A Matter Of Motive : Syston Psychology [MT124]

David Noel
Ben Franklin Centre for Theoretical Research
PO Box 27, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia.

I wished, by treating Psychology like a natural science, to help her become one
-- William Joyce

About Psychology

In this article we will not really be looking at Psychology as it is presently understood, that is the workings of the individual human mind in its interaction with the outside world, but more on the analogues of these interactions taking place in wider systons. But the plan, as always, is to work from examples at a familiar scale and then extrapolate and generalize from those examples for the whole range of systons.

If current Psychology is a science, it is at best an uneasy one. It certainly lacks the deft power of prediction found in the hard sciences like physics and chemistry. But perhaps one of its weakest points is that its results cannot, in fact, be scaled up and applied with any precision to bigger aggregates of humans. The basic reason is that results from one syston are being applied to another syston of quite different character and size.

As an example, let us look at the field of opinion polls.

Galloping to Uncertainty

Opinion polls and all the allied areas of market research and consumer surveys have a simple goal, that of predicting the outcome of a projected or expected action. With a forthcoming election, for example, the hope is to be able to predict the outcome of the election by sampling the opinions of a selection of the voters.

Of course such polls and surveys are notorious for their inaccuracy when compared to the actual results. We might ask why this should be so.

There is an inaccuracy in the very fact of sampling, rather than checking the whole, but this is not a strong point. The mathematics of probability give a sound basis for ensuring that a small sample, carefully chosen as representative, is as good as checking the whole. And in practice the results of surveys of large numbers of people are found to give virtually the same results as those for a much smaller, but statistically sufficient, number.

A more important point is that the expressed opinions of people surveyed are not necessarily their 'true' opinions. This aspect ranges through from instances where people prefer to give a 'tactful' response which they feel will be more acceptable to the surveyer, on to the case where the respondents have just not thought very much on the point surveyed, they have not yet crystallized their likely response to a real test.

And, of course, there is the point that the range of responses listed in a survey may be far less subtle than those actually available. In a compulsory election, for example, no opinion poll will pick up those who remain uncertain right up to the actual ballot paper, and so make somewhat ambiguous markings on them (perhaps even without conscious thought) which may cause the papers to be classed as invalid.

It seems to me that the most likely reason for the inaccuracy of such polls and surveys is a simple one. That is, that the surveys do not, in fact, survey the same entities as those which actually vote or respond in real life.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

The point which I am trying to make is this. From the MT viewpoint, an event like an election is not just a process which occurs at a single point in time. Instead, it is a cycle, a process which extends over days, weeks, months, years. The actual ballot day is only the most visible and obvious part of the cycle, the peak of the mountain. It is all the time, effort, and worry expended by the climbing team in the weeks before which determines whether they actually get to the top -- booking up the ten best climbers is not, in itself, enough to ensure success.

What actually seems to happen in such a cycle is that as it advances, a new, temporary, syston forms. It is the attributes of that syston, as an individual syston, exercised and summed over the life of the cycle, which determine the outcome of the cycle.

If the cycle is an election, it is tempting to label the systons involved with the names of the the participating political parties. But the actual systons are far more extensive, far more diffuse, than these. Even in a local government election, the threads may extend around the world. Was one of the candidates born in America, does he represent some subtle unstated dominance factor? Does the candidate support the local soccer club, rather than Australian Rules football, would he be closer in feeling to the 'ethnics' from around the Mediterranean?

In MT114 the Proposition was advanced that matrix quantities are not additive through systons. I suggest that this is the essence of the inaccuracy of conventional opinion polls. The individual people-systons surveyed do not simply add together to give the same response as does the temporary event-cycle syston in which they participate.

Proposition 124A*. For any event cycle, a temporary event-cycle syston will be formed with responses which may not match the aggregate responses of its constituents

Mob Law

A very powerful expression of this situation can be found in the occurrence of mobs. These are very temporary, rapidly-formed systons which react in a way quite uncharacteristic of the individuals making it up. "The mood of the crowd suddenly turned ugly".

Anyone who has been caught up in a true mob can testify that it can be a terrifying experience. It is like having to deal with a suddenly-erupting ferocious wild animal, completely unexpected, and with great but uncertain powers.

