Ric Amurrio Jun 27, 2018 · 14 min read

In the first sequence of Peter Brook’s film “Meetings With Remarkable Men,” tribes/clan people from miles around gather at the foot of a mountain range to observe a musicians challenge. The champion will not be the one who can play the fastest, or the longest piece, or the most difficult. Rather, the award will go to the performer who can make the mountains shake and shudder by the clarity, intensity, sentiment and purpose present in the music.

In our own time, the public musical inattentiveness has been cultivated progressively by a number of factors: Bubble gum pop music, the loudness wars, the excess of recordings available at one time in the internet, and the struggle among every type of media for the interest of the consumer.

Look around a digital music service for a popular song and you’ll likely find more than a few “tributes” to it — soundalike versions courtesy of faceless outfits with vague names.

It’s the musical equivalent of search-engine optimization manipulation — the equivalent to those websites that repurpose others outlets’ clickbait on their own, banner-ad-riddled webspace.

It’s a testament to the lousy way that music discovery exists in 2015. The search functions of the iTunes Store and Spotify and other digital-music services reward precise knowledge of what a listener might be searching for; there’s little opportunity for the sort of serendipity that would occur through, say, flipping through LP covers. The serendipity is precisely targeted, instead, and so what you get is a bunch of versions of something you’re already pegged to liking.

An individual has to bypass most of the Universal Soundtrack in order to function. The shared noise of conversation, laughing, crying, traffic, machinery, Muzak, nature sounds and broadcast media that surrounds scores of us, especially in the cities.

In our homes, our bodies hum along to our electrical appliances. Our instruments, dishwashers, — all of them run at 60 cycles per second helping us put another brick in our aural wall, we also shut the access to liminal consciousness that is empowered, indeed altered, by access to the deepest levels of musical expression.

According to New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini. “Virtuosos Becoming a Dime a Dozen“That a young pianist has come along who can seemingly play anything, and easily,” he notes, “is not the big deal it would have been a short time ago.”

Tommasini goes on to list several of the current super pianists who are able to leap over tall pieces like Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto and the Ligeti Etudes with a single bound. Apparently, the pianistic equivalent of breaking the four-minute mile or other sports record nowadays happens with such reliability that even teen piano students are at ease with such repertoire. The standar has become so punishing that the legendary Alfred Denis Cortot, remarks Tommasini, “would probably not be admitted to Juilliard now.”

Not So long ago, Vladimir Horowitz thrilled audiences with his groundbreaking interpretations of the piano repertoire. He even dared to re-write sections of pieces by Rachmaninoff, Mussorgsky and Chopin to “expand” them. Today, a pianist is not respected unless every note is just as the composer wrote it. No longer is musical self-expression, passion and perception valued above technical display — mainly because most listeners don’t know anymorer what to listen for.

‘The problem with some technically remarkable players is that they sometimes have nothing to say…’– the fastest double tongue, or the most impressive multiphonic, circular-breathing effects. Of course, this is assuming that composers have something expressive to say as well, beyond the latest circus effect or noise manipulation.

I’m not so sure Fritz Kreisler or Artur Rubenstein could come first at an audition or competition these days with all the technically flawless demands on musicians. People remember Rubenstein missing lots of notes, but always interpreting wonderfully!)

Then there’s cover bands. As the LA times puts it (…) The best tributes, like Led Zepagain, are carefully constructed and choreographed replicas of the bands they emulate. Some can even receive the respect of the artists they’re based on. The Musical Box has received endorsements from Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and other members of Genesis. Members of the real Pink Floyd have appeared onstage with a tribute called the Australian Pink Floyd. In Los Angeles, Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger plucked Dave Brock from the Doors tribute Wild Child and made him their singer for four years.

With so many bands competing for gigs, the market is oversaturated. There are, no fewer than five Doors tributes plying their trade in Los Angeles: Wild Child, Break on Through, Peace Frog, Strange Days and Light My Fire. There’s a Cure tribute called The Cured and another called The Curse. There are even tributes to more recent artists such as The Killers and Steel Panther are now so popular that they have inspired their own tribute band. “They’re called Surreal Panther. They’re out of the U.K.,”


Without doubt there are a lot worse ways to time than in perfecting one technique. It keeps one off the street out of the bars and social media. The devil will never get a hold of those un-idle hands and re-purpose them for trolling.

I don’t know if the focus on practice makes perfect is considered the easier path, and a infallible one at that. After all, if one is able to play a difficult piece immaculately, doesn’t that unconsciously make one unquestionably good? Not only that, but even an idiot can hear you and tell you’ve got chops.

But the truth is the sole function of practice is to enhance your ability to express yourself. It must be subservient to the art form whether it be music, painting, dance or writing.

The audience cannot be blamed for responding to what is often called “flash” — the player should be blamed for that. Those players who have opted for a flamboyant arrangement have not thought very deeply about their creative processes.

Picasso: ‘Art is the elimination of the unnecessary’

How do you measure the meaning of a phrase?

As a culture we deal with the measurable or the “metrics” as they are often called. The number of accurate notes per bar is measurable; how do you measure the understanding of a phrase’s meaning?

As a society we select for objectively measurable values and we get what we get. The problem that I am noticing in the modern milieu is that we seem to have been stranded on a on a version of reality that is killing us: we have replaced authentic playing (a fluid use of both “explore and discover mode” and “custom mode”) with a simulation of playing. A form of “custom mode” that represents itself as the totality of playing.

Simulated playing shows up as playing, takes itself as playing and, armed with a vast and often nuanced script of pre-defined signals and ‘suitable’ responses, even resembles playing. But it is not. It is custom, not learning. And, as a consequence, it is completely incapable of creatively responding to (changes in) actual reality.

Broadly speaking, we have become stuck in some sort of simulation and this is exceptionally hazardous. In fact, I’d like to encourage you to reflect on that this might be the fundamental problem of why we are in the situation we find ourselves in. Musicians today seem to be less adventurous in moving from one chord or note to another, instead following the paths well-trod by their predecessors and contemporaries,”
To be sure, a whole lot of the philosophy floating about these days is a muddle to say the least. And we will have to deal with that as well. But without real music, we can’t even really take the first step. We are ensnared using old apparatus promulgated by baby boomers to get to the bottom of how is it we have burnt most of cultural capital creating a simulation.

How did we get here?

