Perspectives and Peers 6, Conclusion

Note: This is a selection from Perspectives and Peers, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06

Multiple Perspectives Peer Interaction
Elkind Mixed Mixed
Moshman Yes Mixed
Maalouf Mixed Mixed
In-Class Papers
Steinberg and Morris Mixed Mixed
Allen et al Yes Mixed
von Glasersfeld Yes Yes
Out-of-Class Papers
Driver Yes Mixed
Frank Yes Both
Hursh Yes Mixed
Schulman Yes Yes
Schwartz Yes Yes
Subject Yes Mixed

From the above table, one can easily see the strong field support for multiple perspectives but the mixed field support in peer interaction in constructing rationality.

The readings clearly support the value of multiple perspectives. Only three readings do not: David Elkin, Amin Maalouf, and Steinberg and Morris. However, each of these three can be explained as due to particularities of the author or study. David Elkind’s reaction was not explicit and against multiple perspectives as such, but rather implicit in his criticisms of the economic viability of life in the United States. Amin Maalouf’s skepticism towards both is explained by the fact tha the is looking at general populations, not individuals. It is well known that large crowds, and even countries, can act significantly less rational than their constituent members. Likewise, the mixed reading Steinberg and Morris is only possible if one assumes that multiple perspectives are needed to sustain rationality, not just create it. That may be too great of an assumption. Otherwise, every reading argues in support of multiple perspectives. As do the statements of the interview subject.

No such conclusion can be reached about the value of peer interaction. Not only are Elkind and Maalouf still skeptical, but even Moshman qualifies his support The assigned reading in class is generally mixed, and the out-of-class material can contradict each other. Opinions range from peer interaction is needed, to peer interaction and non-peer interaction, to warnings about the “counterproductive” effects of peer interaction from the interview subject.

Given this, multiple perspectives can be seen as the vital element in building rationality and rational behavior. Further research must be done for peer interaction, though, to see what place it has to play.

Perspectives and Peers, a tdaxp series:
Perspectives and Peers 1. Introduction
Perspectives and Peers 2. Books Assigned in Class
Perspectives and Peers 3. Articles Assigned in Class
Perspectives and Peers 4. Other Articles
Perspectives and Peers 5. Interview with the Subject
Perspectives and Peers 6. Conclusion
Perspectives and Peers 7. Bibliography
Perspectives and Peers 8. Interview with Mark Safranski

3 thoughts on “Perspectives and Peers 6, Conclusion”

  1. Because of my non-peer status, it is easier for me to consider multiple perspectives and peer interaction as the harmonizing of frequencies, with the use of flux (movement of potential energy), between two, or more, OODA loops. Hopefully, rationality is achieved when all loops are harmonized, this may be a too big of an assumption.

    If I analyze multiple perspectives, the exchange of flux is mostly between the Observation and Decision processes. Both may or may not have the same Orientation, but how they got there is where the greatest amount of flux is created. When the exchange of flux begins, the use of Journeymen and mentors is very useful because there is a rapid exchange of flux between the apprentice and journeyman, and the mentor and student. This increased velocity, which is a result of the differential potentials inside the Observation process, brings the apprentice and student up-to-date quickly on the observation processes inside the journeyman’s and mentor’s OODA loop. Without this specializing using journeymen and mentoring, it would seem to me that using multiple perspectives would be both slow and cumbersome in comparison.

    During peer interaction the exchange of flux is mostly between the Orientation of both peers, each has Observed much the same things, somehow their Orientation was influence differently, possibly by geophysical forces or (folks, kin, trade). Because of this different Orientation, destructive frequencies are present and their frequencies are not in harmony. If they were in harmony there would not be debate, only the building-on of their orientation.

    It would seem to me that both multiple perspectives and peer interaction are means to different ends. If you were building an army of true believers, peer-to-peer would be the way to go. If you were building an army of specialized OODA loops, multiple perspectives would be the better loops to build from. If you were building an army able to run several loops all at the same time, a Liberal Education (giving peer groups unrestrictive access to multiple perspectives) would work best. Of course this is just my perspective, I could be wrong or confused.

    My question is: do any of your authors look at the difference between Western and Eastern philosophies? It would seem to me that “multiple allegiances” would be more applicable to the philosophy of Zen, although I really don’t know anything about Zen, and “multiple perspective” would be something that a Western philosophy would be more able to grasp. I mean it would be great to assume that everyone has an OODA loop, but for all I know Eastern philosophy doesn’t even have Orientation. Maybe it is simply we Observe therefore we are. I am not saying that this is an Eastern philosophy; I am simply stating I am ignorant and don’t want to assume multiple perspective and peer interaction are handled the same in all philosophies.

  2. Mark,

    This was a for a 400/800 level class. My attempt to write something interesting for the course crashed and burned when the good doctor expressed his disapproval for the content of a version of “Liberal Education” [1] I handed in (as it wasn't a regurgitation of the reading).

    Hence this series, which is a regurgitation… but when that comes to a conclusion that he strongly disagreed with (the skepticism of peer interaction). It was a risky stunt to pull, but I ended the class with an “A,” so it worked out. (From my perspective, the best part of this series is your interview.)

    Ironically, while writing the paper I changed my mind, and I think I would view peer interaction as more critical. The experience I had in Scopes [2], as well as the way I led International Political recis this past semester, is percolating as a blog series…


    Can data enter the OODA loop through any mechanism other than Observation?

    On your second-to-last-paragraph, when you say “If you were building an army of true believers, peer-to-peer would be the way to go,” does this mean that you do not believe peer interaction builds rationality (or in other words, that it builds irrationality?)

    The idea of multiple allegiances was talked about a good deal in class, as the PhD teaching it loved Amin Maalouf's “In the Name of Identity.” [3] I detested that book.