Mobs can do terrible and wonderful things. Individual feelings, logic, restraint, are lost in the formation of the greater syston, which, as a syston, can roar on and storm the barricades in a manner which has regard only for its own aims.

Similar, but milder, examples are to be found throughout the Matrix. Team supporters at a sports arena, for example, meld together during a match and can project great masses of empathy, huge synenergy flows, at the players and other supporter groups. That is why it is easier to win a game played at home rather than away. And the temporary systons formed can actually degenerate into mobs on occasion.

Man, Woman or Chile -- Ella is de Most!

As a fan of Ella Fitzgerald, I used to buy and play her records a lot when I was younger. In 1956 I was in Berlin with the British Army, when a concert was arranged there for her. Morale was an important factor for the Allied Powers, and Berlin used to get quite a lot of special treatment. Naturally I took the opportunity to see and hear her 'in the flesh' for the first time.

The experience was electrifying, fully justifying Louis Armstrong's assessment of Ella. It was also illuminating. For the first time I understood why people actually bothered to attend live concerts, concerts made up of items which could be far more conveniently heard on records, recorded under technically far superior records.

The difference was this. The concert had what is called 'atmosphere'. By virtue of the actions of the performers, and the resonance of these with the audience, everybody there was merged together into a composite, performers and audience both. There was a powerful synenergy flow, amplified by the resonoding ability of the performers which was mentioned in MT117.

This is nothing new. Peter Ustinov, among others, has pointed out how important the audience is to live actors, to live performers of every sort. Even with films, where the actors are not present in person, there is a difference between watching a film in the cinema, and watching it on a video. I have seen films, such as 'Withnail and I', which were so funny that I was 'rolling around in the aisle', tears streaming from my eyes, unable to hear or see what was going on. That never happens at home.

In MT terms, we might say that every live performance, if successful, sees the creation of a temporary 'performance' syston, one which is created through performer/audience synenergy flows and synenergy resonances, one which is born, grows up, enjoys a flourishing and rewarding period of maturity, and finally goes to a well-earned and applauded rest. All in two or three hours.

Synenergy is All

In MT106, where the concept of synenergy was first developed, the suggestion was put forward (Proposition 106E) that synenergy flow was the major need and desire of all human systons.

The concept of synenergy flows is the key, in my view, to understanding the operation of human societies. Synenergy is the force that powers human systons, just as energy is the force that powers physical systems.

Again, this is nothing new. 'Love makes the World Go Round'. This, and a host of other sayings, can easily be seen as specific examples of the generalization embodied in Proposition 106E. Let us look at some other facets of this matter.

Look at Me, Mum!

Everybody needs attention. Small children, it is well known, desire a continuing, responding, audience. They cannot get too much attention.

Of course this demand for attention is part of growing up, it is part of a pattern of producing actions and seeing whether they are approved, tolerated, or punished, as the case may be. A pattern of developing a personal Rule Structure to carry the individual through later life.

Kittens, puppies, any young creatures brought up in a social context, all go through such a process. With kittens, the bulk of the process is gone through in a few weeks or months. With humans, it takes years.

And because humans live in a continually changing society, especially in recent centuries, it has become important for them that they retain some ability in this direction, even in their later years. In conventional terms, this adaptability is seen as a survival characteristic in changing circumstances -- adaptability is good.

The MT view would be rather more complex. If adaptability is important, then a range of adaptabilities is better for the containing systons. If ability to build up Rule Structures is important in young systons (an ability in direct conflict with adaptability), then the over-syston will benefit by having some set in their ways in their youth, others able to adapt and expand on into older years.

In addition, it is important to remember that the value of any syston characteristic depends very strongly on the stage that the syston has reached in its own development cycle. The child is open and uncritical, the youth is rebellious and idealistic, the man is tenacious and strong, the old person mellowed and conservative. The individual idiosyston benefits from the change in characteristics, while the wider syston benefits from the diversity, not only that inherent in individual variation, but also that stemming from the variation in a systel's characteristics as it ages.

In the Pilbara area of Western Australia, there are a number of 'new' mining towns, built especially to mine a particular iron ore deposit. Some are quite large, with high schools, sports arenas, television broadcasting towers, all the trappings of civilization. But because these are towns newly settled from scratch, they have a great missing segment in their makeup. There are no grandparents.