A huge amount of early childhood is spent in discover/explore mode. Learning to walk, learning to talk, learning to pick up food and put it in your mouth. You can’t be taught any of this. You just have to use explore mode and learn it. Explore mode is largely to blame for all fundamental learning, for exploring your surroundings and forming novel insights and responses to that environment.

Here I quote Jordan Greenhall from his medium piece on thinking and simulated thinking

(…) But, and here is precisely where things start to go wrong, it is possible in some cases to move from “learning” to “being taught.” A classic is the good old multiplication table. Who among us “learned” multiplication? I don’t mean “used rote repetition to carve it as a deep custom,” I mean well and deeply came to grasp the fundamental essence of “to multiply” for yourself. My sense is that the answer is practically no-one (…)

If your only association with multiplication is the capacity to promptly answer questions like, “what is five times five” or “what is nine times nine,” you have turned multiplication into something that can be processed with custom mode. In the effort to accelerate and normalize the contents of mind, our society has chosen to apply “custom mode” to the multiplication table. That’s OK. And, in fact, maybe the only way to relate to the subject. It is an efficient way to do basic multiplication.

But it isn’t exploring discovering, And here is the dilemma: in society, it is often the case that most of the things that you need to be on familiar terms with were figured out a long time ago. You could re-experience them again for yourself, but for nearly everyone will tell you it is an exercise in ineffectiveness. Certainly this is not the sort of thing that a school striving to cram as much “comprehension” as possible into its students would go about doing.


Instead, the clever answer is to treat all knowledge as a version of the multiplication table: a sort of pre-fab script relating possible inputs (“three times three?”) and appropriate outputs (“nine!”). Who was the sixteenth President of the United States? What is the atomic weight of Hydrogen? What is the meaning of Walt Whitman’s self-contradiction? What is the appropriate relationship between individual liberty and common interests? (…)

Perceive possible inputs, scan available outputs, faithfully report on the most appropriate response. Quickly. Reliably. Speed and precision — the sort of thing that “custom mode” was designed for.

Do this long enough and your native capacities begin to atrophy. And in our modern environment, this is how we end up spending nearly all of our time.

Anyone who has played an instrument can almost feel the shift from learning to custom. For the first little bit, there is learning. You are exploring the shape and possibility of the instrument environment. But, and this is deeply crucial, no matter how complicated an instrument is, be it guitar, piano, banjo, violin, ukelele, it is ultimately no more than merely “complicated.” Unlike nature, which is basically “complex”, every instrument can be learned. After only a little while, you get a feel for how it works and then begin the process of turning it into custom. Into rapidly and competently running the right responses to the precise inputs. At a formal level, instruments precisely teach you to move as quickly as possible from learning to routine and then to maximally optimize practice.

When you look at how we really spend almost all of our time, it isn’t hard to see out how we got here. We are born discovering and exploring. And then we are immersed like Achilles in an environment that is constantly pushing us to optimize for simulated thinking.

This is deep problem at a basic level. But it is an even bigger problem at the cultural level. And under the contemporary trajectory of exponential technology, it is likely a disastrous predicament at the species level as These things are the glue that holds our society together

Simulated playing works.

For a while. In fact, as long as the frame of pre-fab patterns and responses that you carve into custom is actually adaptive to the real environment, simulated playing’s ability to quickly and reliably apply those responses can be really rather effective. For a while, it can make things pretty easy — and can superficially show up as a “golden age”. It’s no wonder that many young musicians are making the acquisition of technical perfection their number one goal — it has always been easier to go after the known as opposed to the unknown. We know how to get technique. We know what the notes are, now it’s a question of fingering, phrasing, articulation.


What is difficult is seeking the unknown. We don’t know what it is, so how can we look for it? More importantly, how can we listen for it? Because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of music, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones

Consider how real playing shows up to replicated playing. Rather than quickly and reliably returning the right results for the right inputs (like a good custom), playing begins awkwardly. Early on, playing will struggle to create anything at all. Simulated playing can dance and dazzle while playing is just figuring out how to walk.

Moreover, as it matures, the results of playing will look entirely unlike the “appropriate output” that simulated playing is expecting. As a consequence, for the most part, playing will show up as some combination of error, disability or bad attitude.

In fact, at a social level, playing will often show up as hostile. In a social environment largely conditioned by “role playing” identities that allow you to “fit in”, playing will be sending everything but the right signals. If you are not demonstrating good opinion and responding correctly to the right signals, you won’t show up as being part of the in group. And if you aren’t part of the in group, then you must be in the out group.

Simulated playing is limited to its pre-fab scripts. As a consequence, it doesn’t have good ways to respond to the novelties and subtleties of real playing. If it interprets playing as error, it might select a response of “dismiss” or “debunk.” If it interprets playing as hostile, it might select a response of “attack” or “defend”. Or scapegoat. Or witch hunt.

The more sophisticated the scripts, the more effectively simulated playing will be able to react to, limit and extinguish real playing. After all, it has the weight of almost the entire population on its side. To think in an environment infected with simulated playing is almost to invite a witch hunt.

A seeker is concerned first and foremost with expressing the content of the music on as deep a level as possible. Rather than an exclusive focal point on the linear flow of the notes, the depth of the content must be pulled out from underneath, as it were. The emotion and the turn of phrase cannot come from a linear, parallel conception, only from a straight down one. One must dig to find gold.


In order to know what is currently unknown to one, it’s necessary to take the plunge into timelessness.

As long as we’re stuck in the revolving artificial moving parts , we can never be open to discover this territory. There exist out of the ordinary worlds, different universes, than those presented to us in daily life. These territories or realms are the sandboxes of scientists and mystics, who approach them from opposite directions but end up in the same place. The unexplained realms described by mandalas, poems, paintings, and mathematical equations have also, down through the ages, been explored by musicians. Indeed, it is only through music that many people will ever experience these realms.

The language of mathematics requires an understanding far beyond that of eighth grade algebra yet this thing called music cannot be expressed by words or theorems. The reality of music has much to do with the fact that sound is created through vibrations. The frequencies of the vibration are what give us the pitch but by limiting the perception and understanding of music solely to its surface sounds, most modern cultures have robbed music of its most vital element–the vibrational experience.

