Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Stormy

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

General Characteristics of Complex Systems

Monday, March 12th, 2018

In an article from march 2000 titled What can we learn from a theory of complexity?, Paul Cilliers enumerates the general characteristics of complex systems:

  1. Complex systems consist of a large number of elements that in themselves can be simple.
  2. The elements interact dynamically by exchanging energy or information. These interactions are rich. Even if specific elements only interact with a few others, the effects of these interactions are propagated throughout the system. The interactions are nonlinear.
  3. There are many direct and indirect feedback loops.
  4. Complex systems are open systems—they exchange energy or information with their environment—and operate at conditions far from equilibrium.
  5. Complex systems have memory, not located at a specific place, but distributed throughout the system. Any complex system thus has a history, and the history is of cardinal importance to the behavior of the system.
  6. The behavior of the system is determined by the nature of the interactions, not by what is contained within the components. Since the interactions are rich, dynamic, fed back, and, above all, nonlinear, the behavior of the system as a whole cannot be predicted from an inspection of its components. The notion of "emergence" is used to describe this aspect. The presence of emergent properties does not provide an argument against causality, only against deterministic forms of prediction.
  7. Complex systems are adaptive. They can (re)organize their internal structure without the intervention of an external agent.

Then he applies these characteristics to social organizations after stating that Complexity theory has important implications for the general framework we use to understand complex organizations, but within that (new) framework we must still be clear, as well as decisive.

  1. Since the nature of a complex organization is determined by the interaction between its members, relationships are fundamental. This does not mean that everybody must be nice to each other; on the contrary. For example, for self-organization to take place, some form of competition is a requirement (Cilliers, 1998: 94-5). The point is merely that things happen during interaction, not in isolation.
  2. Complex organizations are open systems. This means that a great deal of energy and information flows through them, and that a stable state is not desirable. More importantly, it means that the boundaries of the organization are not clearly defined. Statements of "mission" and "vision" are often attempts to define the borders, and may work to the detriment of the organization if taken too literally. A vital organization interacts with the environment and other organizations. This may (or may not) lead to big changes in the way the organization understands itself. In short, no organization can be understood independently of its context.
  3. Along with the context, the history of an organization co-determines its nature. Two similar-looking organizations with different histories are not the same. Such histories do not consist of the recounting of a number of specific, significant events. The history of an organization is contained in all the individual little interactions that take place all the time, distributed throughout the system.
  4. Unpredictable and novel characteristics may emerge from an organization. These may or may not be desirable, but they are not by definition an indication of malfunctioning. For example, a totally unexpected loss of interest in a well-established product may emerge. Management may not understand what caused it, but it should not be surprising that such things are possible. Novel features can, on the other hand, be extremely beneficial. They should not be suppressed because they were not anticipated.
  5. Because of the nonlinearity of the interactions, small causes can have large effects. The reverse is, of course, also true. The point is that the magnitude of the outcome is not only determined by the size of the cause, but also by the context and by the history of the system. This is another way of saying that we should be prepared for the unexpected. It also implies that we have to be very careful. Something we may think to be insignificant (a casual remark, a joke, a tone of voice) may change everything. Conversely, the grand five-year plan, the result of huge effort, may retrospectively turn out to be meaningless. This is not an argument against proper planning; we have to plan. The point is just that we cannot predict the outcome of a certain cause with absolute clarity.
  6. We know that organizations can self-organize, but it appears that complex systems also organize themselves toward a critical state. This not only means that at any given point we can expect the system to respond to external events on all possible scales of magnitude, but also that the system will organize itself to be maximally sensitive to events that are critical to the system’s survival. Think of language as a complex system. If there is a desperate need for new terms to describe important events, the system will organize itself to be critically sensitive to those terms specifically, and not necessarily to other novel terms. The "need" is determined by the context and the history of the system, not by a specific "decision" by some component of the system. Similarly, an organization will self-organize to be critically sensitive to specific issues in the environment that may affect its wellbeing. The implications of self-organized criticality for organizational systems seems to be a subject that demands further investigation.
  7. Complex organizations cannot thrive when there is too much central control. This certainly does not imply that there should be no control, but rather that control should be distributed throughout the system. One should not go overboard with the notions of self-organization and distributed control. This can be an excuse not to accept the responsibility for decisions when firm decisions are demanded by the context. A good example here is the fact that managers are often keen to "distribute" the responsibility when there are unpopular decisions to be made—like retrenchments—but keen to centralize decisions when they are popular.
  8. Complex organizations work best with shallow structures. This does not mean that they should have no structure. This point requires a little elaboration. Complexity and chaos—whether in the technical or the colloquial sense—have little to do with each other. A complex system is not chaotic, it has a rich structure. One would certainly not describe the brain or language, prime examples of complex systems, as "chaotic." I certainly would not put my trust in a chaotic organization. A complex system does have structure, but not a strictly hierarchical structure; perhaps not even a shallow structure. Structure can be shallow, but still extremely hierarchical. Perhaps the best way to think of this would be to say that there should be structure on all scales, and much interaction between different structural components. This is another aspect of complex organizations that could be fleshed out with insights from self-organized criticality.