So the working wife cannot call on 'Mum' to look after young Tristan when he is sick, the kids cannot rollerskate over to Grandpa's to see his rabbits or get help with their stamp collection. There are no retired people in the town, no mature, unhurried experience to call on for some of the more subtle needs of life. These towns are systons with whole segments omitted.

The Synenergy Urge and Synenergy Conversion

It appears that the need for attention is just one form of the Synenergy Urge felt by all systons. As we progress in this suite of articles we will find other expressions of this urge everywhere.

What is interesting, is that if a syston is deprived of a preferred form of synenergy, it will seek another, substitute form.

This tendency is sometimes called sublimation. Sublimation is a term with moral overtones which make it unsuitable for use in an MT framework, but the concept is in accord with the suggestion, back in Proposition 106A, that all forms of synergy are capable of interconversion

Proposition 124B****. All systons are subject to a Synenergy Urge, an urge for synenergy flows to and from itself

Proposition 124C**. A syston starved of the flow of a preferred form of synenergy will seek to compensate with another form

There is a point worth emphasizing as regards synenergy flows and urges. These urges run both ways. Perhaps the strongest direction is to receive, to learn -- getting enough to keep alive and thrive must be a fundamental feature of syston survival. But it would be remiss to leave the other flow out of consideration -- the urge to teach, to give, to help the wider syston.

Why Bother? It Isn't Worth It

A regrettably more and more common example of synenergy conversion is seen with teenagers leaving school at the age where once they would expect to start working. Increasing unemployment, especially marked for school leavers in the western world, has dropped huge numbers of these young adults into a synenergy vacuum where they are, very understandably, 'at a loose end'.

Bored and listless, these teenagers have suddenly been cut off at the knees as regards synenergy flow. The continuous flow provided up to that time by their school system has stopped, and they have nothing to replace it. It is no wonder that as they cast around for other forms of synenergy to compensate, they may turn to extravagant dress and behaviour to attract attention flow, or spend their time in video game arcades for their interaction with computer simulations, or drift into petty crime as a source of money, a most potent form of infocap.

The overt complaint of the unemployed young is their lack of money flow. That their real lack is of synenergy generally, rather than its specific form as money flow, is shown by the fact that this complaint largely disappears if they move on to further education or training. In such a case, or even if they move into an unpaid job, perhaps as an overseas aid volunteer, they will then satisfy their Synenergy Urge and the money becomes less important. To the unemployed, money in actual fact may be important more for its use in gaining synenergy flow, rather than overt reasons such as food supply.

From the viewpoint of the wider syston, it would be very clearly advantageous to channel these unsatisfied synenergy urges into productive, or at least non-destructive, directions. The Matrix Machines described in MT123 offer one way of achieving this. It is irrelevant if these are presented initially as entertainment, entertainment is the same thing ultimately as education, and education is a major route to infocap accumulation.

What stops the rapid implementation of this idea? The point is, the syston must already possess the infocap needed to implement it. While young Mark Jones would be delighted to put aside his racing car video game to spend time operating a mining waldo, competing with others to get the highest production with minimum damage to the remote, the capital cost of the equipment may well be prohibitively high.

But if money makes money, our generalization here is that infocap breeds infocap. The challenge to the syston, as always, is to plough back as much as possible of its infocap dividends into research and investment, rather than using them as a living wage.

Taking the General View

Psychologists deal with the whole gamut of human emotions and attitudes -- pride, anger, love, envy, humility, self-sacrifice, urge to learn -- the list is endless and intricate. If the basis behind the Matrix Thinking approach is valid, then all these emotions and attitudes will have their analogues in wider systons.

Proposition 124D***. All human emotions and attitudes have analogues in wider systons

Nowadays, the seat of these emotions and attitudes is regarded as the brain, although by western tradition the seat of love is in the heart (in Malaysia, it is the liver!). It is convenient to have an assigned site for syston control activities -- in MT symbology we assigned this site to have the 'government' symbol. And we used the syston boundary or skin idea to include functions such as immune reaction processes, even though they might take place elsewhere.

In practice all such functions in systons are more or less spread around, 'distributed' is the technical term. In animals the brain is obviously a major site, but the glandular system, distributed throughout the head and torso, is also very important. In a termite-nest syston, where the queen is not much more than an ovary, and syston communication is more chemical than electrical, this distributed control is very obvious.