This is no mistake. Just as the understanding of pitch and melody has declined with successive generations the immensely satisfying sensation of feeling musical vibrations has been relegated to loud nightclubs and the speakers of passing cars. In such environments, with such music, there is little reason to seek the intricacies of melody, harmony, rhythm or other musical subtleties. Indeed, that’s not why anyone is there. Loudness comes at the expense of dynamic range — in very broad terms, when the whole song is loud, nothing within it stands out as being exclamatory or punchy. Indeed, it is found that the loudness of recorded music is increasing by about one decibel every eight years.

Grammy Award-winning percussionist Evelyn Glennie was compelled to train herself in the vibrational method of hearing, having gradually become deaf as a child. An essay on her Web site notes the following:

(…) Hearing is basically a specialized form of touch. Sound is simply vibrating air which the ear picks up and converts to electrical signals, which are then interpreted by the brain. The sense of hearing is not the only sense that can do this, touch can do this too. If you are standing by the road and a large truck goes by, do you hear or feel the vibration? The answer is both. With very low frequency vibration the ear starts becoming inefficient and the rest of the body’s sense of touch starts to take over. For some reason we tend to make a distinction between hearing a sound and feeling a vibration, in reality they are the same thing (…)

Music is the ripples in a stream. Melody is what stays in the brain, allowing us to recall the songs of childhood and youth. The here and now, however, is found in the vibrations. When one dives below the surface of a piece of music one can experience the trembling at its very source. But first one must be sensitive enough to know the source exists.

“Everything is vibrating, man!”

Vibration is how the soprano breaks the glass…it’s how the karate master smashes cement blocks…it’s how Joshua’s army took down the walls of Jericho and how John Henry beat the steam drill. Vibrations have the power to destroy, and therefore the power to create. Hence, a musician wields a mighty axe.

Some musicians seem to have an effortless understanding of the deepest vibrational intricacies — Miles Davis and Maria Callas come to mind as examples. The rest of us may have to work a little harder. Shall we throw out technique and custom playing, then, in search of that elusive musical magic? Absolutely not. We only need to remember — in the words of pianist and teacher Jimmy Amadie — “We play to express, not to impress.”

Contrast this scenario with the alternative path, that of the musical seeker. Such a musician does not shun acquiring technique but realizes that the music is the food, and the technique is the plate you serve it on. When the awesomeness of the plate starts to override the awesomeness of the food, can that be good for musical digestion?

‘We need to rediscover and redefine the function — the role — that music plays in our society’. The audiences are bored; the fast food we are offering them have been standardized just like those at the local Subway. You’re consuming high amounts of digital/digitized sounds. Consuming these insane amounts causes a buildup in your system, which can lead to perception problems. You’re consuming leftover and low quality ingredients You’re getting addicted to refined sugar and are known to be addictive. Those sandwiches are perfectly well and good, but who goes to Subway for an interesting or exciting meal?

By focusing on the message in the music — rather than how that message is transmitted — we can re-arrive at sincere communication, and experience the wealth of what the music has to offer, not to mention the wonderful differences that can exist among artists: there is excitement, passion, wildness, tenderness, sweetness, resilience, resolve — and on it goes. The possibilities are endless.

The Birth of the Cool

Liminality’s Twilight Carnival

Forget sunrise, chum. Limbo’s a neon alley flickering at the frayed edges of reality. Think flophouse hallways reeking of burnt toast and broken dreams. That’s the liminal zone, man. A psychic meat grinder where selfhood gets shredded and reformed like a cut-up. Vulnerable, yeah, but potent – a cyberpunk alchemical stew bubbling with possibility.

Identity? A flimsy meat-puppet costume dissolving in the psychic acid rain. Disoriented? You haven’t lived till you’ve woken up in a chrome hotel bathtub wired to a reality you can’t quite grasp. This ain’t Kansas, Dorothy. This is the crossroads between the binary code of logic and the glitching ghosts of the unconscious.

Remember those dusty crossroads signs in the middle of nowhere? Limbo’s a whole goddamn carnival of them. Every flickering neon arrow points a dozen ways at once. Choice? Illusion, baby. You’re caught in the slipstream between the control grid and the howling void beyond. Like Serling whispering from a malfunctioning television: “This is the dimension of imagination. A fifth dimension beyond the reach of the network.”

The freaks on the midway? Those are your artists, man. Scrounging the liminal zone for raw data, splicing dreams and nightmares into twisted masterpieces. From the Beats to the cyborgs, they were the cultural cowboys riding the bleeding edge. But the party don’t last forever. The suits, the Hutts and the data vampires, they catch wind of something good and it’s all over. They strip-mine the liminal zone, sucking it dry like corporate leeches. Cultural capital’s a boom-and-bust market, see? Success means your playground gets paved over by the shopping mall of normalcy.

This ain’t a new song, chummer. All empires crumble under the weight of their own greed. But hey, maybe that’s just another liminal cycle. Maybe when the dust settles, a new batch of freaks will crawl out of the psychic wreckage, ready to build a new carnival on the ashes of the old.

Limbo Junction:

Forget sunrise, man. Forget sunset. We’re talking the in-between spaces, the meat of the static. Liminal consciousness – that’s the ticket. It’s the flickering neon motel sign at the edge of nowhere, the half-remembered dream morphing into a concrete jungle. Vulnerable, yeah, like a wet cassette tape with the words bleeding through. But charged, too, wired with the juice of possibility.

Think of it as a crossroads wired on cheap motel coffee. One path, straight as a corporate drone, the other a fractal twist into the unknown. Like Serling whispering from a scrambled channel, it’s a zone where the map folds in on itself. Not light, not dark, science bleeding into superstition, a playground for the shadows lurking in the human psyche. This is the dimension of the download, the artist plugged into the raw feed, the raw meat of creation.

From the Beats to the cyborgs, these liminal cowboys mined the borderlands, 1956 to 1996, when the whole damn system flipped its polarity. Here’s the rub, man: the second these liminal spaces get hot, the suits, the Hutts, the data vampires, they swarm in, strip-mine the magic, and leave a corporate wasteland behind. The cool fades, the culture gets choked by its own exhaust. It’s a death cycle, baby, predicted by some Rao dude and his office drone theory.

So next time you’re stuck between REM and reality, between channels on a dead TV, remember – that’s the sweet spot. It’s the static hum of creation, the place where the new gets downloaded. But watch your back. The suits are always listening.

