Mass formation from first principles

This is an accessible, but not simplified, text in which derive the features of mass formation and the associated mass cognition from basic features of life.
We show it predicts the properties of authoritarianism and canceling very well.

Mass formation from first principles

Mass formation from first principles

In this analysis we derive the features of mass formation and the associated mass cognition (authoritarianism) from the basic features of life. We do this from the theoretical perspective of core cognition: the hypothesized cognition shared by all of life.

Only a small part of this text concerns humans. Most of it pertains to all living agents. A key feature is of agents is agency: the ability to self-maintain existence.

Core cognition describes the basic requirements for the selection of situationally appropriate behavior. Selecting situationally appropriate behavior is what all living agents do, all the time.

Agents differ in state, skills, and context and they influence both each other and the habitat via their behaviors. Behavior selection is a continual process and is unique for each agent.

In this presentation we oppose two modes of being – coping an co-creation – as a caricature of the actual continual and mostly constructive, interplay between these modes.

However, mass formation emerges as a habitat wide dominance of coping through the suppression of co-creation in situations were agents are inadequate and respond by curtailing difference. In this extreme, it makes sense to temporarily dispense of nuance.

Coping and co-creation are balancing like yin and yang. Co-creation promotes diversity, complexity, novelty, and connectedness. Coping balances this by providing structure, predictability, utility, and focus. A productive interplay keeps the habitat vibrant and stable and allows its inhabitants to develop the skills to flourish.

This presentation focuses on what happens when habitat complexity exceeds the coping capacity of most inhabitants. The main text focusses on the introduction and description of phenomena. The footnotes provide literature references1 and illustrative comments2.

We start with some basics of core cognition.


Core Cognition

Life can be described as “being by doing”: (living) agents exists because they act in ways that allow them to avoid danger, low viability, and death. Individuals always aim to be and remain as safe and viable (far from death) as possible. They strive to be and remain well.

Cognition for survival and problem solving differs from cognition for flourishing and problem prevention. Cognition for survival and problem solving has particular start-states such as problem or threat and end-states: a threat that has been dealt with or a problem solved. Cognition for flourishing and problem prevention does not have particular start- or end-states and ideally continues indefinitely as a goalless progression of favorable states3.

We call cognition for survival and problem solving “coping” and cognition for flourishing and problem prevention “co-creation”. In case of life success, co-creation is the default and coping is only a temporary fallback intended to restore safety after co-creation failed.

We refer to co-creation adequacy if the agent succeeds in preventing most problems. It exhibits coping adequacy if it solves problems quickly and effectively.

Conversely co-creation inadequacy entails that agents are instrumental in creating their own problems states. And coping inadequacy if agents fail to end problems effectively.

In particular, if the coping mode of behavior leads to more or new problems or continued danger, it remains activated: a coping trap, where coping has become the default. Individuals in this state may never learn to become adequate co-creators. Life success requires that co-creation became the default mode of cognition.

Living agents learn a lot from copying the behaviors of others. But to become fully autonomous self-directors they need to overcome the limits of social mimicry and following the lead of others. They must learn to trust their own decision-making; until that time they exhibit bounded autonomy. Development from bounded autonomy to full autonomy is central to successful identity development.

Cognition from first principles

To remain alive agents must protect their viability by satisfying basic needs. But they must also contribute to the viability of their habitat, because all life depends on habitat resources to satisfy short and long term needs.

A surviving agent copes with pressing problems to protect its viability and generally takes more from its environment than it contributes. This is characteristic of coping.

A thriving agent contributes to a habitat in which pressing problems can mostly be avoided and habitat viability is maximized. This is a key feature of co-creation.

Dominant co-creation drove and drives the development of the biosphere. Conversely, dominant coping degrades the environment.

Living agency, or agency for short, is the ability to self-maintain existence. Agency manifests itself as bringing the co-dependance of self on the habitat in the service of self and the habitat. This naturally leads to a network of mutual dependency comprising all in the habitat.

In a self-stabilizing habitat, agents mostly express unforced self-initiated natural behavior that minimizes the occurrence of conflict and problems, and that stabilizes the habitat without ever aiming for particular stable states. Forests and human friendships express this dynamic.

Co-creation and coping successes are both the result of skilled behavior. Skilled co-creation entails furnishing the habitat with broadly constructive traces in a process called stigmergy.

Skilled coping entails the quick and effective resolution of problem states and it also provides the stable structure to benefit optimally from stigmergy.