Trois conseils pour réussir

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

En septembre 2013, la cérémonie de remise de diplômes de l’ENSTA Bretagne coïncidait avec les adieux du directeur de l’école. Ni les fiers parents, dont j’étais, ni les bientôt diplômés n’attendaient grand chose de son discours… et pourtant j’en ai un souvenir marquant, principalement pour les trois conseils en forme de passage de témoin qui en constituaient à la fois la touche finale et le signal d’entrée dans la vie active pour une promotion d’ingénieurs.

Son premier conseil était de ne pas calculer, de ne pas établir un plan de carrière mais, au contraire, de s’orienter vers les domaines d’intérêt véritable.
L’argument étant qu’on est naturellement bien meilleur et mieux capable de progresser quand on fait ce qu’on aime.

Son deuxième conseil traitait de l’ouverture à l’autre, partant du constat qu’un ingénieur moderne travaillera une grande partie de sa vie (physiquement ou à distance) en environnement multi-culturel.

Le troisème conseil se résumait en un mot  "Osez". Osez prendre des risques, osez innover. C’est précisément ce qu’on attend d’un ingénieur, donc la meilleure façon de réussir.

Ces trois points me sont revenus en mémoire en lisant, dans un article du magazine du Monde, les trois conseils que Cédric Villani donne aux jeunes qui l’interrogent le sujet : Un, ne vous mettez pas dans une case. Deux, soyez toujours en mouvement et bougez dès que vous connaissez bien un sujet. Trois, laissez une part importante de hasard dans votre carrière.

Et vous, quels seraient vos trois conseils ?

Austin Brexit

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

The Blockchain Bandwagon

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

Comic by Tom Fishburne (@tomfishburne)

Eleonore

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

Superbe image de la tempête Eleonore prise à Saint-Quay-Portrieux par nico_nilo

We Were All Humans

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Be Happy

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

Maybe it is as simple as listed by Monica Sheehan… maybe such behavior is necessary but not sufficient. At least worth considering as a "fresh piece of advices" since the usual words (as "success", "fortune", "greatness", etc) don’t read here.

  • Have a sense of wonder
  • Stay inspired
  • Help others
  • Do things you’re good at
  • Read books
  • Limit television
  • Love your work
  • Exercise
  • Face your fears
  • Believe in yourself
  • Stay close to friends and family
  • Let your heart be your guide

Almost everything on computers is perceptually slower than it was in 1983

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

A tweeted argument by @gravislizard on November 6, 2017

Almost everything on computers is perceptually slower than it was in 1983

Amber-screen library computer in 1998: type in two words and hit F3. search results appear instantly.
Now: type in two words, wait for an AJAX popup. get a throbber for five seconds. oops you pressed a key, your results are erased
One of the things that makes me steaming mad is how the entire field of web apps ignores 100% of learned lessons from desktop apps

Data in webpages in 2017 is distressingly fragile. go to google maps and try and find an action that *doesn’t* erase what you’re doing
Drag the map even a pixel? it erases all your results and closes the infobox you were looking at.

You have a list of interesting locations on the screen but you want to figure out how far they are from the center of town? you can’t.
You can open a new tab, do the search there, then flip back and forth manually in the browser. there’s no other way.
That is to say, once the data’s up on the screen, you *can’t add to it*. which is one of the core functions of computers, generally.
One of the primary reasons computers were *created* was to cross reference data. that is nearly impossible in most software now.