And in a complex tree, or even more so in a tree-species community which might extend over a whole State, there is no candidate for a central control site.

So in looking at the influence of wider-syston 'emotions' on their activities, we cannot expect to always have these localized in a recognizable place -- in 'the Government', for example.

She was Only Sixteen

We have already looked at the way a syston changes as it goes through its development cycle. As these changes occur, they are paralleled by changes in the psychological attitudes -- and even in the Rule Structures -- applying to the syston.

On the psychological side, a recent study [Reference 7] of the attractiveness of individuals showed some interesting results. An adult face was much more likely to be attractive if it retained features common in childhood but usually diminished in aging, a characteristic called neoteny.

As an example, in children the eyes are relatively lower in the head than they are in adults. As the skull ages, it changes shape, and the measurement from the top of the head to eyelevel increases less than the measurement from eyelevel to the bottom of the head -- the top-half/ bottom-half ratio decreases. Computer-based faces generated using different ratios showed a strong correlation between perceived attractiveness of a face and possession of a top/bottom ratio more typical of a child.

This study and others have shown a similar correlation for other characteristics which vary with ageing. Thin, grey, bony faces seem less attractive than more chubby ones with smooth rosy cheeks. Large eyes are used consciously by artists to produce attractive faces. A 'youthful appearance' is desired by all who age, particularly women, for whom it is part of their resonoding apparatus.

Different criteria apply to judgements on synenergy flows at different ages. "She was only sixteen/ and I was too young/ to know she was too young to love". Should sexual contacts be permitted/encouraged in old people's homes? What is the magic of Peter Pan?

It is interesting how human characteristics tend to 'set' at certain ages. Sometimes there is a physical basis -- until the age of three, the neurons in the human brain are still growing together and interlinking, which may be why few people have memories of life before three.

Other changes are apparently more social, occurring with the influence of wider systons. Accents tend to set close to the age of fifteen. Your basic circle of friends tends to have set by the age of 25, and your dress and fashion preferences by 30. Music appreciated may go through a violent development, from the heavy beat and loud volume needed at 15 to 25, through to more subtle needs in the thirties. But few people change their basic music preferences after 35.

All this is an expression of a general change which we can expect to occur at all syston levels.

Proposition 124E*. Synenergy flow patterns change with the progress of a syston through its development cycle

He's Just a Kid

When it comes to Rule Structures, we are accustomed to the idea that rules need to take account of the age of the person involved. A four-year-old cannot be charged with murder; if a fifteen-year-old can, they will usually be dealt with in a Children's Court.

In MT112, we saw how rules could be written or unwritten, but the enforcement of all sorts of rules varies with the age of the subject. Even the descriptive words used vary -- if someone is 'scrumping apples', it is expected to be a boy between 6 and 12 years old. Moralities are not yet set in youngsters. "You have to make allowances".

Naturally enough, the younger ages of a person are those in which infocap accumulation is normal. Their syston will provide schooling and care, the payback from this investment is not expected until they are 15, 20, 25, or even more. Most developed countries have compulsory schooling until a certain age, working to a written Rule.

Of course there are rule changes at the older end too. Most countries have a notional 'retirement age', by which people may be expected, or even required, to give up work. Those beyond this age will often be supported by general state pensions or allowed taxation privileges.

We are ourselves living in an era in which Rule Structures are beginning to take account of the ages of wider systons. At the young end, there may be special tax incentives for startup companies, special research investment or allowances for what are seen as 'sunrise' industries. At the more mature end, we are seeing increasing legislation to break up monopolies and cartels, the analogue of retirement legislation for individuals. In the middle range, we have the recognition of 'class actions' in legal procedures, where a special-purpose syston is created to carry an action through the courts.

Here is an area where MT would expect major changes in the years to come, as voluntary and compulsory Rule Structures are created, adopted, adapted, and refined to nurture systons at every level.

Proposition 124F**. Systons will be advantaged by increasing development and definition of the Rule Structures under which they operate

According to Freud

Whether justified or not, the popular conception of the work of pioneer psychologist Sigmund Freud was that almost everything in human psychology was dominated or tempered by sex urges.

