Seafing Article on Wikidelphia

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Larry Victor  8/29/2005


seaf = Support/Enable/Augment/Facilitate 2

reeee – Relevant/Effective/Efficient/Enjoyable/Elegant 3

galdee = grow/adapt/learn/develop/evolve/emerge 4

sem = Semiotic Structure 5

org = organ/organism/organization/team (living holon) 6

          SEAFING 7


          Seafing is a process occuring when one org is in relationship with other orgs, such that the seafed org is supported, enabled, augmented, facilitated, or in many other labeled ways helped or assisted in doing (or doing better or more reeee) than it would if it were not being seafed. 8

            A special term "seaf" (seafing, seafed) has been coined to designate a fully comprehensive field of relationships potential to the org being seafed as provided by the orgs doing the seafing. Many different aspects of seafing can be employed, in different mixes and variations, depending on circumstances. Four aspects were selected to form the original acronym SEAF, which have unique features -- which if only one of these aspects were involved in seafing, the full potential of seafing may not be realized.  The four terms or aspects in SEAF do not exhaust the potentials of seafing. 9
  Support - more passive, providing foundation, providing resources, a safety net, often emotional support but not providing explicit assistance. 10

          Enable - helping getting started and keeping underway, more interventional than support. 11

          Augment - providing the tools and scaffolding, sometimes direct assistance. 12

          Facilitate - help clear away obstacles and point out opportunities, see that tools and help are available when needed, provide spot training as needed. 13


            The "org" in the definition may be an individual person, a group, team or crew, a web of teams (some which may take on further relationships and become communities of teams).  All of these are generalized as "orgs".  "Org" can extend to larger holons, such as societies and webs of societies.  All are orgs and all can be seafed.  A social org may be seafed by an individual person, or a team, or a web of teams; just as an individual person may be seafed by a specific team prepared for seafing that individual -- as specific teams may be seafed by specific webs of teams. 14


            Ken Wilber has begun using Arthur Koestler's term "holon" to refer to what I am calling orgs.  An org is a holon - in that it is a level of organization within a holarchy of organizations -- from elementary particles to galaxies.  However, I shall restrict the use of org to holons that are living systems, that are animate.  I tend also to view holon as referring more to the level (of a system) linking its components (and subsystems) to its environments -- more the "form". When I use org I focus primarily on the "substance" of the system at that level in the holarchy.  Of course, both form and substance are aspects primitive to our cognitive systems and these finer distinctions will not be important most of the time.  Also, they are my (Larry Victor's) idiosyncratic distinctions that seafs his comprehension.  Did I just use seaf in a sense where the seafer was not an org? 15


            I use the term "seafnet" to label all the orgs (and their seafing processes) involved in seafing. It is a view of humankind through a filter that  highlights seafing processes.  In most instances of seafing, only a few orgs are explicitly involved, and the others remain in potential context.  I will call those orgs active in any seafing performance a seafweb. 16


            I am still working on a distinction I find useful, if vague at this time, which I currently label by the two terms  web and net. In metaphor, webs are wet, nets are dry. A seafweb is a actual active web of orgs seafing -- even if we don't know where or when. A seafnet is an abstract concept of possible nets of orgs seafing.  This distinction also exists between my use of the terms social and societal:  social is wet, societal is dry.  My use of "wet" comes from the characterization of "life" by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) as wet, moist, green and juicy.  I don't apply the negative connotations that Hildegard did toward "dryness" - as mathematics is as dry as it is divine.  My knowledge of Hildegard is via Matthew Fox, specifically his "Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen". 17


            A problem I still have in terminology is when the specific wet web is known, and we refer to it in its uniqueness -- as I did above in specific reference to Hildegard of Bingen -- and when I might refer to those orgs at the time of Hildegard, but where a unique one has not been singled out. Who did Hildegard seaf and by whom was she seafed? 18


            Seafing, in my mind, is related to the concept/process of "mutual aide" examined by biologist Peter Kropotkin in his book of essays with the same name. 19


