How Social Structure Arises from Empathy

Rogers and Timpana's

Old friend Rogers and the crew on the top of Snowbird, UT, March, 2018 — Mt. Timpanogos in the background

One of the things that is self-evident to the squirrels in my head, but seems at times elusive to others, is how the mean level of empathetic development of a group of people will create the social structure of a given community.  Naturally there are cultural influences that are all up and down the Spiral v-Meme ladder that influence the actual behavior of the people in a given social structure — remember that our Theory of Everything includes cultural sidebars (as well as a host of other factors, including personal development) as well as social structure as primary drivers in human interaction.  But empathy remains at the root of the social structure evolution.

How does this exactly work?  Let’s go back to our Empathy Pyramid and do some word tagging that may give some insight into how all this works.  Here’s the final Empathy Pyramid we left off when we introduced the notion of Conscious Empathy.

Empathy Slide

Now let’s add some understanding to how each level of empathy works, and make a new graph.  On the right side, I’ve added a new column of behavior drivers that come out of each new level of the Empathy Pyramid.  Let’s remember that with all things like this, we get a nested stack, meaning the levels below are included in each of the upper levels, so Emotional Empathy includes Mirroring Behaviors, and so on.

Empathy-Social Behavior Pyramid English

Empathy-Social Behavior Coupling Graph

Unpacking this, we can now see how empathy creates given social structures.  It should be said that there are always fuzzy boundaries between the given levels — purity is not a function of the human (or rather, sentient) condition.  Automatic behavior doesn’t do much for persistent social structure, so it’s no surprise it’s at the bottom with mirroring empathy.  If you see one of your buddies running from a lion, you’re likely to take off and start running as well.  But once the lion gets tired, there’s not much lingering social structure from the effect.  Lots of individual emotions, but not much persistence.

Up a level, Evaluative behavior is a cornerstone of emotional empathy, as well as primary force driving people into the next two v-Memes — Tribal, and Authoritarian.  First off, you have to evaluate who’s in your group/tribe, and who’s not.  Next up, if circumstances are right, you’re likely to figure out who’s the boss.  Is it the person who is most generous, or the person who can likely beat the next lion with a stick?  Status matters uber alles, with ranking and submission naturally emergent.  Everyone knows, in an Authority-based structure, if the boss is having a bad day.  And that starts creating the tree-like social structure stack we associate with Authority-based social structures.

Rational empathy comes up next, introducing the concept of personality-decoupled classification (‘engineers think this way’/ ‘you know about those lawyers’) and that ability — the ability to predict what someone might say leads to the stacks of hierarchies in the Legalistic mode.  But it doesn’t stop there.  If you want to reach goals (Performance v-Meme) you’re going to start collecting data on potential individual high performers you want on your team, and connect with them, once again creating the variation in the organization chart that happens when it becomes important for people to accomplish work.  And before you know it, the practice from that has caused you to bleed over into looking at people based on their individual characteristics — that good, old-fashioned Communitarian v-Meme.

As you age, and develop a more profound relationship with yourself, you know when you’re being virtuous, or being selfish.  Conscious empathy becomes a tool for larger ends, and then allows you to go along with, or assemble the circumstance/social structure you need, mapping elegantly to the Global Systemic v-Meme, the first of Wilber’s Second Tier.  And then, of course, once we’re on that level, we realize we’re just a little fish swimming in a very big pool, surrounded by all sorts of building block social structures that interplay with each other in all sorts of different ways.  A human’s got to know their limitations — we can never jump out of the water high enough to really know exactly what’s going on.  But we can feel the waves in the pool.

Hope this helps!  Here’s Don Beck’s awesome little social structure sidebar so you can now understand and enjoy the interplay of the evolving empathy-driven story inside each of us, as well as our social organizations!

spiraldynamics social structures

Quickie Post — the Trans-Cultural Diabolical Power of Sugar

Tool Chest 4

A pair of drawers with hand-cut dovetails from a recent tool cabinet I finished.  December 2017

My wife sent me the video below this morning — a concatenation of ads in Japanese for Van Houten Cocoa, a typically sugary chocolate drink.  It’s aimed at Japanese women, and it’s fascinating.  Highly recommended to watch:

 

The basic theme of the ad is a woman, attempting to fill some level of traditional gender roles, becomes frustrated with the lack of connection with her son, husband, and daughter, then explodes in a heavy-metal rage that is only soothed by drinking a sugary beverage.  There’s no symbolism that needs to be decoded to understand the point — in the absence of connection/serotonin (one of our empathy/We/happiness-eudaemonia hormones), the best thing to do is harvest the benefit of a solid shot of dopamine (our primary self-centered pleasure hormone.)  Which, of course, reinforces the rage reaction by creating more biological drivers toward impulsive behavior.