Folding the Threshold: A Liminal Fugue

Forget boundaries, man. Limbo’s the name, that space between channels, where the static hisses and flickers bleed into each other. Like dawn breaking through chrome, a half-life between realities. Vulnerable, yeah, your meat stripped bare, but that’s where the gold’s pressed, the raw code waiting to be hacked.

This liminal zone, it ain’t got a solid form, man. It’s a chimera, a feedback loop of dream and wakefulness. Identity? Forget it. You’re just a meat puppet twitching on the edge of the console, high on static. Limits dissolve, your mind a flickering screen where new code can be burned in.

Crossroads? More like a circuit board meltdown, a million paths forking out, each one glitching with possibility. Remember Serling? The Twilight Zone, a dimension between channels, where shadows dance with science, and the human psyche wrestles with its own code. A playground for the freaks, the hackers of the mind.

These liminal artists, man, they were the ones jacked into the matrix first. From the Burroughs cut-up to Gibson’s cyberspace cowboys, they rode the bleeding edge. But the system’s a jealous beast. It devours the raw code, the freaks’ playground. The Hutts, the Suits, the Man, they all come crawling in, strip-mining the liminal for profit. Success? It’s a one-way ticket to the data graveyard.

This ain’t new, man. It’s the Gervais Principle on a cosmic scale. The system feeds on the fringes, then strangles them in its corporate tentacles. But hey, that’s the beauty of the fold. When the liminal space gets squeezed, it just pops up somewhere else, a glitch in the matrix waiting to be exploited. The artists, they’ll find a new channel, a new way to jack in. The game’s always afoot, man, just gotta keep folding the threshold.


Ric Amurrio

 12 min read


Liminal Consciousness is the state that exists between and betwixt, at the edges of boundaries, at dawn and dusk, in the moments before falling asleep and the moments of resurfacing from the dreamtime into waking. It is a time that is often more vulnerable, but also more alchemically charged. The liminal state is not as fully formed as what is on either side of it, it partakes of both sides, and therefore it is an ideal state for creating new forms.

“The liminal state is characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy. One’s sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation. Liminality is a period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed — a situation which can lead to new perspectives.

The crossroads are a meeting of two directions, where a traveler must make a choice between continuing straight ahead and turning onto a new path directly away from the old one. Or like Rod Serling said (…) is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination(…)

The artist occupying a position at, or on both sides of the threshold of the liminal consciousness have been the main creative cultural force from roughly 1956 to 1996 , when the model stopped working and started to fold onto itself. One reason — among several — is that as soon as has the liminal spaces start getting really interesting, they get invaded and absorbed by the paradigmatic mind, The Hutts, Dopplegangers and other Empire figures, who ruins them. The cultural capital extracted from liminal spaces have a predictable lifecycle, in which success means death by drowing.

This insight was influenced by Venkatesh Rao’s Gervais Principle, an analysis of workplace dynamics.


When you find yourself in a circumstance where the principle of responsiveness has overcome the principles of conservation and dissonance you’ve now entered into a new location and this is what I’m calling liminal mind or liminal consciousness and so the first thing to keep in mind is that this space is in fact actually the base this is the source from which paradigms emerge and therefore it’s also the place to which paradigms dissolve when they break up completely.

You may have heard the word used in Tibetan Buddhism for the bardo state — the “transitional state” or “in-between state” or “liminal state”. Used loosely, the term “bardo” refers to the intermediate state of existence between lives on earth. The liminal space lies between the known and the unknown — the space is a transitional space of heightened intensity.


“I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees. Asked the lord above ‘have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please.’” — Robert Johnson, Cross Road Blues)1936).

The story tells of Robert Johnson, a young blues player, who wanted musical fame. Robert heard voices one night, telling him to take his guitar down to the crossroads at midnight. As he stood there waiting, a tall dark man walked up and told Robert he could have his fame in exchange for his soul. Robert agreed, the stranger took Robert’s guitar and tuned it. After receiving the guitar back, Robert played a few licks and was amazed at his improvement. When he looked back up, the dark stranger was gone. For now. At least that’s how the story goes. As to its truth?

Think Coltrane, Rabel, Debussy, Stravinsky: It’s as if Liminal existence can be located in a separated sacred space, which occupies a sacred time. Examples in the Bible include the dream of Jacob where he encounters God between heaven and earth and the instance when Isaiah meets the Lord in the temple of holiness. In such a liminal space, the individual experiences the revelation of sacred knowledge where God imparts his knowledge on the person in the subtle space between any sense of identity you’ll find there is something there that is neither and both and more. There is a dimensionalization of consciousness that allows us to exist in a kind of quantum reality where both ‘the particle and the wave’ co-exist. Wormholes are bridges through space-time that create a shortcut from one reality to another.

The dissolution of order during liminality creates a fluid, malleable situation that enables new forms to arise. We speak of emergence — but it’s usually inside the unexamined current perspective of thinking emergence is an action that happens between solid realities

More conventionally, springs, caves, shores, rivers, volcanic calderas — ‘ are used as another symbol of transcendence’ — , passes, crossroads, bridges, and marshes are all liminal: ‘“edges”, borders or faultlines between the legitimate and the illegitimate’. Oedipus (an adoptee and therefore liminal) met his father at the crossroads and killed him; Major transformations occur at crossroads and other liminal places, at least partly because liminality — being so unstable — can pave the way for access to esoteric knowledge or understanding of both sides. Liminality is sacred, alluring, and dangerous.

When you’re in a in a truly deeply mental space you don’t necessarily even have the capacity to name the things that you’re experiencing so making sense can become very limited and you might be in a part

perceiving something that under a paradigmatic frame you would call a tree but in a liminal space you don’t have a name for it you’re just experiencing it and it’s raw sensorial and of course this means you can be quite limited like your your ability to make meaningful choices.

Jungians have often seen the individuation process of self-realization as taking place within a liminal space. ‘Individuation begins with a withdrawal from normal modes of socialisation, epitomized by the breakdown of the persona…liminality’. .What takes place in the dark phase of liminality is a process of breaking down…in the interest of “making whole” one’s meaning, purpose and sense of relatedness once more.

Jungians however have perhaps been most explicit about the ‘need to accord space, time and place for liminal feeling’ — as well about the associated dangers, ‘two mistakes: we provide no ritual space at all in our lives…or we stay in it too long’. Indeed,

If the person is able to drop from this space and bring with him some valuable cultural capital more times than not you will create a scene. A scene is a small group of people with the ability of dropping in and out of liminal consciousness are able to invent an exciting New application — a musical genre, a religious sect, a film animation technique, a political theory. Riffing off each other, they produce examples and variants, and share them for mutual enjoyment, generating positive energy into a series of liminoid experiences

The new scene draws Disciples. Disciples contribute energy (time, money, adulation, organization, analysis) to support the people that are able to deop in and out of liminal consciousness. The Disciples totally love the New Thing, they’re fascinated with all its esoteric ins and outs, and they spend all available time either doing it or talking about it.

Liminoid experiences

In 1974, Victor Turner coined the term liminoid to refer to experiences that have characteristics of liminal experiences. A graduation ceremony might be regarded as liminal while attending a rock concert might be understood to be liminoid. The liminal is part of society, an aspect of social or religious rite, while the liminoid is a break from society, part of “play” or “playing”. Turner stated that liminal rites are rare and diminished in industrial societies, and ‘forged the concept of “liminoid” rituals for analogous but secular phenomena’ such as attending rock concerts and other liminoid experiences.

David Chapman Meaningness explains really well. If the scene is sufficiently complex, it remains a strictly geek thing; a weird hobby, not a subculture. If the scene is unusually exciting, and the Liminoid experience can be appreciated without having to expend too much time on the details, it draws the paradigmatic mind. People that are not able to drop in and out of liminal consciousness mind are appreciative, but not devotees like the Disciples. They show up to have a good time, and contribute as little as they reasonably can in exchange.

The liminal consciousness welcomes paradigmatic mind to the liminoid experience at first at least. It’s the mass of paradigmatic minds who turn cultural capital into a money. Creation, reception or whatever you want to call it is always at least partly an act of generosity; The people that are able drop in and out of liminal consciousness want as many people to use and enjoy their creations as possible. It’s also good for the ego; it confirms that the New Liminoid experience really is exciting, and not just a geek obsession.


So the paradigm exists as I said for the purpose of making sense of your environments so that you can then make meaningful choices and bond reality however paradigms also seem to have two other primary characteristics. The first is the principle of responsiveness which is to say that the paradigm exists as I said for the purpose of making sense of your environments so that you can then make meaningful choices and effective choices in your environment so paradigms emerge so that you can bond reality however paradigms also seem to have two other primary characteristics

The second is the principle of conservation which is to say that paradigms in some sense seek to

change as little as they can possibly change and only change it at the edges minimally

The third is the principle of minimum dissonance which is to say that if some kind of perception shows up some experience comes in that doesn’t make sense in the paradigm. Paradigms need to solve dissonance but they need to resolve dissonance also under the principle of maximum conservation

The liminoid experience is a blast however, as their numbers grow, they become a headache. Disciples do all the organizational work, initially just on behalf of liminal mind: out of generosity, and to enjoy a g sub society. They put on events, build websites, tape up publicity fliers, and deal with accountants. The paradigmatic mind just passively soak up the good stuff like Mark Chapman from meaningness highlight — (…) you may even have to push them around the floor; Hipsters they have to be led to the drink. At best you can charge them admission or a subscription fee, but they’ll inevitably argue that this is wrong because capitalism is evil, and also because they forgot their wallet(…)

There’s another phenomenon, that of bro or bro-dude, which is the polar opposite of the hipster. You know them by their preppie-frat-beach-rawk fashions, their polo shirts, their shorts and sandals, their university hoodies, and their backwards baseball caps, You’ve seen them getting way too drunk on weak light beer whenever they’re out,

The paradigmatic mind also dilute the culture. The New Thing, and its liminoid manifestations although attractive, is more intense and weird and complicated than the people stuck in a paradigmatic mind would prefer. Their favorite songs are the ones that are least the New Thing, and more like other, popular things. Some with access to liminal consciousness oblige with less radical, friendlier, simpler creations.

Disciples may be generous, but they signed up to support people that are one step removed from magic able not paradigmatic minds. At this point, they may all quit, and the cultural capital is up for grabs.


Oh, by the way… which one’s Pink?

The cultural capital at this stage is ripe for exploitation. The liminal consciousness generate cultural capital, i.e. cool. The Disciples generate social capital: a network of relationships — strong ones among the liminal mind, and weaker but numerous ones with paradigmatic mind. The paradigmatic mind, when properly squeezed, produces liquid capital, i.e. money.

None of those groups have any clue about how to extract and manipulate any of those forms of capital. So the large slug-like sentient species, the Hutts quickly become best friends with people dropping in and out of liminal consciousness. Also at the same time we see the appearance of Doppelgängers. They dress just like the cool, only better. They talk just like the liminal mind — only smoother as if they were partaking of the same liminal consciousness. They may even do some creating/replication — competently, if not creatively. The people dropping in and out of liminal consciousness may not be completely fooled, but they also are clueless about what the hangers on are up to.

People dropping in and out of liminal consciousness really are not much into details and the Doppelgangers look to them like better versions of themselves, only better. They are now the coolest kids in the room, demoting the access to liminal consciousness. At this stage, they take their pick of the best-looking paradigmatic mind to sleep with. They’ve extracted the cultural capital.

The Hutts also work out how to monetize paradigmatic mind — of hipsters and bros which the Disciples were never good at. With better publicity materials, the addition of a light show, and new, more crowd-friendly product, they create a new polished liminoid experience, almost as good as the real thing, admission fees go up tenfold, and paradigmatic mind are willing to pay. Somehow, not much of the money goes to the people dropping in and out of liminal consciousness. However, more of them do get enough to go full-time, which means there’s more product to sell.

The Hutts which have always being in contact with the Empire side also hire some of the Disciples as actual service workers. They resent it, but at least they too get to work full-time on the New Thing, which they still love, even in the Miller Lite version.

As far as the Hutts, Doppelgangers and the empire stormtroopers are concerned, it generates easily-exploited pools of prestige, sex, power, and money.

The rest of the Disciples get pushed out, or leave in disgust, broken-hearted end up hating each other, due first to the stress of supporting paradigmatic mind, and later due to the gangsters crowd divide-and-conquer manipulation tactics.)


