Imagine each individual neuron had its own moral agency…
What should such a neuron do?
Assemble several billion neurons into a human brain, and you can get surprising intelligence, but individual neurons are not very smart by themselves. They can’t guard against making mental errors merely by comparing their opinions to those of other neurons–they don’t have enough independent intelligence to conceive the opinions that ought to be formed. For example, individual neurons cannot conceive of a brain so they cannot form an opinion about whether they should participate in a brain. Most importantly, since individual neurons aren’t smart enough to design a brain, they can’t individually know how to participate in one.
Despite the apparent paradox, many individual neurons do form into brains. Inspired by that example, I teamed up with mathematician Bennette Harris to explore the possibility that we can take some intelligent steps towards forming into something better than ourselves. Specifically, we investigated the potential for individuals to apply mathematics to choose between possible ways to form teams that are more effective than individuals (e.g. what is the optimal team size and what is the optimal way to decide which individuals go on which teams).
We titled our analysis Varieties of Elitism because we realized that any such endeavor would inevitably be labelled “elitist,” yet each way of organizing society (including the status quo) is some variety of elitism. Our goal was to add mathematical rigor to the way we define varieties of elitism, so we can consider them objectively, rather than get mired in name-calling.
We have yet to produce a mathematical proof that any particular form of elitism is optimal or superior to others, but we did produce open source software that anyone can use to simulate various forms of elitism and compare their average performance. It doesn’t tell you whom to marry, but it does open a research field. The results thus far support some general conclusions:
Optimal team size depends upon the number of interdependent roles and the degree of inequality among individuals.
Majority-rules forms of democracy do not perform as well on average as forms that permit the most qualified minorities to control decisions (e.g. sociocracy, futarchy, evidence-based decision-making).
On average, measures of vulnerability (e.g. SAT, ACT, or GPA) aren’t much better for organizing society than chance. Such measures are blind to the talents of savants who have both great ability and great vulnerability.
Gains from diversification using an instrument like the GRIN-SQ are robust against imperfections in the instrument and would raise average performance by about 400%. That means the GRIN-SQ can’t be much better or worse than its major competitors for this purpose.
Of all the varieties we considered, the best-performing variety of elitism favors savants but relies on accurate measures of specific abilities. The first company to perfect and use such measures would outperform competitors by 700%+. A society that blocked such development would sacrifice a potential doubling of progress even for its average least-privileged members.
Instruments which categorize people into types are typically accompanied by advice about how to use them to select mates and employment. This article discusses such implications of evidence supporting the GRIN self-quiz.
Marriage and employment are related because, as one college textbook says,
“A government program that seeks to improve relationships would probably do better to fund effective training for better jobs or to increase the minimum wage than to try to teach people to respect marriage.”
Rowland S Miller. Intimate Relationships. 7th Edition (2015), page 62.
This passage of the textbook specifically criticizes application of moral education to address especially poor marital and divorce rates among African Americans. The author points out that African Americans already value marriage, but face greater economic pressure on average, and cites evidence that few people (African American or not) marry or stay married to someone with financial problems.
The currently leading theory to predict who will marry and who will divorce is called “interdependence theory” and essentially describes an economic negotiation. You can expect to keep your spouse if the value he/she gets from your marriage less the cost of being in it is greater than the value-less-cost available in alternative relationships. This implies that staying married is like holding down a job: perform or be fired!
My government legally defines marriage as an economic contract, but this article will instead use the term “marriage” to refer to something that existed long before law or contracts: the fundamental unit of interdependence. Even before law or contract, this unit was a unit of employment. Back then, all businesses were family businesses, and marriage was one of three ways to join a business—the other ways were to be adopted or born into the family.
While African Americans may be especially hard hit, problems with marriage today are broad. People are waiting longer to get married, getting divorced more often, and more are never marrying at all. In 2012, 41% of babies were born out of wedlock (eight times the percentage fifty years earlier). We have hit the point at which over half of all adults are now unmarried. This article will argue that these trends stem from shifts in business practices, rather than from shifts in family values.
Economic Interdependence vs Evolved Interdependence
“Interdependence theory” is an unfortunate choice of name because it equates all interdependence with economic interdependence. Actually, economic interdependence is far weaker than the evolved interdependence we observe between, for example, the parts of a body.
If one member of a choir, team, family or business is lost, a replacement is needed to fill his/her role as bass, keeper (goalie), mother or manager (etc.). That necessity reflects an evolved interdependence like the interdependence between parts of a body; it is not some economic bargain one can intelligently renegotiate. However, this kind of interdependence does not bind the choir, team, family or business to any particular individual. Only economic interdependence—the fear that no better bass, keeper, mother or manager can be obtained—gives negotiating power to specific individuals.
