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Posts Archive

April, 2019

Magical Newton

August, 2017

Not the briar patch, Brer Trump!

March, 2017

A Serious Case of the DTs

January, 2017

The American Yeltsin
Sunlight Through Troubled Times
Beyond Zealots and Cold-War Warriors

December, 2016

A Vandal at the Gates of Rome

October, 2016

Are you conscious?

September, 2016

Brave New World?

August, 2016

Stop, for a moment.

July, 2016

Rupert's Coup

March, 2016

Between a Shill and a Hard Case

July, 2015

Swimming in a sea of sugar

June, 2015

Information Rich, Attention Poor
Nerds need to get out more ...

March, 2015

There is a homunculus at the end of the garden path

October, 2014

Welcome Home
Determination, not dreams
Addicted to GDP
Irony?Karma? - take your pick

August, 2014

History? Whose story?
Marketing Ebola

July, 2014

As above, so below

December, 2013

A time for tolerance

November, 2013

Thinking out of the xBox
The old ones are the best ones ...
Welcome to the Gulag

October, 2013

A timely response to spying

September, 2013

Obedience and the Machine
Ban the bible?
Fracticide - don't do it.

July, 2013

Serfing, USUK

June, 2013

Deafened by gossip

May, 2013

Who needs words...?

April, 2013

It must be true
Why would they stop?

March, 2013

Beyond belief

February, 2013

RBS: doing Fine, not Time
Pillars tumbling down
Trouble with models
A matter of perspective

January, 2013

Royal Promo
Boiling the Lance
Boson Brains Rule

November, 2012

Burning symbols

October, 2012

Charles and Jimmy's little secret
Happy Birthday
Beach bums and Magi
A Reality Check

August, 2012

A journey through riotous times

July, 2012

Caring for life
Not everyone for Tennis?
A banker lie? Unthinkable!

June, 2012

A cynical ploy
Collateral damage for The United States of Europe
Will you walk into my parlour?
Beams and motes
From one Jubilee to another

May, 2012

A crazy idea
The course of time
Sorry, Harry

April, 2012

Cracks in the Rear-View Mirror
A keeper of sheeple
Principled Policing
Say goodbye to Betty
Lessons learned
Causality and good news
Manufactured irrelevance
Corporate responsibility

March, 2012

Poppycock - without question
Who's pushing your buttons?
Investigate the Blair-Murdoch Conspiracy

February, 2012

In Praise of The Seven Liberal Arts
The real story
When giving is taking
Giving it all away

November, 2011

Poking a hornets nest
Wealth of Nations poured away
Squeaky and the Paedophile Prince
Boiling frogs
Death of an industry
Change blindness
What a world ...

October, 2011

Pictures and words
Screeching to a halt.
Taxing noise

September, 2011

Hand over your money
Breeding psychopaths
Mr Fox, is the hen house safe?
A ludicrous Conspiracy Theory
Can you believe your eyes?
Getting eye contact
Partners in Crime

July, 2011

It was the Wettins 'wot won it'

May, 2011

Heir apparently

April, 2011

Putting Emergencies in Context
Underground networks travelling First Class

March, 2011

Be careful what you ask for
Water - a tale of two countries
Here we go again ...
Wake up!!!

February, 2011

The right stuff
Revolution! ... and yet, and yet.
Follow the money
Shh - don't tell the children
Does the MoD have a Cunning Plan?

January, 2011

Met Office caught in winter weather whitewash
Read between the lines
The new parable of Noah
Banking on People

November, 2010

Wettins don't say sorry
It's just not fair ...
Remember, remember ...

October, 2010

Kindness sees no crime
Pundits in the frame
Killer drones target the middle class
A tale of two Charlies

September, 2010

A failure to discriminate ...
Good Grief
A rent-boy's rent-boy

August, 2010

Size psycho-fancy
Baiting a Wikid Trap?

July, 2010

... at the gates of Rome
Monday musings

June, 2010

Guilty - but not charged
Psychopaths at the door

May, 2010

ConDemned to the Shock Doctor
Driven by metaphor
Guns and Banksters
Death of Old Conker

April, 2010

Bankster at bay ...
Nuke Iceland?

March, 2010

It's how you say it ...
Bullying Manner
Quelle surprise!
Iceland - showing the way.

February, 2010

Small steps to a far place
Seeds of silence

January, 2010

So who needs people?
Late and censored
Freedom for life

December, 2009


October, 2009

Fools served by Zombies
BBC dogs that didn't bark ...

September, 2009

Taken Hostage

August, 2009

Have a good weekend ...
High Frequency Trading ...
Money money money
Fit for a politician

July, 2009

Inside clouds

June, 2009

Fond thoughts of Tony Blair ...
A good day ...
Midnight musing

May, 2009

aaah diddums
Zal may ...

April, 2009

Echos of a dark past
Sharks in the Shadows
Worlds Apart

January, 2009

Money Matters
Killing History

December, 2008

Home improvements
Get the Picture?

November, 2008

Barak - the movie

October, 2008

Won't get fooled again
Bankers, all of them!

September, 2008

And The Winner is ...
Light relief
A Financial 9/11
That's Lucky!
On this day

August, 2008

Mark My Words

July, 2008

The Management Myth
Sense Making Questions

June, 2008

Beware this Griffin
42 Day Folly
A Tortured Silence

May, 2008

A new Dawn needed
Is Justin Webb A Neo-Con?
The Puppy, the Mountain and the Fascists

April, 2008

Attention Pays

March, 2008

Fat Cats and Pork Pies
Fed up Darling?
Swearing - it's just not British!
Trouble with models   19 February 2013

An old friend recently sent me a link to an article he had written about Megalithics in Ogbourne Saint George, Wiltshire. He points out that some local sites, referred to as 'Castles' were more likely to be simply meeting points on ancient trade routes.

We tend to look back through a modern war-like lens and jump to false conclusions, using the conflict model to explain the data. If you ignore the aggressive, mafia (royal) families around whom we have built historical perspectives, our real story is one of mutual aid and peaceful co-operation.

Similarly many neuroscientists use the wrong model to describe how the brain works, and their language informs public debate. For instance, there is talk about how the brain stores data, interprets information or sees images - when in fact the brain does none of these things.

The brain does not record, interpret or see, the whole person does these things. There are no filing cabinets or picture galleries to be found in neurones. It is a mereological fallacy to ascribe capacities of the whole to individual parts that make up that whole. One consequence is that we can always blame someone else - 'it was my brain that made me do it!'.

This lack of cognitive clarity, manifesting through poorly thought out and inappropriate mental models is strongly evident in the domain of economics, wherein it adversely affects each of us every day of our lives. We feel the effects of fiscal and monetary policies (austerity), suffer from hidden inflation (fraudulent substitution of horse-meat for beef) work longer and longer hours in an effort to boost GDP (read bailing out the bankers).

The economic mental model which drives our day is an illusion which does not stand up to investigation. GDP is a nonsense - a factory which pollutes it's environment adds to GDP, as does the cost of cleaning up that pollution. GDP is measured in terms of pounds or dollars or renminbi or whatever - each of which is simply conjured out of thin air, they bear no relation to real human value or activity.

The act of signing a mortgage loan brings the loaned money into existence (please check it out if you do not believe me). You have to repay that money plus interest. Why interest? You work to make money to pay off your loan. At the end of the term the lender gets the loan money (which they did not have before) plus the interest. But why do we need to pay interest? The lender did not have the money to start with, but by the end of the contract has all the money. Plus the interest - they take the icing and the cake. That interest could be the financial straw that breaks your back, but to the lender it is just a bonus, they have already done very well out of you.

Last year this blog proposed a  thought experiment: imagine that there is no such thing as money, but everyone carries on with their normal daily activity - still producing electricity, making things, shopping etc. Now think about which activities would not be needed (banking, accountancy, insurance come to mind) and which would be important (growing things, carpentry, plumbing).

Given that financial services represent 30% of the activity in the UK, that would release an awful lot of people to turn their minds to what they might really like to do. How would things be valued - perhaps in terms of quality or durability rather than money - how would we measure that? What would be our priorities. Would we find that everyone could work many less hours in order to maintain the same standard of living? That would be a shocker.

The benefit of mental models is that they provide infrastructure - foundations, walls, ceilings - to our thinking, thus enabling prejudices and habits that seem to make life easier, allowing us to run on auto-pilot.

But those very same prejudices and habits can be more than just mental labour saving devices, if we are not careful they can become prison cells wherein we are trapped. Every day peddling harder and harder on the treadmill in an effort to maintain the walls to our prison.

Perhaps it is time to pull down the pillars of our familiar mental cells and create newer, more beautiful, intentional homes in which to live.

Posted by Nicholas Moore    6:34:17 pm