Maps are a particularly hot item for this. christ, what about looking at a map ISN’T about cross ref’ing data? it’s the WHOLE POINT
You have a start and a finish and need to integrate that with geography and roads. and gmaps, bing, etc. are all the worst choice for this.
You are, literally, better off taking a screenshot of the map, dropping it in ms paint and manually plotting there.
Gmaps wildly thrashes the map around every time you do anything. Any time you search, almost any time you click on anything it’s a bewildering whirl of colors and shapes that has gotten worse every six months for 15 years and in doing so it has made humans worse and worse and worse at doing things that computers were created to replace and improve
In 1998 if you were planning a trip you might have gotten out a paper road map and put marks on it for interesting locations along the way
With online maps you CAN do that, but the entire process is built assuming you already know everywhere you’re going
It APPEARS to be what you want – you can keep putting in locations and it’ll keep plotting them – but in truth it’s not at all
The process you WANT: pick your start and end. now start searching for places in between. Your start and end are saved.
When you find someplace interesting, add it to your list. Keep doing that, keep searching and adding.
Search far and wide. Search for cities and then click around inside them. Read reviews. Do street view.
When you’re all done, you go back to your plotted trip and start laying out the chosen locations and optimizing your path.
You can do this with a paper map. You can’t do this with gmaps. So you just don’t do it.
You do something halfass and unsatisfying instead, using multiple tabs or a text file you save addresses in or some shit

You don’t even realize why the process is frustrating because it’s just The Way It Is.
And everything on computers is like this. It’s just How It Is now. You can’t fail quickly and iterate.
On the library computer in 1998 I could retry searches over and over and over until I found what I was looking for because it was quick
Now I have to wait for a huge page to load, wait while the page elements shift all over, GOD FORBID i click on anything while its loading
how many times have i typed in a search box, seen what i wanted pop up as i was typing, go to click on it, then have it disappear

I make no secret of hating the mouse. I think it’s a crime. I think it’s stifling humanitys progress, a gimmick we can’t get over.
The mouse is the CueCat except it didn’t get ridiculed and reviled as it should have been. It’s inappropriate for almost everything we do.
There’s no reason for Twitter to use a mouse. There’s nothing mousey about this website, not a damn thing
Mice are for rapidly navigating through a complex and unstructured set of objects, like an app with dozens of options and input types

The coded messenger

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

"Look," I sighed, fidgeting with the rear-view mirror. "Boss says I’ve gotta give this talk to everyone. If you have the gene drive, it’s in your blood. It doesn’t matter if the Ash has started affecting you, if your skin has started to go all white and crumbly or not. It won’t be any better for you on the other side."

"I promise we are not GMs," the dark-haired woman said. "Please. Keep driving."

She winced as we hit a bump, clutching her slung-up arm. Her eyes screamed desperation. She had no right to be looking at me like that. What with the Genome Authority drones flying around projecting her image on rubble all day. A scientist from a bioweapons lab, wasn’t it? Well, money was money. If that little girl with her wasn’t really her daughter, if she wanted to spread some of her knowledge outside the Wall, more power to her.

Ash lashed the windows, for all the world like the snow storms I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. They weren’t dressed for the journey. Not like it was easy to find winter coats nowadays. But you needed something to slog through the last stretch to the breach. No luggage either. Only stacks and stacks of red-covered notebooks. The little girl clutched one like a teddy bear.

"What’s your name?" she asked.

"JJ."

"You gonna escape over the Wall with us, Jayjay?"

I shook my head.

"Why?"

"People out there are afraid of people like me," I said.

"Why?"

"That’s enough honey," the scientist shushed her. "Try to get some sleep now."

My sensor beeped and I jerked the wheel, pulling over to the side of the road. A herd of mammoths passed in the distance. Even through the Ash, I could make out their shaggy forms, the red helix on the backs of their gun-toting riders. The Genome Authority. I remembered when the Wall first went up. Most of us went willingly. After all, we understood that we couldn’t breed with normal humans. It made sense. It made sense, but when they sealed the gates, I couldn’t help but think of Jade, left behind in one of their labs. The mammoths would disintegrate too, I thought. They would turn to Ash that floated like snowflakes on the wind. Like us, it was meant to happen before we reproduced. There was only supposed to be one generation of us.