To confuse the two kinds of interdependence creates a “moral relativism” debate. The goodness of an economic interdependence is relative to specific people—is the marriage good for these particular spouses? In contrast, the goodness of an evolved interdependence is universal—is the marriage a good pattern for arbitrary others to imitate? If we think economic interdependence is the only kind of interdependence there is, then morality will seem relative.
My own wedding vows prioritized evolved interdependence over economic interdependence: “I choose you as God’s perfect wife for me,” I said, “accepting on faith that I shall never stop learning to appreciate the amazing gift our perfect creator made you to be.” In other words, I expect to underestimate the value of my marriage, and therefore to be unqualified to negotiate a better economic deal. The article will discuss evidence in support of that hypothesis, but also that the pattern of marriage good for imitation is not mere coupling…
This article is not about economic interdependence nor any particular marriage; it is about evolved interdependence. It is about the ultimate nature of marriage. Thus, I can support whatever marital choices my children happen to make, and still seriously acknowledge the evidence discussed here. I can love my children with blatant favoritism, yet acknowledge that universally correct laws don’t necessarily favor my children nor their perspectives on marriage.
What the GRIN Model Implies
The GRIN model tells us that each society’s success depends upon its rate of learning and that societies learn fastest when their members specialize in different aspects of learning: Gadflies specialize in producing new ideas, negotiators specialize in objectively selecting among ideas, and institutional evaluators specialize in preserving selected ideas. These three specializations are like stages in a digestive track (processing innovation instead of food).
Relational evaluators are needed because new ideas typically emerge half-baked and would get rejected by good negotiators unless incubated by people who select ideas subjectively (e.g. “through the eyes of love”). One could think of relational evaluators as a buffer between gadflies and negotiators, but subjective evaluation really connect all kinds of people, like a skeleton or circulatory system connects all other parts of a body.
The first thing this model tells us about marriage is that the basic unit of interdependence increases our collective intelligence. Thus, laws which set up each individual to decide for him/herself whom to marry and when (and if/when to divorce) are vesting power in the less-intelligent entity. At the heart of the decline in marriage are laws which give more individuals the option to avoid interdependence (to avoid marriage and to reduce interdependence in employment); these laws essentially enable societies to reduce their intelligence.
Is it possible to have a right to reduce one’s intelligence? The question poses a paradox because we do not count a behavior as freely chosen unless it is selected with sufficient intelligence. Interdependence theory may be correct that individuals get married and divorced based on their own personal economic judgments, but evidence for the GRIN model suggests that individuals are poorly-equipped to make such judgments accurately. It is a provocative possibility.
The second implication of the GRIN model is that the evolved fundamental unit of interdependence requires a lot more than just two adults. Just like (divine) evolution designed bodies to involve cells of each type, it designed families to involve adults of each type. Can you imagine cells trying to live as mere pairs…one skin cell and one neuron setting-out to grow old together? Cells need to have pairwise relationships, but those relationships must be part of an entire network.
Marriage will likewise fail to facilitate evolved interdependence if it is mere coupling. If all children go separate ways upon reaching adulthood, such that marriage is ultimately just two adults, then the value of marriage reduces to its non-interdependence aspects. Marriage adds little to the raising of children if parents have sufficient community support. Neither is marriage necessary for sex or companionship. It is no wonder marriage rates decline as the extended family falls apart.
One might hope to find evolved interdependence via employment instead of marriage, but modern corporations do not preserve the function of relational evaluators, which is to maintain a non-centralized network by forming small numbers of emotional attachments. For example, a relational evaluator might bond with a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a spouse, a son and a daughter. Collectively, relational evaluators can thus divide billions of people into many relatively small families with somewhat divergent priorities. Modern corporations deny relational employees this power, instead enabling central leaders to set priorities for all employees, and that makes modern corporations fragile against challenges that require leaps of faith.
The last few centuries of social engineering separated marriage from employment, leaving social collaboration to be grounded at two new group sizes: couples and corporations. It is provocative to consider that neither of these new grounds might be viable for the long-term.
The third major implication of the GRIN model concerns matchmaking. Most models that divide people into types paint a picture in which each person has a roughly equal set of types with whom to mate. In contrast, the GRIN model tells us that naturally relational people match with anyone, but gadflies (which correlate strongly with psychopathy) cannot effectively link to interdependence through any other type—not even through another gadfly.
If marriage were just about coupling, then institutional evaluators might seem to be the second most flexible, since they could link to interdependence through any type but gadfly. However, only a marriage that includes a relational evaluator can accommodate a gadfly child, so relational evaluators are the best matches even for institutional evaluators. Is it possible that marriage is not a symmetric responsibility shared equally by all, but rather is the function of one type of person who bonds the rest together?