In isolation, coping tends to utilize and exploit the (stigmergic) resources more than it builds them.

Understanding and autonomy

Skill, autonomy & understanding

Behavior is skilled when the outcomes of an agent’s activities realize intended benefits. Unskilled behavior realizes unintended outcomes: the agent wastes energy or the behaviors cause harm to self or others.

Skilled agents can predict the pattern of outcomes of their agency and select course of actions with likely favorable outcomes This proves they adequately understand what they are doing.

Unskilled agents are ineffective and might produce unintended adverse outcomes: they insufficiently understand the link between action and outcome. They prove inadequate understanding of their habitat.

Agents who, more often than not, effectively predict the pattern of consequences of their own behaviors learn they can rely on their own predictions and become self-directed. Self-directors have brought their agency under self-control. They can, given their habitat, safely self-decide and can become effective co-creators and autonomous actors.

Self-directors are fully autonomous agents who truly self-maintain their existence (while being embedded in and dependent on a habitat to which they contribute). They prove they generally understand the consequences of their own actions and hence tend to appraise the habitat as safe and full of opportunities. They are mostly co-creating and they themselves are the authority of their life. They exhibit an internal locus of control and are self-optimizing their life. In general they are happy.

Agents who often fail to predict the consequences of their own behaviors live in a world of random outcomes. When they self-decide, they are more often than not confronted with unforeseen, typically negative outcomes that they cannot couple to their own actions.

Since they often cannot rely on their own decision-making to realize intended benefits, they fall back and rely on social mimicry, which externalizes their locus of control.

In general they appraise the habitat as unsafe and problematic. This activates undirected anxiety (associated to the state of the whole habitat, not at something in it), and they are mostly coping.

So depending on the ability to deal with habitat demands, the habitat is either appraised as safe and opportunity filled or as unsafe and problematic4.

Inadequacy versus adequacy

Inadequacy versus adequacy

We define adequacy as the proven competence to prevent most problems and to quickly and effectively solve those who could not be prevented. Adequacy is always defined with respect to the habitat. Adequacy in one habitat does not entail adequacy in another.

Adequacy is not some immutable biological fact like species, race, or gender, it depends on a combination of habitat demands, the skill repertoire, a developed sense of realism, appraised safety, and other features that can all to some extend under agentic influence.

Adequacy is an expression, as a pattern of behaviors, of mostly successful real-world interactions. Inadequacy is an expression of an ontology of behavior is response to minimal real-world success5. This text gradually develops some features of these two ontologies6.

The more skills are generalized, they become effective in a wider range of habitats and over longer time-scales. Opportunity exploration and participatory engagement with the habitat, characteristics of co-creation, promote this7.

We refer to adequacy with respect to the habitat as the combination of

  • sufficient skills,
  • understanding the link between behavior and its pattern of likely outcomes,
  • full self-direction,
  • an internal locus of control,
  • full autonomy,
  • a general appraisal of the habitat as safe and full of opportunities, and
  • a general feeling of “being in control of self”.

In short adequacy is the ability to prevent most problems, and to quickly end those who could not be prevented.

Similarly, we refer to inadequacy with respect to the habitat as the combination of

  • insufficient skills,
  • limited understanding of the link between behavior and outcomes**,
  • partial self-direction,
  • an external locus of control,
  • bounded autonomy,
  • a general appraisal of the habitat as unsafe and problematic, and
  • a broadly felt undirected anxiety (as counterpart of a feeling of being in control of self)

In short, inadequacy is the inability to prevent or quickly end problems and be instrumental in creating and perpetuating them. We refer to this as a coping trap.

Attitudes to diversity

Agents are sources of behavior and the behaviors of many indepently acting agents denotes an explosion of habitat complexity8. Habitat complexity is a challenge for all agents, but most to the least skilled. The appraisal of habitat complexity activates complementary motivations in adequate and inadequate agents.

Adequate agents perceive many affordances and are motivated to explore habitat opportunities and they enhance and protect viability of self and the broader habitat. For the adequate complixity is a resource.

In contrast, inadequacy leads to a focus on the restoration of adequacy. And given the root cause of inadequacy – a lack of understanding between behavior and habitat outcome – this motivates agents to make the habitat more predictable (again). This manifests as an urgency to reduce the unpredictability of the habitat. And since self-directed agent activities are the main source of habitat complexity, inadequacy manifests at intolerance to ill-understood diversity.