            The book, Mutual Aide: A Factor of Evolution (1902) is now available for $2 in PDF download for Adobe, from Amazon. Whereas seafing among humans, as I use it, is explicitly intentional, Kropotkin in the late 19th century challenged Darwin's emphasis on competition as the primary driving force for evolution, proposing that mutual aide (natural seafing among life forms) was an equally relevant process.  Seafing within families, whatever the species, significantly contributed to survival.  More attention to seafing, today among diverse humans, may be one key to our own species survival.  Followers of Kropotkin and others, countering the exploitation of Darwinian competition as "Social Darwinism" in defense of the practices in the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Capitalism, created an alternative social perspective based on mutual aide, and it was called "Anarchism" (the title of another book by Kropotkin).  Anarchism (which claimed that human system organization didn't require power structures of bosses for viability and stability) was a far more dangerous challenge to Capitalism than Communism.  Thus, with masterful deception, the very term, "anarchism" was -- for the public and most intellectuals, alike -- turned into its opposite (disorder and chaos) and criminally identified with nihilists and terrorists of the period. The trial and execution of Sacco and Vancetti was a publicity campaign to kill and bury the concept of Anarchism as the social application of the biological principle of mutual aide.  The controversy continues. 20


            I was personally motivated to explore and expand the concept of seafing after reading The Support Economy by Zuboff and Maxmim. My first essay can be found on my website. This is a work in progress.  Zuboff saw "support" (which I expanded to seaf) as a viable new domain of economic activity in the future.  I agree, but with the addition that viable seafwebs will seaf us from our dangerous econo-centric trap, which I imply in the shift in my essay's title from "Economy" to "Society". 21


            As implied in the above, seafing already exists. Corporations hire consultant teams to seaf them out of their difficulties. Outsourcing may even be viewed as a seafing process. Humanitarian organizations have a long history of seafing. Parents seaf, teachers seaf. Most professionals seaf. Health care is seafing. Many authors write to seaf, if indirectly. So, what is different beyond that we might need more of it -- as Zuboff and Maxmin suggest? 22


            Seafing amplifies a person's potentials: seafing actualizes potentials. [expand] 23

          Collaboration is a type of seafing. [expand] 24

          Individual differences and the reeee of seafing. [expand] 25


            Can there be too much seafing?  Children can be pampered and overly protected from those "failures" necessary to learn how to succeed when challenged. 26


            I am fighting against using negative language. To not succeed in every attempt should not be negative, and should not be called "failures". Learning why we didn't first succeed is a powerful and essential type of learning.  We wouldn't want seafing to be so overwhelming that we were not permitted "to fail" - and forced to avoid learning by "trial and error". 27


            There is a significant real story. A teacher is attempting to seaf learners about strategy.  The teacher picks a number between 0 and 100, writes it down but doesn't let any learners see.  Then the learners are asked to design a strategy for discovering the number with the least number of questions that can be answered by a YES or NO.  No guesses, such as "Is the number 43?". The strategy to be discovered is bracketing.  In its ideal form, the first question should be "Is the number greater than 50?" or "Is the number less than 50?"  Suppose the number is 74.  If the first question were asked, the teacher would answer YES, and the class would cheer - they got it right!  However, if the second question were asked first, and the teacher would answer NO, the class would moan and exhibit negative emotions - they had failed. BUT, in either case, the learners learned the same thing, the number was greater than 50.  They could then bracket if further.  The significance of this very real phenomena is that we react with negative emotion when we fail, or seem to fail, in achieving an objective -- even when the "failure" is imaginary. 28


            Is this a learned response, or is it wired in through our DNA?  I don't know - it could be either, or both.  The answer would be relevant in designing educational strategy for young children.  I speculate that this emotional response to non achievement is a learned response, as infants and toddlers often pick themselves up and try again and again with no evidence of negative emotion because they fell -- unless they are hurt. 29


            Is it possible that the human species has not been around long enough for effective parenting strategies to have been discovered and incorporated into our biological inheritance?  I would speculate the answer is YES - which implies that we cannot base our life strategy on any "natural instincts for parenting" -- or for any other seafing practices in human social systems.  What has emerged in different cultures has worked well enough statistically to insure survival (in some circumstances), and there is much to learn by researching contemporary practices of seafing. But, our future survival may depend on going beyond this illusionary dependence on the "natural". 30


