When The Locusts Swarm : Matrix Geography [MT125]

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

The course of evolution shows that the highest achievement of one species becomes an embryonic development in succeeding forms. And so, too, perhaps with cultural evolution
-- Brian Aldiss [1]

Looking at The World

In the current suite of articles, we have, of course, drawn many examples from all parts of the Matrix in the building of the Intellectual Engine.

But in this last article, we will close off with a brief look at some of the World's countries, from the MT viewpoint. This survey will of necessity be very patchy and incomplete, and will also be rather subjective. The aim is not to compress world geography into a nutshell, but rather to pick out a few particular examples of countries in different stages of development, apply the MT engine to them, and note some of the outcomes.

Some of these outcomes will be in the form of predictions, and some of these predictions may annoy some of my readers. However, I should point out that these are not really my predictions, but rather the predictions of the model, of the MT engine. There will be some of my own subjectivity creeping in, and readers are welcome to identify such instances and substitute more objective approaches to the matters in hand.

Ontogeny Recapitulates Phyllogeny

Perhaps not the most obvious war-cry with which to enter battle, but "Ontogeny recapitulates phyllogeny" is the inscription on one of the banners which evolution scientists carry with them in their advance on the Scientific Front.

What this phrase, originated by Ernst Haekel, encapsulates is one of the most interesting and powerful observations made in the study of evolution. As an individual creature is conceived and starts to develop through the embryo and infancy stages, along its path to adulthood and maturity, it tends to re-trace in quick time the evolutionary history of its species.

Thus, a human embryo possesses such ancestral features as gills and a fish-like tail in its early stages. The earlier in its development such features appear, the earlier the part of the evolutionary path which is mirrored or evoked. This phenomenon applies to all animals and plants, and provides powerful evidence for deciding some difficult questions in science.

For example, suppose you were investigating superficially simple creatures such as tapeworms. There are two possible ways in which a simple parasitic worm might come into existence, it might be a basically unevolved species which never got very high up the evolutionary scale, or it might have come down from a more complex creature which lost features of no value to it when it adopted a parasitic life.

Examining the embryos of a parasitic species may tell you which route the species took. The answer is not general over all species of parasites, but the second route is the most common.

In MT124 we mentioned the phenomenon of 'neoteny', in which childish characteristics may be retained into adulthood, sometimes increasing the 'attractiveness' of the individuals involved -- possibly an interesting survival mechanism. It has been suggested that human evolution has also been characterized by neoteny.

Certainly young chimpanzees and baboons have much flatter and more human-shaped faces and heads than their adult forms, a feature which makes them particularly lovable. In this sense, humans show retarded evolutionary development, individuals do not go on in adulthood to develop their muzzles as the other apes do. Confidently, we tell ourselves that our evolutionary development has been concentrated in the brain.

When the Locusts Swarm

Locust plagues have been a bane of mankind since our earliest history, they are mentioned in the Bible and in other ancient documents. In studying locust plagues, the early entomologists were confronted with a real puzzle -- the young of the plague locusts could not be found. It was true that another locust species could be found in the areas where the plague locusts appeared to originate, but this other species differed in appearance to the plague locusts, and did not show any tendency to swarm and migrate.

And then, in the 1920s, the answer was found. The two locust species were in fact only one. With sufficient food and feeding area, the adult locusts stayed put, lived and bred as what is now called the 'solitary phase'. But if individuals were excessively crowded together, within 48 hours they could change their physical appearance into the 'swarming phase', and swarm and migrate as the feared locust plague.

In 1990 there was a locust plague in Western Australia -- afterwards I had to get a car radiator replaced, it broke down rapidly after being jammed full of locust bodies. The conventional measures against the plague, such as spraying with insecticides, were tried, but these were largely ineffectual against the swarming hordes. Now a new natural chemical, the oil from the neem tree, is showing promise for locust control. Sprayed on the solitary-phase locusts when a possible plague is anticipated, it does not kill them -- but it does stop the change into the swarming phase, and makes the insect no more than a local nuisance.