The associated behavioral strategy is to focus is on the control or removal of sources of diversity and in particular all co-creation strategies that exceed the inadequate’s scope of understanding.

Typically, the inadequate appraise the most active and effective co-creators as sources of intolerable diversity to be controlled or removed.

The strong urge to curtail and control the behaviors of others is a characteristic of coping dominance9.

Resistance to behavior curtailment is known as reactance10. It is always in response to the curtailment and usually weaker because the adequate typically have plenty of alternatives.

Within the adequate individual, intolerance to diversity promotes self-curtailing of behavioral diversity by complying with some emerging norm. This norm does not need to be optimal or even sensible, it just needs to lead to a less complex habitat.

Shared inadequacy

Shared inadequacy

Agents vary not only in adequacy with respect to the habitat. They also form a (never stable and ever-developing) web of relations.

If agents sufficiently understand the link between the actions and the outcome of other agents, inter-agent relations can be tension free and conducive for co-operation. Alternatively, they can be tension laden and conducive for conflict.

In addition, agents differ in interaction styles that we have denoted as style 1 and 2. Given these and other complications, the selection of situationally appropriate behavior is difficult.

Normally, most agents are in a co-creation mode and as such they secure their own viability, while promoting future habitat viability via stigmergy. In doing so, life gradually creates room for more life.

Because co-creating agents focus on viability of self in the habitat, they need to maintain and develop individual adequacy. To a lesser degree they focus on reducing inter-agent tension, because the assumption is that other agents are capable enough to select their own co-creative behavior.

In contrast, inadequate individuals share an urge to reduce habitat complexity to restore or allow individual adequacy. They feel an uneasiness towards the habitat as a whole. This undirected anxiety is so broadly aimed that it is not actionable.

Combined with agent inadequacy and the resulting high risk of harming self and others, this leads to atomized individuals who self-isolate to prevent being victimized by their own adequacy.

However when inadequate agents meet they find the associated reduced behavioral complexity of fellow inadequates attractive. In addition, they share and intolerance to all diversity beyond the scope of understanding.

One possible collaborative strategy is to promote sameness by controlling or removing sources of diversity. It is irrelevant what form of sameness is promoted, it is only relevant that it reduces diversity.

This strategy directs the anxiety and makes it actionable as an urge to increase sameness. In addition the collaboration creates a sense of community and purpose that relieves the social atomization and reduces the appraised randomness (and associated meaninglessness) of the world.

This leads to a shared strategy of social mimicry. Since social mimicry starts local, it gives rise to multiple local clusters of agents that each agree on a local form of sameness.


Social mimicry: inter-agent tension reduction

In situations of perceived increased habitat complexity, many agents feel more inadequacy and atomization and transit to the coping mode. This entails a habitat wide strategy shift from self-directed optimization of individual and habitat viability, to strategies focused on reducing habitat diversity and promoting sameness.

In fact, the group-level expression of social mimicry entails a shift to inter-agent tension reduction11. Inter-agent tension is a measure of the unpredictability (perceived randomness) of the behavior of other agents. The more predictable their behavior, the lower the inter-agent tension.

Generally, inadequate agents experience a much higher tension from adequate individuals than vice versa because co-creating agents have higher self-direction and behavioral complexity.

When all group members select from a narrow range of well-known behaviors, within-group tensions are minimized: everyone acts predictably in the eyes of others and behavioral complexity is low12. This effectively reduces the probability of being confronted with one’s inadequacy. But it does not normally improve the habitat.

At some point, groups of inadequate copers “surround” adequate self-directors. As a group they are confronted with a source of ill-understood diversity.

This directs both their intolerance to diversity (a strategy) and free-floating anxiety (which determines urgency) to the source of complexity.


Social mimicry: sameness and in-group forming

The resulting tension between copers and a minority of co-creators resolves when either the co-creator is coerced to limit its overt behavior down to the complexity of group-level shared behaviors or the co-creator is purged. In short, the options are adapt, leave, or die.

The “leave or die” option manifest a ‘disgust reaction’ in the sense of distancing from a toxic, influence that represents no positive value and deserves no protection.

Sameness promotion leads to the formation of an in-group: a group of agents who share similar adequacy limits, who share an in-group specific set of behaviors and motivations, and who behave in in-group specific ways to minimize the frequency of ill-understood diversity.

