In addition to being a GOP boogie man and an anti-semitic dog whistle, George Soros, 92, is one of the world’s most successful investors. He is also the founder of the Open Society Foundation to which he has contributed $34B. The Foundation is committed to supporting “inclusive democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.” This purpose has gotten the foundation kicked out of many places, notably Putin’s Russia, which described it as an “undesirable organization” in 2015.
Soros’ Theory of Reflexivity has been central to his financial success and worldview. I believe it is relevant to understanding the dynamics of the Anthropocene.
The Theory of Reflexivity’s core is that humanity is incapable of comprehending reality. Humanity’s biases and aspirations distort its ability to know reality. We want things to turn out one way or the other, and we worry about things when they aren’t going our way. Our emotional strata and behavioral activities don’t detract from the existence of reality, but they do, increasingly, affect the nature and character of the reality we’re perceiving.
Soros says the “manipulative function” of feelings and emotions impacts the “cognitive function” of seeing what is. The cognitive function is objective and for it there are facts, but the manipulative function wants reality to be what it wishes for or not to be what it dreads.
Soros calls the vibratory relationship between the real and the never-completely-able-to-see the real “Reflexivity”. The contradiction between interior perception and external facts creates an interference pattern, a kind of moiré effect.
What you see is what you get, sorta.
What you see is what you get, sorta.
Certain leaders exert a powerful ability to create the reality they want. Steve Jobs, for example, seems to have had enough of a mesmerizing effect on people to “distort” their “reality field,” i.e., the ability to “bend reality to persuade others to accept his ideas.”
Charismatic leaders from time immemorial have exercised such powers. Sometimes it works out great for them and their followers, which is pretty much the case with Jobs so far, and sometimes it works out with the followers, in particular, getting the short end of the stick, which is how things are going for Trump
and his believers.
Soros claims that reflexivity eliminates the existence of equilibrium as a fact. Equilibrium may be the result of the
interaction of subjective factors, e.g., hope overcoming fear, more than it is the workings of some abstract mathematical force such as a “returning to the mean.”
[An aside that was originally a footnote: “Returning to the mean” seems to have taken on the truthiness of gravity. Gravity can be disproven. Any time an object starts levitating in the surround of a gravity field which should overpower it, we need to rethink the nature of this physical force. (I’m pretty sure this happens rarely, if ever. I haven’t seen it.) Things do seem to “return to the mean,” but certainly not always, e.g., the Roman Empire is kaput, even though it lasted for 500 years. Ditto with the Egyptian pharaohs, who were around for about 3,000 years. These guys are still waiting for the return of their equilibrium.]
The chaotic nature of the Anthropocene is increasing the volatility of reflexivity spikes. We are swirling between what is, what we want or fear, and how what we want or fear affects what is. We’re being whipsawed from hither to yon, from pillar to post, from Heaven to Hell, from Now to Tomorrow.
We are swirling between what is, what we want or fear, and how what we want or fear affects what is.
Knowing that all of us are creating reality may give us a little bit of an edge as this multi-vector merry-go-round spins. It may give us the ability to step back from our immediate reactions to events and trends to gain perspective.
Our emotions cause us to react without thinking and feeling things through. Take fear. Knowing that fear is one of the ways that causes us to manipulate reality may give us a little distance from our chronic selves. The chronic self is the one we enact without any realization of doing so. For most of us, most of the time, the reactive self is the only one that exists because we are unaware of reflexivity.
So much is changing as the Anthropocene unfolds. So much has already changed. We may be completely sunk. But how would we know?! There is so very, very much that is completely unknown. We have truly become part of the Universe since the beginning of the Anthropocene. We have reached the stars, and the stars are definitely reaching us. We have achieved massive computing power and it’s growing all the time. Who knows what golem, genie or spiritual love will emerge?!
Let us take our hearts and minds out of reactivity and develop enough stillness to resonate with that which is unfolding instead of being knocked over by it. Let this be true for me.
George Soros, The New Paradigm of Financial Markets, New York: Public Affairs, 2008
Seth Cohen The Troubling Truth about George Soros , Forbes, 2020
Walter Issacson, Steve Jobs, Simon & Schuster, 2011
Adventures in the Anthropocene is my report as a citizen of the Anthropocene. It constains a variety of ideas and information. Politics, Culture, Science, Social Evolution…lots of words like that. Since, I get obsessed about some things, e.g., the 1/6 coup attempt, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These matters seem to me to be significant to the next direction of the Anthropocene. At least that’s the way I rationalize various fixations to myself. My objective is to be adequate to the job of participating in while observing this era to discover what I’m discovering by writing and otherwise symbolizing about it. If my stuff engages some people I get along with, so much the better.