After a couple years, the cool is all used up: partly because the shiny New Thing that was was being pushed by the New Kid In Town is no longer new, and partly because it was diluted into New Lite, which is inherently uncool. As the people stuck on paradigmatic minds dwindle, the Hutts and the empire loot whatever value is left, and move on to the next exploit.

They leave behind only wreckage: devastated people on the threshold of awareness who still have no idea what happened to their wonderful New Thing and the wonderful friendships they formed around it.


The Hutts only show up if there’s enough body count of paradigmatic mind to exploit, so excluding (or limiting) paradigmatic mind is a strategy for excluding “Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar” crowds. Some subcultures do understand this, and succeed with it.

So what is to be done? A slogan of Rao’s may point the way: Be slightly evil. Or: The people on the threshold between paradigmatic and liminal consciousness mind need to learn and use some of the “hutt tricks. Then liminal mind can capture more of the value they create (and get better at ejecting bad actors as they arrive.

Rao concludes his analysis by explaining that his Hutts, he calls them sociopaths, are actually nihilists, in much the same sense The cultural capital usually created by people dropping in and out of liminal consciousness is usually eternalistic: the New Thing is a source of meaning that gives everything in life purpose. Eternalistic naïveté makes subcultures much easier to exploit.

“Slightly evil” defense of a cultural capital requires realism: letting go of eternalist hope and faith in imaginary guarantees that the New way pof accessing the liminoid experience will triumph. Such realism is characteristic of nihilism. Nihilism has its own delusions, though. It is worth trying to create beautiful, useful New Things — and worth defending them against nihilism. A fully realistic worldview corrects both eternalistic and nihilistic errors





The Paradigmatic and the Liminal Mind

The human mind is a complex and dynamic entity that is constantly evolving and adapting to new experiences and stimuli. In the field of psychology, there are two broad categories that are used to describe the different states of the mind: the paradigmatic and the liminal mind. These two states represent different modes of thinking and perceiving the world around us.

The paradigmatic mind is the state of mind that is most commonly associated with everyday consciousness. It is characterized by a clear and focused perception of the world, where our thoughts and actions are guided by a set of well-established rules and beliefs. In this state, our perception of reality is shaped by the paradigms that we have internalized over time, and we tend to filter out information that does not fit within these paradigms.

On the other hand, the liminal mind represents a state of mind that is characterized by a heightened sense of awareness and openness to new experiences. This state is often associated with moments of transition, such as during adolescence, spiritual awakening, or periods of intense creativity. In this state, the mind is more receptive to new ideas and experiences, and there is a greater sense of fluidity and flexibility in our thinking.

The liminal mind is often associated with moments of ambiguity and uncertainty, where our perception of reality is not fixed and we are open to exploring new possibilities. It is during these moments that we are most receptive to new ideas and experiences and are more likely to challenge our existing paradigms.

While the paradigmatic and liminal minds represent two different modes of thinking, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the two states are often interconnected and can work together to shape our perception of reality. The paradigmatic mind provides a stable and structured framework for our thinking, while the liminal mind provides the flexibility and openness needed to adapt to new experiences and ideas.

Understanding the paradigmatic and liminal minds is essential for personal growth and development. By recognizing the limitations of our paradigms, we can become more open to new ideas and experiences, and expand our understanding of the world around us. By tapping into the liminal mind, we can cultivate a greater sense of creativity and innovation, and explore new possibilities for growth and transformation.

In conclusion, the paradigmatic and liminal minds represent two distinct states of mind that shape our perception of reality. While the paradigmatic mind provides a stable and structured framework for our thinking, the liminal mind provides the flexibility and openness needed to adapt to new experiences and ideas. By recognizing the limitations of our paradigms and tapping into the liminal mind, we can expand our understanding of the world around us and cultivate a greater sense of creativity and innovation.


This post is a riff: an ostinato phrase (as in jazz) based on a piece by Professor Ursula Rehn Wolfman

In many of Wagner’s writings, such as Art and Religion — 1849), The Artwork of the Future — 1849 and Opera and Drama — 1852, the idea of the’Gesamtkunstwerk’ — total art — became the central focus , which Wagner made the basis for his compositions. According to Wagner the Split between the Arts had happened in Ancient Greece with word, music and dance were existing in perfect harmony. At first, in Greece, Tragedy clearly shown this harmony, but with the fall of Athens, the arts started to diverge. For Wagner one should hope to create a perfect community in which the perfect harmony of the work of art could again exist.

Focusing specifically on opera, Wagner criticized many of the traditional opera libretti, in which, he said “the action is a roughly constructed framework interspersed with arias which only exists to poorly motivate pathetic situations. For him, opera and drama had to be re-united. Here, he approached Baudelaire’s concept of ‘synesthesia where all of the senses, acting in harmony, are awakened and lead to more profound appreciation and experience. In the beginning of the 19th century, the Romantic movement in literature and the arts, which influenced Wagner’s ideas of the ‘Musikdrama’, had already diverged from the 24 hour rule, the unity of time, action and space. In his vision of the Gesamtkunstwerk, Wagner saw it as his mission to reunite the arts — music and fiction, enhanced by dance and gesture, to be fully developed, and on an equal basis.

The music of the orchestra should express messages appealing to the listener’s subconscious which then elicits emotional reactions, enhanced by the sensuality of accompanying gestures and dance. Music and word are then unified in what Wagner called, “Versmelodie” (melody of verse), i.e. the unification of spoken elements and poetic, musical creation. Whereas spoken language alone addresses the intellect and music evokes feelings, the “Versmelodie” creates a synthesis between both, “… specifically between absence and presence, between intellect/thought and feeling” Wagner then created musical ‘leitmotifs’, specific to characters and situations which create a unity within the work and other works to follow. A good example is the leitmotif for Tristan in ‘Tristan und Isolde’, where the so-called ‘Tristan accord’, bitonal in character, constantly changes from major to minor keys, and so reflects the ambivalence and changes of Tristan’s subconscious feelings.

We can consider Wagner’s ‘leitmotifs’ as acoustic controls, in that they evoke in the listener the foreboding of actions to come or remembrances of actions which have already occurred Wagner’s ‘leitmotifs’ create emotional guideposts throughout his operas and seem to construe action in an internally motivated fashion — this applies particularly to his ‘Ring’cycle. It is in this sense that we can make the connection to Marcel Proust’s writing, and specifically to his epic work ‘A la Recherche du Temps Perdu’ (In Search of Lost Time). Proust was an ardent admirer of Wagner and we find many references to Wagner in his novels. (‘Swann’s Way’) is the leitmotif for Swann’s love for Odette, but later reappears as the leitmotif in the relationships between the narrator and Albertine, and Gilberte, Swann’s daughter. Here too, the distinction is made between intellect and feelings: (And the pleasure which music gave him (…) at those moments resembled in effect the pleasure with which he would experiment in scents/perfumes, to enter into contact with a world (…) which seems to us without form, because our eyes do not perceive it, without meaning, because it escapes our intelligence…)
For Proust, just as for Baudelaire and Wagner, this distinction between intellect and feelings had to be overcome through the appeal to the senses, which allows him, and in turn the reader or listener, to access this other world — the world of art, music, painting and literature. Whether it is the ‘Sonate de Vinteuil’, the ‘Madeleine steeped in the cup of tea’, the ‘paintings of the Impressionist painter, Elstir’ (who proclaimed like Monet, “not to paint the object, but the effect it produces”), the ‘uneven steps in the street recalling the beauty of Venice’, their very essence and recurring memory (leitmotifs) become the search and recovery of lost time — which then in turn, for Proust, becomes the act of writing — the act of creation. The recurring themes/leitmotifs in Proust’s cyclical novel replicate those in Wagner’s Ring cycle, ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’.

The working out of Wagner’s vision in these essays led directly to the Ring cycle — he was sketching Siegfried as he wrote them — in which he gave up writing operatic “numbers” and sought to integrate music and drama. “Wagner claimed that in traditional opera, music, which should be the means, had become the end, while drama, which should be the end, was merely the means, It was this integration of music and drama that George Bernard Shaw, one of Wagner’s most influential early proselytisers, most admired. “There is not a single bar of ‘classical music’ in the Ring … that has any other point than the single direct point of giving musical expression to the drama,” he wrote in The Perfect Wagnerite. Shaw said Wagner was not striving for musical effect “any more than Shakespeare in his plays is driving at such ingenuities of verse-making as sonnets, triolets and the like.” There could be no higher praise.

There is a history of artists designing sets and costumes for the stage: After Jean Cocteau introduced himself to Picasso in 1915 to collaborate on the design of Parade (1916), But these collaborations never approached the idea of an all-encompassing work of art, possibly because full control of the show still lay in the hands of the establishment.

Complicated, Complexity, Chaos


Science has progressed, at least beginning with the physical sciences, by always being reductionistic: that is, reducing things to their primary elements, whether they’re electrons, atoms, molecules, or genes and so forth. That has been enormously successful, but one of the things that we’ve begun to appreciate more and more is that kind of paradigm has extraordinary limitations.

When you try to build up from these fundamental elements to the collective whole, you discover that the whole is much greater than, behaves differently than, and is structured differently from the sum of its parts. What you recognize in parallel with that is almost all of the major issues that we face on the planet — everything from climate change and the question of stability in markets to potential questions about risk and how we deal with things like cancer, and the encroaching threat of global urbanization — are what we call complex. They’re not easily, or even potentially, reduced to the sum of their parts.

For example, organisms like you and I are much more than the sums of our cells or genes. A city is much more than the sum of all its people or roads and businesses. Furthermore, all of these are not just conglomerations of all of these things: They’re all highly dependent upon one another. There’s what we call express emergent properties: New things emerge as you build these systems up, whether they are economies, climates, cities, or our bodies.

The Critical Difference Between Complex and Complicated

(…) A typical complex system is composed of myriad individual constituents or agents that once aggregated take on collective characteristics that are usually not manifested in, nor could easily be predicted from, the properties of the individual components themselves. For example, you are much more than the totality of your cells and, similarly, your cells are much more than the totality of all of the molecules from which they are composed. What you think of as you — your consciousness, your personality, and your character — is a collective manifestation of the multiple interactions among the neurons and synapses in your brain.

In general, then, a universal characteristic of a complex system is that the whole is greater than, and often significantly different from, the simple linear sum of its parts. In many instances, the whole seems to take on a life of its own, almost dissociated from the specific characteristics of its individual building blocks (…)

West, Geoffrey. Scale: The Universal Laws of Life, Growth, and Death in Organisms, Cities, and Companies (p. 23). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

A car is complicated, traffic is complex. You can build a car or repair it, but you have to manage traffic. You can achieve full visibility of a complicated system but not of a complex one. That’s why rules can be used with the former but not with the latter.

“Things are complicated”

It isn’t that things are complicated, because complicated is to be distinguished from complex. Let us have a couple of examples.

One of the great successes in the development of science was understanding the motion of the planets. Newton’s laws of gravity and motion and so on set the template of everything we do. Newton’s laws explained all of that, which was fantastic. This reductionistic and simplistic — that is to say it’s not complex — explanation was very profound. Your cellphone wouldn’t work if we didn’t understand all of that with great accuracy, since we use satellites to send our messages.

To do that in detail, to understand it in the detail that it is needed to make technology like this work, we need to put in all of the various little corrections that occur to Newton’s laws due to things like the atmosphere and things like satellites that may have deviated slightly because of an asteroid and so forth, and all of that gets complicated. That’s complicated.”New things emerge as you build these systems up, whether they are economies, climates, cities, or our bodies.”TWEET THIS QUOTE

The other example would be the building of an airplane. We understand in detail and in great depth the physics and material sciences of flight — the engineering and math involved. In that sense, an airplane is a simple system: We can describe it with a relatively small set of equations or algorithms. It’s extremely complicated, potentially, if you try to build a Boeing 787. It is very complicated, but nothing in principle will stop you from doing it. I think there are two great big manuals at Boeing that tells you how to build the 787, the Dreamliner. It’s how they carry it out. You cannot imagine manuals for knowing how your body, or New York City, or the stock market works.

Complicated systems require expertise in their management, but as long as the proper expertise is available and used, the attractiveness of complicated systems is that they generally can be successfully managed. Complicated thinking leads Peoples to think that they are doing something purposeful when in reality they are not, and in fact they are likely doing more harm than good. Complex systems are nuanced and require a nuanced approach. The one thing that will not work is a rigid, rules-based, complicated approach.