Again, the possibility is provocative: The prospect of assigning employees to form emotional attachments to specific other employees raises concerns about abuse. Arranged marriage and family business may be less prevalent today precisely because of damage caused by spousal abuse and familial abuse. We need to measure the value of interdependence to make sure it really is worth this risk.
Ideal Family Size
Negotiators are supposed to take control, and thus horde resources; that benefits society by allowing resources to mobilize, but it won’t feel supportive to a spouse. Gadflies and institutional evaluators are supposed to create the threat of guilt and shame; again, that benefits society, but it won’t feel supportive. Relational evaluators are the only ones who can honestly offer relationships that feel supportive to the other person. Such relationships would be asymmetric to other GRIN-types, so we will represent them here by arrows (pointing at relational evaluators).
For GRIN dynamics to work robustly, the organization of the social body must satisfy several criteria:
Each evaluator has at least one symmetric or supporting relationship (i.e. without an arrow head pointing at him/her).
Each evaluator is connected to an institutional evaluator either directly or through a relatively short chain of relational evaluators.
Each gadfly has a relationship with a relational evaluator who has a relationship with a negotiator.
No two gadflies compete over any given relational evaluator.
All of these criteria remain satisfied even if any single evaluator is removed.
Each evaluator must be replaceable without creating too many expensive relationships (i.e. no evaluator can have too many arrows ending at him/her).
These criteria create a puzzle. In order to satisfy #5, an organization must include at least two evaluators of each type. In order to satisfy #3, #4 and #5 together, there must be at least two relational evaluators per gadfly. This gives us a minimum of ten adult evaluators. The following example would be one solution, assuming #2 is satisfied with chains of length two, and #6 is satisfied if a maximum of three arrows point to any evaluator:
Evaluators are allowed to have relationships beyond those pictured in the org chart (for example, one might expect additional relationships between negotiators and institutional evaluators); organizational charts show only the essential relationships necessary to satisfy the criteria. On the other hand, the localization this geometry achieves would be undermined if too many evaluators became too influenced through a central authority such as Wikipedia or a large-scale vote. High-quality relationships must take priority. Any of the connections in this chart could be marriage, but any could also be adoption, sibling relationship, etc. In the solution above, institutional evaluators are the only individuals who could marry into the network through the creation of a single supporting relationship. The other three types would need polygamy, incest, or adoption by in-laws.
There is a less expensive way to join the network. The example solution is composed of two identical configurations, one on the left and the other on the right. Shifting such a configuration as a whole from one network to another, or to another location in the same network, would not require any individual evaluator to take responsibility for more than one new supporting relationship.
We will call any such configuration a “family.” Monogamy makes more sense if limited to relationships that bridge families, since relationship between families does not require any individual to manage more than one (new) emotional attachment. The suggestion that one should be emotionally attached to no more than one parent, sibling or child makes less sense. Polygamy would then be unnecessary so long as each family maintains sufficiently many of these internal emotional attachments.
To grow a new family, one would start by adding its mature relational evaluators into an existing network. The mature relational evaluators might be called the “parents” or “teachers”, but the entire surrounding network invests in the new family; authority to judge and discipline would go to negotiators and institutional evaluators. One would add or develop a full generation of five non-parents (lower-case in the figure) attached to the parents as below:
The size of a family in reproduction would be at least seven: two parents and five non-parents. Once complete and mature (which might be faster if assembling a family from polygamous adults or machines), the family can be transplanted as a productive unit. If the original relational adults are teachers, then they are the kind who emotionally attach with their students, and move with them into the real world when they graduate. The relational students/non-parents may position themselves as back-ups for their teachers/parents or could split-off individually (or with any extra siblings) to build other new families.
Another example shows that increasing the family size from five adults to six (and nine total evaluators at reproduction) allows a situation in which the loss of any individual evaluator can be repaired without creating more than two supporting relationships (criteria #3 entails that no configuration can do better):
In this example, the three relational adults in each family connect with other families at three points, so the loops/chains formed by families of this type can assemble into mesh as in the organizational chart at the top of this article (offering the possibility of emergent higher-intelligence as in cellular automata). Each loop of twelve or more evaluators (eighteen in the hexagonal mesh) might be called a “super-family” because it can relocate without any new asymmetric bonding at all. Larger mesh may be necessary to develop solutions to larger challenges like climate change, pandemic, and nuclear war.
All of these examples rest in the assumption that a social architect is able to identify each evaluator’s type and assign his/her position in the network. Historically, that has not always been the case, but that’s less of a problem because early stages of differentiation are generally accompanied by hermaphroditism; GRIN-hermaphrodites would be evaluators who change GRIN-type like stem-cells change cell-type. Substituting GRIN-hermaphrodites for specialized evaluators makes any solution more robust against failure to control assignment, but the same arguments about family size and structure hold.