Within an in-group, the agents who determine the content of sameness most13, have a special position. They are less confronted with their own inadequacy than other members because they decided on the content of their inadequacy evasion strategies.14 The ability to determine the content of sameness makes them authoritative within the in-group.15

Due to the limits that in-group members impose on each other’s behavior, co-creation becomes very difficult, if not impossible. But high-functioning in-group members16 will be less often confronted with their inadequacy, and thus experience markedly reduced anxiety.

Co-creators do not form in-groups. Instead they form flexible communities of freely cooperating individuals that each promote individual short and long-term viability in the habitat context. For that they need to constantly update life-skills and adequacy through participatory engagement with the habitat.

Ironically, the behaviors that help to increase life-skills and lead to individual and habitat growth are also the source of complexity that the inadequate are intolerant to and try to suppress. This entails that in-groups actively counteract the very influences that can improve their quality of life. It locks them in a coping trap with minimal viability.

This also points to a characteristic difference between copers and co-creators: faced with challenges co-creators skill-up, while copers reduce habitat complexity and skill-down in the service of sameness.

Oneness: centralization of authority

The local promotion of sameness leads to the formation of multiple unequal groups that at some point meet. And that leads to tension between two or more unequal in-groups.

Because in-groups base their cognition on the (arbitrary) content of their own sameness17, they are unable to predict the outcomes of the actions of out-groups. The resulting sense of inadequacy directs the copers broadly felt anxiety and activates an urge to reduce the diversity between the two in-groups.

The tension manifests as an unstable balance between incompatible tendencies to:

  • protected in-group sameness
  • oppose and counteract the out-group’s sameness, and
  • extend the scope of the own sameness.

The tension, and likely overt conflict, persists as long as the differences persist. At some point in time, possibly after conflict and at great costs of in- and out-groups, enlarged and more stable in-group emerges18.

Once this is established the inadequacy associated anxiety becomes undirected again. (Which entails it is free to be redirected to a new source of ill-understood diversity.)

The enlarged in-group has some sameness style that is now adopted by more agents, who in part needed to change their style. This might be a source of future tension.

The in-group can is only remain stable when it sufficiently suppresses emerging or latent diversity within the in-group. This entails that in-groups always need to invest in in-group diversity curtailment19.

Stable authority needs an infrastructure to implement intolerance to diversity (which may also suppresses the benefits of co-creation)20.

And as long as out-groups exists, even as as slightly different subpopulations of the in-group, its authoritative structures need to be ready and able suppress diversity and enlarge oneness21.

In-groups, as authoritative structures, have a natural tendency to grow. And since this holds even when resources can better be used in other ways. This drain on resources eventually precludes further growth and may be harmful22.

This enriches the role of authority: it is not only a sources of a particular sameness, but it also represents the center of an infrastructure that contributes to the stability of the particular sameness that its inadequate members need to prevent being confronted with their inadequacy.

The previous provides insight in the underlying features of authority. Authority is:

  1. A source of sameness that allows the inadequate to evade feelings of inadequacy
  2. An Infra-structure to suppress diversity and extend the scope of sameness
  3. A way to address the needs of those that cannot provide for themselves and who exchange their agency in return23.

At the same time communities of co-creators within a habitat comprising of more skilled, more diverse, and hence unique individuals hardly feel conflict when confronted with another groups of skilled, diverse and unique individuals. They use the added diversity as a resource to enhance the life-skills necessary for a habitat wide local optimization process of each agent in its environment.

Oneness and Authority centralization

Phase transition: mass formation

The previous assumed that the mass transition from co-creation to coping just happened. The transition process is actually a complex phenomenon similar to what physics refers to as a phase transition (like from liquid to solid).

Different individuals transit at different moments and probably multiple times to and fro before settling in the coping mode. This depending on how the complexity of the habitat is appraised. The higher the appraised complexity (and the lower the adequacy) , the more likely coping becomes24.

Since coping comes with social mimicry, it leads to a positive feedback loop where more and more inadequate agents adopt a perceived majority style. For individuals this might entail some flip-flopping, before discovering the style of the emergent majority.

This mass formation process adopts, ever quicker, most inadequate agents into growing in-groups. At some transition point these coalesce, seemingly in an instant, to an in-group that spans all corners of the habitat. That is the phase transition due to the habitat wide promotion of a single form of sameness and oneness.

The members of the habitat-spanning, but still sparse25, in-group experience tension wherever adequate self-deciders still co-create and hence stand out on the just-created background of sameness. This directs the in-group’s undirected anxiety to the most visible remaining self-deciders.