While it is not necessary to be a genius to manage complexity, it is helpful to consider for a minute the difference between a genius and someone who is really smart. The reality is that Einstein thought differently. A little-known fact is that most of his mathematical problems were solved by others, including an assistant, Walther Mayer, who solved many of the mathematical equations and did most of the calculations that Einstein’s musings required. Einstein was a complexity thinker, while Mayer was a very good and very intelligent complicated thinker.

When we go to these complex systems — when you think along the lines I’ve elaborated on — you conclude that to get a quantitative, predictive understanding of them is, in principle, impossible if you insist on getting into great detail. This is where I come in.


There is, potentially, an in-between place where we may not have a theory for the way the system works in infinite detail, but Geoffrey west, has shown that you generally can get what physics calls a “coarse grain description”: an understanding of the idealized, average behavior of these systems, and maybe even more than that — how they deviate from various things and so forth. That’s what the scaling laws represent. They show that if you tell me the size of a mammal — its mass, how much it weighs. I can tell you to 80 or 90 percent accuracy how much food it needs to eat a day, how fast its heart beats, how long it is going to live, the length and radius of the fifth branch of its circulatory system, the flow rate of blood of a typical capillary, the structure of its respiratory system, how long it needs to sleep and so on.

You can answer all of these kinds of systems for the average idealized mammal of a given size, and it will be correct to an 85 or 90 percent level. I can predict the metabolism of an elephant, for example, but give me a specific element and I won’t be able to tell you exactly what the metabolic rate is. By metabolic rate, I mean that in colloquial terms: How much it is going to need to eat each day. To bring it closer to home, one can roughly predict the lifespan of a mammal of a given size, and in particular where this life span of a hundred years come from. I can tell you what the parameters are that control that, but I won’t be able to tell you detail how long you’re going to live.

ze the whole, we must accept the sub-optimality of the parts”

Levels of Perspective



Events are very compelling because they often require an instant response. For example, if a house is burning, we react by immediately trying to put out the fire. Putting out the fire is an appropriate action, but if that’s all we ever did, it would be inadequate from a systemic perspective. Why? Because it has solved the immediate problem (the burning house), but it has done nothing to alter the fundamental structures that caused that event (inadequate building codes, lack of fire detectors, lack of fire-pre- vention education, etc.). Nor has it addressed the mental models and vision that have generated the problematic systemic structures.

The “Levels of Perspective” frame- work can help us go beyond responding only to events and begin looking for actions with higher leverage (see Level of Perspective and Action Mode figure). That is, we can begin to move from working in the system to working on it.

Events — Reactive. Whenever we encounter a defective part, we sort it out and either rework it or put it in the scrap pile. We may try to correct the situation by adjusting the machinery or by inspecting more closely, but our primary mode of action is reactive. Although we tend to view reactive actions in a negative light, they can still be vital to our individual survival. However, they are not sufficient for sustaining long-term health.

Patterns — Adaptive. If we look at the problem over a period of time, we may notice a pattern, such as slower internet at certain times of the day. We can then adapt our processes to make the best use of the current system, perhaps in this case by simply accepting the fact that there’s going to be slower speed. Notice that we are not trying to change the pattern; instead, we’re simply adapting to it. We can be intentional about these adaptive actions.

Systemic Structures — Creative. Systemic structures produce the patterns and events that make up our day-to-day reality. They are also the mechanisms through which mental models and vision get translated into action (look again at the sidebar on p. 5).

By creating new systemic structures (either through redesigning existing ones or making new ones), we can change the events and patterns we get. We alter the system, rather than just adapting or reacting to it. This is the level at which many change efforts operate (reorganizations, process redesign, reengineering, compensation schemes, etc.). In our defective-parts example, we might alter the system by creating an overlap of outgoing and incoming assembly-line crews.

Mental Models — Reflective.

Altering systemic structures often requires a change in our mental images of what those structures can or ought to be. In the example we’ve been fol- lowing, if we truly believe that each assembly-line shift is responsible only for the quality of their products, then we’ll never be able to imagine a differ- ent structure, such as overlapping crews who are each responsible for more than just their own lines. Taking actions at the level of mental models is reflective, because it requires that we develop the ability to surface, suspend, and question our own assumptions about how the

world works and what’s most impor- tant. This skill also involves inviting others to do the same reflection with their mental models. (Note, though, that reflective actions do not include trying to change someone else’s mental models — that would simply be another reactive action. Changes in our own and others’ mental models come from genuine reflection and clarity of vision, not force.)

Vision — Generative. Surfacing, reflecting on, and changing our mental models is often a difficult and painful process, because those mental models are firmly embedded through years of experience. Why would we choose to put ourselves through the discomfort of changing them? Because we have a compelling vision of a new and differ- ent world that we are committed to cre- ating. At the level of vision, our actions can be generative, bringing something into being that did not exist before. For example, a vision of providing the high- est-quality products at all times through cooperation among assembly- line crews may generate the impetus to reexamine our old mental models that

say that each crew is responsible only for their own work.

Here’s another important thing to notice about the levels of perspective: Our ability to influence the future increases as we move from the level of events to that of vision. As we move up these levels, our focus shifts from the present to the future. Consequently, the actions we take at the higher levels have more impact on future outcomes, not present events.

Does this mean that high-leverage actions can be found only at the higher levels? No — because leverage is a rela- tive concept, not an absolute. For instance, if you find yourself in front of a runaway bus, that is probably not the best time to become very reflective about how you got yourself into that situation (because you won’t be reflect- ing for very long!). In this case, the high-leverage action is to react fast and get out of the way; any other action would be inappropriate. There is lever- age at every level, and the challenge lies in learning when and how to take the appropriate action for each level.

But here’s a key insight in systems thinking: How we describe our actions in the world affects the kinds of actions we take in the world. So, let’s reexamine the linear and feedback perspectives. Notice how the feedback view draws your attention to the interrelationships among all the events, whereas in the linear view, you are probably drawn to each cause-and-effect event pair. By becoming aware of all the interrelationships involved in a problem, you’re in a much better position to address the problem than if you only saw separate cause- and-effect pairs.

The main problem with the linear view is that although it may be a technically accurate way of describing what happened when, it pro- vides very little insight into how things happened and why. The primary purpose of the feedback view, on the other hand, is to gain a better understanding of all the forces that are producing the behaviors we are experiencing.

I would change the bottom right box, or add to it: “In order to optimize the whole, we must accept the sub-optimality of the parts”