A Checklist: What to do in the face of the current situation?

Posted: February 21, 2022 in Geopolitics

By Richard Martin

Understand and apply the action framework of ends, ways, and means

  • Identify your highest end(s).
  • Develop your hierarchy of ends.
  • Identify the factors that influence the achievement of these ends.
  • Conduct option analysis to identify and evaluate optimal ways of achieving selected ends.
  • Allocate means to selected ends.
  • Understand that the action framework is a nested, hierarchical framework. The ways and means to achieve an end are in their turn the end, with their own subordinate ways and means. This goes on all the way to the bottom.

General Strategic and Security Factors

  • Geopolitical:
    • What is happening geopolitically?
    • How does it affect me?
    • What is likely to happen in the short, medium, and long-term future?
  • National strategic:
    • What is happening strategically at the national level?
    • How does it affect me?
    • What is likely to happen?
  • National political
  • Economic and financial
  • Personal

Information Factors

  • Basic thing to remember: Most news is noise.
  • Remember the two most important rules of peacekeeping:
    • First information is usually (sometimes always) wrong.
    • Don’t overreact.
  • Sharing is not necessarily caring.
  • Consider that no media source is objective or unbiased.
  • All have an editorial policy and an agenda.
  • All messages are means to an end.
  • Triangulate information:
    • Does it come from more than one source?
    • Is the information valid?
    • Are the sources reliable?
    • Does the information fit into an analytical or logical framework or template?
  • Evaluate the content of the message (regardless of source and perceived ideological or political alignment):
    • Is the text grammatical?
    • Are there typos?
    • Does it make sense?
    • Are the claims far-fetched?
    • What is the evidence being presented?
    • Is the “evidence” first-hand and documented, or is it hearsay?
      • For example: “Someone I know has a friend who told their neighbour that they heard that something happened at an uncertain time and non-specific place.”
    • Does it appear to be formulated to provoke an emotional reaction?
    • Is the author using ad hominem attacks?
    • Does the author engage in demonization or hero-worship?
    • How are you reacting to the news or the information?
      • Are you upset, angry, outraged, happy, elated, sad, bitter, etc.?

Cognitive Factors

  • Consider your own biases.
  • Evaluate the biases of others.
  • Evaluate all information and behaviour/action considering known or properly estimated ends, ways, and means (i.e., apply the action framework to yourself and others).
  • Evaluate your own logical fallacies.
  • Consider the possibility that you make be wrong.
  • Interpret messages and information as charitably as possible and until you have clear and specific evidence of ill intent.
  • Consider that the other person may know something you don’t.
  • Ask yourself what you would do or how you would react in the same situation.
  • Have you considered the strongest arguments possible (steelman rather than strawman) for the opposing side?

Social Factors

  • Who are you talking to?
  • Who is in your social circle?
  • Are you engaging in honest exchange and dialogue, or simply trying to win a debate?
  • Are you trying to see the situation from a higher perspective (geopolitical, strategic, economic, etc.)?
  • Are you trying to see the situation or events from the point of view of others, especially those you oppose?

© Richard Martin

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