  3. “Larry,

    Can data enter the OODA loop through any mechanism other than Observation?”

    I see the OODA loop as a natural flow of energy. In that way I see Col. Boyd as a philosopher as much as a military strategist. Data can enter the loop the same as any IO network, you would know better than me how this all works. It seems to me like feedback can go any direction at any time. The point I was trying to make was that this feedback (or feed-forward?) could stop, or possibly influence different nodes along the way, under different conditions. If you have great confidence in your orientation, would you not use this to move to decision and act? It is not a matter of laziness, but speed and accuracy. On the other hand, if your loop was not grounded in orientation, would you not continuously feedback to observation for correct decision-making and appropriate action? If the loops are between peers, it just seems to me, the tendency would be for quick action and not as much observation information. When different observations are addressed between loops, possibly what happens between non-peers, the tendency would be more analysis of observations and possibly more rational outcome.

    “On your second-to-last-paragraph, when you say “If you were building an army of true believers, peer-to-peer would be the way to go,” does this mean that you do not believe peer interaction builds rationality (or in other words, that it builds irrationality?)”

    I was trying to get away from defining or even using rationality or irrationality. I believe peer-to-peer can and does build rationality, but the flux between loops works most easily between the orientations of the peers that observation is often times ignored. So to build rationality between peers it would be better to include as many peers from different geophysical locations as possible to include as many different observations as possible. Also, I was suggesting that because peer-to-peer are moving from orientation, most often, their loop can get to action quicker but with perhaps a less than rational action. There is a level of chance with any action, so the slower to action, it would seem to me, the greater chance a rational decision and action will be made. I don’t believe peers are not able or do not want to go back to observation, which to me is helpful to a rational decision, it is simply because the energy in the group is at the same level, the tendency is not to. With the energy intensity and frequency at the same level, it moves by quantum leaps, back or forward. The energy wants to remain the same; it takes a different frequency to move it to a new level. This different frequency does not necessary have to come from a non-peer; it can build from inside the peer-to-peer group, but takes some effort to come out. I think it is simply harder to build a different frequency from inside the group.

    “The idea of multiple allegiances was talked about a good deal in class, as the PhD teaching it loved Amin Maalouf's “In the Name of Identity.” [3] I detested that book”

    Maybe there is some other reason that you detested the book than its use of multiple allegiances, but I imagine the reason the PhD teaching it loved it was because of its relationship to globalization. I would imagine that PhDs love to be given a chance to be significantly currant. It is so defeating to the human spirit to be rendered insignificant; such is the weakness of 5GW.

  4. I dislike Maalouf because his view of globalization leaves out economics, completely. Even as a driving force. I'd take Friedman or Barnett [1] over him any day.

    Larry, I'd be interested in your interpretations of the various OODA loops. [2] You've added a lot ot my understanding, and I look forward to more of that in the future 🙂


  5. 9/11 didn’t happen because of economics did it? Wasn’t it because of the issue of multiple allegiances?

    Apparently, religious fundamentalists have a hard time with that one. It is impossible for them to hold more than one allegiance as true. When what they believe as true, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say what they hold their allegiance to, comes under attack they become resilient and flow to what made them strong in the first place.

    Some go back to teachings that say: become kinetic. Some try to “settle” the issue, possibly with 5GW. While those able to hold multiple allegiances, want to globalize the world.

    I understand your reluctance to study Maalouf, but didn’t you kind of miss his point? Potential energy is the greatest driving point in the universe. The greatest potential for a point of movement is between multiple allegiances not economics. There has always been and there will always be poor in the world. The issue isn’t really about economic. If it was, the gap between the wealthy and poor in the USA would be getting smaller, it is not. The real issue is multiple allegiances. Multiple allegiances hold the most potential energy in this discussion. Globalization is about connecting the world, but what you are really connecting are allegiances. Unless this is a part of your 5GW and you don’t want the issue pointed towards your allegiance, then never mind.

  6. I have already given you what I see are the 3 main kinds of OODA loops, resistive, capacitance, and inductive. The movement starts by potential energy in a resistive loop, by kinetic energy in a capacitance loop, and by the presents of another loop an inductive movement develops. Although I haven’t commented on inductive separately, I am talking about two OODA loops enabled by the flux between them.

    I also look forward to your interpretations.

  7. Larry,

    “There has always been and there will always be poor in the world. The issue isn’t really about economic. If it was, the gap between the wealthy and poor in the USA would be getting smaller, it is not.”

    You appear to be talking about relative poverty, and I agree that there will always be some richer than others. But there does not have to absolute poverty, and there does not have to be the grinding economic degenerate statism of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

    To tie this back into the criticism of Maalouf, he writes of a world where globalization is driven by Maslow's hierarchy of needs [1]. It has a lot more to do with logistical supply chains and free trade

    As Thomas Barnett said:

    “Quickie AP entry on fourth straight day of Saudi government forces' shootouts with wanted radical Islamic militants operating within their borders (“Saudi Arabia: Fourth Day of Shootouts,” NYT, 7 April 05, p. A9). To me, this is another example of how the Big Bang strategy works its magic by forcing local regimes to deal with what are really local problems. So it's not just a matter of getting Iraqis to deal with radical Islamic insurgents, a nice byproduct of the Big Bang is forcing neighboring regimes like Saudi Arabia to finally start dealing with their own status as wellspring for these bad actors. Remember, in the end as well as in the beginning: all terrorism is local just like all politics is local.”

    I grant that a religious 4G action [3], such as al Qaeda is waging, relies on ideology. But studying ideology in the absence of economics is dangerous, because ideologies are for people with too much time on their hands.

    PS: How would you compare your view of the OODA loop with other views? Post-Boydian, etc?


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