Networks of Ortega y Gasset

Yesterday I was describing the advantages of network theory to a horizontally-thinking scientist of American Politics who is into and game theory, when like magic Mark Safranski has the perfect post:

Something new is coming and many of the old tools for political and strategic analysis are not going to be enough. We cannot throw them out entirely – Realpolitik, Liberalism, Game Theory – all retain their uses but it is becoming evident that these traditional paradigms do not suffice to explain al Qaida ‘s behavior much less its next move. We need to look at the world systemically as interrelationships of dynamic networks and include concepts like “emergence”, ” resilience” and “consilience” on our intellectual palette. The deep methodological compartmentalization that prevails in the social sciences and between science and the humanities must be abandoned if we are to see the world more clearly. Power laws govern more widely than at just the nano level.

A new world requires, if not new eyes, at least some new vision.

Mark also mentions tdaxp‘s old philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset

The aristocratic class structure of Great Britain broke at the Somme, lingering on only in form but not in substance. The First World War ended cultural illusions about the nature of Western society as Europe followed democratic America and socialist Russia and openly entered Ortega y Gasset’s new age of the Mass-man. The power of thoroughly “massified” modern societies enlisted for war dwarfed even the Great War and was carried out to its logical conclusion at Hiroshima. The twentieth century was, a root, an era of zero-sum conflict on the grand strategic scale. Philip Bobbitt terms it ” The Long War” which balances the ” Long Peace” that had followed Waterloo.

Mr. OyG has been on tdaxp before:

The more relations between two entities, the more quality the relationship has. A song cannot have “quality” by itself, just as a listener cannot have “quality.” The song and the listener make the quality together.

Technically, our semantic network is just a more complex version of our original E-R diagram

Quality is the Relation between two Entities

but by breaking down the relation into semantic relationships, we see so much more.

Also note that your semantic network determines the quality you will experience. This is another way of saying that your relations define you. As Pirsig wrote

In a sense, he said, it’s the student’s choice of Quality that defines him. People differ about Quality, not because Quality is different, but because people are different in terms of experience. He speculated that if two people had identical a priori analogues they would see Quality identically every time. There was no way to test this, however, so it had to remain just speculation.

Quality makes life worth living. Quality makes life. What a dry meaningless horror the world would be if we were alone!

The Jesuit-educated Ortega y Gasset said the same thing

I am myself and my circumstance

Read more on our networked future.