Terrifying.  The processed food companies know EXACTLY what they’re selling.

Finding a Cure for Cancer — or Why Physicists May Have the Upper Hand

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Outside Kanab Creek in the Grand Canyon — March 2010

Well, I’ve had a modestly stressful couple of days writing about the Parkland School Shootings.  Of course, the primary driver for the shootings is empathy, or rather, a lack of it.  But explaining that to people is challenging, especially how scaffolding matters, and solutions will have a number of timescales in order to fix the problem.  I have lots of friends from all over the political spectrum, and those with good information all have a piece of the solution.  But getting divergent viewpoints to coalesce around a comprehensive solution inevitably involves v-Meme conflicts, and therein lies the rub.  So it goes.

So… instead of writing about that, I’m going to write about how to cure cancer!  I wrote last week about another piece by Jason Fung, a nephrologist who also writes about diabetes, intermittent fasting, and ketogenic diets.  This week, Fung discusses in this piece about why cancer research is stuck, and how physicists might help.    What’s awesome about Fung’s writing is that he is one of the only people I know (besides myself) who fingers that the problem is really an information structure problem that’s preventing us from curing cancer.  For me, that’s super-cool.  Here’s a great pull quote from the article:

Oncologists tend to view cancers as some kind of genetic mistake. Some mutations making cells go crazy and become cancer. But to Drs. Davies and Lineweaver, another cosmologist and astro-biologist, the behavior of cancer cells is anything but berserk. Not at all. It is a highly organized, systemic method of survival. It’s no accident that cancer survives everything the body throws at it. It’s not a random collection of genetic mutations. Developing those specific attributes is as likely as throwing a pile of bricks into the air and having them land exactly as a house. Considering the body’s massive deployment of weaponery to kill cancer cells, it is impossible that cancer survives only as a freak accident. A freak accident that happens to every cell in the body, in every organism known to exist? If something seems ‘stupid’ but works (survives), then by its very definition, it’s not stupid. Yet cancer researchers and doctors had all treated cancer as some kind of random collection of stupid genetic mistakes. No, there was stupidity going on, and it wasn’t the cancer’s.”

Dr. Davies is a physicist at the University of Arizona, who, with no previous experience, was commissioned by the National Cancer Institute to start asking some basic questions about how cancer forms, and understanding it from ‘first principles’ — looking at the laws of physics/energy balance/etc., instead of looking at it in terms of a data cloud and then attempting to understand that cloud.

I’ve already made the point that we should expect no more from medical researchers (or nutrition researchers, or almost any other health/biology researcher) than to map their fragmented social structure onto the authority-based knowledge that they’re creating.  Fragmented Authoritarian/Legalistic v-Meme hierarchies will do that, and they will inevitably produce pointillist interpretations of the endless amounts of data they measure.  But it gets even worse.  Inevitably, totally data-driven researchers will also trot out their one tool for attempting to pull interpolative or extrapolative meaning from data — the linear regression curve.  What that means for those who don’t work in the sciences is simple.  They will collect a bunch of data, with any inference of connection or meaning between that data considered ‘confirmation bias’ (even though one really can’t escape implicit bias when one decides how and what to measure!) and then create a plot, and draw a line with a slope across it.

How this reinforces the brain wiring then becomes obvious.  (Well, obvious to me!  🙂  )  They come up with a linear plot that creates one solution, that then maps to the meta-linear thinking that exists in Authoritarian/Legalistic v-Meme hierarchies.  No multiple solution thinking.  No competing/shared hypotheses.  That straight line is ‘my way or the highway’, and as we’ve seen with all other social systems, we bring in the information/stimulus/food source that reinforces the social system.  And since it’s pretty much status-driven, instead of goal-driven (who’s the most famous cancer doctor!) understanding goes wanting.  Biological systems are highly nonlinear in behavior, and often have multiple stable states — multiple truths that might be observed from data.  And meta-linear hierarchies just aren’t stacked to understand them or produce knowledge about them.  And, as Fung notes, it takes nigh-on forever to get anywhere.  He voices his frustration in this pull quote:

Medicine, on the other hand, rejects new theories like a prom queen rejects pimple faced suitors. If ‘The Man’ says that calories cause obesity, then all other theories are shouted down. If ‘The Man’ says that cancer is caused by genetic mutations, then all other theories may apply elsewhere. They call this process ‘peer-review’, and glorify it as a religion. Galileo, for example, was not a fan of peer review by the church. In physics, your theory is only good if it explains the known observations. In medicine, your theory is only good if everybody else likes it, too. This explains the rapid pace of progress in the physical sciences and the glacial pace of medical research.”