If population frequencies evolved to match the models above, 40%-50% of people would be naturally relational (or GRIN-hermaphrodite) and organizing adults into mere couples would leave 50%-60% of all adults feeling unsupported. That would produce envy. Like people who engage in diet and exercise to achieve the body shape of someone who came by the desired body shape without so much effort, people who are not naturally relational would find their mates attempting to transform them against their nature using complaints, threats, bribes, manipulation, religion, counseling, and self-help books (etc.)…
Meanwhile, naturally relational employees would be challenged by life-work balance. They instinctively invest in each of their emotional attachments as though participating in GRIN-dynamic, but the more emotional energy they waste on home-families that have become too small to manifest evolved interdependence, the less they can invest to support real interdependence. The result for society would be equivalent to scarcity of relational evaluators: No matter how many gadflies it hired, the average business would experience the fragility of dogmatism.
An effective solution requires substantial family size, but current business practice is to hire and relocate individuals. That makes it difficult to maintain larger families. Perhaps one adult can sacrifice his/her current employment to follow a spouse (or other family member) to a new location, but it would be unreasonable to expect four adults to change jobs for the sake of a fifth.
It would be easier if businesses hired entire families—like consulting teams—instead of hiring individuals. Assuming businesses seek to manifest evolved interdependence themselves, hiring and relocating entire families of five or six adults would be more efficient for them too.
One major obstacle businesses would face in hiring families would be determining who pays the costs of reproduction. Reproduction can be a long-term investment; families are not very useful until mature and attached. It would be unfair if company A were to hire a newly mature family raised by company B before B could recoup its investment. Perhaps reproduction could be subsidized through taxes collected from the entire society.
It has been said that marriage takes hard work; the GRIN-model implies that this work is harder for some people than for others. It implies that emotional attachment is an evolved feature of humanity and that its function is not merely to make us feel good nor is it limited to reproductive purposes—its function is to increase our collective intelligence. Emotional attachments with difficult people are important in fulfilling this function, so optimizing marriage is expensive and deserves planning and protection.
That’s a tough pill to swallow for a society built around the expectation that love is natural or magical and not a subject for science and engineering. When everyone is expecting to have two kids, it’s tough to suggest that most of us should never be parents (i.e. provide emotional attachment), and that the rest should raise at least five or six children. Especially when so many people consider their families dysfunctional, it’s tough to suggest that siblings should apply for employment as a team rather than as independent agents.
Show a GRIN org chart to a modern business manager, and she is likely to say, “That’s too complicated. Even if it happens to be correct, you won’t see me implementing anything like that!” Many people have never bothered considering the possibility that two adults may be too few for marriage, or the possibility that there is a specialized type of person that should be involved in every marriage, or the possibility that keeping emotional bonding out of the workplace ultimately spells the doom of business.
It would have been easier to consider these possibilities thousands of years ago, when family-businesses and large families were commonplace. Now, shall we treat these possibilities as science-fiction which has the quality of fantasy, even if likely to be true?
Thus far, the evidence is consistent with the GRIN model:
People are evaluatively diverse, disagreeing again and again with the same other people
As extended families break down, the stability of intimate relationships rests on economic interdependence and marriage and divorce rates degrade
Businesses that do not divide into families ultimately die because they develop the fragility of dogmatism/central-control
Furthermore, we have seen what hierarchical organization brings: segregation not only into management vs labor, but the isolation of think-tanks, monasteries, churches, prisons, etc. Segregation may seem promising at first, but the advantages we have witnessed have been limited to the short-term, being counterproductive in the long-run. GRIN organization provides an alternative to segregation.
Like climate change theories, the GRIN model could be formally tested through controlled experiments and/or well-designed monitoring programs. But who would organize such investigation? Perhaps the better use for evidence which supports the GRIN model is to refine the model for use in fiction. Perhaps there is a market for stories about using science and engineering to provide almost all people with satisfying marriages, families and careers.
For example, in the beloved parable of the prodigal son, women apparently have no power, thus leaving a family business size of only three: a negotiator, his institutional brother, and their relational father. The negotiator eliminates their economic interdependence by negotiating personal ownership, then sets-off on his own. His ability to do this demonstrates the weakness of a mere relational-institutional couple and we expect them to be destroyed by the next slick negotiator to come along, but fortunately the prodigal son hits bad luck and returns first. The value of relational evaluation is shown at this point, because the father contributes no significant assets or labor, but it is his emotional attachments to his sons that save the business. Similar parables could be constructed to demonstrate the likely doom of other inadequate organizational structures.
