how to survive

Pandemics. Mutating pandemics. Never ending campaigns followed by never ending counting. Rioting in the streets. Have a great idea for surviving (on our own terms, of course) in these stressful times?

By Artem Grinblat
Republished with permission from https://hackmd.io/@artemciy/how-to-survive

motivation

In order to survive – you want to want to survive.

13 Reasons Why” TV series is a good recipe: Baker films the reasons not to survive. Invert this. Make a list of reasons to survive. Keep working on them, make space, turn this into a project.

Look for unexpected ideas and inspirations in your past and the present. It might be something you very well know, and something you know nothing about, and things you had no time for or discarded.

frame

Keep tabs on the enemy. If it’s a stress, make a file on it. See how you can exploit it.

To give an example, here are some notes on stress: it “drives all activity”; it’s a currency in “affect regulation”; it can be “your friend”; close encounters with the sources of it sometimes help; “stressors are information” (Taleb); “leadership with monitoring, rather than C&C, seems to be a better way to cope with the multi-faceted aspects of uncertainty, change, and stress” (Boyd); it’s a “fatigue of the body and mind under load” (Gary ‘Smiler’ Turner)”; it makes for a “perfect time for training”; managed, it’s akin to exercise.

In terms of Deliberate Practice – we aim at a richer representation of the subject.

goal

We started with 13 Reasons Why. Then added some Hows. Now put up a What (or two).

Define the positive goal. Make a file on it. Draw it. Film. Find symbols pertaining to it. Keep it in focus.

If you don’t know the goal, leave a blank page to it. Find a temporary substitute. Work on it even without knowing it yet.

Having the goal is pertinent to survival.

redirect

Ask yourself: How these circumstances can help me towards the goal?

Whether something is construed as good or bad initially, chance is, there is an angle or a sequence that can catch the wind of it and propel you forward.

Make some space and time for catching the wind. Level it up to a habit or ritual.

balance

Keep a pace that’s right for you. Allow the project to be around when next you need it. File and avoid the roadblocks. Put in the touches that would help you enjoy that work. Or turn it into a game. Look for cross-field opportunities, when another project can help towards your goal, or when working on your goal can help that other project as well.

Had enough stress for one day?

Pandemics. Mutating pandemics. Never ending campaigns followed by never ending counting. Rioting in the streets. Have a great idea for surviving (on our own terms, of course) in these stressful times? I thought I’d host a series of posts, and to get things started I’ve asked my wife for her ideas. For years, she used to walk off stress — miles a day. Since 2014, and a series of surgeries on her foot, however, she’s had to try other tactics. Please post your ideas in the comments, or if you need more room, send me a draft post.

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.
– Lily Tomlin

My first step towards relaxing was to avoid anything which might cause stress. I started by thinking about what caused stress in my life. I began, as many of you did, by getting off social media. Another step I took was to reduce contact with certain family members and acquaintances who were causing me more stress than they were worth. Continue reading

RIP Mom

My mom, Mildred Fern Ware Richards (1920 – 2020) recently passed away from complications of COVID-19. Although she became a centenarian, she did suffer from increasing dementia in her later years.  Other than her age, she had no known underlying conditions.

Here’s how we prefer to remember her, and how I think she would like for us to.  This picture is, I believe, from a New Years Eve party, 1959-1960, in Bayreuth, Germany. Dad was the commander of the 1st Recon Squadron, Second Armored Cavalry Regiment, then based at the nearby village of Bindlach.

LTC and Mrs G. C. Richards, Jr.

Here’s her obit:

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/statesboroherald/obituary.aspx?n=mildred-fern-richards-milly-ware&pid=197453402&fhid=3631

Stay safe out there.

Ultra violence – the book

Back earlier this year, author Ian Michael serialized his new novel, Ultra Violence (Tales from Venus, Book 1), on the Famous Maximus web site.

His book is now out on Amazon, and if you’re at all a fan of alternative universe fiction — think Charles Stross or J. D. Horn (doesn’t have to be sci fi) — take a look at Michael’s new book. In coming years, you can say you helped discover him. Here’s the link: https://amzn.to/2VQP23p

Here’s my Amazon review:


 

This is a satisfying first novel in the alternative universe genre. The key to making such stories successful is that the alternative universe has to be logically consistent, given its ground rules, and all the characters must behave according to those rules. Otherwise, the author can dig themselves out of any predicament with a bit of magic. And after a while, who cares?

So imagine a universe pretty much like our own up until the mid 20th century. It’s somewhat more technologically advanced than ours, though. There are the same two political blocs, one in the East centered on the Soviet Union and Chinese, and one in the West around NATO. Each bloc has staked out and colonized one of the two nearest planets. The East went to Mars and the West to Venus. After suitable terraforming, citizens of each bloc stream to their respective colonies: “Terrans grew tired of their hellish lives in overcrowded, crime-ridden hive cities. They flooded to the other two planets, building powerful nations in their own right.”