A Matter of Evolution

The locusts may have another message for us in our MT progression. Locusts are well known as being creatures of arid lands, in fact they are sometimes called the desert locust. There is increasing evidence [eg in Reference 19] that man himself was responsible for the formation of the great desert and arid lands of this planet. If this is so, then the development of the swarming phase in locusts -- an evolutionary change with physical manifestations great enough to have the plague locusts originally classed as a separate species -- would not pre-date the development of man himself but would be an evolutionary change forced by man.

In our examination of some of today's countries, the message to be gained is this. All the various countries of the world are in different stages of development. Each stage of development deserves its own ground-rules for MT analysis, what is right for the USA may be wrong for China. From the notes on evolution, we might look to find the ground-rules for a less developed country in the history of a more developed one. From the swarming locusts, we can expect there may be fundamental changes to a country-syston, even quantum leaps in its evolution, from the influence of more advanced external systons. And from the neem-oil story, we can expect the course of evolution of a country-syston to be strongly influenced, even reversed, by technical inventions and interventions.

All these things are the analogues of the matters which were dealt with in MT124 from the standpoint of human beings. All are expressions of the view that basic MT techniques apply to systons of every level. All should be borne in mind when we move, as now, to look at MT viewpoints on some sample countries of the world of today.

The United States of America

Overall, the US must be regarded as the most advanced, the most highly evolved, of the countries of the world today. To deny this is, in my estimation, only to express a personal level of SIOS which constrains an objective judgement. At the same time, it must be recognized that there are deficiencies in the US which are not mirrored elsewhere. Electing the US to the position of idol of the world's countries does not help, it can only obscure deficiencies and make their elimination more difficult.

I have made it clear, in what has gone before, that in my view the pre-eminence which the USA has risen to is basically due to its great accumulation of infocap. This infocap has paid annual dividends which have been ample to provide a living wage for the syston and still allow the ploughing back of a good percentage to provide for further infocap growth. Research, innovation, education, philanthropic foundations, all have played a strong part in the American Ethos and have built an unmatched system.

An expression of this high infocap content is the great diversity which exists in the country. The Washington Post, in a 1991 article on Japan's new prime minister, said "In the still peaceful summer of 1939, a Tokyo University undergraduate took a study trip to California and was astonished to find an America totally different from the decadent country described in his Japanese textbooks. Here was a vibrant, hard-working society, Kiichi Miyazawa recalled later, a multi-ethnic nation that drew enormous strength from its freedom and diversity".

The reader will be able to re-write the last sentence in MT terms of synenergy flows, low syston-skin barriers, and infocap accumulation. Also notable in MT terms is the strong US tradition of social engineering, working through designed Rule Structures, which was mentioned in MT116. Of course a feature of these Rule Structures is that they will often include rules to eliminate constraints, they are rules to guarantee freedom of choice, laws to limit laws. The most notable example of this social engineering is the whole conscious decision to adopt 'deregulation' as a standpoint for action, a decision which has reverberated throughout the world.

Another feature of the US system is the diversity among its systels. The country is essentially a federation of independent states, which still retain major powers and still preserve major differences. As an example, state law in Louisiana is based on the Napoleonic system inherited from the French, whereas the other states took their procedures from English law. The two systems are miles apart.

In MT109 the major virtues of this wide-banded situation were brought out. The first is the inherent diversity and consequent high infocap content. The second is the fostering of competition, so that procedures which are working well in one state and are seen to give it an advantage will be adopted in defence by others. And the third is the scope for experimentation -- a Rule Structure can be set up and tried, a state acts as a pilot project for the whole union. None of these virtues are present in a centrally-controlled system such as that sought by Mr Dawkins for Australia.

It can be reckoned as routine that changes to a designed Rule Structure will meet opposition -- conscious opposition from vested interests, unconscious opposition from the natural desire to avoid change and the instinct that some changes are 'not right'. I was brought up sharp recently on getting a document list from the NTIS, the US Government's National Technical Information Service, a vast agency acting as the sole source of some 70,000 new documents of technical information per year. This is a huge output, equal to perhaps twice the total number of books published in an advanced country like Germany each year.

What brought me up sharp was the pricing structure adopted for the NTIS documents. If a document sold for $35 within the US, Canada, or Mexico, the same document sold outside these countries cost $70 -- exactly double. I was appalled at the apparent extortion, and also surprised -- the Americans have a reputation for generosity in distributing information, in earlier days hundreds of thousands of documents from US agencies such as NASA were bulk-distributed all around the world at no charge.