            Toddling  -- As adults we need to learn to toddle again. [expand]. 31


            Reeee seafing must be deep; actually seafing must consider all levels.  Seafing can include creating safe challenges where lack of immediate success is expected, and the learning being seafed is the development of strategies in navigating complex challenges. 32


            Should children be permitted to act such as to risk injury or death? Should adults? Much of this is related to longevity expectations and the anticipated quality of a long life in a healthy seafing environment. The answer also depends on later advanced methods of life saving and body repair.  Is it important that a person experience trauma so as to gain a respect for it?   Is "hitting the bottom" a necessary life experience for learning to "really" respect life?  [expand] 33


            Depth seafing.  [expand] 34


            Wealthy people can hire people to do many of everyday chores, which gives them leisure.  What seafing can be applied to what they do and accomplish with this leisure time?  Competent managers will have employees to do tasks to meet business objectives.  We can imagine a person designing systems of tasks, but having no one to perform them -- and the tasks were well beyond the capacity of that person, and they may not have the competencies to perform most of the tasks. In our modern world there is a distorted and unjust distribution of seafing. Wealth and power control the distribution of seafing, the architecture of the seafnet. 35


            THE IDEAL SEAFNET 36


            Imagine two related databases.  One contains all the seafing needs of all orgs.  The other contains all the seafing competencies of all orgs.  The ideal seafnet would optimally merge the databases - matching seafing needs with seafing competencies. Cyberspace has the potential of  making this ideal a practical reality.  However, there will necessarily be a few stages from the current matching of seafing needs with seafing competencies and the ideal. 37




            Contemporary seafing is primitive and grossly inadequate to need, both immediate need and forecasted need.  There is no blame for this, seafing is a process emergent in life - from its beginning in mutual aide and symbiosis to many striking and creative exemplar in human history. 39


            There are so many things needing doing on our planet, to relieve the suffering and poverty and to create a better world where there are no sources for unnecessary suffering and poverty. There are so many projects and tasks calling to be performed, which would engage the reeee attention of people. There is a vast abundance waiting there to be created.  But the mindset of an econo-centric world that believes that one must be paid to do something, and that money is scarce (it isn't for those with the power to create money) paralyze whole populations. 40


            Seafing is essential and those in power have gained a monopoly on contemporary seafwebs for galdeeing fundamental change. The vast majority have to scramble to create inadequate seafwebs for the collateral damage victims of corporate success, leaving them no time to create their own seafwebs for galdeeing the uplifting of the whole population - not only beyond poverty - but to harvest the vast potential abundance created by the labor of the multitude. 41




            As persons galdee, they sometimes broaden their perspectives; they imagine projects involving the coordinated activity of many producing great value. But, they have too many good ideas to follow up themselves. So they are usually forced to be highly selective, which often leaves valuable ideas unattended - some critical to the overall synergy.   43


            Some people galdee themselves into idea generators, generating ideas about viable projects orders of magnitude beyond what they could produce -- unless they were seafed by highly competent seafwebs. They often galdee reeee improvement in idea generation - quickly leaving behind any possibility of personally actualizing their emergent potentials. 44


            Corporations may employ and nurture idea generators, and if they are adequately recognized by the CEO and business management, the seafing competencies of the corporation may be focused on some of their ideas.  Most entrepreneurs generate a few viable ideas and are able to attract investment capital that enables them to attempt being seafed.  Occasionally they are moderately successful. 45


            Persons and other orgs obsessed by power can often gain wealth sufficient to buy the seafing talents of persons willing to assist spreading their power and control. Military establishments are powerful seafwebs.  One effective way of moving people in desired ways is influencing their constructed worlds, so that they "naturally" do as the controllers desire.  There is a bevy of professional seafers of mind manipulating -- or, as Noam Chomsky calls "manufacturing consent". 46


            Most creative persons are seafed to public attention. A few, like Madonna, have the business smarts in addition to artistic, musical, atheletic, or technological gifts. But most who are successful are either seafed by exploiters or are fortunate to attract seafers who have their interest at heart. 47