Embedded in this pull quote is a conundrum.  Fung, while trashing the biologists and medical researchers, is, like the NCI, singing the praises of the physicists.  What DO the physicists have that the biologists (and psychologists, and sociologists, and many others) don’t have?  All scientists are more-or-less organized in hierarchies, and as such, should be constrained in advancing their fields one endlessly debated data point (or transformative rule) at a time.  The reasoning is as follows — Authoritarian/Legalistic v-Meme structures, as status-driven social structures, will only value the known and the reliable.  They remain bastions of cognition — knowing, and will very likely penalize meta-cognition, which is really that complex space of knowing what you don’t know, as well as having some fuzzy definition of what real unknown unknowns are out there.  Such Authoritarian/Legalistic v-Meme structures, to put it concisely, as they grow ever more sophisticated, are going to do great with knowledge.  But when it comes to wisdom, well, they’re going to suck.

What do physicists have that the others don’t?  They have a well-defined metacognitive system that jumps past the limits of their social structure.  We call it math, and the world is filled with recognition for its more formal name — theoretical physics.  What theoretical physics enables us to do is extrapolate outside the data, and doesn’t hinder our ability to intelligently guess.  Math gives us the ability to infer dynamics, and more than just straight lines on a scatter plot.

And there’s more.  You can’t practice physics without an appreciation for all things nonlinear.  Gravity, for example, only behaves linearly close to the ground.  All the other things that actually make our world run involve extensive nonlinear behavior, which inevitably leads to possible multiple solutions.  (For those math-impaired, who can barely remember Algebra II, remember that a quadratic equation has 2 roots — that’s multiple solution thinking!)  And things like gravity inevitably involve complex gravitational wells and potentials, that lead to all sorts of interesting things, including how you can hurl a satellite around a planet and get it to speed up if you do it just right.

This kind of thinking wasn’t always accepted in the physics community.  It’s really in only the last 150 years that this got going.  I watched  this episode of the National Geographic series on a cross-country plane flight, and it showed the inevitable v-Meme conflict between a young Albert Einstein, who embraced this kind of thinking in developing his Theory of Relativity, and other older, darker scientists who were largely empiricists getting ready to plot points.  Since most of the episode was about Einstein’s relationship with his first wife, and this is what I remember, I think it also confirms I am a space alien.

I’m not quite sure that this makes physicists overall more empathetic.  Algorithmic thinking, even if it leads to larger Guiding Principles insights, is still rooted in the discipline, which inevitably leads back to the hierarchy, and that both creates and reinforces social behavior and low-level empathetic evolution.  The famous physicist, Albert Einstein himself, was likely a crazy narcissist, and decidedly impaired when it came to empathetic interaction.  I’ve got a whole theory about once your IQ passes a certain point, and you have the ability to create entire worlds inside your health, it’s a sticky wicket– because you can justify basically anything inside your noggin.  Validity/reality — or social control from your orbitofrontal cortex be damned.

And you’ve got to wonder about people like father of the H-Bomb, Edward Teller.  It would be interesting to find some statistics on a behavior like sexual harassment (decidedly anti-empathetic!) and see if it were lower in the physics community.  But nonetheless, one can understand the adoption and integration of nonlinear mathematics into physics as an important cultural sidebar that encourages metacognitive reflection and speculation.

It’s a takeaway that the social sciences might heed — and actually start allowing some larger discussion of topics like I explore on this blog!  It may be that it is social structure uber alles dictates true deep empathetic development.  But developing more overarching guiding principles thinking is really what we as a species are desperately in need of.  Even if it is speculative on where we should head next.  Which is, of course, the dominant reason I write this blog.

 

Quickie Post — Understanding the Dynamics of Cancer Requires a Social Structure that can Create Cellular Dynamics

globe-theater-london

I’ve probably posted this one before, but I’m feeling nostalgic today.  Braden and Conor in front of the Globe Theater in London, 2007.

