Jay Forrester’s 1978 Introduction to the Plan B Standard of Care
The nation exhibits a growing sense of futility as it repeatedly attacks deficiencies in our social system while the symptoms continue to worsen. Legislation is debated and passed with great promise and hope. But many programs prove to be ineffective. Results often seem unrelated to those expected when the programs were planned. At times programs cause exactly the reverse of desired results.
It is now possible to explain how such contrary results can happen. There are fundamental reasons why people misjudge the behavior of social systems. There are orderly processes at work in the creation of human judgment and intuition that frequently lead people to wrong decisions when faced with complex and highly interacting systems. Until we come to a much better understanding of social systems, we should expect that attempts to develop corrective programs will continue to disappoint us.
The purpose is to leave with its readers a sense of caution about continuing to depend on the same past approaches that have led to our present feeling of frustration and to suggest an approach which can eventually lead to a better understanding of our social systems and thereby to more effective policies for guiding the future.
To set yourself up to the way of life of your peers is effortless. The frame of reference used by your mental faculties to choose, the mental model supplied by your genome, is tribal living in the Stone Age. Making good choices, prudent choices, appropriate selections, is effortful and time consuming. It is exclusively a self-powered affair of the conscious mind. It consumes large quantities of cranial glucose.
If you’re one of the 97% of the adult population on earth that does not know how the choices he acts on are really made, GYAT will be a revelation. There is a rational, deliberate process for making good choices. Plan B exists.
Getting your act together (GYAT) means getting real with the operational reality of life where the entropy of everything increases with time and uncertainty tends to a maximum. Getting real means employing your conscious mind, the one capable of logical processing of evidence for deliberately making right choices. Anything produced by the biased, illogical subconscious mind, intuition, resembles reality only by accident. Only bad choices can result. If you think obedience to authority/groupthink is a together act, think again. We’re all works in progress.
GYAT Flow is the benchmark, yardstick, and legal standard of care for making good choices of task action, prudency. It is the gold standard for keeping GIGO out of the GYAT goal-seeking process.
The GYAT Flow of knowledge-building is generic and nested. You only have to learn the sequence of steps once. Immune to the 2nd Law, it never fails to work and this one checklist lasts a lifetime.
GYAT is a process system
There are properties of systems that are common to all systems. These particular characteristics are measurable in machinery systems, ecosystems, social systems, psychological systems, etc. There are laws of nature, mostly in dynamics, applying strongly to systems that do not apply to non-systems.
While learning about system laws and system think is basic training for engineers, society frowns on such pursuits. For a long time we didn’t understand the great animosity exhibited towards engineers, except in wartime and crisis. The acrimony towards engineers was noted before engineering was formally established in the 19th century. Engineers, like farmers, are front-line producers. One might think the consumers would appreciate and value the people who enable their existence, but you’d be terribly wrong. In contemporary society, consumers occupy the higher conspicuous-consumption classes of society while producers are relegated to the unworthy class.
The result of all this stratification is that the producers, who must think system to produce, are governed by consumer classes that go out of their way to be ignorant of system laws – a groupthink status symbol of the elite.
Once you get familiar with the universal laws of system you can see attempts to defy them everywhere. One of the deeper laws of systems holds that a system cannot understand itself. It does not know or reveal its significant variables. In practice that means a system cannot use its own experience to make itself better, correct itself, extract entropy.
In a Plan A social system, for example, one entirely capable of migrating to Plan B, it doesn’t:
- Know how it works
- Know its scope and reach
- Know its significant dependent variables
- Know which way is better, so it doesn’t know how to change for the better.
To advance the performance of any system requires comparison to a system that performs better. When Plan B came of age in 2013 it was the first time the scope and reach of Plan A could be quantitatively measured. Reverse engineering the 2013 success was the first time an a priori derivation of Plan B could be constructed. It marked the end of opinion-driven problem solving, of failed projects.
The more you understand what is wrong with a concept, the more valuable that concept becomes. Lord Kelvin 1898
What done looks like
The lack of a Plan B exemplar to use for navigation plagued our quest for sixty years. Now that Plan B exists, all sorts of problems that couldn’t be solved before, because they were systemic problems, have become readily solvable, e.g., safety. Many of the irksome consequences of Plan A are remedied on automatic, all at once.
Proof they were systemic problems, not independently treatable, goes a long way to explain why previous remedies and fads didn’t work. The list of systemic issues spotlighted by Plan B, because they were resolved by Plan B includes:
- Administrative overhead
- Competitive advantage
Having the all-important exemplar of Plan B for direct reference has enabled studies of social behavior never before possible. It turns out that human nature has assigned many characteristics of behavior into a pattern, a “language,” for Plan B people to use that does not display in the business-as-usual context.
