough, you’re bound to get better at it.  Again, we know better, doing the same thing over and over again in exactly the same way is not a recipe for improvement;  it is a recipe for stagnation and gradual decline.

(122)  The third myth states that all it takes to improve is effort.  If you just try hard enough, you’ll get better…  The reality is, however, that all of these things - managing, selling, teamwork - are specialized skills, and unless you are using practice techniques specifically designed to improve those particular skills, trying hard will not get you very far.

… The deliberate-practice mindset offers a very different view:  anyone can improve, but it requires the right approach.  If you are not improving, it’s not because you lack innate talent;  it’s because you’re not practicing the right way.  Once you understand this, improvement becomes a matter of figuring out what the “right way” is.

… One particular such approach is what Art [Turock] calls “learning while real work gets done.”

(122-123)  It might go like this:  The speaker chooses a particular skill to focus on during the presentation - telling engaging stories, for example, or speaking more extemporaneously and relying less on the PowerPoint slides - and then tries to make that particular improvement during the presentation.  Meanwhile, the audience takes notes on how the presenter’s performance went, and afterward they practice giving feedback.  If done just once, the presenter may get some useful advice, but it’s not clear how much difference it will make, as any improvement from such a one-off session is likely to be minor.  However, if the company makes it a regular practice in all staff meetings, employees can steadily improve on various skills.

(123)  One benefit of “learning while real work gets done” is that it gets people into the habit of practicing and thinking about practicing.

(131)  When you look at how people are trained in the professional and business worlds, you find a tendency to focus on knowledge at the expense of skills.  The main reasons are tradition and convenience:  it is much easier to present knolwedge to a large group of people than it is to set up conditions under which individuals can develop skills through practice.
NB:  simulations, role play, games

(137)  It is not just the medical profession that has traditionally emphasized knowledge over skills in its education.

… The general argument has been that the skills can be mastered relatively easily if the knowledge is there.

…. Again, the assumption is that simply accumulating more experience will lead to better performance.

(138)  This strategy [of replacing knowledge based learning with skills based training] acknowledges that because what is ultimately most important is what people are able to do, training should focus on doing rather than on knowing - and, in particular, on bringing everyone’s skills to the level of the best performers in a given area.

(144)  It is already clear, however, that a major factor underlying the abilities of the world’s best doctors is the quality of their mental representations.   This implies that a major part of applying the lessons of deliberate practice to medicine will be finding ways to help doctors develop better mental representations through training - a situation that holds in most other professions as well.

(250)  As we discussed in chapter 5, a major difference between the deliberate-practice approach and the traditional approach to learning lies with the emphasis placed on skills versus knowledge - what you can do versus what you know.  Deliberate practice is all about the skills.  You pick up the necessary knowledge in order to develop the skills;  knowledge should never be an end in itself.  Nonetheless, deliberate practice results in students picking up quite a lot of knowledge along the way.

(151)  Remember:  if your mind is wandering or you’re relaxed and just having fun, you probably won’t improve.
NB:  Fun isn’t improvement

….All of the singers, both amateur and professional, felt more relaxed and energized after the lesson than before, but only the amateurs reported feeling elated afterward.  The singing lesson had made the amateurs, but not the professionals, happy.

…For the professionals, the lesson was  a time to concentrate on such things as vocal technique and breath control in an effort to improve their singing.  There was focus but no joy.

(154)  Focus and concentration are crucial, I wrote, so shorter training sessions with clearer goals are the best way to develop new skills faster.  It is better to train at 100 percent effort for less time than at 70 percent effort for a longer period.  Once you find you can no longer focus effectively, end the session.  And make sure you get enough sleep so that you can train with maximum concentration.

(157)  … the Internet offers just about everything except quality control…

(158)  It does no good to do the same thing over and over again mindlessly;  the purpose of the repetition is to figure out where your weaknesses are and focus on getting better in those areas, trying different methods to improve until you find something that works.

(159)  To effectively practice a skill without a teacher, it helps to keep in mind three Fs:  Focus.  Feedback.  Fix it.  Break the skill down into components that you can do repeatedly and anlayze effectively, determine your weaknesses, and figure out ways to address them.