When I calmed down I realized that I was probably seeing an engineered rule structure change. The US, Canada, and Mexico are consciously moving towards a new free trade area, one which is expected to expand at a later stage to include other countries. From my personal viewpoint, I saw that I would be able to get the pecan conference book I wanted from NTIS at half the price, if Australia was a member of this free trade zone. Come and Join Us? (US)?

What's Wrong With America?

Now for the down side. Perhaps the very worst aspect of American society, as it is generally viewed from outside, is the level of public violence. Unrestrained gun sales, routine muggings in all major cities, joggers killed for their high-tech shoes, deranged serial and mass killers picking off people randomly with high-powered weapons, organized crime syndicates -- these are some of the ugly faces of America.

I suggest that in all countries, a dynamic balance is attained between the operation of various forces, and a grasp of any particular balance can be had by looking at what I have called the Four Axioms of Government (MT116), in particular using a four-question matrix cocoon like that in Figure 121.1. Let us put together such a model for the US (Figure 125.1).

Fig. 125.1. Four-question matrix cocoon for the US

The syston trace for the USA in this figure is a reasonably balanced one. It has a large extension into Q2 (is the activity designed to directly raise the level of infocap in the syston?), and a reasonable, but limited extension into Q1 (is the activity designed to directly achieve a threshold level of health or safety?). If we were to summarize the good and bad points of the US-syston, we might comment that they have Asked Question Two before Asking Question One.

Extension of the US syston trace into Q3, minimum synenergy taxation, is also quite good -- the US has a reasonable approach to revenue raising, with little evidence of morality-skewed rules such as higher taxes on 'luxury goods'. Extension into Q4, narrowest possible syston, is also quite good -- the retention of major powers by the states, the emphasis on individual freedoms, are expressions of this. America has avoided most of the problems of centralization of power.

What are the future prospects for America? An MT evaluation suggests that they will continue to be good. The large infocap base will continue to draw in further diversity, including some of the best individual talents of other countries, in academic, business, sporting, and cultural fields. Extension of free trading to Canada and Mexico will benefit all three countries, with the freeing-up of synenergy flows -- and there is no potential loss of narrowest-syston control, as there is no suggestion of political union with its centralization dangers.

On the wider view, the margin-slack which the US has enjoyed in its infocap dividend return rate, one which has enabled it to buy what it liked and in some cases artificially frustrate market forces (as in subsidizing its wheat exports), has tended to diminish in recent years as other countries have emulated its successful social engineering moves. Whether other countries or groupings will seriously erode its lead in the future may depend on the extent and speed with which others compete in this area of strategy.


Now let us turn to another country, a close neighbour of the US which exhibits a marked contrast (and so has engendered massive SIOS expressions in the US in past years, as in blockades). The syston trace for Cuba is obviously quite different to the US one, with a much smaller Q2 infocap extension but a better Q1, health and safety, extension.

Cuba in fact has an exceptionally good health record, with universal state-provided medical facilities and one of the highest life expectancies in the world, higher than in the US, for instance. The streets of its cities are safe to walk at night. This health kick has flowed over into the infocap area -- Cuban medicos have pioneered a number of treatments, and the country is earning foreign exchange by treating patients from other countries, especially from Latin America.

Fig. 125.2. Four-question matrix cocoon for Cuba

Its Q3, synenergy taxation, extension is unexceptional, working on a relatively small infocap base (as we might say, "the country's poor"). Its Q4 extension is minimal, with centralized government and restricted individual freedoms.

To summarize the four-question matrix cocoon for Cuba (Figure 125.2), we might say that Cuba has tended to Ask Question One almost to the exclusion of Question Two. This is not necessarily an inappropriate strategy for a less-developed country-syston.


The density of infocap in Japan and the high infocap density gradients at its borders have been mentioned in MT119, and given graphical representation in Figure 119.2.

The obvious face of this infocap store is Japan's wealth in money terms, also reflected in apparent standard of living as measured by average wages. This wealth itself seems to stem from innovative social engineering in the area of manufacturing technology, with such advances as just-in-time production, quality control circles, and the Kawasaki production system -- all techniques for improving productivity by getting things done in as accurate, consistent, and timely ways as possible. Such techniques do have possibile applicability in other syston levels.