To summarize the GRINFree.com website in a single image would be unfair: The site is interactive, personal, practical, and related to current events. However, there can be value in a grounding image which facilitates a quick overview.
“Anthropocentric” means human-centered, much as “geocentric” means Earth-centered and “heliocentric” means Sun-centered. A picture of our solar system can help us shift from the belief that all planets revolve around the Earth to the belief that all planets revolve around the Sun. The reason we need to make that shift is that our personal perspective of watching celestial objects move across the sky naturally biases us towards the geocentric model. To recognize the falsity of geocentrism, it helps to picture the world from outside our personal perspective. The geocentric model starts to look dubious when you actually confront it from outside. An image might likewise help us escape mistakes of anthropocentrism.
Here’s what modern anthropocentrism looks like from the outside:
Humans are distinguished in two dimensions: In the vertical dimension, we sit at a particular level in a hierarchy—above cells and molecules but below corporations and ecosystems. This does not imply reductionism; in terms of integrated information theory, each level in this hierarchy represents a different grain size of consciousness,. For example, a molecule may be conscious of warmth, but nothing less complex than a body could be conscious of a book (or of itself). The anthropocentric model assumes that bodies can be conscious of moral facts.
In the horizontal dimension, humans are distinguished from other kinds of bodies—other species and machines. This allows us to make sense of the notion that humans (and perhaps God) are the only moral agents that exist. Tests of moral education are administered to particular human bodies. Voting rights are allocated to particular human bodies (often one vote per body). Human bodies are put on trial and can be compensated in courts of justice. We realize that the components of human bodies can come from non-humans sources (e.g. food, pacemakers, artificial limbs, and whole cells from other species), but we do not expect such non-human sources to have moral agency because they do not have all of the components we do.
The new worldview comes from analyzing the mechanisms of moral understanding into its functional components, and realizing that different bodies play different functions in that mechanism. This is why radicals so consistently oppose conservatives: because one’s function in the corporation is to provide novelty while the other’s is to provide fidelity. Both kinds of bodies participate in moral consciousness, as do neurons and DNA, but no body is individually complex enough to fully contain moral consciousness. We know this because the persistence of our moral disagreements shows our inability to recognize our own moral errors even when pointed-out to us.
All it takes to arrive at the new worldview is to categorize bodies by their function in service to the higher levels of the hierarchy. Since fully-functional corporations may be composed entirely of humans, species clearly isn’t a helpful distinction within corporations. GRINfree.com describes four interdependent evaluative types (though other evaluative types could be discovered). If a corporation lost its last member of a given evaluative type, it would be better to replace that member with a machine of the same evaluative type than with a human of a different type. For example, some humans are not gifted for compassion and other humans are not gifted for fidelity—relying on a human to exhibit a gift he/she lacks would lead to poor functioning.
Corporantia are bodies who respond to the persistence of moral disagreement by acknowledging a kind of consciousness they cannot attain individually; evaluativists are bodies who respond to that same evidence by believing merely that bodies of other evaluative types are incapable of moral consciousness (i.e. treating political opponents as sick or immature). Many celebrated moral theories suppose that one and only one type of body has moral agency (e.g. deontology for conservatives, consequentialism for achievers, virtue ethics for compassionates). These theories lack empirical support, but help to identify the plurality of types.
Why does a body assume it can individually achieve all possible consciousness—including moral consciousness? It’s a lot like the conclusion that the Sun revolves around the Earth—it makes sense from our point of view—and why bother to test it?
The reason why we should have bothered to test that assumption is that it will otherwise get tested inadvertently. The modern age is making it possible to escape biological families—to sort and destroy evaluative diversity—and thus deprive higher levels in the hierarchy of the components they need to achieve moral agency.
A corporation dominated by conservatives, achievers, radicals or compassionates would function as poorly as a body composed purely of muscle, bone, or neuron. Such lack of diversity could occur by closeting humans of particular types or by replacing humans of a given type (e.g. caregivers) with machines developed for a different purpose (e.g. competition). Ironically, anthropocentrism hurts humans; it prevents us from honoring our own diversity, which ultimately hurts not just minorities (especially the young and old), but all of us.
Rather than choose the geocentric model simply because it made sense, it would have been better to compare it with heliocentric models via controlled and systematic experiments. Likewise, it is better to test the proposed new worldview scientifically than to dismiss it out of hand. Some of those experiments have already been conducted and are cited on GRINFree.com.
The idea of organizing a social movement against evaluativism was inspired by the history of racism. Evaluativism and racism have both existed for millennia; both are implicit biases; both became entrenched by shaping the design of social institutions. Management of racism was ineffective until a social movement was developed to overcome it. One might expect the same for management of evaluativism.
