Thursday, October 30, 2008

Remembering the Future

Remembering the future is a uniquely effective method of controlling the chaos underlying the Butterfly Effect in order to shape significant events in one's life. This technique involves constructing and living within the context of “memories” of a particular future. In order to be effective these future memories must be simple, realistic and yet vague enough to not be inconsistent with the present. To illustrate how this is done, I will use the example of my developing future memories of the publishing of my currently unpublished manuscript.

In my future memories of this event I recall the exhilaration I experienced when I opened the acceptance letter from a publisher after being ignored or rejected repeatedly. I remember the odd combination of gratitude and defensiveness I felt toward my editor who complimented certain passages while criticizing others. I recall some experts saying I’m crazy and others insisting that I’m brilliant. I remember my disappointment in discovering how quickly being on a promotional tour loses its appeal. I recall a clerk working the register at a store I frequent who, upon noticing the name on my credit card and recognizing my face from the dust jacket tells me how my words changed her life.

It is obvious that these future memories must not be inconsistent with each other or with the world in which I currently reside. Where there are conflicts these inconsistencies will disrupt the disposition I am trying to shape, thus inhibiting the manifestation of the future that they characterize.

Regularly “recalling” and adding to these future memories knits them together into a narrative that over time begins to feel as though it has already happened. Generating and living with such often mundane future memories shapes my present disposition to be consistent with them, while also guiding my actions to sustain that consistency. For instance, whenever I work on my manuscript in the context of my future memories their content often shapes my writing. As such, I often edit passages until I feel, “That’s want I remember writing”.

It is important to “recall” your future memories frequently enough for them to shape your disposition and actions but not so often that you become obsessed with the encompassing narrative. If you find yourself disappearing into this narrative you need to take a break from it in order to maintain an appropriate perspective. I find it helps to adopt a stance of dispassionate confidence in the inevitability of this future to avoid obsessive desperation. If you cannot indefinitely maintain such a posture, you should not engage in this exercise.

Remembering the future is not a magic lamp that you rub to have a wish granted. It is a technique for generating and sustaining a particular disposition in order to shape our chaotic world to be consistent with it. While it requires a significant level of inner focus, patience and commitment, when done properly it can be remarkably effective.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Controlling the Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is an abstraction that is characterized by the observation that a butterfly flapping its wings in Costa Rica can be the critical factor in producing a typhoon off the coast of India. This idea relates to chaotic systems, such as the global weather system, that are incredibly sensitive to miniscule changes in their initial conditions. As conscious entities we are uniquely qualified to utilize the Butterfly Effect to control and direct momentous changes in the chaotic system that our world. Our capacity to control the chaos underlying the Butterfly Effect is based on our ability to direct our inner focus and simply be patient.

A causal system is essentially characterized by how it converts inputs to outputs. The key to controlling such a system is knowing how to generate the inputs required to produce specific outputs. It is generally assumed that chaotic systems are too complex for such knowledge to be available. But this belief does not take into account the premise that what we see around us is ultimately shaped by what we are. In other words, our uniqueness shapes the causal systems that shape our essences. A detailed exposition on why this is true will not fit into this essay (though this concept underlies a viable interpretation of quantum mechanics) and so if you cannot accept this premise you can stop reading this particular essay and you should probably skip the next two as well.

If you are still with me note that individuals sometimes become responsible for momentous occurrences through a convergence of events over which they have no control. The primary difference between people who can control such convergences and those who cannot is that the former are disposed to do so while the latter are not. This means that in order to control chaos to orchestrate significant events you need merely shape your disposition accordingly. This is important because your disposition is the inner manifestation of your uniqueness. As such, by shaping your disposition you shape the world around you to reflect it.

The fact that we are not all controlling this dynamic indicates that it is much easier to describe than to execute. To appreciate this, imagine what it would take to live up to a commitment to maintain a happy disposition for every second of the next 24 hours. If you manage to get through your next meal before you lose it you are much better than most of us.

For us mere mortals, shaping our dispositions is not an act of will so much as appropriately directed inner focus. The technique that has been most effective for me involves concentrating not on the present but on the future. My approach is best characterized as “Remembering the Future”. I will describe what this technique is and how to apply it in my next couple of essays.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Trickle-down Economics in the Global Economy

Trickle-down Economics Theory argues that government efforts to increase the earnings of those at the very top of the economic ladder are the most efficient way to stimulate the domestic economy. This theory is based on the premise that this segment of the society has the greatest capacity to influence the level of economic activity. While the wealthiest individuals and organizations have a disproportionately high potential to impact domestic economic activity, this potential can be undermined by the fact that in a global capitalist economy they also have more options as to where to exercise their financial resources.

In general capitalism encourages entities to exercise their financial resources where doing so provides them with the greatest return on their investment. In a global economy this may not always be in their country of residence. As such, where there are financial incentives for the wealthiest to invest their resources overseas, a domestic application of the Trickle-down Economics provides the source for a pump that transfers revenues from the domestic government (ultimately the taxpayer) to foreign markets.

Through increasing globalization there are an increasing number of incentives for entities to exercise a portion of their financial resources overseas. The emergence of these overseas financial opportunities decreases a nation’s potential gains from concentrating potential tax revenues in the hands those at the very top of the economic ladder, since they are in the best position to take advantage of such opportunities.

By contrast, low and middle income individuals and organizations, which typically are disproportionately less able to influence domestic economic activity, are also less likely to have the means to exploit overseas financial opportunities. As a result, tax breaks and other government incentives provided to this segment of the population are more likely to remain in the domestic economy.

At some point, the decreasing probability that the wealthiest will chose to fully exercise their greater gross capacity to influence the domestic economy will reduce their net capacity to do so to a level below that of low and middle income entities. In other words, while those at the very top of the economic ladder will continue to have a greater gross capacity to impact the domestic economy, financial incentives to invest some of their resources overseas can decrease their net domestic influence on the economy to a point where it is less than that of low and middle income financial entities.

While it is arguable whether or not the elbow in this curve has already manifested current economic trends are undeniably moving in that direction. This means that government tax policies of developed nations should be adapting to this eventuality. The key to developing such policies is to acknowledge the obsolescence of the simple Trickle-down Economics Theory.

Increasing globalization is leading to the emergence of a point of diminishing returns in terms of tax incentives for the wealthiest. Once this threshold emerges, continuing globalization will move it down the economic ladder as more easily exploited overseas financial opportunities manifest. Unconditionally directing potential tax revenues towards those above such a threshold would represent a less efficient means of stimulating the domestic economy than directing those revenues towards entities at the top of the range immediately below this point. The alternative would be to apply appropriate conditions to government incentives directed towards those at the very top of the economic ladder.

The appearance of this point of diminishing returns in a national economy is an indicator that financial entities above it represent international enterprises that have economically transcended national boundaries. The simplistic theory of Tickle-down Economics is dangerously obsolete for all such entities. Governments who refuse to acknowledge this conclusion do so at their own financial peril.
Powered by WebRing.