Propriety: the Great Mechanism of “Regulated Optimization”

Dawkins seems to teach us that there is a way of looking in which something seems designed so incredibly well it can ONLY be by the work of what some might call God and yet another way of looking in which only a natural process of evolution can possibly explain such incredible design complexity.

This suggests to me, not necessarily that the concept of God is unjustified, but rather that it might have its metaphorical place in our sciences.  God, I think in this sense, happens at some asymptotic limit that is the next dimension or plane in regard to different evolutionary advances.

For man, money, in some senses becomes that “thing” or “god”, especially in ‘the bargaining problem’, and I suspect especially when we begin to consider different quality of forms for it (that might be a sort of adjustable parameter used to solve different problems at different levels).

The concept of God and Religion itself, especially in regard to Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, can really also be seen as a form of propriety in action, if we can understand propriety to be some form of a great regulator.

It is helpful to bring in much of Hayek’s work here, in that religion, from the perspective he paints from, is really the public’s understanding of solutions in relation to complex problems that the individual otherwise cannot be expected to understand.

Much like when Moses climbed a mountain and came down saying, “God gave us these 10 commandments and you must live by them”. Perhaps as a result civilized society ensues.

Propriety has a relation to religion when we consider the macro scale evolution of society as a whole in relation to the individual’s understanding of the society it lives in and the individual’s understanding of how evolution “works”.

Religion, in its time, is quite necessary from this understanding, although when viewed as a relic of the past, is obviously going to seem absurd without this consideration.

Certain large, complex, individually un-solvable problems, must be solved in a co-operative (not altruistic!) manner, and this solution gets broken down into digestible components and filtered through the great regulator, propriety, and further translated into what the individual can accept and find useful.

As society evolves, it becomes more and more apparent that acting within propriety has a reward system, in which one is “paid” (or “fined” with negative pay!) by the same rules of propriety to act in accordance with general society’s confines.

Sometimes, perhaps, if only theoretically, propriety splits as if it is arguing with itself, and great pressure ensues until one side gives to the other (as if one argument is able to successfully and scientifically force the other side to concede to what is observably rational).

Barring such brute force evolution, if both sides cannot resolve their views, or perhaps if they are locked into an equilibrium, there can then be higher order solutions proposed, for example through technology (or metaphorically as money), and new growth occurs.

This new growth might either occur on top of such a platform of “deadlock”, perhaps for a long time, or indefinitely, OR it might be that new evolution on higher planes allows for a re-alignment on lower planes.

For example, if some number of national boundaries have been locked in a Nash equilibrium for many years, it might be the introduction of money that allows them to re-establish borders that are actually more optimal for some or all players (at the expense of none!).  This might have been an outcome in which no nation or set of nations could have realistically expected to achieve because the strategies and trust involved were to complex for the nations and/or the individuals that comprise them.

Bitcoin has this mechanism of propriety.

The network senses the hashing power available and adjusts the difficulty in relation to this “group” every 10 minutes.

I mean to eventually explore this mechanism of propriety, formally, generally, metaphorically, theoretically, and philosophically.

It seems to me that philosophy has its place. In otherwise unsolvable, un-optimizable, or perfectly secure problems we are posed by society and existence, philosophy can be used for progress when all tangible attempts fail.

Ideal Money has a very interesting relevance to the entire tangible implementation of p2p electronic money that may be the catalyst to an ever evolving money system.  Dr. Nash seems to narrate and philosophize about the whole evolutionary process we might go through, without saying what might start this process. Some of his philosophical considerations seem to go far beyond the advent of such technology.  Perhaps his foresight will eventually become useful in ways that might not have been foreseeable by the group!


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