On discovering Maximum Paradox
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
The four outer extremes are peaks in their own right; at these individual peaks, you can only hold one single view at the expense of all others. Therefore at a peak, there is no conflict, and no compromise as this is the only view that can be held.
The axes are set up that on the X-axis (horizontal) is the conflict of our human purpose vs a commercial purpose. On the Y-axis (vertical) it is the conflict of individual vs everyone.
Peak Individual Purpose. At the exclusion of anything else, you are only interested in yourself. Selflessness at the extreme. You believe that you are sovereign (not having to ask anyone for permission or forgiveness), your voice and everything you say matters and everyone should agree. You are all-powerful and can do whatever you want and have the freedom and agency to do it.
Peak Commercial Purpose. At the exclusion of anything else, the only reasons a company exists is to deliver as much possible value to the shareholders. Employees, customers, the environment does not matter in terms of exploitation. The purpose is to be the biggest and most efficient beast on the planet and able to deliver enormous returns; Shareholder Primacy at its most pure. Simple, clear, no conflict and no compromise Even to the point that rewarding the staff beyond fair would be a compromise. Compliance is met with the minimal standard ensuring that nothing is wasted.
Peak Society Purpose. At the exclusion of anything else, we have to deliver and ensure there is no suffering and poverty for any living thing. Humans must have equal education, health and safety. There must be total transparency and equality. Everything is equally shared, and on-one has more power, agency or influence than anyone else.
Peak Human Purpose. At the exclusion of anything else, we are here to escape death which we do by reproducing as much as we can with the broadest community we can. We also have to adapt as fast as possible. We have to meet our chemistry requirements to stay alive for as long as possible to adopt and reproduce at the expense of anything else. Whilst all the peak purposes might be controversial (even to myself), saying purity of human purpose is chemistry/ biology might not go down very well. However, this is a model for framing thinking so please go with it as it needs to be pure, and every other human purpose has conflicts to someone.
The reasons for these extremes as peaks is so to articulate that there is no conflict, no compromise, no tension - they are pure - when at the extreme. It is not that we have to agree with them but to recognise they can exist. My gut says right wing politics (given the interpretation of capitalist today and not its original meaning) follows the top edge between peak commercial purpose and peak individual purpose. Depending on the specific view individuals can be somewhere along the line, whereas parties are more complex in their overall position.. Left wing political views (today's interruption more socialist) follow the bottom right edge between peak commercial purpose and peak society. Again individual views may hold the line but parties are trying to find the right balance of majority votes, commercial activity, tax, redistribution and a fairer society. Applying the same thinking Cults are likely to be positioned along the top left boundary between peak human purpose and peak individual purpose, whereas more fervent religious movements will tend towards the lower left boundary between peak human purpose and peak society. World religions, like political parties, need a mass follow for a voice and therefore are positioned with more paradoxes.
Peak Paradox. The melting pot that is the middle of all of the peaks, the place where you are trying to rationalise all the extreme purposes into one acceptable position for everyone, but there is no resolution without compromise that will suit no-one. Peak Paradox is likely to be unsustainable due to the conflicts and compromises required or may itself be a paradox in so much when there it feels like nothing is there, like the eye of the storm when there is complete calm. It feels that many great thinkers and philosophers may try to find rest or stillness in this calm at peak paradox. There is a battle to get into the place of calm fighting the storms of opinions and if you lose that moment of mindfulness, it is straight back into the storm. The unstable nature of standing on the point of a needle. This said:
Just because we may agree on the same peak purpose, that does not mean we can also agree on how to go about achieving or maintaining it.
Different peak purposes can have the same principles and values. You come from different peaks towards a livable compromise; however, as individuals, you can have the same principles and values, which makes the acceptance of difference more acceptable.
If there is no paradox or you cannot find one, you are at a boundary edge, where there is the greatest order, or at an extreme peak view.
At peak paradox, there is the highest disorder, in terms of variety of views.
It is evident that our long list of personality testing is to identify where you naturally identify with right now, you will change and adapt, but there is likely to be a natural affinity that tends towards one or more of the peaks.
There are over 180 cognitive biases recognised, from this diagram, we can unpack that you are unlikely to have them all at the same time, but a subset of them depending on where you locate yourself.