Soccer and SA
19 Jun 2010
Why do societies expend such large resources on sports ?
It seems that politicians ( administrators with a short-term view) try to harness the Hysterical Focus . The results are unpredictable : a tiger by the tail
(The Hysterical Focus article is repeated in Appendix A for convenience or http://andreswhy.blogspot.com "Financial Crisis 30 April 2009 ")
This is widespread over space and time .
Even in time of widespread and continual warfare , Sport took place . Eg Aztecs , Greeks , Chinese ,Romans , Japanese , etc . Every human civilization .
So , it is not a war-substitute .
Indeed , war gets suspended for the Games .(eg Ancient Olympics , Aztec Wars of the Roses)
You can visit massive ruins of old sports stadia and massive present stadia . What's in it for civilizations ?
So , what gives ?
What benefit does any civilization get to spend large resources (like stadia) on a sporting event ? Note that every Greek or Roman or Aztec town of note had stadia .
Internal Cohesion :
One school of thought is that it fosters internal cohesion . Yet Rome and Constantinople were wracked by sporting riots . (Reds , Greens and others .)
Social Mobility :
A good sportsman could , and can today , move between societal levels even in very stratified civilizations . This encourages others in different spheres of endeavours to do the same . This benefits the society as a whole . But only in the long term .
Meme Mixing .
Like Sex .
A Civilization , like any organism , requires diversity of input . It is subject to the onslaught of whatever combinations evolve outside it . Cutting itself off has been tried (eg China , Japan . ) Geographical isolation led to tragedies like AmerIndians and Khoi-San , where diseases killed off 90 % in indigines .
Civilizations thus has a vested interest in gene- and meme-exchanges on a fractal scale . We've handled long-term meme systems above .
Specifically , disease genes .
Gene Exchanges are much more short-term . It is the link .between long-term and short-term sports .
A Civilization that does not have peaceful , large-scale mixing of snot-and-tears genetic material like sports is doomed within about 4 years . Cf Athens in Peloponesian Wars .
It takes about 4 years to evolve significantly different disease variants .
Isolated systems have no resistance . Hence the plagues in Athens , or in any long-term besieged city .
The Hysterical Focus :
(See Appendix A)
All good politicians are aware of the effect , though they call it by different names . They also think they can harness this tiger for their personal benefit . Hence the short-term allocation of resources , with suitable spin for the tax-payers and electorate .
South Africa and the World Soccer Cup 2010
This will be studied for years to come .
A convergence of marketing and nationalistic feeling has ignited an Hysterical Focus .
It is extraordinary to be in an Hysterical Focus ,
an event I have only read about .
Staid Afrikaner matrons paint themselves and end up cavorting in Soweto shebeens .
Quite safely .
Everybody is polite and full of ubuntu .
Violence and crime falls .
The state actually supplies services like Police and swift Justice that works .
Public transport actually works (most of the time) .
The Ignition Event :
The incompetent FIFA system of selling tickets .
South Africans were very lukewarm about attending matches , intending to milk the hyped hordes of visitors . But the teasing manner of selling tickets hardened South Africans' attitudes and the system suddenly ignited , via communication routes like radio , Facebook , Twitter , eMail etc .
Suddenly , everyone wanted tickets .
More importantly , everyone wanted the event to succeed . Rules and laws were interpreted accordingly .
A fantastic atmosphere , as any visitor will attest .
Like a nationwide Woodstock on steroids .
This is typical of an Hysterical Focus .
A seemingly trivial matter precipitates a phase change , focusing large-scale frustrations into a Focus . The Focus then fractures the society in totally unforeseen ways . When the breaks anneal , you have a new , more competitive society (cf French Revolution) .
So , what will the effect be ?
RSA had faced two choices :
1. Most probably a failed state fracturing and civil wars . This has been relegated to a low order of probability by the Hysterical Focus of the World Cup . So , even if RSA ends up losing 40 Billion Rand , it is still cheap at the price to avoid civil breakup .
2. Emperor Zuma scenario .
This now has a very high probability (85%) . Both external threats (Chinese , Indian) and internal threats (high unemployment in male youths ) can be resolved by a Zuma Empire . (It also has a nice sound-bite) .
The question being asked even now , if Government can be effective for the World Cup , why can't it be effective all the time ? The Hysterical Focus is fracturing the society . The politicians hope that it will go away , but tigers are not unsaddled that easily .
The Armoured Impi's lunging northward is at 85% probability and counting .
1.The optimal period for Hysterical Focus fracturing seems to be about four years .
Cf Olympics , USA elections , etc . (USA elections are hysterical foci)
2.The Hysterical Focus cannot be manipulated by individual humans . It can be ignited by individuals , but , like Frankenstein's monster , it rampages on . This suggests that the Hysterical Focus is of an order of AI(3.8)
3.Moving the Hysterical Focus is essential , since it is an exclusion device . Somebody has to mind the home
4.Are Neanderthals welcome ?
As long as they can kick a ball .
Being the coach of a team of sociopathic Neanderthals should be quite a challenge , but on second thought would it be that different ?
And here we are , monkeys hunting for Jung in the jungle .
Appendix A .
Financial Crisis 30 Apr 2009
30 Apr 2009
The movement of the Hysterical Focus from the Financial Crisis to the Mexican-flu Crisis enables the measures put into place to ameliorate the Financial Crisis to take effect without too much further interference from the Focus .
The Hysterical Focus .
The Friendly Giant .
The strong point of freedom-systems is the independent , multi-faceted , in-force approach to problems .
The weak point is the inability to concentrate forces when needed .
The evolutionary meme that evolved in the surviving societies was the Hysterical Focus .
"Hysterical" because all items outside the focus are excluded .
Humans are a hysterical species . Watch any group of apes in the zoo . This has evolved into a strong point .
They and the media have a very limited range . That is the whole point . (The Schwerpunkt , to be exact.)
"Focus" because all the resources of the society are mobilized on this particular problem .
(Think columns of armour advancing independently , then converging on the target co-ordinated by urgent command signals .
Blitz-krieg . The Hysterical Focus .)
This is very powerful , especially after mass-media was invented .
Anything in the Hysterical Focus gets amplified , examined from every angle . The whole resources of the society gets mobilized . Huge resources are allocated .
Long-term administrators use it to secure funding . Politicians , fashionistas and other various sundry hangers-on try to catch some of the largesse .
Media owners and journalists have a conceit that they steer the process , forgetting that they are just a part of the feedback process .
The Hysterical Focus has this teensy-weensy drawback : if it stays too long on one spot , the cure is worse than the disease .
The process lacks proper feedback-control safeguards . Something like an immune system overreacting (think SARS flu)
Normally , the Hysterical Focus moves on rapidly , as the short attention span of it's components (humans and media) is exhausted . Always a new Paris Hilton .
See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com "The sources of the Nile"
The Financial Crisis was over in Oct 2008 (see previous posts on "Fin*******" in http://andreswhy.blogspot.com )
But the continued focus was beginning to harm recovery efforts by Apr 2009 .
Politicians (like Bush jr with 9/11) tried to keep the focus on the thing that gave them power , not realizing that more power is available by moving the focus on . Notice the adept use Clinton made of the effect .
So , the Mexican flu comes as a relief to the system . The Hysterical Focus has shifted to something that can be handled (since it has been handled before ) . Enormous resources will be allocated , careers will be made , institutes founded , bureaucracies initiated . The usual suspects .
The economic system will quietly rebound . The professionals would have gathered enough support to follow through on the enormous energies released on the problem while it was at the Hysterical Focus .
This is happening as we speak .
The economic consequences of Mexican Flu .
1.Food-production and distribution : nil .
Most food production not on subsistence level is done by machines with a few operators . Distribution is done by containerized holders or ships .
2.Others : these might even benefit , as costs are cut by limiting unnecessary travel .
3.The Losers: Third world countries . The tourism industry .
4.Big Winners : the gene-technology industry . A general flu vaccine was at the start of FDA certification . This will be fast-tracked . Vaccines in general might shift into a subsidiary Focus .
5. Short-term effects :
Barely a hiccup . Even if the mortality rate is 50% .
About 80% of the labour force is unnecessary to produce all the goods for society . The credit crunch means that they are not necessary for the consumer side , either .
6. Long-term effects : acceleration of change towards the singularity , as bio- and nano- safeguards are relaxed
The Hysterical Focus as an Artificial Intelligence .
This would be valid if there were boundary conditions . Even as is , I would classify it as AI(3.05) .
See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com "Artificial Intelligence"
It has one of the primary characteristics : elements of it (ie humans) cannot understand it or manipulate it successfully .
Infinite series like the reserve arguments are applicable , but is doubtful in steering . The system is self-aware to a degree (ie all those hardnosed editors , businessmen and politicians .)
This leads to some fascinating examples :
History and Power .
The Hysterical Focus is the fount of Power for humans . They fight and scheme to get there , then it burns them to frazzle .
Their problem was that they could not get out of the focus . It followed them .
Recent examples : LouisIV , Napoleon , Stalin , Hitler , Mao.
They were forced into playing the roles at the apex of power that they crafted themselves into .
See http://andreswhy.blogspot.com "Competition and Co-operation"
It turned them crazy . They were at most AI(2.25) , trying to handle problems AI(3.1) would be pressed for .
Those who managed to duck by passing the buck : (that we know of)
Washington (who did it while leaving a legacy) . Not bad for a farmer . Much underrated .
Kemal Ataturk (who showed that it can be done in the modern age)
Wellington (the Turtle-finger defence .) . Hunker down and show the Focus the Finger .
Washington was more effective , but Ataturk 's job was more difficult . Both were lucky . But Ataturk made most of his own luck by manipulating long-term probabilities .
Still , Washington managed to set up a system where the Hysterical Focus passes on fairly regularly (by declining the Kingship)
Ataturk did the same .
What does this have to do with the Financial Crisis on 30 Apr 2009 ?
Why , everything .
The systems are accustomed to a moving Hysterical Focus . Boundary conditions are slowly seeping in as the system evolves towards AI(4) . The USA is more comfortable with Turkey as an ally than with most European countries . (Their founders , Washington and Ataturk , were brothers under the skin.)
A quiet Spine is emerging : USA and Turkey , with Mexico and India as junior partners . High-tech with man-power . And a liveable compromise with Islam .
The whole Middle East is kept alive by US subsidies to Egypt ( Ramses would never have gotten into this fix!) .
If they cease this , Egypt has a choice of seizing the Saudi-Arabian oilfields or starving . Attacking Israel is not even an option .
But this window is rapidly passing (http://andreswhy.blogspot.com "Negative Pressure : An Important Update ." ) .
July to Aug 2009 will see a big change .
The Hysterical Focus will pass to the Middle East , an ever popular destination . Why , if it did not exist , one might think that it would need to be invented .
The world economy would quietly knit itself back together .
The Bright Star has passed . For now .
The Lidless Eye .
Tolkien must have had some acquaintance with accountancy firms .
They see everything but observe nothing .
But the random Hysterical Focus overrides all . This threat will concentrate many minds wonderfully .
Isn't randomness a wonderful thing ?
The wicked does not flee when nobody pursues , but they damn'well do if there is a finite probability that the Lidless Eye will turn in their direction . Especially if the full force is at random .
Can you see the Lidless Eye sighing for the days of Mordor ?
At least it would have known what to with the Wizards of Enron .