When you are with Plan B people, you interact as a Plan B person, seamlessly. When you visit an implementation site, ambience is the first contrast you notice.
While our study of the Plan B “language” is ongoing, it’s already abundantly clear it is known, pre-installed into your subconscious mind. Reading the “language” is how, exactly, the subconscious mind decides if you are GYAT, trustworthy. It can’t be fooled.
The subconscious mind of human nature, a feature common to all humanity and invariant, is remarkable in many ways that factor into social behavior. Brainiac is:
- Operationally unknowable, way too many parts
- Chooses and prioritizes its own activities
- Completes its self-chosen tasks in a centisecond, start to finish
- Has facial-recognition-like programming for health and GYAT
When you reach the GYAT level where your GYAT is recognized by other Brainiacs, rewards automatically gush forth. Since GYAT recognition is instantaneous, the benefits are instantaneous. People want to associate with others who are GYAT. They feel secure and are happy to vent their angst with you as a low-pressure tank. Then, the instinct of reciprocity does the rest. For you, social life will never be the same, and it comes as a whoosh. Learn the signs and signals of GYAT recognition and adjust. It is a happy occasion for everyone.
For the people in your social envelope, they can’t help but notice the sharp contrast between in how they feel around you and their normal encounters. This notice goes into long term memory and lasts indefinitely. The benefits that accrue to GYAT open the door to and feed directly into trust building, absolutely critical for success. Once you made GYAT grade, all you have to do is keep performing. Everything else is on auto pilot.
- Continue the “make right decisions” process
- Ignore social behavior
- Avoid direct efforts to persuade
- Flaunt paradigm transparency and demonstrability
- Inform about the website encyclopedia on Plan B
There are four basics to absorb before liftoff to Plan B:
- You are psychologically healthy, a requisite
- GYAT, congruent with prudence, is the mother of all human virtues
- GYAT is instantly and constantly measured by the subconscious minds of others, which are in turn instantly measured by your subconscious.
- GYAT is a standard of care, a process for making right choices, with legal standing.
The GYAT process meets the legal standard of care set by tort law for professionals, the benchmark of Plan B. Since it is incontrovertible, the GYAT process is the ultimate form of compliance to the social contract.
When you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery. Lord Kelvin 1895
The journey to Plan B is preoccupied with GIGO avoidance. This is done by meeting the project specifications a priori, without reliance on opinion, the number one source of false information. As illustrated by the Charles Babbage quote at the top of the page, letting garbage information get in to the proceedings is the borrowing of trouble. Accordingly, a great deal of GYAT is running a separation factory where garbage is flushed away from ground truth 24/7. The quantities of garbage sent to the sewerage facility are stunning. Using the GYAT process as reference standard is how, exactly, the GIGO separation factory sorts things out.
GYAT is scrutably connected to natural law and human nature. Since it is based only upon first principles, the standard of care (SoC) derived herein is superior proof of foreseeability compliance in any court. Why would anyone use a SoC reference based on opinions, credentials, and personalities when he could use a SoC that puts the choice matter beyond dispute? With GYAT no other protection is needed. That feature alone, one and done, justifies the commitment.
Wherever human beings are grouped together in mutual endeavor or for the accomplishment of a definite task, attitude is bound to be a controlling factor in their work. That their mental state, their will to do, their cooperative effort – all of which are synonymous – bear a true relation to their output, productivity and the success of the joint undertaking, is so obvious and has been proven so often as to require no supporting argument.
It is regrettable that modern industry has failed so often to comprehend this basic and vital economic truth or, comprehending it, has failed to grasp the opportunity and turn it to practical advantage. Directive and administrative energy has been turned too exclusively along mechanical and operative lines with disregard of the intrinsic and vitalizing psychological factors of producing. Arthur Twining Hadley (1901)
Social science has produced the fact that 97% of humanity has no idea how it makes the choices of action it executes. You can test for this amazing 97% yourself by asking the question of others as occasion permits. The wholesale absence of rational choice-making in society begs the question who and what is making the choices of task action actually executed, for what purpose, and how is the highjacking of your mind done without your awareness? One thing for sure, the deliberately opaque process used by people you don’t know to control you is not for your benefit.
Along with that cold shower is the demonstrated fact that 70% of humanity suffers from the imposter syndrome. The percentage of the head shed plagued with the imposter syndrome has been measured by science close to 100%. This cognitive impairment has a great bearing on social choice-making.
Learn by self-test. Imposturing has a set of symptoms:
- Devaluing successes and strengths. Ironically, people who suffer from imposter syndrome tend to devalue their successes. They often downplay their importance or attribute them to purely external factors like luck.