There are MT analogues of the individual sex urges which apply to wider systons. But here, I will make a small diversion, in the application of the MT Engine developed so far to the matter of human sexuality. Whether it is 'the' topic, or only 'a' topic, sex is undoubtedly the strongest synenergy flow which most of us have to contend with.

A warning -- some of that which follows could possibly offend those with fixed ideas about sex. Such people are asked to skip the rest of this article and start at the beginning of MT125. Nothing in the rest of this suite of articles requires understanding of that which follows in the rest of this article.

Adults Only

Well then. The first area to be looked here is the use of the Matrix Machines discussed in MT123 in the area of sex. Some of the suggestions made may be titillating, others appalling.

Then on to the consideration of the implications of such uses. Depending on your viewpoint here, the suggestions made may be either appealing or sobering. But remember, these suggestions come out of the Matrix Engine. I may be responsible for designing the engine, but I didn't determine what went into it, and what comes out is not necessarily my personal view.

Round and Round Went the Bloody Great Wheel

No doubt the idea of automatic sex machines is as old as the idea of machines itself, that is the typical one-track human mind, one might think. But until recently, the actual production of some of the more exotic such machines, ones which could truly simulate the action of a human, were in the realms of science fiction or way-out pornography.

One of the most potent examples of such a science fiction story is Fritz Leiber's The Silver Eggheads [Referemce 12]. Leiber's story was a light-hearted satire of the publishing world of the future, in which all new books were written either by specialized giant computers ('wordmills'), or by robots -- and the robot literature was intended for reading by other robots.

Leiber's use of 'robot' was the same as that in the work for which the word was coined, Karel Capek's RUR -- Rossum's Universal Robots. In other places the term 'android' has been used, and in both cases they represent an artificially constructed human, a thinking entity of close to normal human appearance and function.

Madame Pneumo's Establishment

In 1961, more than 30 years ago, perhaps the only way some of Leiber's ideas could reach the general market was as light-hearted satire. Here are some quotations from his dialogue.

"You see, fifty years or so ago there was this mad robot named Harry Chernik ... whose ambition it was to build robots which would be exactly like human beings on the outside, down to the least detail of texture and anatomy. Chernik's ruling idea was that if men and robots were exactly alike -- and particularly if they could make love to each other! -- then there couldn't possibly be any enmity between them; Chernik was doing his work, you see, around the time of the First Anti-Robot Riots and he was a dedicated interracialist".

Unfortunately the whole project was beset with difficulties. "Most robots simply didn't want to look like human beings, and besides, all the space inside a Chernik robot was so taken up with machinery to enable the robot to counterfeit the behavior of a human in bed and in other simple acts of social intercourse -- fine muscular controls, temperature and moisture and suction controls, etcetera -- that there wasn't any room for anything else ... to squeeze both a real robot and a Chernik automaton into the same simulated girlskin envelope they would have had to be ten feet tall or as big as circus fat-women ...".

His dreams of interracial harmony shattered, Chernik committed suicide by electrocution, but not before experimenting with the male equivalents of his 'femmequins'. Then the worldly-wise robots who had been financing Chernik moved in to use the femmequins for the purpose they had always had in mind, putting them to work "in an establishment catering to male human beings, only adding certain hygienic and economic safeguards that had never occurred to Chernik's essentially idealistic imagination".

Later in the story Leiber has an episode which details a wince-making example of these 'economic safeguards', methods the femmequins used to ensure they were paid. And the fact that the femmequins didn't have room in them for all the usual thinking apparatus didn't actually turn out to be a disadvantage:

"Their mindlessness was an outstanding attraction, of course, and it in no way prevented special cams and tapes being temporarily put in them that would enable them to perform any act or murmur any fantasy a customer might desire. Best of all, perhaps, there was absolutely no sense of human entanglement, clash, conflict, or consequence involved in your commerce with them".

And there were interesting developments beyond those possible to a human woman: "Can you imagine, Flaxy, having it with a girl who is all velvet or plush, or who really goes all hot or cold, or who can softly sing you a full-orchestra symphony while you're doing it or maybe Ravel's Bolero, or who has slightly -- not excessively -- prehensile breasts or various refreshingly electric skin areas, or who has some of the features -- not overdone of course -- of a cat or a vampire or an octopus, or who has hair like Medusa's or Shambleau's that lives and caresses you, or who has four arms like Siva, or a prehensile tail eight feet long, or... and at the same time is perfectly safe and can't bother or involve or infect or dominate you in any way? I don't want to sound like a brochure, Flaxy, but believe me, it's the ultimate!".