The remaining self-deciders stall regression towards further uniformity, simplification, and complete habitat dysfunctioning26. So resistance to emerging sameness, while individually dangerous, is essential to preserve part of the previous habitat well-functioning27.

Mass cognition

Mass cognition is a group-level manifestation of coping that starts with not having the skills to

  1. prevent unintended outcomes of behaviors and being confronted with unintended outcomes
  2. being unable to predict the pattern of behaviors of out-groups28 (whose behaviors are interpreted as harmful).

The inadequate live in a world with random outcomes where they do not understand the relation between action and outcomes of self and others.

Being unable to prevent unintended harmful outcomes of behaviors activates an urge restore adequacy through reducing habitat unpredictability. This leads to the promotion of oneness and sameness through control and removal of sources of diversity. Out-groups are given the options adapt, leave, or die.

Similarly, the inability to predict the behaviors of others activates an urge to curtail and control their behaviors. Again this leads to the options adapt, leave, or die.

The overall strategy of mass cognition can be summarized as: the exclusion of all diversity activating agentic inadequacy.

This control strategy effectively aims to reduce an unconstrained open world to a controlled closed world that excludes all that freaks out the inadequate[^Safe]. And that is why it gains broad support among the inadequate.

Even during a mass formation event there is still a minority of adequate agents who persist in co-creation strategies, albeit very much curtailed.

For the habitat as a whole this entails that the features of co-creation are minimally expressed. Only few improve and protect the viability of the habitat, few are able and motivated to explore opportunities, and few see diversity as a resource.

During mass formation the habitat is appraised as unsafe, deficient, and full of problems, and only few experience it as safe enough to explore opportunities.

What we have been describing for a general living agent manifests within humanity as “authoritarianism”. And particularly as conceptualized by Karen Stenner in her 2005 book “The Authoritarian dynamic”.

In fact our narrative provides a first principles derivation of the defining features of authoritarianism

Stenner writes:

So, what authoritarianism actually does is [it] inclines one toward attitudes and behaviors variously concerned with structuring society and social interactions in ways that enhance sameness and minimize diversity of people, beliefs, and behaviors.

This refers to “promoting sameness & oneness” and “inter-agent tension reduction”. Stenner continues:

It tends to produce a characteristic array of stances, all of which have the effect of glorifying, encouraging, and rewarding uniformity and of disparaging, suppressing, and punishing difference.

This suggest “social mimicry” as the driver of uniformity. And it indicates that “diversity is a threat”.

In addition:

Since enhancing uniformity and minimizing diversity implicate others and require some control over their behavior, ultimately these stances involve actual coercion of others (as in driving a black family from the neighborhood) and, more frequently, demands for the use of group authority (i.e., coercion by the state).

This bluntly states that sources of diversity must me controlled or removed via curtailing and controlling the behaviors of out-groups.

Stenner also states that:

“authoritarianism alone is heavily determined by cognitive incapacity to deal with complexity and difference”

Which is a way to define ‘inadequacy’.

This all leads to what we refer to as the Authoritarian Motto: “We impose our (arbitrary)29 sameness on others”.

link text

The authoritarian dynamic

Stenner produced a simple formula to predict the strength of the intolerance to difference.

Intolerance to difference = authoritarianism x normative threat

A normative threat is threat to the normative order. And she defines that as a system of oneness and sameness that makes “us” an “us”. A single out-group enacting some other sameness is annoying, but not really a threat. A true normative threat is something that markedly erodes the in-group’s sameness and inspires in-group members to first mimic it and eventually to self-directedly improve on it.

Stenner specifically mentions authorities proving unworthy of trust and loss of societal consensus. The first leads either to a shift towards other authorities or to more self-direction. The loss of social consensus leads to a more complex world.

To determine whether individuals act as authoritarian or as self-director, Stenner used 5 simple two-option questions about how children should act .

Children should: Children should:
Obey parents Be responsible for their actions
Have good manners Have good sense and sound judgement
Be neat and clean Be interested in how and why things happen
Have respect for elders Think for themselves
Follow the rules Follow their own conscience

The options on the left correspond to an external locus of control and exhibit social mimicry. The options on the right correspond to an internal locus of control and self-direction. Individuals how scored high on the left options are classified as authoritarian.