- Exaggerating failures and weaknesses. People with imposter syndrome spend a lot of time and energy thinking about and analyzing their mistakes and failures. They imagine people care more about the failures than they really do and convince themselves that even small mistakes are the beginning of much bigger more catastrophic failures to come. When you compare yourself to others, let your subconscious tell you how GYAT they are.
- Chronic self-doubt. People who feel like an imposter tend to experience a lot of negative self-talk, in the form of self-image. They consistently question their own judgment and decision-making, which often leads to feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem. “I’m worse than the others.”
- Dwelling on past mistakes. When people with imposter syndrome do inevitably make some mistakes, a hallmark is that they tend to dwell on them and ruminate about them, often to the point of obsessiveness. They have a hard time accepting and letting go of even very small mistakes in the past.
- Worry about being “found out,” revealed as a fraud. A certain sign of imposter syndrome is social anxiety. Specifically, people who feel like an imposter often spend a lot of time and mental energy imagining what other people think of them—especially, what other people might think if they realize how much of a fraud they are. This leads to high levels of anxiety and anticipatory guilt and shame.
Do the consequences of GIGO by intuition correlate with and contribute to the imposter syndrome? There’s no published science on this yet, but experience suggests it’s a safe bet. The scary part come in when you realize, “I’m no worse than the others” is the backstop defense. The unhealthy anxiety and stress that go along with the imposter syndrome restricts your freedom, leading you to avoid or give up on tremendous opportunities for growth and richness in your life. Learning the symptoms will change how you view your social systems.
The key to understanding why an imposter would develop the syndrome by himself is the scientific fact that the subconscious mind is the artifact that grades GYAT, and nothing else. It doesn’t matter what you think about your GYAT status, your subconscious mind is scoring you by reading the GYAT scores of you made by others. When others don’t think you have your act together, your own subconscious mind notes the conflict between your self-assessment and the one that counts. Since you can’t fool your own subconscious, it is constantly reminding you that you are an imposter.
Psychologists generally emphasize that the so-called faults of labor are due to unscientific methods of management which do not rightly encourage the “wholesome tendencies” of human nature nor “curb the pernicious tendencies.” In other words, psychology indicates that the responsibility for the misconduct of labor rests not with labor, but with management. Executives cannot shift the blame upon a perverse human nature on the part of the workers, for their human nature is as good as that of anybody else. The blame rests upon executives for not having developed methods of management which direct the human nature of the workers in the proper channels. Lionel E. Edie (1920)
Set of first principles at launch
GYAT is a methodology exemplar, a standard of care. It’s all about the practices and procedures of uncertainty reduction, entropy extraction, doing the work to confidently make right choices in uncertainty using your conscious mind. The construction requisite of the Plan B SoC is to eliminate reliance on opinions, credentials, permissions, empiricism, a priori.
What science says about Intuition:
Intuition is a choice that appears in consciousness without cognition. It is not magical but rather a faculty in which hunches are generated by the unconscious mind rapidly sifting through past experience and cumulative, biased knowledge.
Often referred to as “gut feelings,” intuition arises holistically and quickly, without awareness of the underlying mental processing of information. Scientists have repeatedly demonstrated how information can register on the brain without conscious awareness and positively influence decision-making and other behavior.
Intuition is a product of subconscious brain processing that automatically compares swiftly perceived elements of current experience with past experience and biased knowledge, and they are delivered to awareness with considerable emotional certainty.
Intuition, like first impressions, serves the brain’s need to predict and prepare for what might happen next. First impressions are rapid, holistic assessments of people based on subtle perceptual cues and judgment of intent to help or harm. Both rely on automatic processes and, as rapid evaluation systems, both are subject to error, especially from biases, no two people the same.
In fact, as an example, intuition is not a good guide to how well you are learning something. Intuition suggests that long stretches of studying or practice are best for learning, when evidence indicates that studying in shorter chunks is more effective.
Moving on, when you move the contention over health and GYAT out of the realm of intuition and opinion into the realm of objective measurement, you have left the nobrainer-stalemate realm and entered the arena of the producers. The production of the producers speaks for itself. GYAT is self-organization for being an effective producer.
The phrase originated early in the 20th century and is today widely used in a variety of ways. Even though official definitions are vague and wildly diverse, there seems to be a common sense about what “get your act together” means in the population at large.
The problem with misperceptions of reality
What happens when we extrapolate our perceptual shortcomings to large-scale human interaction? Too often, humans get stuck believing their view of the world is an objective reality. This, of course, leads to conflict with other humans who disagree, especially those we perceive to be part of an out-group. Naïve realism leads us to reason that we see the world objectively—and that others do as well. When we encounter people who disagree with us on important matters, we tend to think they are uninformed, irrational, or biased.