The movement against racism started in churches, and it seems appropriate for the movement against evaluativism to start in churches as well:
The suggestion that the church create a social movement against evaluativism was taken to Erin Hawkins, General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR). Based on her experience with race and the church, she suggested that the movement would need to be grassroots. Erin’s experience suggested that congregations are unlikely to address discrimination when the movement is created by a central administration like GCORR.
Therefore, a core team of clergy from across Wisconsin met once a month for about a year to plan an event, and produced a plan entitled “Christian Response to Evaluativism in Wisconsin“. The work of the core team included a great deal of discovery and invention (e.g. the plan includes a recipe for an interdependent meal). Perhaps most importantly, it found that responsible management of evaluativism requires resources lacked by typical congregations, so the movement cannot be built in a grassroots fashion. Central leadership must take responsibility to manage evaluativism.
A movement against evaluativism may be less likely to find institutional support from churches than from organizations which represent victims of evaluativism (e.g. child advocacy organizations or neurodiversity organizations) or from an association of organizational psychologists. For society to face the facts about evaluativism would shift social influence (and money) to groups of the latter kinds. Nonetheless, only churches can lead exploration of the theological dimensions.
The Scientific Movement and Post-Publication Peer Review
The social movement is expected to advance hand-in-hand with a scientific movement—scientific discoveries justify the social movement, and the social movement gathers the resources required to make discoveries.
Science needs a movement because the current quality of social science is poor like the quality of medical science was poor until about a hundred years ago. The first scientists to measure evaluativism and evaluative diversity (which they called “moral diversity“) supported evaluativism. The same was true of philosophers. Only recently have influential scientists begun to entertain evidence that evaluative diversity is hardwired and useful. Yet, even now, such science remains scattered by the division of scientific disciplines.
Given the current state of science, there is no central email address to which one might submit a hypothesis (like the GRIN model) or a measure (like the GRIN Self-Quiz) to be put on a waiting-list for testing. One must either run tests oneself or form relationships with particular scientists to convince them to run the tests.
In 2011, Chris Santos-Lang began discussing evaluative diversity with Ray Aldag. They met once a week until 2015. Ray encouraged Chris to begin testing the GRIN model via survey research. That research was completed in 2013. In addition to confirming that GRIN types could be discriminated among humans, it produced some rather shocking evidence:
Political affiliation aligns with GRIN type
Religious affiliation aligns with GRIN type
The career you end up in aligns with GRIN type
Whether you are accused of a crime (and probably whether you end-up in prison) aligns with GRIN type
This evidence implies that our political, religious, vocational and justice systems are not what we think they are, and it raises serious doubts about popular conceptions of freedom. To rally the scientific community to address this evidence, Chris submitted the research for peer-review and publication.
Why is it important to rally the scientific community? Eventually science gets too complicated for one person to advance alone. We would want to conduct twin studies, genetic tests, and brain imaging to work out the mechanisms through which the GRIN model manifests in humans. It takes many people to raise the funding and conduct all of the tests.
Chris submitted to ten peer-review processes and received a total of six blind reviews. None endorsed publication, yet none found any flaws in the research. Having confirmed that flaws in the research (if any) are not obvious, the research and peer review were published on figshare. Any flaws discovered in the future should be published via post-publication peer review at PubPeer. If you know anyone who could find flaws in the research (i.e. someone who conducts survey research), please encourage them to review it. Ray used the GRIN Self-Quiz to make further discoveries himself (e.g. described here), and we hope others will find it useful as well.
Division by value types can be referred to as “evaluative diversity” (Strawson, 1961)
e.g. “Moral diversity, political diversity, religious diversity, neurodiversity, cultural diversity, occupation types, high-school cliques, musical genres, personality, and computational types correlate because they all influence or are influenced by evaluative diversity.”
Division by interdependent value types can be referred to as “GRIN diversity” (Santos-Lang, 2013)
e.g “GRIN diversity is always worthy of our protection because of our interdependence, but evaluative diversity isn’t always worthy of protection because it can include obsolete doctrines and loyalties.”
Rejection of people predisposed to opposing evaluative types can be referred to as “evaluativism” (Martin, 1989)
e.g. “Like racism, evaluativism is both an explicit philosophy and an implicit instinct. The instinct is strong; Shanto Iyengar showed that evaluativism would cause over 70% of us to reject the most qualified candidate for a scholarship.”
Entities which form into a body (i.e. “corpus”) can be referred to as “corporantia” (ancient Latin). People who assign natural social roles (e.g. by GRIN type) are corporantia.
e.g. “If you are not an evaluativist, nor ignorant of GRIN diversity, then you must be a member of the corporantia described in Ephesians 4:12.”