            I believe that in many instances, quality seafing of idea generators could be profitable in our contemporary economy as well as contributing to a Nu Strategy. 48




            The literature is full of reports of creative and intelligent persons who see partly through the fog of the matrix and make reasonable proposals. Even if on final analysis each proposal would be found lacking, their being attempted (and we learning from this) would be a powerful force for human uplift.  Yet, few are ever seafed in any reeee way.  The business perspective expects those with ideas to entrepreneur it "on their own" -- which, of course, selects out only those entrepreneurs with small and often useless projects.  There have been many exceptions - and these have been the rare cases where a team emerges that mutually seafs itself to economic success. 50


            To create NU, to seed and nurture a galdeeing emergence of a viable, sustainable global human system (in the midst of contemporary decay) is a truly monumental undertaking.  There are persons, sometimes called "generalists", who envision larger patterns and potential synergies.  They are aware of the many other component ideas generated by a growing multitude and experimentally imagine how these ideas may reinforce each other (synergize). 51


            If one looks at this vision from a practical perspective, examining the actual tasks that need to be performed, the learning and training involved, the dialog, deliberation, and decision-making called for, the need for seafwebs becomes obvious.  None of the individuals have the time and competencies to do what they are expected to do in this model.  But, embed them in a viable seafweb -- which is also a nu educational process that prepares everyone for their galdeeing future in an emergent NU Strategy -- the practical reality becomes very evident. 52




            We need to distinguish our seafwebs from those other idea generators who join with us (and have their own seafwebs).  Our joining, or collaboration, itself needs seafing. 54


            However, we must not assume seafers may not also be valuable idea generators. And idea generators should be encouraged to seaf, as seafing is a powerful means of learning, and building viable relationships. 55


            What will those who participate in seafwebs gain? Some may seaf as a means of employment. Others may seaf as a means of personal reeee galdee (training and learning). Others may seaf because of their belief that they are contributing to a worthy cause/venture for humanity and GAIA. 56


            I, personally, need three categories of seafwebs.  One category would work with my physical tools and software; some could eventually be done remotely, but most will involve sysops and others equipped to assist me in realtime.  This category would also include those who search for new tools potentially useful to me, call them to my attention and assist me in deciding whether to use the tools, and then seaf my learning to use the tools.  The second category would seaf my sem production and other work in cyberspace. The third category would seaf my personal galdee, making it more reeee - helping me break old habits and create new habits. This third category would also seaf my collaboration and relationships with others. 57


                        Question.  Does cyberspace include what is on my hard drive and CDs in storage - or only what is accessible online?  Does cyberspace include print documents? 58


            IF our contemporary economy doesn't collapse, I believe that a seafing strategy of me could generate considerable profits - and at the same time be relevant to a NU Strategy. I have used the metaphor of my mind as a mountain containing veins of raw ore - and a few nuggets. But its value comes only after processing and creating second order markets.  I believe there are a number of big seller books in my archives waiting to be seafed by teams of co-authors, publishers and promoters. 59


            David, what do you fantasize for your seafwebs? 60


            We may be able to make manifest our personal seafwebs in the context of creating a seafweb system for many other idea generators (also in need of personal seafwebs). 61


            This may be seafed by creating a medium for idea generators to dialog & deliberate on their seafing needs. 62


            I need to start with myself. As I formulate my own seafing needs I may begin to seaf myself. Often I don't seaf myself because I haven't worked out the process so it can be interesting and successful.  Once I have experimented with seafing myself it may be easier to attract seafing teams to take over some of those tasks. 63


            Initially, those participating idea generators may experiment by forming seafing teams for each other; giving ourselves a boost and momentum for creating an expanding seafweb system. 64


            SEAFING SYNERGY 65


            World literature is a Tower of Babel. Researchers and developers don't have the time (nor interest) to explore the growing literature (as well as relevant, but not recent, material) - they are far too busy moving in their little closed disciplines. 66


            It astounds me on reading relevant books on a topic to see other important persons also working in that domain totally ignored. 67


