Reciprocality Theory

See http://www.reciprocality.org/Reciprocality/ or (with annotations by Fredrick Mann) http://www.buildfreedom.com/content/reciprocality/

See also: TheThirdAge


Alan Carter has taken the ideas from ProgrammersStone and gone much deeper. Here are the various sections of the theory and the corresponding discipline of thought.

  1. ProgrammersStone -- Software Engineering
  2. M0 -- Neurochemistry
  3. The Ghost Not -- Logical Philosophy
  4. Reciprocal Cosmology -- Fundamental Physics
  5. Consciousness -- Consciousness Studies
  6. Hypertime -- Fundamental Semiotics
  7. History -- Theology
  8. Magic -- None (SpecializationIsForInsects)

In M0 he explains the mapper and packer concept using a neurochemical feedback loop of dopamine addiction. The Ghost Not explains a fundamental limitation that people who are naturally immune to M0 (mappers) impose upon themselves in order to function within a society full of packers. In Reciprocal Cosmology he explains that our current understandings of fundamental physics is limited by the Ghost Not and he has a much simpler viewpoint in which perception of time for sentient beings is in the opposite direction of inanimate matter. I don't trust myself to describe the further ones accurately. They are tough ideas to get my mind around, and Alan Carter's writing style doesn't help. You'll have to read very slowly, or read over it several times to really absorb the ideas. All in all, I find it an intriguing idea even if it is extremely elitist. -- GregVaughn

TheThirdAge is an attempt by Carter to present the same ideas in a more linear, easier-to-grasp and less technical form. -- SteveDodd

Some people just feel a snap, like hearing someone say something that they have always known, but hadn't verbalized. -- KyleJerviss

I'm still trying to get my head around it, but what I find amusing is that this is an unfalsifiable hypothesis. Any criticism can be dismissed as the product of M0 thinking. -- AnonymousCoward

M0 theory is certainly falsifiable. A huge part of the theory is that the dopamine-related effects of the organism will be visible regularly, and if those effects aren't seen as predicted by the theory, the theory loses credibility. To say that it isn't falsifiable because its proponents can dismiss criticism ad hominem is a complete non sequitur.

My biggest criticism of the theory is that the authors' perspective seems limited to business environments. They don't give examples of how M0 would manifest itself in other kinds of situations, and they never seem to settle down and define exactly what proportions of the population are afflicted to what degrees. The theory, as stated in the papers, doesn't seem to really help one to judge for sure who is affected how. But it doesn't claim to, claiming only to be a stimulant to further research and thought. -- Chris Capel

More support for this theory came in the last decade and there is likely to be more. The illness is initiated by stress. Stress of childhood socialisation experiences seem to make the foundation. Tests on rats have shown how stress reduces cognitive skills, mutates the mind permanently, not just during a stressful time. Dopamine is created on the pleasant as well as negative experiences. Dopamine sustains the stress levels and lets them be higher than people need to have to enter a natural MapperMode?.
It certainly seems elitist, as would any theory be that states that the majority of a population is suffering acquired brain damage.

I like his idea of de-ritualizing and 'raising background novelty', to create an environment where the 'smart people' would like to be. It does sound a bit like XP there (embrace change and all), doesn't it?


Being a Mapper, and having witnessed a few Packers over time, the theory holds well. The conclusion I've come to is that insecurity plays a big part in determining MappersVsPackers behavior choices. Computer users usually revert to PackerMode? when they are faced with doing something novel, that seems very critical. (Such as how to Log In to a Server)

I always try to accommodate this, giving them time to take notes, and fully use their PackerMode? traits.

Once they are happy, I try to support their MapperMode? by explaining the background of the task they've just packed, and why it has to be that way. Most, but not all, are happy to have the additional explanation. This also helps to dispel the illusion of a computer as magic.

There are some terminal Packers who still manage to get creative tasks done, but they're very inefficient at it. -- MikeWarot

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