To an authoritarian a normative threat is anything that self-empowers other agents to mimic less and self-decide more since this leads to a crumbling of the sameness and oneness designed to evade confrontation with one’s inadequacy.

In the absence of normative threats, authoritarians are not intolerant to diversity; a perceived normative threat changes this immediately into an in-group level digust reaction.

A summary of much of the previous is that coping dominance is activated by by a combination of inadequacy and the threat of increased habitat complexity. Typical threats are highly visible self-deciding co-creators – adequate individuals – who inspire and empower others with more effective and more realistic ideas, insights, and activities that benefit the habitat on the short and long term in ways that elude the inadequate.

Disgust reaction

The disgust reaction

The group-level disgust reaction is in characteristic response to a normative threat that is experienced as a threat to self.

Specifically a group-level disgust reaction a strong self-protective immediate reaction to purge the group from an effect felt to be toxic.

This is a rich description that points towards the main features of the associated decision-making.

  • That it is a strong reaction indicates urgency.
  • It is self-protective and hence disregards the target.
  • Immediacy precludes meta-cognition.
  • Purging entails that the target is isolated from the group.
  • The group-level response entails a reliance on (shared) in-group level sameness.
  • The threat is strictly not the target, but some unspecified negative influence on self.
  • That negative influence is reacted to with a sub-rational drive (although it can always be rationally justified).
  • Finally, toxicity entails harmful, malign, and potentially deadly.

This breakdown of the definition of group-level disgust points to the key features the in-group behavior selection:

  1. That the target is treated as harmful, malign, and dangerous influence to be disregard and distanced from entails that interaction with the target is minimized. The target is not part of the decision-making
  2. The response is a group response of inadequate individuals who share their in-group sameness that characterises their in-group defines and is an able to protect via its shared knowledge such as rules, procedures, norms, ideologies, …
  3. The urgency, lack of meta-cognition, reliance on explicit knowledge, and deep sub-rational drive ensures only superficial cognition (and definitely no co-creative contributions)
  4. The urgency, lack of corrective meta-cognition, in the deep sub-rational drive entails that the outcomes are basically fixed from the start.

The target is isolated, de-individualized, and perceived as a valueless threat The target is confronted with two options.

The first option is “We impose our sameness on you”. And the second **“We strip you of your agency”. Options corresponds to adapt, option 2 to or leave or die.

The first option is that the target recants and passes through a humiliating procedure in which it has to denounce its diversity, its individuality, and proof its in-group worthiness30. This option purges the diversity and restores oneness.

When the target is sufficiently self-directed and refuses to be brought down to the demanded sameness, restoration of oneness is impossible. The focus then moves to purging the target.

The way the target understands the habitat and and can engage in skilled behavior represents toxicity. Contact with the target’s point of view must be minimized at all costs. As a toxic influence, the target is valueless, hence no harm is done even if the target is hurt or killed. This restores in-groups sameness.

  1. Much of the background has been published in “Cognition from life” (Andringa et al., 2015), “The Evolution of Soundscape Appraisal Through Enactive Cognition” (van den Bosch et al., 2019), and “Coping and Co-creation: One Attempt and One Route to Well-Being. Part 1 & 2” (Andringa & Denham, 2021). Links to the files in the /basics section ↩︎

  2. Psychology tends to produce a rich and detailed description of the diversity of human behavior. Where psychology provides the ‘what’, core cognition aims to explain ‘why’ these cognitive phenomena exist and ‘why’ they have the properties they exhibit. ↩︎

  3. Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build Theory describes this difference as underlying negative and positive emotions. For example, happiness is a goalless progression of favorable states. It expresses high co-creation and high coping skills. ↩︎

  4. We have described this process in detail for the appraisal of the sonic environment in Table 1 and Figure 4 of van den Bosch et al. (2019) ↩︎

  5. For woke readers who managed to come this far: because adequacy is defined in relation to real-world effectivity, it is completely independent of whether you identify as a particular species, race, or gender, or whether you decide that your skills, ideology, or outlook of the world are effective. Your (in)adequacy is solely determined by the average effectivity of real-world interactions: whether or not your behaviors realize intended outcomes. ↩︎

  6. A more complete development of these behavioral ontologies is available in Andringa&Denham (2021), which is also presented in the /basics section and in summary in Two contrasting ontologies↩︎

  7. In Psychology Barbara Fredrickson addressed the Role of positive emotions in What good are positive emotions in what became The Broaden and Build theory. ↩︎