Flying across my Medium feed today came this article by one of my favorite weight-loss doctors, a nephrologist named Jason Fung.  Dr. Fung is a proponent of Intermittent Fasting and low-carb diets as modalities for treating all sorts of illnesses, but specifically, of course, metabolic syndrome.  In this piece, Dr. Fung talks about what has failed in understanding cancer in Western medicine, which as he describes it is a failure of appreciation of cancer cell dynamics, which are larger and systemic, as opposed to the genetic hypotheses of narrowing down on smaller and smaller genetic scales to find the “one bad gene” that messes everything up.  He makes the point that a statistical number of cells have an ability to go bad, and that they mostly don’t, as long as larger metabolic dynamics are healthy.  Here’s a great pull quote:

“The same problem exists in the SMT. We’ve zoomed into cancer too closely — right down to the genetic makeup of the cancer and it is gibberish. We can make no head or tail of cancer’s origin and therefore make no progress towards treatment. Over 100 oncogenes and over 15 tumor suppressor genes have been identified, but we don’t know what it all means as a whole. Instead of three blind men and an elephant, we have thousands of blind researchers and cancer. Each sees a tiny, tiny piece of the puzzle and can’t see the whole. The rate of mutation necessary to develop a cancer is far, far more than the known rate of mutation in human cells (Loeb et al 2001). Normal cells just don’t mutate anywhere close to what is needed to produce cancer. Further, while every cancer has mutations, it was not known what the ‘denominator’ was. That is, how many cells had mutations but no cancer. This turned out to be pretty high. You could alter 4% of the genome and still have a cell that looked and acted completely normally. This is a remarkable high degree of tolerance (Humpherys 2002)”

Students of this blog will recognize that what this is really is a classic social structure <=> knowledge structure development of Conway’s Law.  We’ve created these fragmented, low empathy/low information exchange Authoritarian/Legalistic hierarchies in the medical research profession where instead of cross-associating among many disciplines and understanding the hormonal flows that create cancer, we have researchers competing for status at smaller and smaller scales by working to identifying “THE CAUSE” of cancer.  This kind of research is quite literally killing us.

What this turns into is a clarion call for a new way of approaching medical research.  It’s not just enough to have interdisciplinary teams if you keep the same disciplinary boundary fragmentation.  You have to have enough people, interested in sharing information, with this important property:

Those people have to not just share information. They have to learn about each other’s disciplines enough to hypothesize and connect across them.  No one gets shut down at lunch because they don’t have a degree in sub-discipline A.

In short, they have to evolve their empathy.  It’s the only way we’re going to get to solutions in any reasonable amount of time.

Dr. Fung’s piece is well worth the read.  Highly recommended.

Quickie Post — Just because the question of empathetic cetacean intelligence is really dead, doesn’t mean you can’t beat it…

Backlit Tree Hoh Rainforest

Backlit tree in the Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, WA, August 2017

Well, by now, everyone knows I loves me some self-organizing, emergent cetacean intelligence.  And here’s another post, from those radicals at the Global Economic Forum, about cetacean self-organizing behavior and the larger social brain.  Here’s a pull quote:

“We found that species with larger brains live in more structured societies and have more cultural and learned behaviours. The group of species with the largest relative brain size are the large, whale-like dolphins. These include the false killer whale and pilot whale.

To illustrate the two ends of the spectrum, killer whales have cultural food preferences – where some populations prefer fish and other seals. They also hunt cooperatively and have matriarchs leading the group. Sperm whales have actual dialects, which means that different populations have distinct vocalisations. In contrast, some of the large baleen whales, which have smaller brains, eat krill rather than fish or other mammals, live fairly solitary lives and only come together for breeding seasons and at rich food sources.

 

Quelle surprise — meso-scale, coordinated empathetic hunters get it going on with coordinated communication and information sharing, and empathy, of course.  And they evolve.  Just like we humans.  Which means it’s not the hardware so much that drives information creation — though you have to have a big enough computer.  It’s the software.  Let’s hear it for those v-Memes!  Think about that for your Sunday meditation!

Empathy, Longevity, and the Future of our Society

Ming Cabinet 1

If you’re going to talk about design, it sure helps to experience it.  A Ming-style wine cabinet I finished last week.