It is challenging and uncomfortable to confront our own understanding of the world, especially if we are unaware of our tendency for faulty interpretations of reality. Most people don’t consider that their opinions about the world are filtered through their unique perceptual lens, which is fundamentally biased, myopic and based on distorted experiences.
By becoming aware of the principles by which your perceptual brain works, you can become an active participant in your own perceptions, to support making good choices. To solve what one desires to solve, one may have to solve more at a higher level of abstraction in order to get a properly working flow of information.
How many people that don’t know how they make choices do you need to add to a dysfunctional social system to make it better?
There are some first-principles to accommodate before getting into the adventure of hyper-learning GYAT. That means starting right – the law of optimality. You have to commit to learning them and getting it right.
- GYAT is the mother of all virtues. Equivalencies include: Prudence – Benevolence, justice, fortitude, restraint, responsibility
- Social intelligence
- Complex problem solving, projects
- Entropy extraction
- Uncertainty elimination
- POSIWID: the Purpose Of the System Is What It Does
- Responsibility for outcomes. Cooperation, collaboration
- Professional standard of care (SoC)
- Stakeholder protection
- Plan B
- GYAT yes/no is determined by the subconscious minds of the local social system and nothing else. There is no part score. There is no alternative process to GYAT. That’s why, exactly, there is a GYAT, expanding a prudence definition developed five thousand years ago that, like the wheel, has held ever since. Understanding the subconscious mind and factoring it in, is fundamental.
- GYAT is a generic process. It consists of a progression of milestones where completing one is the requisite for heading off for the next. GIGO prevention does not allow for omitting steps.
- Failure is not an option. GYAT cannot fail its purpose and you have a support group of sympathetic veterans who will not let you stop short of GYAT. Remember, this whole scene is psychological. It has no mass, no inertia, and you already have everything it takes to succeed.
- Streaming benefits commence from day two. In this psychological business you don’t have to wait for definitive results. There’s no inertia to overcome.
The various words in common use to express competency with transforming uncertainty to certainty, the compelling purpose of a project, have to mean the same process. The direct way to reduce uncertainty is universal, generic. There cannot be two ways. Note that routine operations calls for none of these cognitive tasks. In rule-based behavior conditions, opinion works as counterproductively as anything else.
Project means a novel and temporary problem-solving, goal-seeking activity (PMI). Novel means without precedent, therefore uncertainty, therefore deliberately making good problem-solving choices in highly uncertain situations, like the future. The art and craft of direct uncertainty elimination requires large amounts of knowledge and intelligence. The only valid definition of intelligence, appropriate selection, by W. Ross Ashby, is uncertainty reduction, entropy extraction, prudence. There is no escaping the fact that GYAT is gatekeeper to the other human virtues. The logic brings us back full circle to the demonstrable fact that, because of its speed, the subconscious mind controls human virtues by applying or withholding GYAT status.
Mother GYAT, prudence, means that when the subconscious minds of the voters determine no-GYAT for you, you can forget about getting credit for your other human virtues. When you are adjudged virtue-less, the imposter syndrome takes over your life. It is an irresistible, engraved invitation to corruption. A corrupt government, GYAT-free, is incapable of doing socially-positive works. Such governments typically end by implosion.
Someone has spoken of corporations as being organizations “without a soul.” A number of examples indicate that great business establishments need not necessarily be soulless and that cold-blooded methods, or on the other hand those in which the element of human interests and relations appear, are merely matters of election and of the management of affairs to the end chosen.
Experience further demonstrates that the latter method is more successful in that, while adding to the sum total of human happiness, it pays economically. The reasons for this seem to be imperfectly understood, even by the organizations which have made effort to use it. But what has gone before in this book sets forth such reasons very clearly as founded on the laws of human nature. In exactly the proportion in which such laws are employed to the desired purpose, and are not contravened, industrial difficulties are avoided, unnecessary wastage of potential man power is reduced, productivity is increased and economic results are successful. It is not only a case of dollars and cents, but of dollars and sense. Successful business does not overlook the human agencies contributing to business success. Edward Lyman Munson, Col., US Army (1919)
GYAT gold standard
When you arrive at the end of the task flow for making good choices, prudency, they will say “Why, with that array of Actionable Quality Information (AQI) available, anyone could make right choices.” Precisely the point of GYAT, Plan B.
“Basics” is the first page of four pages covering the flow of knowledge development and logic requisite to reach and preserve GYAT status.
Basics, Flow, Dynamics and Validation, Benefit auto-expansion
- Flow starts with what we call “The Front End”
- Dynamics spans the activities of uncertainty elimination
- Autopilot benefit expansion includes husbandry, positive reciprocity, and competitive advantage
Each page overviews the scope of work, referring to other pages on the website for derivation and elaboration of key concepts.