(165)  This, then, is what you should try when other techniques for getting past a plateau have failed.  First, figure out exactly what is holding you back.  What mistakes are you making, and when?  Push yourself well outside of your comfort zone and see what breaks down first.  Then design a practice technique aimed at improving that particular weakness.

(169)  As a rule of thumb, I think that anyone who hopes to improve skill in a particular area should devote an hour or more each day to practice that can be done with full concentration.  Maintaining the motivation that enables such a regimen has two parts:  reasons to keep going and reasons to stop.  When you quit something that you had initially wanted to do, it’s because the reasons to stop eventually came to outweigh the reasons to continue.  Thus, to maintain your motivation you can either strengthen the reasons to keep going or weaken the reasons to quit.  Successful motivation efforts generally include both.

(172)  Studies of expert performers tell us that once you have practice for a while and can see the results, the skill itself can become part of your motivation.  You take pride in what you do, you get pleasure from your friends’ compliments, and your sense of identity changes.

… Another key motivational factor in deliberate practice is a belief that you can succeed.

(173)  … if you stop believing that you can reach a goal, either because you’ve regressed or you’ve plateaued, don’t quit.  Make an agreement with yourself that you will do what it takes to get back to where you were or to get beyond the plateau, and then you can quit.  You probably won’t.

(177)  One of the best bits of advice is to set things up so that you are constantly seeing concrete signs of improvement, even if it is not always major improvement.  Break your long journey into a manageable series of goals and focus on them one at a time - perhaps even giving yourself a small reward each time you reach a goal.

(224)  The program [Jump Math] used the same basic principles found in deliberate practice:  breaking learning down into a series of well-specified skills, designing exercises to teach each of those skills in the correct order, and using feedback to monitor the progress.  

(233)  And here we find our major takeaway messeage:  In the long run it is the ones who practice more who prevail, not the ones who had some initial advantage in intelligence or some other talent.

(245-246)  In the deliberate-practice class the goal was not to feed information to the students but rather to get them to practice thinking like physicists.  To do that, Deslauriers would first have the students divide up into small gorups and then pose a “clicker question,” that is, a question that the students answered electronically, with the answers sent automatically to the instructor.  The questions were chosen to get the students in the class thinking about concepts that typically give first-year phiscs students difficulty.  The students would talk about each question within their small groups, send in their answers, and then Deslauriers would display the results and talk about them, answering any questions that the students might have.  The discussions got the  students thinking about the concepts, drawing connections, and often moving beyond the specific clicker question they’d been asked.  Several clicker questions were asked during the course of the class, and sometimes Deslauriers might have the student groups discuss a question a second time, after he had offered some thoughts for them to ponder.  Sometimes he would offer a mini-lecture if it seemed that the students were having difficulty with a particular idea.  Each class also included an “active learning task” in which the students in each group considered a questions and then individually wrote their answers and submitted them, after which Deslauriers would again answer questions and address misconceptions.  During the class Schelow would walk around among the groups, answering questions, listening to the discussions, and identifying problem areas.

(246)  Although there was no difference in engagement between the two groups during weeks ten and eleven, during week twelve the engagement in the class taught by Deslauriers was nearly double what it was in the traditional class.  But it was more than just engagement.  The students in the Deslauriers class were getting immediate feedback on their understanding of the various concepts, with both fellow students and the instructors helping clear up any confusion.  And both the clicker questions and the active learning tasks were designed to get the students thinking like physicists - to first understand the question in the proper way, then figure out which concepts are applicable, and then reason from those concepts to an answer.

(248)  For instance, it has always been surprising to me when I talke to fulltime athletes and their coaches how many of them have never taken the time to identify those aspects of performance that they would like to improve and then design training methods aimed specifically at those things.

…Furthermore, very little has been done to learn about the mental representations that successful athletes use.

(251)  However, if this information is assimilated as part of building mental representations aimed at doing something, the individual pieces become part of an interconnected pattern that provides context and meaning to the information, making it easier to work with.  As we saw in chapter 3, you don’t build mental representations by thinking about something;  you build them by trying to do something, failing, revising, and trying again, over and over.  When you’re done, not only have you developed an effective mental representation for the skill you were developing, but you have also absorbed a great deal of information connected with that skill.
NB:  “mental representation” = context, try fail revise try again = OODA Loop [observe, orient, decide, act]

… When preparing a lesson plan, determining what a student should be able to do is far more effective than determining what that student should know.  It then turns out that the knowing part comes along for the ride.

