Formal Systems...and Individual Evolution

Towards Day 17 of Evolving Systems course

I. coursekeeping

* Paul and his crew:
coming over  to
"finish" up Thursday's talk about formal systems,
Wittgenstein/ Goodman, the expressible/non-expressible...

* writing conferences tomorrow in the morning with Bingqing, Tiannan, Sarah and Kirsten, and Thursday afternoon w/ Betrice

* By Friday evening
(note delayed-but-very-pragmatic shift in due date for all future papers!!): Research the biography of an individual whose “evolutionary” life interests you; post either the whole paper --or if you'd rather a short summary of its main idea-- on this week's class forum. T
he paper should NOT BE AN ENCYCLOPEDIA ENTRY, BUT A CONTRIBUTION TO OUR ON-GOING DISCUSSION: why'd you pick this person? how does their life illustrate or extend our conversations here?? what can you say, more generally, about the process of individual evolution, based on this one life?

* for Thursday's continued discussion of this topic, read

II. From my conference:
“I am almost convinced (quite contrary to the opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable” (Darwin’s letter to Hooker)

III. Picking up on your postings, about
* the cultural shift of going next door

Paul: What more effective cultures might be conceived by observing the contrasts between these two?

Anne: what more interesting culture might be constructed by joining the two?

Kirsten: Perhaps the quiet atmosphere is the atmosphere best suited for me ...

"SerendipVisitor": I prefer the smaller environment with people I already know. I should learn to step out of my bubble, but that is just to difficult.

Bingqing: we are like infants when we first get into an unfamiliar cultural environment. We form our special culture in our class and feel comfortable to stay here ... the culture ... is naturally exclusive.

nina44:  It was easy to see how easily we become attached to a certain way of doing things and  ... how hard it would be to change our group dynamics .... Culture ... gives us a bubble of comfort

Valentina: Reading this blog is bringing back in me the defensiveness I felt on Thursday when we discussed the difference between our classes ...  In my opinion, we are the super cool way we are because of the way we interact as a group ... we have a good time together and ... the comfort of being in our own environment…”home”, even. 

Aimee: I probably just experienced a culture shock. But that "culture shock" led me to wonder how Paul's class formed such a unique culture to begin with. What is the culture of noise?... Let's call it ... extroversion .... How does one become an extrovert or an introvert? How does one become any personality-type? By birth? By evolution? Discuss.

Summer:  After a while, we found ourselves ... adapting the environment in the other class ....

Hillary G: did mixing the classes really create a much different dynamic?... Was this indeed proof that each class had their own culture separate from the other class, in which different behaviors (such as loudness and interrupting) created different social norms/role expectations within that group?

mwechsler, Ethnocentrism:
Cultures have a tendency to think of themselves as superior when they encounter another culture. It was a very interesting experience to have firsthand.

Jordania: I think the side conversations and the flaunting of inside jokes (not gonna lie, i did it too) were mostly to validate ourselves as a "culture" or as a group.  In other words, we totally showed off ... it's logical enough that when another group enters your territory with the intent to judge ("observe and draw conclusions," put nicely) that we'd get a bit defensive ....

Angela_MCA: cultures tend to think that they are superior to other cultures ... because the culture you are part of is, really, all you ... understand

LAJW: I think that no cultures are deeply formed in either of the two sections ... I think that a new culture ... would be created from the intersection of the two.

genesisbui: what differences we would find if instead Paul, Ann took over. Would we find that our classes would be more open to discuss and collaborate?

schu: I am enjoying my fantasy to run certain experiments on two classes, for example swap the instructors, or simply turn on the lights and open the door in Anne's section and do the opposite to Paul's. But these experiments can never be carried out under rigorous control of variances ... due to our ability of adapting to new environment and capability of expressing ourselves in different ways .... the evolution of individuals will have two parts, one for self-adjustment ... and one for individual's impact on external environment including other individuals ...

Imittleman: I have to be honest ... when we began talking about cultures, I was convinced our class culture was the "better" one ... I, so wrapped up in our culture, never imagined the faults others could find with it .... I think it shows two degrees of blindness: one, not only can one think their culture is "better" but also that they, so content with their own culture, would not be able to conceive another finding fault with it.  ... it displays an insider/outsider dynamic in which the experience of being immersed in one culture, and watching it evolve and grow, is probably far different from perceiving it from afar ... it's partially growing used to one's own class environments (thus seeing it as the norm and perhaps "better") and partially not witnessing the development of the other .... It's amusing to realize we just took part in small scale culture shock. 

So: what have we been learning about why cultures (and individuals within cultures!) resist evolution?
Are we learning anything about why they might evolve? What thoughts do we have about where might we go from here (collectively, individually) and how....?

And might formal systems give us a hand up in this process?

Olivia: I love Logicomix!... I like how it shows the evolution of Logic. Before I thought reasoning and logic are things can not be put into doubts; and they are sound and certain. But the book ... gives me a sense of uncertainty ... At the end logic seems to be useless. I also like the idea of set ... And do think set is powerful. For instance, we can make a set of culture evolution problems, and we just need to put factors in the set and exam the set. To me, it is really a clear and simple mode of analyzing cultural problems.

schu: actually this is way of solving human problems: rationality. Rationality ... should be right all the time ... logic ... could be the only way to connect every scene in the progress of all evolutions

Paul? picking up where you left off on Thursday?....