Then and Now

When Leiber wrote his story, it was all an amusing fantasy, not a practical proposition. To change a femmequin's operation, you needed to insert a bulky 'special cam or tape'.

Now all that has changed. It would be perfectly practicable today to change the femmequin's programming by loading in new code, and that could be done invisibly, remotely, and almost instantaneously from anywhere in the world through satellite links and inbuilt 'cellular modems'.

And it could be done interactively, moving the Simu/lover device right into the world of Virtual Reality mentioned in MT123. With a full-body waldo suit shrunk down to no more than a body stocking and eye-domes, and linked to appropriate waldo tapes or optical fibre 'Experience Banks', the world of possible sensation is opened up far beyond the "ultimate" of Leiber's character.

The technology involved is already under development, and has been given a name -- dildonics. That name implies interaction of humans with artificial sex devices. The social implications are scandalous, with such slogans as "Orgasm of the Month", "Top 20 Homo Encounters", or "World's Greatest Fantasy Trip (take only under medical supervision)".

And there is more. There doesn't have to be a machine at the other end of the optical cable, it could be another human being.

The Ten-Foot Contraceptive

In architecture and engineering, CAD or Computer Assisted Design is a commonplace in modern offices. With CAD, the architect can work interactively with a database, designing, displaying, amending a proposed building until it looks right and will work properly.

There is no reason at all why conventional human coupling could not be increasingly supplanted by Computer Assisted Sex, with the two parties separated by only a few metres or so, but with a powerful CAS facility in the line between them, enhancing and supplementing their initial reactions, guiding them and teaching them for an increasingly satisfactory result.

An interesting idea but economically impracticable? Not so. A conventional two-hundred dollar compact-disc player has within it a billion dollars worth of development and research. You can buy one for a few hours' pay because everyone wants one, the costs are split among millions of mass produced units. Don't you think a CAS unit would be at least as popular as a CD?

For those with certain moral concerns, the CAS unit can remain purely a husband-and-wife matter, and if the husband has to go on an overseas trip alone, the couple don't have to give up their marital pleasures. Could be some shrieks about phone tapping, but!

And if over-population is the major problem facing our species today, what better solution than to move to a situation where, like horse-riding, what might become known as 'hill-billy sex' moves to novelty and recreational value only? Where CAS-fertilization becomes so efficient and reliable that the incidence of babies born as an unwanted side-effect of sex just fades away?

The health and contraceptive advantages are obvious, and if you want your love to last, record it and play the best bits again in the future. Paradise for the hedonists?

But After, When the Fun Dies Down

The scenarios just described may be interesting, tempting, even likely to come to be. But there still, looking over our shoulders, is old kill-joy, bleating on about "the future of the human race". Has he got any valid complaint?

The implications inherent in the scenarios have major practical advantages. Overpopulation, AIDS, prostitution, sexual frustration, family violence, all are swept aside by the bright new technology. But where does it leave the human systons involved?

What about all the diverted synenergy flows? Will the family and other time-tested systons fade away? Will mass addiction to lotus-land pleasures occur, will the Ascent of Man just fall in a heap?

Take courage. It may be very different in the future, but it could be very much better. True, we could be looking at a totally different kind of society in a hundred years time, one as different from that of today as humans now are from the apes. The whole race may move on, over a giant infocap barrier, to produce a new syston entity, as in Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End.

In such a situation, today's petty arguments -- the cries of the feminists about exploitation of women, the problems of racial discrimination, the faltering economics of battle-torn nations -- these may be but a historical memory, totally unimportant, their significance lost in the succession of generations -- if, indeed, generations still exist. Humanity burned and risen again, riding on massive synenergy bolts.

A naive glimpse at an impossible Utopia? Maybe. But one thing's for sure -- the future will be very different. If this suite of articles helps in any way to preview the way ahead, it will have been worthwhile.

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(Full list of references at MTRefs)

[7]. Found, the cutest little baby face. The West Australian/ 1992 Jul 24 p3.
[12]. Fritz Leiber. The Silver Eggheads. Four Square, London, 1961.

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