Light Cones and Model Myopia

Light Cone

June 3, 2010

Fumbling in the dark, we grab a flashlight to “expand our light cone.” In a car at night, we hit the high beam for the same reason. And if infrared night vision is an option, a driver can indirectly expand her light cone using another wavelength of radiation. Anything warm transforms into an image on a screen that she can interpret.

The light cone diagrammed is not a beam from a light. It’s an incoming cone of light that an eye detects: no eyeball; no light cone. No two eyeballs see exactly the same light cone, nor does anyone’s light cone input the same light twice. Something is always changing.

Leap to the cosmic level: light cones arriving from cosmic distances must be interpreted considering the connection between time and space – with thinking adjusted to a space-time model. Light cones from space are limited by the speed of light. Light from billions of light-years away can never reach us. Much of the universe is impossible to see – ever. Any event seen far, far away is also old, old, old, not what is happening “now.” “Now” depends on the location of the observer. Galactic distances are estimated using the attributes of the light itself, so it’s complicated: red shifts and comparisons with standard candle galaxies, all pegged to the Hubble Constant. Space-time is our bigger reality, but because it is not obvious to us in the confines of earth, our thought patterns – mental models – for daily life can’t easily interpret space-time.

Similarly, thought patterns in Compression differ substantially from those of expansionist economics by which many mentally frame the world. These models filter what they detect in their light cones. Compression merely prefers to guide action by earthly physical phenomena rather than financial models of human value.  That mental shift isn’t nearly as far out as space-time, and it’s closer to reality than financial models.

All models are limited, but we’re more likely to spot limitations in non-financial models. Financial models are more bias-laden when status and reward systems are tied to them.

All photons enter our eyes from past light cones. What about future light cones – light enhanced by anticipation and imagination, like using brighter headlights to look ahead when driving at night? The more we detect, the more we can anticipate. Detecting more opens more possibilities if we can assimilate them into a coherent pattern, an ability sometimes called systems thinking. Cultivating the ability to think systematically using expanded light cones will become an important part of future work.

How about engaging in a systems thinking exercise to expand your future light cone about your own organization? Then Go to the Exercise.

Recent Posts:

The Influence of Neoliberalism Runs Deep

The Influence of Neoliberalism Runs Deep Better known in the United States as Libertarianism, neoliberal dogma began as simplistic assumptions in old quantitative economic models, before computers; later economists were not as constrained. Moneyed people glommed onto...

“Deep” Complexity

A graphic depiction of Gaia from Pixabay, showing that we are connected to each other, to our ecology, and to everything else. That everything in the entire universe, not just earth bound systems, all somehow link together.   Can We Understand Complexity or Only...

Covid-19 Complexity

This is one variation of Ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail -- doesn't recognize its own tail.. Here Ouroboros is also shown in the form of the universal symbol for infinity, signifying deep, hidden feedback connections that we might never be able to fathom with...

A Microbiomic Crisis

The Economy Critically Disrupts the Balance of Nature  Black Lives Matter demonstrations all over the world crowded Covid-19 out of the news, swelling into a pandemic of demonstrations in small towns as well as big cities on six continents. Triggered by the death of...

Planet of the Humans

Planet of the Humans, movie by Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs Moore and Gibbs’ movie appears calculated to incite controversy. If so, they certainly roiled the environmental community. So far, it’s received little mainstream attention, and a few environmental activists...

Finding Our Real Reserves

Finding Our Real Reserves April 7, 2020  Covid-19 and its economic tailspin presage many more crises to come. We must change how we live and how we think. Our economic objectives have set us up for Covid-19, with more debacles on the way. What we have assumed to...

System Fragility

Above: Model of the Corona Virus. At Right: Diagram of our proper priorities: Earth first; us second; profit third. Or, should profit be no more than a systemic convention? Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush First in a Series “Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush” is a stock...

Legal Creep

  Legal Creep Or why we think there is no alternative to economic expansion A better sub-title for this essay with two book reviews might be “can we escape our self-deception that economic expansion is necessary?” Whether economic expansion is labeled capitalist...

Follow Us: