Here’s the definition of National Intelligence and Intelligence Related to National Security:
National Intelligence and Intelligence Related to National Security means all intelligence, regardless of the source from which derived and including information gathered within or outside the United States, that pertains, as determined consistent with any guidance issued by the President, or that is determined for the purpose of access to information by the Director to pertain to more than one United States Government agency; and that involves threats to the United States, its people, property, or interests; the development, proliferation, or use of weapons of mass destruction; or any other matter bearing on United States national or homeland security.
— (Executive Order 12333)
In the section that describes the Strategic Environment, there are some interesting summaries describing the perspective of the Director of National Intelligence:
Traditional adversaries will continue attempts to gain and assert influence, taking advantage of changing conditions in the international environment—including the weakening of the post-WWII international order and dominance of Western democratic ideals, increasingly isolationist tendencies in the West, and shifts in the global economy. These adversaries pose challenges within traditional, non-traditional, hybrid, and asymmetric military, economic, and political spheres. Russian efforts to increase its influence and authority are likely to continue and may conflict with U.S. goals and priorities in multiple regions. Chinese military modernization and continued pursuit of economic and territorial predominance in the Pacific region and beyond remain a concern, though opportunities exist to work with Beijing on issues of mutual concern, such as North Korean aggression and continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile technology. Despite its 2015 commitment to a peaceful nuclear program, Iran’s pursuit of more advanced missile and military capabilities and continued support for terrorist groups, militants, and other U.S. opponents will continue to threaten U.S. interests. Multiple adversaries continue to pursue capabilities to inflict potentially catastrophic damage to U.S. interests through the acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which includes biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.
In addition to these familiar threats, our adversaries are increasingly leveraging rapid advances in technology to pose new and evolving threats— particularly in the realm of space, cyberspace, computing, and other emerging, disruptive technologies. Technological advances will enable a wider range of actors to acquire sophisticated capabilities that were previously available only to well-resourced states.
What concerns me is the language use in this document. The next paragraph reads as follows:
No longer a solely U.S. domain, the democratization of space poses significant challenges for the United States and the IC. Adversaries are increasing their presence in this domain with plans to reach or exceed parity in some areas. For example, Russia and China will continue to pursue a full range of anti-satellite weapons as a means to reduce U.S. military effectiveness and overall security. Increasing commercialization of space now provides capabilities that were once limited to global powers to anyone that can afford to buy them. Many aspects of modern society—to include our ability to conduct military operations—rely on our access to and equipment in space.
Beyond the obvious disillusionment our national intelligence agencies are experiencing (i.e., we are just now waking up to the AI and social media threats), we are also showing signs of blaming democracy for our troubles. What we are really referring to is the capitalization of space not democratization. Technology becoming cheap enough for commoditization is not the same thing as the enfranchisement of the citizens of a state.
Another example from the Director’s press release: “Advances in communications and the democratization of other technologies have also generated an ability to create and share vast and exponentially growing amounts of information farther and faster than ever before.”
The Director of National Intelligence is responsible for advising the President directly. The US is confusing democracy and capitalism from the inside out, and as the President has demonstrated on Twitter, he will not refrain from leveraging the threat of democracy in order to increase corporate profits.
As an executive who has operated in several world-changing Silicon Valley companies and participated in board meetings, I know the impact of corporate ideology and its power over the minds of executives. Money and corporate politics blind primates to the big picture. This is another example of how corporate ideology has infected our government, and I see no way of slowing this threat.
I worry our future is a corporate planet autocracy. The US is paving the way for China and Russia to play Global Corporate Warfare against democracy and win.
Remember particularly that you cannot be a judge of any one. For no one can judge a criminal, until he recognizes that he is just such a criminal as the man standing before him, and that he perhaps is more than all men to blame for that crime. When he understands that, he will be able to be a judge. Though that sounds absurd, it is true. If I had been righteous myself, perhaps there would have been no criminal standing before me. If you can take upon yourself the crime of the criminal your heart is judging, take it at once, suffer for him yourself, and let him go without reproach. And even if the law itself makes you his judge, act in the same spirit so far as possible, for he will go away and condemn himself more bitterly than you have done. If, after your kiss, he goes away untouched, mocking at you, do not let that be a stumbling-block to you. It shows his time has not yet come, but it will come in due course. And if it come not, no matter; if not he, then another in his place will understand and suffer, and judge and condemn himself, and the truth will be fulfilled. Believe that, believe it without doubt; for in that lies all the hope and faith of the saints.
Work without ceasing. If you remember in the night as you go to sleep, “I have not done what I ought to have done,” rise up at once and do it. If the people around you are spiteful and callous and will not hear you, fall down before them and beg their forgiveness; for in truth you are to blame for their not wanting to hear you. And if you cannot speak to them in their bitterness, serve them in silence and in humility, never losing hope. If all men abandon you and even drive you away by force, then when you are left alone fall on the earth and kiss it, water it with your tears and it will bring forth fruit even though no one has seen or heard you in your solitude. Believe to the end, even if all men went astray and you were left the only one faithful; bring your offering even then and praise God in your loneliness. And if two of you are gathered together—then there is a whole world, a world of living love. Embrace each other tenderly and praise God, for if only in you two His truth has been fulfilled.
If you sin yourself and grieve even unto death for your sins or for your sudden sin, then rejoice for others, rejoice for the righteous man, rejoice that if you have sinned, he is righteous and has not sinned.
If the evil-doing of men moves you to indignation and overwhelming distress, even to a desire for vengeance on the evil-doers, shun above all things that feeling. Go at once and seek suffering for yourself, as though you were yourself guilty of that wrong. Accept that suffering and bear it and your heart will find comfort, and you will understand that you too are guilty, for you might have been a light to the evil-doers, even as the one man sinless, and you were not a light to them. If you had been a light, you would have lightened the path for others too, and the evil-doer might perhaps have been saved by your light from his sin. And even though your light was shining, yet you see men were not saved by it, hold firm and doubt not the power of the heavenly light. Believe that if they were not saved, they will be saved hereafter. And if they are not saved hereafter, then their sons will be saved, for your light will not die even when you are dead. The righteous man departs, but his light remains. Men are always saved after the death of the deliverer. Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those whom they have slain. You are working for the whole, you are acting for the future. Seek no reward, for great is your reward on this earth: the spiritual joy which is only vouchsafed to the righteous man. Fear not the great nor the mighty, but be wise and ever serene. Know the measure, know the times, study that. When you are left alone, pray. Love to throw yourself on the earth and kiss it. Kiss the earth and love it with an unceasing, consuming love. Love all men, love everything. Seek that rapture and ecstasy. Water the earth with the tears of your joy and love those tears. Don’t be ashamed of that ecstasy, prize it, for it is a gift of God and a great one; it is not given to many but only to the elect.
—The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated by Constance Garnett, stolen from Markus Triska.
I believe in the Golden Rule. For this essay, I want to address a few details as a result of applying this rule. These are my personal guiding principles when it comes to my own behavior:
- Do unto others only what I would do unto my self.
- Actively Love Unconditionally: Choose to pay attention to and engage with people outside of my self.
- Place the support and love of family first. Family: Partner, children, all parents, and all siblings and their children as well, at a minimum.
- Be actively and consistently honest through time.
- Be respectful and kind.
I constantly fail at #1 (and 2 through 5). Everyone does. To be alive means trying anyway.
How does this affect how I treat my partner? It means I choose to pay attention to the details of their life, their words and expressed thoughts, what makes them happy, what hurts them, or even what makes them anxious or distracted from that which makes them happy. I want to support them in the ways they feel best and also how I feel is best, because self-aware entities cannot avoid such thoughts. I also want them to thrive in the ways that they define thriving.
For me to thrive, I must make choices which enable those I love to:
- Pursue love on their own terms.
- Guarantee those they love thrive at least as well as my own self.
- Demonstrate love of family first.
- Speak and act honestly.
- Actively take actions which are kind in nature.
If I were to prohibit any of those activities, then I would be prohibiting those that I love from living the way that I do, which would be contradictory to my own being. I would be preaching one thing and doing another.
For everyone, this means: They should be supported in their efforts to pay attention to that which they love.
Specifically, for my partner this means I have the following expectations:
- One is free to love anyone they want.
- One is free to act in supporting ways to others.
- I expect a demonstration of placing love of family first.
- I expect honesty.
- I expect actively taking actions which are kind in nature.
These are not unconditional. These are the conditions. And, if one considers the act of love as a choice, which I do, it means that I can actively choose to ignore that which I love in order to not create more love and attention, which could be damaged and lost later should the person I love betray my expectations.
Make no mistake, I have these expectations. I cannot avoid them because I’m an actively thinking creature that uses mental models of the future to determine (or so I like to think) my own actions. If I’m constantly betrayed, I will choose to pay attention to other people who generate less pain and misery in my own life. Otherwise, I would be hurting myself, slowly destroying my own ability to not only support myself (due to depression or anguish) but my family and those I love as well.
What does it mean to love someone unconditionally? To me, it means having the confidence in my self to ignore the psychological impact created by the changes and behavior of the person whom I love, on my own identity. Shorter: I love them no matter what they do to me. And by to me, it could mean that I’ve misperceived the other’s actions or intent.
The most common argument against I’ve heard about the Golden Rule: Sometimes we don’t know what is best for the other person, so this is a bad rule.
My response: All rules fail in that scenario, and no other rule performs as well when faced with not knowing what is best for the other person. Also, this argument also contains an element of potential confusion: Sometimes it’s assumed that one is always going to do something to the other person because of the presence of the words do unto others. Let’s not forget the word only which follows just after others. This means one can choose to do nothing at all. Choosing to not think about the other person is also an option. Choosing that option is called ignoring.
I suspect that conditions will always apply because we are biological creatures which use mental models to mathematically represent the Universe, and these models will inevitably reveal and project fundamental contradictions in our perception–of everything.
Contradictions in our understanding of one another present themselves constantly. We expect one behavior, and yet another behavior takes place, resulting in anxiety, doubt, and fear. These are powerful emotions, and the lizard parts of our primate brains impose powerful forces our physical bodies will not ignore, even if we want them to. They will react to inconsistencies in the Universe that cannot be ignored, even if they are imagined.
And, if one were to mathematically represent love, what would that look like? My mental musings led me to consider the following context, one that I’ve mentioned before. As a poem:
We love what we pay attention to.
We pay attention to what we love.
I like this representation because it is two-way: It says that attention, if identified, happens when one loves. If one’s attention could be examined, one could examine the love that one holds.
The hard part starts when one discovers that what is being paid attention to fundamentally breaks all of the rules. Like paying attention to work or things instead of partner and family. Constantly engaging in selfish activities, self-destructive behavior like drug and alcohol abuse, infidelity, absence, and deception will utterly destroy relationships. My own have failed because of these.
Want to destroy your marriage? Work day and night. On anything. You could be working on a brilliant new Bible you think will save all of mankind, and if you pay attention to it instead of the people in your life, those people will go away or fail to thrive, which is a normal thing for them to do. They will be forced, by you, to make a choice of living without you or attempting to thrive in a world where you are actively keeping them from thriving.
Want to alienate your kids? Talk to them about work all the time, miss daily events in their lives, and just simply pay attention to other things. It will happen naturally. I suggest just listening for while. You’d be surprised what kids say after a few days of just being around them without saying anything. If they trust you, they will share their lives with you.
Want to fundamentally damage your partner? Engage in infidelity, dishonesty, absence, or material obsessions. Routinely choosing to act in ways that cause anxiety, stress, or emotional pain is hurtful. Do not be surprised if they turn their attention to other things and other people.