A series of articles have flown across my desk in the last two weeks, most involved with the role of social connection and general health.  They’re written by academics, and what’s so stunning is that the core mechanism of social connection, without really any disagreement, is developed empathy.  The scientists describe the phenomenon, but can barely utter the word.  Though the results confirm basically all the principles I talk about on this blog, it’s still amazing to me that the various researchers have difficulty with the connection.  But when you’re reporting out knowledge from a social structure that is essentially undeveloped with respect to empathy, it should serve as no surprise.  That’s what my Theory of Everything predicts.  Which, while potentially rewarding to my own ego, is fundamentally daunting.  We’ve all got to get this change thing going on.

Here’s a great example, from the Harvard Gazette.  Titled “Good genes are nice, but joy is better” , you’d expect to read something about individual emotional states.  But instead, not surprisingly, the entire piece is about connected relationships and how they contribute to longevity.  Here’s a pull quote:

“Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies; they protect our brains,” said Waldinger in his TED talk. “And those good relationships, they don’t have to be smooth all the time. Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out, but as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.”

I’m not going to get lost in the psycho-social weeds with this piece, but the headline also indicates the level of empathetic development of the author.  Instead of talking about empathy, talking about joy would be the expected perspective of someone from a v-Meme where emotional empathy was front and center.

This week, I also watched another video that I CAN’T FIND AGAIN!  (ARRRGGHHH!) about social connection and longevity.  It too, backed up many of the points from the Harvard study — that social connection was very important.  But the main point of the video was not just that close, familial relationships mattered.  It was actually a rich bed of peripheral social relationships, and casual connections made during the day that really determined longevity and overall individual happiness.  It’s easy enough to find the scholarly papers to support this — see this summary in Science Daily.  This piece makes the “connection as mental exercise” argument that I make regarding how empathy exercises the brain.  Here’s another review article from the NIH that backs up this point.

Why do I keep bringing this up?  In many ways, these pieces, by moving past the notion that it’s “family uber alles”, which is a lower v-Meme, Externally Defined Relationship pattern, shows that empathetic exercise is the key, and as long as you get it, it doesn’t matter WHERE you get it.  You need to be part of a larger collective.  And if you don’t have a big family that takes care of you, then you can make your own safety net.

One more piece discussing social capital research done by the folks at UC Berkeley show a much more evolved view of social connection than the piece from Harvard.  Here’s a pull quote from that piece:

Helping seniors to stay engaged with their community and to continue to make positive contributions, according to James, is invaluable.  The health benefits of volunteerism are well documented, including its impact on increasing longevity, he says—but it’s even more powerful when your efforts give you a sense of purpose in life.

“People who have the strongest sense of purpose are much less likely to become depressed, have neuroticism, or get Alzheimer’s,” says James.

Vonda feels the same way. Her community has plans to keep themselves connected socially and actively involved with each other’s welfare, while still maintaining ties to their surrounding community. They will have a central community space open to other groups to use, and will be inviting seniors to teach each other new skills—like gardening or blacksmithing—that are useful to farm living.

“We plan to have people doing real work, instead of being taken to the mall or asking them to engage in invented, frivolous time-occupiers,” says Vonda.

What’s so awesome about this is we can also see the self-empathy, Performance v-Meme development mode start to surface.  Learning genuine competence, and sharing it with others, is really a key to lifelong development.


Why does this matter for our larger future?  At the same time, the articles above were cascading through my information flow, this excellent piece came across my business feed — a critique of the establishment of Amazon Go.  Amazon Go is designed to eliminate the butcher, baker, and greengrocer from your life, while delivering to you with maximum efficiency the ostensibly algorithmically exact thing you think you need.  John Battelle lays it out exquisitely:

My first take on Amazon Go is this: F*cking A, do we really want eggplants and cuts of meat reduced to parameterized choices spit onto algorithmized shelves? Ick. I like the human confidence I get when a butcher considers a particular rib eye, then explains the best way to cook that one cut of meat. Sure, technology could probably deliver me a defensibly “better” steak, perhaps even one tailored to my preferences as expressed through reams of data collected through means I’ll probably never understand.

The non-empathetic, algorithmic Externally Defined Legalistic/Authoritarian v-Meme gives you the steak you think you want.  But empathetic interaction with the butcher that you’ve developed a trust-based relationship with will likely lead to higher performance as the relationship develops over time.  Grounded in your exchange of preferences, the butcher’s expertise, and the larger social capital generated, as friends in your network exchange their feelings about the total experience, it will also help you live longer.  Amazon Go may make your world, in the short term, seem like a more efficient use of your time.  But it totally discounts the metacognitive potential of talking to the butcher, and maybe hearing a suggestion for something else that’s in the meat case that’s on special, that may suit even better.  And Amazon Go completely eliminates the empathetic connection exercise your brain needs to stay alive.  You won’t even know what you don’t know.  It may be the perfect pork chop.  But part of you will still die inside.

When it comes to the last part, I actually have real experience to back this up.  When I lived in Vienna Austria for a year, and experienced the joy of shopping every day in the long, open-air markets where fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and bread are sold.  My German had always been mediocre — but my kids were at a cute age (7 and 9), and every day, we’d go to the market with our basket and shopped.  Of course, the first time we’d stop, no one would really talk to us.  But after the third visit, the vendors would want to know who we were.  They’d ask me about my sons, whose German was rapidly improving as they were in school there.  The kids started talking back, and before you know it, the market had turned from a place to buy a turkey leg to an hour and a half social experiment.

And what really drove the point home about the actual value of the experience was when I returned home, and one year later, got divorced.  I didn’t have my sons, and I didn’t have the market.  Instead of the enjoyable banter of the butcher and vegetable seller, I had the isolation of Walmart and the laser scanner.  I can still remember the profound loneliness of checking out plastic shrink-wrapped vegetables, and realizing the benefit of those small sips of empathetic water I had received from all my face-to-face interactions that were enshrined in everyday Viennese city life.  Empathetic droughts will do that to you.

Battelle’s piece is well worth the read.  With an awesome, well-contrasted argument, he makes the point about choosing empathetic evolution (your own personal developed heuristic with the butcher)  vs. increasing sophistication (some algorithmic, big-data analysis of your tastes provided by Amazon GO) in a gut-punch sort of way.  He even gets at the agency argument I talk about.

I’ll wrap up by saying that the research demonstrates clear pathways ahead toward fulfillment, as well as an ominous warning for those that will take it.  Our longevity research is really clear on how empathy, and its manifestation, social connection, matters for our health and well-being.  And it’s also clear that we get that well-being from a multiplicity of sources — not just one great partner, or your family.  We might start connecting the dots (as Battelle did) and realizing that a super-monopoly like Amazon, besides the unexplored-yet-obvious abilities to manipulate us by manipulating our primary information stream, by killing off the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker, is quite literally gonna kill us off.  And that will happen right at the end of our super-efficient, totally structured, lonely work life.  When The Man is done with us, well, stick a metaphorical fork in us — we’re done.  Now, if that doesn’t excite some Survival v-Meme neuroplasticity in you, I don’t know what will.

 

Getting to Your Happy Place — Empathy, Design, Friendship, and Emojis

Route of the Hiawathas 1

Route of the Hiawathas (the Milwaukee Road abandoned train line) that’s now a popular bike ride on the Montana/Idaho border

Things are pretty busy getting another round of the Industrial Design Clinic, my capstone project vehicle for undergraduate seniors, kicked off for another semester.  But I read this little piece of joy in design and thought I’d share.  Angela Guzman, along with her mentor and friend at Apple, Raymond (no last name given, and I looked!) formed a synergistic mentor/mentee team, and friendship, that led to some of Apple’s versions of the glossy little suckers that we live with on a daily basis.  Emojis are fascinating little things in that they started the process of moving straight text messaging out of the pure low-empathy, binary Authoritarian v-Meme state of communication, to a way of expressing emotion and affect that humans need in order to form better, kinder, and more empathetically evolved modes of information transfer.

It’s a great story to read and reflect on, as well as place in the context of Apple’s current Animojis, which then in real time, map facial expressions from your face, onto text messages and the like.  Empathetic evolution is always in play, even during times of what appear to be devolutionary pressures.

There’s a lot of this blog that deals with what could be called ‘The OS for collective intelligence for humanity” — a little clinical and sterile at times.  And while I don’t discount friendship and love, I don’t talk about them very often as outgrowths of developed empathy, and leadership principles that also create these environments.

But they’re a very real part of that rapidly evolving world we live in.  Sometimes, in the middle of a particularly gray, rainy winter in the Pacific Northwest, it’s good to remember that empathy and connection, overall, produces happiness as well as performance.  And that’s a great thing.