… when teaching a skill, break the lesson into a series of steps that the student can master one at a time, buuilding from one to the next to reach the ultimate objective.  While this sounds very similar to the scaffolding approach used in traditional education, it differs crucially in its focus on understanding the necessary mental representations at each step of the way and making sure that the student has developed the appropriate representations before moving to the next step.  
(253)  Begin by identifying what students should learn how to do.  The objectives should be skills, not knowledge.  In figuring out the particular way students should learn a skill, examine how the experts do it.  In particular, understand as much as possible about the mental representations that experts use, and teach the skill so as to help students develop similar mental representations.  This will involve teaching the skill step by step, with each step designed to keep students out of their comfort zone but not so far out that they cannot master that step.  Then give plenty of repetition and feedback;  the regular cycle of try, fail, get feedback, try again, and so on is how the students will build their mental representations.

(254)  One benefit that a young student - or anyone, really - gets from developing mental representations is the freedom to begin exploring that skill on his or her own.

(255)  They no longer need a teacher to lead them down every path;  they can head down some paths on their own.

Something similar is true for academic subjects.  Students who develop mental representations can go on to generate their own scientific experiments or to write their own books - and research has shown that many successful scientists and authors started their careers at a young age in just this way.

….  Having students create mental representations in one area helps them understand exactly what it takes to be successful not only in that area but in others as well.  Most people, even adults, have never attained a level of performance in any field that is sufficient to show them the true power of mental representations to plan, execute, and evaluate their performance in the way that expert performers do.  And thus they never really understand what it takes to reach this level - not just the time it takes, but the high-quality practice.  Once they do understand what is necessary to get there in one area, they understand, at least in principle, what it takes in other areas.  That is why experts in one field can often appreciate those in other fields.  A research physicist may better understand what it takes to become a skilled violinist, if only in general terms, and a ballerina may better understand the sacrifice it takes to become a skilled painter.

(256)  In most fields we still don’t know exactly what distinguishes experts from everyone else.  Nor do we have many details about the experts’ mental representations.  We need to map out the various factors that make up an expert over his or her entire lifespan in order to provide direction for other people who want to develop expertise.

(258)  And I would argue that we humans are most human when we’re improving ourselves.

(259)  Ultimately, it may be that the only answer to a world in which rapidly improving technologies are constantly changing the conditions under which we work, play, and live will be to create a society of people who recognize that they can control their development and understand how to do it.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Folding the Red into the Black: Developing a Viable Untopia for Human Survival in the 21st Century

Folding the Red into the Black:  Developing a Viable Untopia for Human Survival in the 21st Century by Walter Mosley
NY:  OR Books, 2016
ISBN 978-1-944869-06-9

(13)  And so I propose the untopia.  This is not a physical place, not an eternal city but rather a frame of mind that has as its goal the dismantling of expectations of perfection when it comes to the working of the quasi-philosophical systems of government.

The untopia announces that we are unruly beings that need time to play and room to move.

(16)  Anyone who believes anything with fervor is somebody’s enemy.

(21)  We are thinking beings.
And therefore we can be wrong.
NB:  Karl Popper, Open Society, and fallibility

(29)  What is so sad about this economic juggernaut is that, as Steinbeck puts it so beautifully in The Grapes of Wrath, there is no one to blame.  It is the _system_ that is guilty.  The system creates workers, overmasters, and even the owners of capital.
NB:  Frank Norris’ The Octopus

(34)  We lay claim to things that cannot be owned.

…Ownership, on any level, is at best a temporary contract for any living being.

(35)  We can lease and borrow, we can claim and use, but the ability to truly _possess_ is beyond us.  The material world cannot be owned;  nor can it hold value in any unique sense.
NB:  usufruct

The only value that can truly fluctuate is the price put on labor.

(41)  We have to stop and pull back, look at ourselves and each other and wonder if there is a way that each and every one of us (or at least the vast majority) can agree on the elements that make a world that is tolerable:  a world with enough food and warmth and pleasant distractions;  a world where love and belief are okay, even primary.