            ASIDE.  I first encountered this in 1963, working in the Columbia University library on the interaction of the geomagnetic field and the aurora - the topic of my eventual dissertation: Correlations Between Auroral and Geomagnetic Micropulsations.  I found two independent trees of research articles, one that originated in Russian literature but which contained many non-Russian authors. I could find no cross references between these two trees of reported research. 68


            Given the complex dynamics, it is virtually impossible to expect people working within their narrow disciplines to devote the requisite time to explore the diversity of other disciplines that may provide information to significantly effect the direction of their research or development.  Such interactions do happen occasionally and usually by accident - and significant advances in both disciplines is often the result. 69


            From my generalist survey of recorded knowledge, from my perspective of Ignorance, I can identify many potential synergies of high significance - yet where it is unlikely that they will ever occur if not explicitly seafed. 70


            Seafwebs for synergy would not only need to identify possible inter-disciplinary relationships with potential synergy, but to also develop seafing strategies to approach and gain the attention of key players in the respective disciplines and seaf their interaction in ways that don't immediately threaten the viability of their respective disciplines.  However, if the synergy takes, significant changes can be expected. 71


            A variant of this are Mediation Seafwebs that assist in translating and interpreting the work of specialized disciplines so that what may be valuable to those outside the discipline is comprehensible.  This will often call for multiple versions.  Popularization of science is big business but we should question whether the popularizations contribute to synergy. 72


            For example.  I have two PhDs, in physics and educational psychology, am familiar with systems science and have read many books in diverse scientific fields. Yet, the general scientific journals such as SCIENCE and NATURE often leave me cold.  Most articles are written for people at the fringe of a discipline who will already have mastered the vocabulary and idiosyncratic labeling. I know that there are ideas and patterns of knowledge embedded in the articles that I would find both interesting and useful, but they are usually inaccessible to me. 73


            It would be useful to have relevant articles translated into a neutral general systems vocabulary. These articles wouldn't prepare the reader to better comprehend the "real" articles without first learning the specialized nomenclature, but they would greatly enhance the populations comprehension of our best knowledge of "how the world works". 74


            Consider a very simple example that always causes me trouble. In DNA there are four nucleotides (which I call "bead" molecules) that form the chromosome helix. They are   two purines, called adenine (A) and guanine (G) and two pyrimidines, called thymine (T) and cytosine (C). For RNA instead of thymine (T), it uses the pyrimidine uracil (U). In DNA A-G form bonds linking the two strands of the helix, as do C-T (or C-U for RNA).  I never can remember these letters. When in Intro Psychological classes I discuss this, I use the letters A-B and C-D.  Why I remember DNA and RNA, but not A-G and C-T has many probable reasons. 75


            What I propose here, is that when the technical names are not important, they might be substituted by names that imply a relationship; such as A with B and C with D.  Part of this issue relates to the vast diversity of individual differences in cognitive processes, including memory.  My lack of visual imagery makes even simple mental arithmetic very difficult or impossible. My grades in 7th and 8th grade math plummeted to Cs and Ds as I tried to hold "word problems" in my mind. My performance in math leaped to an A when Algebra gave me a concrete means to represent the word problems so I could see them with my eyes and not have to depend on my non-existent visual imagery. 76


            Another aside.  There is much useful quantitative information about the world that when spoken in sentences goes over the heads of most people, including myself. Simple graphical or diagrammatic representations can make them clear for all.  But, for some reason most people are conditioned to turn off their minds when presented with graphs or diagrams  Ross Perot, whatever else can be said about him, attempted to apply this technique in his bid for the presidency.  Unfortunately he used old fashioned charts and not well designed presentations using computer graphics. Animation can greatly seaf the comprehension of graphs and diagrams. 77


            For example, population growth may be confusing when one hears numbers, but a simple graph of world population over the past 4,000 years shows a sharp, right angle turn upwards about a century or two ago.  Graphs also illustrate clearly the difference between a continued growth in population and a decrease in the rate of population growth. The new product Google Earth may provide NES [NU Educational Services] with places for scripts to guide people in comprehending trends. [I have yet to explore Google Earth in any detail]. Commentators could use such illustrative graphics on tv as they talk, rather than showing a talking head or an other visual that may have emotional content but nothing to assist people in comprehending what is happening in the world. 78

