Jordan Hall Clusters at the Stoa ;-)

  1. Factors that provide guidance to human behavioral choices — “Code”, “Norms” and “Laws”
  2. Spaces in which humans act and interact, which affect our choices, and are also impacted by them — “The Commons”, “The Market” and “The State”

Cluster One: “Code”, “Norms” and “Laws”

Relationship between the elements

  • Code: Not at all dependent on human collaboration (at least, not until we get to the point of using Internet of Things and other gadgets to affect behavioral choices — I expect there will be a lot more to come on that topic in upcoming sessions.)
  • Norms: collaboration required, but the bulk of it is mediated via our “fast thinking” capabilities, e.g. “intuitive”, “habitual”, less metabolically expensive sense-making functions. We use our senses, but not so much of our abstract rationality, to establish, communicate, conform, and suggest or coerce others to conform to Norms (and thus they are accessible and meaningful even to young children e.g. Jordan’s mention of his daughter).
  • Laws: explicitly, consciously highly collaborative: we use great quantities of expensive “slow thinking” rationality to establish, communicate, and bring people into compliance. The “slow thinking” rationality here is enormously metabolically expensive at the individual level AND at the collective level.

Cluster Two — “The Commons”, “The Market” and “The State”

  • The Commons — this is largely the domain of the physical world we are “given” (in the sense of an axiom in a high school geometry problem). The Commons are the resources available to us, the things we can reach out and access as individual agents (provided we have the requisite level of power, which comes from attaining a least a minimal level of physical maturity, health, etc — all the things we have due to the grace of our forebears, and the luck of our birth and upbringing.) It’s useful, if not completely accurate, to think of the Commons as the resources available to a paleolithic tribe, or an outcast, or pioneer homesteader, someone pretty much entirely left to their own devices.
  • The Market — this is the domain of people coming together in a context of reasonably homogeneous distribution of power. Given the absence of glaring disparities in the ability to exercise coercive force, people have to find ways to get along, and to advance their interests (ranging from the satisfaction of their animal needs, to access to Good/True/Beautiful via their personally preferred modalities.) via interactions that we could call transactions — largely governed/mediated according to Norms. Many/most of the interactions are between/among individuals or small groups. As long as the scale of the marketplace is within a physical and temporal proximity that is readily comprehended by an individual, norms are all that is needed for smooth functioning.
  • The State — a “State” (monarchical, democratic, communist, fascist, whatever) emerges when the domain of interaction encompasses sufficient people, space and time, power differentials — in short — all of the elaborations that come with significant increases in scale of human population and human society.




GenX white male Buddhist, living in rural Vermont, working in the forefront of the information economy.

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Gordon Young

Gordon Young

GenX white male Buddhist, living in rural Vermont, working in the forefront of the information economy.

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