(43)  Because all capitalist wealth is based on labor.  A tract of land is worthless unless there is human-conceived labor to reap its value.  Someone or some machine has to till and plant, excavate and mine, construct and sell.   The world, the universe, might seem infinite but labor is a fluctuaing and forever finite number.  On Monday there are one billion workers.  On Tuesday there are one billion four thousand and six in the workforce.  A week from Friday, due to a fracas in Congo, the worldwide workforce lowers to nine hundred ninety-nine million four hundred three thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven.  Whatever the figure is, that is the limit of wealth that can be produced (excluding the independently operating robots, of course).

(49)  Also I want revenge for all the pain I feel inside for no reason that I can articulate.
NB:  Trumpistas

(51)  We want and cannot have, mostly.  We want and should not have, often.  We want while trying to forget that, if our desires are met, there will be consequences for which someone else will have to answer.

I believe that we have to see our wants in relationship to our needs and the needs of others.  It’s okay to have a big house or an exercise class that makes millions of dollars.  It is not okay, however, to cause poverty and hunger.  It is not okay to create suffering in the shadow of opulence.

It is human nature to want and want more.  It is human necessity to share.

(58)  poet William Matthews

(59)  We can say we hate the work, we can point out its shortcomings, we can even say things that we don’t understand exactly.  But the one thing we can never ask for is silence.
NB:  Teacher in a CCNY poetry class

(64)  And make no mistake, the goal of humanity is pleasure:  laughing babies, full bellies, blissful kisses, knee-shaking orgasms, winning the game, freeing the slave, feeling the wind on our faces, learning perspective, or toasting your friends afrer splitting the atom - it is all just a feeling.

(65)  We should put happiness before profit while understanding that profitting from our labors is a primary human enterprise, and maybe even, in some limited way, a right.  We have to put freedom before organization but still it is obvious that there is no chance of freedom without organization.

… We have needs, wants, and require (as far as possible) unhindered expression.  Undergirding these three elements of human _rights_ there must be equality among all people, equality which equates to freedom.

(72-73)  Without labor, property - be it intellectual or physical - is just raw material.  Without property, labor makes no financial sense.

(78)  The proletarian side offers sustenance while the Moneybags-end glows with the promise of unlimiited wealth, which is interpreted as freedom.  On one side you are a part of everything.  On the other you can, potentially, own everything.

(83)  Therefore, the cost of interest is the root of capitalism.

(87)  This struggle between capital and the social must end.  We individual citizens must see that while there are spheres in our society that need to be private, privatized, and freely owned by individuals and groups of individuals, there are also elements in social life that must be controlled by the state for the greater good of the people.

(89)  There are many spheres of modern society where capitalist and social ideals coexist.  The police are a good example.  They protect the property of the capitalist but they also perform the social function of shielding the bodies and minds of the general population from harm.  Hospitals charge outrageous fees but many and most are still constrained to help people, in certain situations, that cannot afford the toll.  Public roads are maintained for commerece but anyone can travel them.  These are acceptable terms in modern American political and economic culture but we have to go much further if we want to save our sanity and our planet, our peoples, and their potentialities.
NB:  Not so acceptable these days

(89-90)  Let’s see if we can enumerate what a person in the twenty-first century needs for her or his survival:
Clean water.  Enough to drink and wash with.
Healthy food to keep us strong, alert, and hale.
A safe place to sleep and relax where we can garner our resources and consider our lives.
Education through six years of college or technical school that prepares us for the workplaces of today and tomorrow.
Medical care.
Free access to information.
A share in the natural resources of the nation where those resources are not owned by capital.  (These resources include the coastal oceans, the wind and rivers, mineral rights in the public domain, and an imposed income tax on non0human labor for profit, i.e. the robotic labor force.)
The eradication of laws that limit personal freedom only or mainly to protect the income of hierarchical capital.
NB:  there is at least one national resource bank proposal to benefit all citizens proposal out there.

(96)  Capitalism has no ties to democracy, nationalism, or the good of the people.  Capital is _only_ about the relationship between profit and competition.

(97)  As far as food is concerned I believe that the federal governmetn should subsidize nine or ten basic foods, covering all the major food groups and charging the consumer a greatly, greatly reduced price.  The basic cost should be no more than a dime.