  8. Physicist would measure this interns of entropy: a measure of the number of states the habitat can be in. However a habitat, even a very complex one, is not in any of all possible random states, as a gas of a given temperature would be. Rather the habitat is in any of many highly unlikely (hence unstable) beneficial states that can only be reached through the skilled participation of its comprising agents. ↩︎

  9. This characteristic of coping is via a very powerful phenomenon that we refer to as closing the system and that leads to highly predictable, and for that reason highly useful artifacts such as computers. Probably a very similar “closing the system” processes let to the evolutionary development of multi-cellular tissues and individual. ↩︎

  10. See for example Miron (2006) ↩︎

  11. In physical terms this corresponds to a reduction of the number of the degrees of freedom, an entropy reduction in the habitat, and a reduction of temperature. Co-creation is “hotter” than coping. Copers prefer a reduction of temperature. ↩︎

  12. This is similar to the transition from free-flowing water to crystalline ice (ice can still flow, albeit much slower and in response to much higher pressures). Another temperature dependent phase transition is associated with the Curie temperature of ferromagnetic metals. These metals can only be magnetized below their Curie temperature. Mass formation is a special group-level phenomena that occurs only due to a reduction of the degrees of freedom (temperature). ↩︎

  13. In modern parlance these could be called ‘influencers’. ↩︎

  14. In social justice jargon this would be referred to as ‘privilege’. ↩︎

  15. This might be the reason who media control is key to oligarchic control. ↩︎

  16. Soviet citizens referred to these as apparatchiks. ↩︎

  17. Many so-called political analysts demonstrate this feature blatantly obviously by failing to represent the position of some out-group and basing their “analysis” solely on the in-groups understanding of the out-group. The result makes full sense to the in-group, but is a waste of words in terms of realism. ↩︎

  18. Wars, globalization, and mergers & acquisitions in business are examples of this. Unipolar global governance and monopolies are the natural end-points of enlarging the in-group. ↩︎

  19. In humans this is for example expressed as rules, norms, laws, standards, procedures, propaganda, ideologies, advertising, career-paths, and the associated infrastructure such as law enforcement, media, and schools systems to ensure that most individuals end up contributing to “oneness and sameness”. ↩︎

  20. In our societies this is implemented as the security state: intelligence agencies, security forces, and internal propaganda outlets. ↩︎

  21. This is why authorities in extreme circumstances turn their diversity suppression to the own in-group (as with the Jacobins and Stalin’s Great Purge). ↩︎

  22. Imperial overstretch is the tendency of all empires to grow beyond its sustainability limits so that at some point in time the military and other infrastructure for further growth becomes detrimental to the existence of the empire. ↩︎

  23. “… it seems that the bureaucratic form of organization stultifies the functioning of highly autonomous and motivated employees, while it actually provides the less autonomous employees guidance and effectiveness in roles in which they would otherwise not be able to function.” (Andringa, 2013, p225) ↩︎

  24. It is a bit more complicated than this. We (Van den Bosch et al., 2018) wrote a paper the appraisal of the sonic environment that outlines appraisal in more detail (Figure 4 and Table 1). ↩︎

  25. Initially the shape of the habitat-wide in-group is more a sponge or Swiss cheese than a coherent block. The co-creators are still active in the holes. ↩︎

  26. In the movie Brasil the only capable technician who makes unsanctioned repairs in a dysfunctional bureaucracy is treated a “terrorist”. ↩︎

  27. Humans have concurrent coping and co-creation abilities, even when coping is dominant, co-creation logic is perceived. Co-creation examples balance the drive for further coping and can hence block further societal degradation. ↩︎

  28. This is actually a definition of out-groups: an out-group is any agent (or group) whose behavior is not understood. ↩︎

  29. The reason to stress the arbitrary nature of the “sameness” is that it is rooted in complexity reduction and not in the realization of broad benefits. The structures of co-creation (usually only dynamically stable through continual care of self-directed co-creators) are rare beneficial states in a possibility space that is vastly bigger than the simplified and impoverished state-space of sameness and oneness that offer only the benefit of low complexity. ↩︎

  30. A fascinating example of such a humiliating procedure (ceremony almost) was recorded in during the Evergreen events in 2018 that led to the purging of Brett and Heather Weinstein. Embarking on the canoe towards equity stands for the reduction of diversity. Some individuals had to ask for permission for boarding the canoe by pledging their loyalty to the equity goals and denouncing their uniqueness. ↩︎