          I don't expect TV or cable to start using this soon, but people commenting via Internet blogs might give it a try.  Seafing teams for them may help. 79


            We might also start by seafing the population's comprehension of the distinction between harmony and synergy, and the dance between competition and mutual aide. 80


            TECHNOLOGY SEAFS 81


            In my use of seafing, I've been very focused on the contribution of persons, teams and other orgs doing the seafing. But, the "A" in SEAF, Augment applies mostly to technological systems and tools.  This is what Doug Englebart imagined when he started to use the term "augment" in this sense - and his invention of such tools as the mouse, the window, and hypertext illustrates the power of tools.  This is what Bucky Fuller intended through his patents and what you intend through your SelfHelp Corporations. The technological tools can be sems and societal scaffolding as well as physical devices and software. 82


            Technological tools and infrastructure are needed to seaf the human seafers. 83




            "Makeover" tv programs are popular -- a team creates a new house for a family, or gives a person a new look.  Both are instances of seafing. What other kinds of seafing services could be provided, where the seafing is recorded and produced for others to view as edutainment?  Such could become popular on tv, but given the ability to download and stream video, cyberspace could offer many venues. 85


            If the seafing was educational for those seafed, those viewing could also learn and be entertained. 86


            I envision the recording, editing, and producing of nuets doing things and these become the background context for NU. Fictional enactments of what we hope to do in the near future could set the stage and be instructional. 87




            INTRODUCTION 89

          I believe that seafwebs will emerge in different populations; but they will also interact with each other.  Below, without further content, I list a few special populations ripe for seafwebs. 90

          RETIRED & ELDERING 91

          AARP is the second largest org in the USA (next to the Catholic Church) - 38 million people!   AARP FOR NU 92

          DISABLED 93

          PARENTS 94


          STUDENTS & TEACHERS 96





            Sems (semiotic structures) are the basic building blocks of cyberspace.  It may be easiest to create seafwebs that work through cyberspace than work through f2f activity; although both are essential. There are many new tools for collaboration in cyberspace that may give cyberspace seafwebs a boost.  [expand] 99


            A LOTTERY SEAFWEB 100


            Humans have a deep fascination with chance, both intellectually and practically.  But, we don't have accurate statistical senses. 101


            There are patterns in randomness - the study of which are mathematical disciplines. 102


            PARADOX: the sequence of digits in the expansion of pi, or any irrational number, is a random distribution.  Knowing the first "n" digits lets you compute the "n+1" digit, but you cannot predict beyond - you can only compute the next one.  And this is a deterministic mechanical computation.  A deterministic mechanical process generates a sequence of random digits! 103


            Time is involved, and somewhat in the sense that time is involved in resolving Zeno's paradox, we can "resolve the paradox".  When each halving step is done in a halving duration (in Zeno), we enter the limits of the calculus and we can actually complete the sequence in a finite time. Zeno's paradox arose by making each halving-in-space done in the same time durations -- and you will never reach the goal in a finite number of steps.  But, when steps are taken both shorter and faster - we do move forward. 104


            Structuring Process is involved, over time, in creating a sequence of random digits.  Processing Structure is involved, over time, in proving that the sequence meets the criteria of randomness. 105


            Gambling appears to be universal.  How can we incorporate it in NU -- but in a positive way? 106


            Lottery - a small investment periodically given in expectation to get a bigger, lump reward later - eventually.  The investment could be time, attention and labor; with the reward in kind. 107

          In lotteries of today the odds are very bad, it is a stupid investment -- but they may have their psychological benefits: lotteries may suppress the urge to revolt. 108


            What if a lottery was designed like a savings system -- there was a guaranteed reward, but the when and how much are not predetermined. 109


            It may be that seafwebs in some populations may be promoted in the model of a lottery. [ Needs study.] 110


            SEAFWEB BUSINESSES 111


          This I present as a challenge; how many ways might seafwebs be profitable businesses? 112