... For the most basic amount of money, loose change someone could earn bringing in glass bottles for reclamation, any man or woman could feed themselves and their dependents.

(98)  The American government already subsidizes at least nine major foodstuffs.  We or, more accurately, our capitalist controlled Congress, subsidizes corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beer, milk, beef, peanut butter, and sunflower oil.  These foods are paid for by our tax dollars.  These basic foods give great help to fast food chains, agribusiness, and the giant food-processing corporations.  The greater the poison the cheaper it is.  In the last ten to fifteen years we have paid in excess of seventy billion dollars on corn subsidies alone.
NB:  He forgot sugar.

(99)  I suggest that the governments (city, state, and federal) work in concert to make a plan to build rudimentary apartment housing, let’s say cubicles of about 550 square feet per person, that _any citizen_ is qualified for.

… The rent on this type of public housing will be 10 percent of the person’s salary, no matter what that salary is.

(103)  We are born in debt - this is the proper interpretation of Original Sin, I believe.

(109)  If a wage earner does not have enough money salted away to navigate a year or two of economic adversity, then that wage earner is a solid member of the working class.  But if everyone goes along with the fiction that they belong to small percentage of the wealthier population then they are likely to throw in their lot with a class of citizen that has nothing to do with them, their needs, or their fate.  

We have been brainwashed to believe that we are members of an elite economic class that does not share the fate of stevedores and farmers.  

(112)  When my good friend was a child her mother used to tell her, whenever they were about to cross the street, “that car is not your father.”  She was stating the obvious:  that we, pedestrians, cannot trust in the love of the mechaistic juggernaut of the modern world - ever.

(113)  We must tear down the utopian belief systems that imagine that there is a world where multi-ton unfeeling machines and social structures can be expected to care for the frail human beings that exist only to service their operations.

… Violence buries its spear into the soul of history.  Once death becomes the tinder of our struggle - our payment for freedom - then revenge is the irrefutable return.

(114-115)  We must realize that it is only in the general agreement of the masses that a world of _untopic_ revelation can come into existence and endure. 

We must create a very human prayer, a hopeful villanelle that will repeat over and over that we are free to be who we are and that we are bound to help others along our way.  To repeat - we are free to be who we are and yet bound to help all others along our way.  Let me say that again.  We are the others and they are our freedom.  The certainty of this knowledge is the only revolution that will work.  Without you I cannot exist even though once I reallize myself I am different - and there is a kind of mortal divinity in this difference.  This odd equation is the bulwark of a world without pure systems and thieving machines.  It is a world worth living in, where the limits are purely human, not systemic.

(117)  First we must limit capitalism.  The wealth garnered by the capitalist must be barred from influencing the needs (rights) of people.  No one (be they rich, poor, or _corporate person_) should be able to give money to political campaigns, elected officials, employees of social bureaucracies, or union leaders.  And while it would be fine to donate to charities it must be recognized on a broad political level that the need for charity is the signpost for the failure of the society, if the people’s needs are not being met by their citizenship we have not addressed the persons whose happiness are our primary, our ultimate, our only true concern.

(118)  This is the nature of capitalism - to continually lower the value of labor in order to remain competitive in the marketplace. 

(120)  We need socialism in our lives.  We need the regulation of capitalism and hospitals, fire departments, police forces, and a social welfare safety net to make sure that each and every human being has a shot at having a life worth living.

(121)  Socialism cannot tell us what to think, say, wear, or feel;  it cannot tell us how to learn or love or what to do with our bodies or the labors our bodies perform.

….. Socialism cannot confiscate our property or tell us what we are worth.

(122)  Socialism is our general agreement to support one another and it must be open and clearly worded.  It must work fairly and with oversight from citizens who do not profit from the execution of socialist duty.

There is no system of government that rises above the rights of individuals.  There is no economic system that can replicate the genetic makeup of love.

(124)  School and education in general should show us how to realize ourselves, and each other, through creativity, technolgy and informed intelligence.  Work should be toward the betterment of our peoples and our ecology.  Crime should be defined by how much any action or human-wrought thing limits the potential for the happiness of the people.

(125)  The world I am offering believes in happiness inside of mortality, of human beings outside the prisons of social debt and corporate profit.