OODA-PISRR, Part II: The PISRR Cognition Loop

The late Air Force Colonel John Boyd’s five stages of victory, the elements of his PISRR loop, are often shown like this:


But PISRR is a mirror of the OODA loop, so it should look like this:


If that chart looks a lot like the OODA loop

that’s on purpose. As the previous post quoted Larry as saying

There are many similarities, almost mirror images, to the OODA loop and the PISRR loop.

Until now, however, a solid visual representation of this has not been available. The “five arrows from a circle” description of PISRR hardly does it justice, while my naive charts from the first part of this serious were also deceptive.

In the last post I charted John Boyd’s PISRR cycle as:


But what really goes on is:


Likewise, the last post displayed the Social Cognition Cycle as:


when really it is:


In the PISRR loop, there is no forward feed between Isolate and Subvert.

One grows smarter in two ways: learning and development. Learning is the acquisition of new facts. It is a quantitative change in knowledge. Learning is the attainment of ever more precise models of the world. It is normal science, the de-fuzzy-ification of knowledge.

Development is a qualitative change in knowledge. It is the destruction and creation of mental categories. It is revolutionary science.

Learning can happen without development, but development requires learning. Another to say this is that new information

Consider a recent Slashdot story on struggle among mice. To quote from the article:

To find out, they first subjected mice to a different dominant mouse daily for 10 days. Even 4 weeks later, the “socially defeated” animals vigorously avoided former aggressors or unfamiliar mice. BDNF and an indicator of gene expression increased markedly in their social memory circuit. Yet, the social avoidance behavior was reversible by giving the animals antidepressants.

He and his colleagues also discovered that social defeat triggered an upheaval in gene expression in the target area of the circuit, the nucleus accumbens, located deep in the front part of the brain — 309 genes increased in expression while 17 decreased. This pattern persisted even 4 weeks later, with 127 genes still increased and 9 decreased, paralleling the changes seen in social behavior. The researchers suggest that this alteration in gene expression encodes the motivational changes induced by aggression. When BDNF was deleted, or the animals were given antidepressants, most of the changes in gene expression reversed.

In Boydian times, the dominant mouse first subdued the victim mouse. This was an immediate quantitative change in the behavior of the victim mouse. This “mouse system perturbation” then triggered a horizontal change to the genetic factors of the mouse.

By first subduing the victim mouse, the dominant mouse was actually able to subvert it by effecting a qualitative change in the victim mouse — to get inside the victim mouse’s brain (literally) and change what it wanted.

A theoretical, and less mousey, example of how one can subdue to subvert is my hypothetical description of . I mentioned a way to attack a State without letting the government know that it is being attacked. This also is composed of attempts to subdue the state (change its quantitative characteristics) in a manner designed to subvert the state (change its qualitative characteristics).

Both OODA and PISRR are Cognition Loops. OODA describes how one moves from inaction to action, while PISRR describes the mental shift from action to inaction. OODA is how one thinks, while PISRR is how one teaches.

Both can be used to win — and force another to lose.

OODA-PISRR, a tdaxp series in four parts
Part I: The Social Cognition Loop
Part II: The PISRR Cognition Loop
Part III: Formless Fast Transients
Part IV: System Perturbations