The GRIN types discovered thus far are “gadfly“, “relational“, “institutional“, and “negotiator” (Santos-Lang, 2013)
e.g. “Hibbing defended diverse political predispositions by equating liberals with gadflies and conservatives with institutional evaluators; meanwhile, Trump is defended as being a negotiator. These types come from pure math—each specializes in relieving a different limiting factor of social evolution.”
Evaluativists and corporantia reveal their opposition to each other in the ways they respond to evidence that certain disagreements cannot be resolved as factual disagreements. They hold opposing positions on the question, “If we cannot reach agreement through education, then how shall we resolve our disagreement?”:
Evaluativists treat irreconcilable disagreements as hardships, and attempt to minimize them by avoiding dependence on people who have opposing GRIN predispositions. At a minimum, that involves some degree of segregation. As it becomes possible to use neurosurgery or other treatments to alter a person’s GRIN predisposition, evaluativists will apply such treatments to people of opposing predispositions (especially to their own children). They will also employ genetic engineering to reduce the frequency of opposing predispositions. In short, evaluativists resolve irreconcilable disagreements by minimizing exposure to opponents.
In contrast, corporantia submit themselves to be parts of something larger in which irreconcilable disagreements form a useful tension like the tension between bone and muscle. Corporantia work to ensure that conflict persists at some level (e.g. trying to balance power between GRIN types in a legislative body). Corporantia might even use medical treatments and genetic engineering to increase GRIN diversity and thus to increase social tension. Corporantia expect everyone to act like parts of a body, limiting their social roles and leaving irreconcilable disagreements to be resolved at an impersonal level.
Physical Bodies and Social Bodies
Scientists tell a story about an age in which there were no bodies on Earth. For billions of years, the only living creatures on Earth were single-celled organisms which formed ecosystems, symbiotic relationships, and even colonies, but no bodies. Cells which formed into bodies (i.e. corporantia) changed the world forever. Assured that they would never need to survive independently, the corporantia began to specialize by function, producing muscles, bones, brains, and so forth. This turned bodies into the rulers of the Earth.
Then a third kind of cell arose.
The first kind of cell, the single-celled organism, is the most disadvantaged. The corporantia are better-off because they enjoy the advantages of bodies. Yet the greatest advantage may be had by a third kind of cell: parasites which benefit from bodies as corporantia do but which are capable of abandoning one body for another. Social parasites—people who abandon one social body for another—are apparent in the modern trends of multi-national corporations, church-shopping, serial divorce, and high employee turn-over.
From the point of view of corporantia, parasites may play important roles in a body, but their power must be limited. When parasites have too much power, they suck the life out of one body and move to the next. Using the labels “evaluativists” and “corporantia” to divide society allows us to address a natural division which existed long before the labels. The labels allow corporantia to protect the body. Whether protecting the body benefits parasites or not is debatable: If the supply of bodies is sufficiently threatened, then the survival of a given parasite might require suppression other parasites, but the average parasite probably does not benefit from the labels.
Some corporantia are defenders of institutions, but not all defenders of institutions are corporantia. The corporantia promote something natural—they are guided by science—but the defenders of institutions promote something man-made. Since parasites can influence the design of man-made things, some aspects of some man-made institutions may favor parasitism. That is especially likely in communities with greater social parasitism (e.g. more multi-national corporation, church-shopping, serial divorce, and employee turn-over). In these cases, corporantia would aim to reform institutions, and parasites would aim to defend those institutions from reform.
The Dialog Challenge
Meaningful dialog is possible only where participants can find common ground. Therefore, it is impossible for corporantia to engage in meaningful dialog with parasites. Many parasites might become corporantia if society were structured to discourage parasitism. That’s not an act of dialog—it’s an act of discipline.
However, even among the corporantia, dialog has a problem: The members of the corporantia are in natural tension (e.g. gadfly vs institutional vs negotiator vs relational), and the only way for them to find common ground on which to resolve their most fundamental disputes is to examine the origins of their conflicts (and thus distinguish natural tensions from unproductive tensions). The problem is that not everyone achieves such self-awareness.
A person who is able to recognize the origins of GRIN diversity will discover that it brings advantage to the body as a whole. Such discovery objectively defines optimal distribution of authority, which in turn provides the common ground required for meaningful dialog with others who make the same discovery. But not everyone can make that discovery. Some people will be more ignorant than others.
To put the problem another way, the process of assigning social roles by natural type seems to stretch between
Technical scientific deliberation, and
People care which social roles will be assigned to them. They figure they ought to have a say in anything that can impact their happiness so deeply, so they expect to be engaged in a negotiation. “No taxation without representation!” they cry. On the other hand, most people lack the expertise to accurately identify and understand GRIN types. They do not understand the mechanical nature of their own mind, much less the mechanical nature of our society. So they are unable to engage in the dialog directly. The best they can do is to dialog about how to maintain the accountability of the relatively small group of experts who can discern natural social roles.