Continue reading

An Orientation for IOHAI

Unlike “agility,” Boyd did define “orientation,” in Organic Design for Command and Control (1987).

Before giving his definition, he offered a preliminary thought, on page 13:

Orientation, seen as a result, represents images, views, or impressions of the world shaped by genetic heritage, cultural tradition, previous experiences, unfolding circumstances and the processes of analyses and synthesis. (Emphasis in original)

Sharp eyed readers will note that by adding “analyses and synthesis,” I’ve brought the definition up to his final version in The Essence of Winning and Losing (1996). I think what Boyd is doing here is trying to ease readers into his definition, which, as we shall see shortly is complex. He’s going to define it as a process, which suggests inputs and outputs. In the representation above, he’s describing the outputs. 

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How Boyd finally got to the OODA loop

Chick Spinney, one of John Boyd’s closest associates, has revised his flow diagram depicting how Boyd’s strategic thinking evolved from his days flying F-86s in Korea in 1953 until his death in 1997.

Spinney Evolution of Boyds Ideas

In this chart, “ODA” is “orient-decide-act,” not “observe-decide-act.” As Chuck recalls, Boyd added “observation” in 1975, about the time he retired from the Air Force. “LWF” is the Air Force’s Lightweight Fighter program, which culminated in the flyoff between the YF-16 and YF-17 in 1974.

Note that Patterns of Conflict is about operating inside the OODA loop and says virtually nothing about the OODA loop itself. The only place Boyd develops — and draws — the OODA loop is in The Essence of Winning and Losing, 1996.

Chuck also highlights how Boyd returns to “Scientific/Philosophical Foundation Efforts” with Conceptual Spiral in 1992. Interesting to compare the two, the effects of 16 years of intense effort.

All of Boyd’s works, and a PDF of the above diagram, are available from our Articles page. I might also modestly recommend my “Origins of John Boyd’s Discourse,” which illustrates some of the domains Boyd investigated (e.g., evolution, complexity, Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, etc.) as he moved along Chuck’s progression.

Sir John Richard Boyd?

Unlikely because he was a US citizen, and then he died in March 1997.  However, he has been enormously influential in British politics over the last several years.

In particular, he has been a significant source of ideas and inspiration for Dominic Cummings.  Readers who are not citizens of the UK may not recognize Mr. Cummings. He ran the successful Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum and now holds the position of chief advisor to Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK.

Although I was unaware of the fact, Cummings’ interest in Boyd has been well documented in the British press.  For example:

Continue reading

Peeringly deeply

De rerum natura.

Here’s Boyd’s definition of “insight” again:

Ability to peer into and discern the inner nature or workings of things. 


My first reaction when I read this was “Yawn.” I mean, who wouldn’t want the talent to “peer into and discern the inner nature or workings of things”? And in fact, up until it suddenly appeared in slide 144, Boyd hadn’t attached much importance to it. Just to give one indication, he began Patterns of Conflict with “key qualities that permit one to shape and adapt to an ever- changing environment.” Interestingly, “insight” isn’t among them. Why in the world would insight suddenly deserve a place among the five ingredients needed for vitality and growth (in other words, for life)?

Boyd thought long and hard about every line in his briefings, and bounced them off his colleagues in the Pentagon, at happy hour, and by phone. So there’s probably more here than is obvious on first encounter. For example, Boyd defines insight as an an “ability,” so can we develop it or is it innate? Is it a black art hidden to all but an initiated few, or it it something we can all improve? What’s so special about it?

We might get some idea of what Boyd had mind, and why he thought it merited inclusion in the “Theme for Vitality and Growth,” by looking at how he himself had used it. Continue reading

IOHAI

My co-editor, Chuck Spinney, and I have updated page 144 of Patterns of Conflict, the “Theme for Vitality and Growth.” The last full edition of Patterns carries a date of December 1986. Even after he quit issuing new editions of the briefing, however, Boyd continued to evolve these ideas, and in 1989, he changed page 144 in a major way.

Here is page 144 in the 1986 edition:

PatternsOfConflict IIAH 144 JPEG.001

What Boyd did was replace “adaptability” with “agility” and add “orientation.” IOHAI. Unfortunately, he did not produce a new edition of Patterns with a revised page 144, so we are left with the problem of definitions for the two new terms.

Agility

He replaced “adaptability” with “agility” because if all you do is adapt, you’re in “perpetual catch-up mode,” as he explained in a conversation we had in 1992. The other side has the initiative. This will not do. Continue reading