A resource-poor nation, Japan has built up its infocap through the traditional routes of education, research, and investment in innovation. It might be said that Japan's thick syston skin has aided in this process, causing its infocap to reverberate around and build up within the syston rather than being spread thin outside. But Japan appears now to be at the crossroads.

The history of Japan's development as a country-syston parallels that of part of a plant species, trapped on an island which has been moved far away from the main species group by an expanding Earth. As the island entered quite a different climatic zone from its mainland parents, so the island population of the species evolved and developed its own special characteristics which suited it for the local conditions.

Now the seas separating the island from the mainland have drained away, and both parts of the species must compete on common ground. Some of the island-evolved characteristics may be useful in the new competition, and some a detriment.

Some might think that Japan's intensely isolated social development has let it fall into an evolutionary blind alley, one which will make it difficult for the country to get back on the main road being trampled out by the rest of the world. In my view, Japan is the most different, the most alien, of all cultures as far as a westerner is concerned, much more so than an 'infant' syston like an Amazonian Indian tribe.

This evolutionary path has left the Japanese surrounded by a high syston boundary and its inevitable SIOS repercussions. Ronald Yates [Reference 26] has written on how the normal foreigner rejection tendency has extended, in Japan, even to Japanese who have lived outside Japan for any long period.

A Japanese pianist who had worked some years in Chicago was rejected for jobs in Japan as being 'too foreign' or 'no longer Japanese'. Japanese writer Chikako Osawa was so outraged by the relentless bullying of her 12-year old son, after the family returned to Tokyo from New York in 1982, that she vented her anger by writing a best-selling book, There is Only One Blue Sky.

According to Ms Osawa, Japan's 'collective closed mind' still persists. "In terms of its people, Japan remains a closed, walled-in country," she said. "Returnees are not encouraged to share their overseas experiences. Children are punished if they behave differently".

Ms Osawa places the blame squarely on Japan's monolithic education system. It's a system, she said, that stifles individual expression and says everybody must be the same.

If a generalization can be made of Japanese attitudes to other countries, it might be that they are uncertain and hesitant as to actual procedures. Japan's response to world outcries about such things as slaughter of whales and dolphins, or wholesale marine-life trapping in drift nets, seems to be to accede slowly to such pressures because it seems to be what the rest of the world wants, and they want to belong, rather than because of changes in local perceptions on the particular issues involved.

There seems little doubt that Japan's social evolution and the infocap store it has accumulated both suffer from a lack of balance. If Proposition 115A in this suite of articles is valid, Japan's total synenergy is not high. While it may be the second richest nation in the world, it is certainly not the second most favoured migration target.

Typical employment conditions in Japan are far inferior to those in other advanced nations, with employees getting less than 8 days paid holiday a year, and working excessive overtime, often unpaid -- averaging 200 hours per year more than their US counterparts, and 500 hours more than the French or Germans. It has been claimed that 'karoshi', meaning 'death through overwork' kills more than 10,000 Japanese a year.

All this goes to support the idea that Japan is not an attractive place to work in, not a place where foreigners or foreign ideas find ready acceptance. The MT conclusion would be that Japan is notable deficient in many areas of infocap and synenergy, and the MT prediction is not optimistic unless the country can achieve massive reductions in its syston boundaries and SIOS levels.


Europe. An area in turmoil, all parts undergoing massive social changes. An area with extremes of riches and poverty, intellect and drudgery, fine-tuned landscapes and industrial deserts. An area rich in traditions, libraries, works of art, cultural history, languages, a dazzling array of ethnic differences and habits. An area trammeled by deep gullies and intricate beartraps of tradition, vested interests, conservatism, and SIOS.

According to the gardening writer Tradescant [Reference 23], some 400,000 British citizens now own property in France, and perhaps two or three times as many have rural retreats in Spain. In the burgeoning phenomenon of 'Eurogardening', landscapes and streetscapes are being changed as traditional English gardeners get their revenge for King Harold and invade France, strewing the battlefields of French front gardens with their weapons of rose and daisy. Trad himself has succumbed, buying a rust-coloured farmhouse in the shade of Europe's finest oak forest, the Bourbonnais' Foret de Troncais.