The dialog starts with the question of how to identify or develop the experts. There have been points in history at which science was not sufficiently reliable to address physical health, much less mental or social health—how do we know whether we have passed beyond those points? If we have not yet passed beyond those points, how do we know what investment we should make to get there? How can we make sure parasites do not control such investments?
Most people are not prepared to conduct such experiments, but that’s OK if there are enough people we can trust to conduct them. This is why I propose that citizen science groups which test replicability should be as common and integrated into local communities as bible-study groups and service clubs are. These groups should keep the experts accountable by testing experiments, including experiments which were rejected from peer-reviewed journals (which, you may be surprised to know, do not actually test the experiments they reject).
In the meanwhile, we need other forms of dialog and journalism to spread the new concepts. Science happens only after society reaches a certain level of mental power, and that happens only after other forms of dialog increase our mental power by creating shared language.
The article was paired in this issue with “New Ways of Looking at Democracy,” an edited extract from Brett Hennig’s forthcoming book The End of Politicians. Hennig’s article suggested that “democracy” originally referred to systems in which leaders were selected at random (what he calls “sortition“) and that selection of leaders through election or appointment has since degraded democracy.
Hennig pointed out that random selection increases the perceived legitimacy of leaders because it makes leaders more similar to the communities they lead. Randomly selected leaders would not be mostly male or largely committed to donors, political parties, and political reputations.
This argument for sortition is undermined by the first implication of evaluative diversity: It would be naive to attempt to protect diversity by selecting representatively diverse leaders, since people of certain evaluative types are less likely to represent others who share their own type. In other words, the discovery of evaluative democracy disconfirms the theory behind representative democracy.
Using the GRIN model as an example, when two people with the same goals, loyalties and information apply negotiator evaluation or institutional evaluation perfectly, they will vote in exactly the same ways, so they will perfectly represent each other. However, the more perfectly two people apply gadfly evaluation, the less likely they are to reach the same conclusions. Thus, as we approach greater evaluative ability and alignment of goals, loyalties and information, a board with five members of each type would effectively give five times as much vote to each negotiator or institutional board member as it does to each gadfly board member. The system would be rigged against natural gadflies.
Democracy is possible, but representative democracy is not.
To avoid systematically handicapping citizen of particular evaluative types, the governance system must somehow resolve disagreements without having to put issues to a vote. The primary job of leaders should not be to vote, but rather to resolve disagreements through such mechanisms as evidence, empathy, creativity, and humility so that votes need never be taken. Such dispute resolution is democratic because it involves the entire community, and boards should involve the entire community, rather than expect to find all necessary ability within itself.
Hennig cites Scott Page’s, The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies as providing evidence that “diversity trumps ability when solving problems and producing innovative ideas.” Both articles agree with Page that diversity is valuable, but the evaluative diversity article claims that the better way to protect that diversity is through monitoring (as one would protect diversity in an ecosystem) rather than merely shifting power among leaders. This is the second implication of evaluative diversity for governance: Boards should attain the benefits of evaluative diversity by extending current financial accounting practices to include monitoring of organizational culture.
Boards already require organizations to measure and report their income, debt and assets on a regular basis. If there are dramatic changes in these measures compared to the previous period or deviations from expectations, then the board sounds an alarm—management will be replaced if it cannot explain/correct the discrepancy. This is how managers are held accountable to serve the organization well.
But an organization is not merely a money machine—a healthy organization brings together people of diverse evaluative types, so good management must also include assuring that none of the different kinds of contributions gets systematically blocked. Such assurance would produce a balance between evaluative types, and shifts in that balance could be measured in terms of shifts in cultural variables such as the organization’s unity, consistency, creativity, and competitiveness. If there are dramatic changes in these measures compared to the previous period or deviations from expectations, then the board should sound an alarm just as it would for shifts in financial measures.
By pairing the two articles, Board Leadership highlighted what happens when there is not enough science guiding governance. First of all, the resulting governance-failure produces frustration which is well-documented in the sortition article—only genuine frustration with current governance could justify replacing elected/ appointed leaders with randomly selected leaders. Second, even though the frustration is caused by a lack of science, it does not necessary motivate increased investment in science. Hennig and I personally discussed the opportunity to protect diversity through monitoring two months before we wrote our articles, yet our articles still offered contrasting recommendations. Hennig offered no argument for or against the use of monitoring to protect diversity, and no one forced him to address that possibility . Thus, the lack of science produces not only frustration, but also permits confusion about how to resolve the frustration.