How the locals must resent these amiable, cardigan-clad invaders, brandishing their secateurs. But in the most massive and still uneasy social undertaking of our times, all the ground-rules have changed, and the locals can do little except grumble and enjoy a few time-honoured maquis-type annoyances inflicted on their inoffensive prey.

Inevitably, in the course of decades, fraternization will meld imperceptibly into homogenization, and all will become members of a wider-ranging, more fluid community, as social engineering builds a new Europe and a new kind of syston. This hyper-syston is still in its infancy, with its brain neurons still growing together to set the future personality which it will show to the world in its youth and maturity.

With nurture and good fortune, constant touching, seeing, and feeling of world objects, and a sharp eye on its older American cousin and role-model, Europe has an excellent chance of growing up to throw off the fears and restraints of girlhood and bloom into a beautiful, sharpwitted, and serene woman. For romantics who like a story with a happy ending, one could write a scenario in which Europa falls in love and prospers in a happy Proposition 107C marriage with her tall strong cousin.

South Africa and Apartheid

Here is a bit of social engineering which was misconceived from the start. Rich in its lands, resources, and people, South Africa was a syston torn apart by a foolish attempt to fence off part of itself for the benefit of an elite.

It is easy to be wise in hindsight, and it might be as well for the world to show understanding and support for this youthful syston which made a tragic blunder which put it into the juvenile court. SIOS may be expected to show up strongly in all young systons, and if South Africa was ever to take its rightful place in the world, its SIOS burden had first be somehow eased.

In 1991, in May, I contacted David Tothill, the South African Ambassador to Australia, at a time when the urban violence in South Africa was particularly virulent. I suggested to him that the violence problem might be eased if his government obtained the services of a United Nations police force, as this would be viewed as disinterested, defusing the antagonism directed at all local groups, but especially the government. I also suggested that an outside group might bring in new ideas for a resolution, as they sat outside the situation, that it might be a much cheaper way for the government, as they would not have to pay the full costs, and that such an action would greatly boost an image of openness for the government.

I was genuinely taken aback by Dr Tothill's response. I had expected a reply which pointed out practical difficulties of such a proposal. Instead, the complete response was as follows. "Thank you for your letter of 24 May. The presence of a UN police contingent in South Africa would constitute an infringement of our sovereignty. For that reason, your idea cannot be entertained."

I knew then that all the problems of a skewed and underfunded general education system, all the difficulties of coping with a syston having insufficient infocap accumulation to maintain general living standards at acceptable levels, all the difficulties every syston experiences as it grows up, all these were sitting powerless behind the great SIOS barrier called apartheid.

Thinking about the situation since then, I have to admit to increasing cynicism about the word 'Sovereignty'. In practical terms, this word appears to mean only the strong intention of those currently on top to remain so as long as possible -- and the rest can go hang.


And so back home. When Galileo brought forth the new truth that the Earth was not the centre of the Universe, the resistance and persecution which he encountered was to be expected. His concept was at war against the SIOS of the time, the reduced status of the Earth which he suggested diminished the ego of the syston and had to be rejected.

Australia has much going for it in the future. But the world as a market-square of active, competing, jostling merchants is coming to an end, swept away by a computerized bourse network with silent terminals in every home. I feel the future world has no place for 'leading nations' of any identity, that phase of systonization has served its usefulness. In looking for everyone's brave new world, in the building of a holosyston which encompasses the whole of a planet, a more aware Gaia evolved above a lowly subconscious response level, there will be no place for an Australia still caught up in the SIOS of immaturity.

Instead, Australia might open its shining store of infocap to more general use, as a member of one of the new hyper-systons moving confidently and securely about a more tolerant and open world. While the state of Peter Pan might be an enviable one, there are joys beyond those of youth.

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(Full list of references at MTRefs)

[17]. David Noel. NUTEERIAT: Nut Trees, the Expanding Earth, Rottnest Island, and All That... Cornucopia Press, Australia, 1989.
[23]. Tradescant. Cote jardin. The Garden/ 1991 Oct.
[26]. Ronald Yates. Strangers on their own shore. The West Australian/ 1990 Oct 3 p60.

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