"We’re going to make it," I said, as if we hadn’t been stop-and-go, pinned by patrols on all sides for hours. "We just have to wait for the Ash to clear. They won’t find us."

We could just see the mass of the Wall on the horizon, so near and so damn far.

"You were a soldier?" the scientist asked.

The girl slept in her lap. I adjusted my sleeve over my white-streaked skin and nodded.

"I’m sorry. You see, I’m one of the people whose research was used to make the technology — that made you what you are."

More free sci-fi stories from Futures

It was the same with all these do-gooders who locked themselves behind the Wall with us and decided they wanted out now. I’d heard it all. It was a war. Our parents made tough choices for us. Better for your super-powered kid to fight and come back than get smashed in the claws of a mech on their first day, at 18. They didn’t know about the Ash. The safeguard disease in our genomes, which would disintegrate us piece by piece if we lived past reproduction age.

"You think I give a damn that you’re sorry?"

"No. I don’t expect to be forgiven. But I want you to know my group has been working on a reverse drive — a cure — these 20 years behind the Wall. In 5 more, we could’ve. But the Genome Authority found us."

She unbuckled her seat belt and grabbed an armful of notebooks.

"The hell are you doing?"

"I’ll tell them it was too dangerous. That I insisted on walking the rest of the way and you turned back. Please. Take care of her. Make sure she gets to the other side."

When the little girl woke, the sun had risen. I bundled her up the best I could in my jacket and carried her outside. We found the scientist like a beacon in the Ash, her notebooks fluttering around her, her hand clutching the already dried bullet wound in her chest. This one dignity would be afforded to her — that she wouldn’t dissolve like the rest of us, at least.

"Jayjay, don’t cry," the little girl said. "It’s going to be okay."

"How can you say that it’s okay?"

The most important part of me had crumbled. I realized that the Genome Authority was crap. My Jade — my daughter — had been gone for a long time now.

"Your mother is dead," I finished.

"No." The little girl shook her head. "Mama is inside of me. Half of her DNA. Her notebooks too. She took out the extra parts of my genome that didn’t mean anything and wrote a message there instead."

"I don’t know what that means!"

She slipped her hand into mine.

"As long as I live, the cure will too," she said. "That’s what Mama told me. The same technology that caused this can be used to make something beautiful too."

I clung to it. Even though I didn’t have any right to, I know. To fill the gaping hole in my chest, both physically and mentally. But I was selfish. I still grasped at it. Because I’d never got a chance to say good-bye to the people who mattered, you know?

"What’s your name?" I asked.

"It’s Hope."


A short piece by Andrea Kriz published in Nature


I got the idea for this story after reading a recent Nature article in which researchers describe encoding a movie into a bacterial genome (Nature 547, 345–349; 2017). Late night in lab, the thought popped into my head — how much information could be encoded in the human genome using similar technology? What kind of state would the world have to be in to make it even remotely acceptable to use genome editing in that way? And what could lead a scientist to use another human, rather than synthetic DNA or bacteria, for this purpose?


Probably everyone who uses CRISPR in their research has thought of a similar slippery slope at one point or another. Gene-editing technology has already been used to correct devastating genetic diseases in embryos. The world is understandably hesitant about taking the next step, making edits to ‘improve’ human traits. But what happens if someone does it first? And, after a few years, if it looks like the kids are okay, even outperforming non-genetically modified children? If one country embraces the technology, others may follow out of fear that their next generation will fall behind if they don’t. Add an on-going world war on top of this, and it becomes an arms race. Eventually, the changes to the genome become so experimental and extreme that it could be disadvantageous to let them spread to the general population. In the United States, a governing authority arises and oversees the implementation of a safeguard (a ‘gene drive’) in the genomes of genetically modified soldiers to prevent this from happening.


Of course the scenario remains firmly science fiction. Currently, many technical issues limit even the theoretical use of genome-editing technology in humans (for example, most human traits are not the result of one gene but incredibly complex gene networks as well as environmental factors). But even if these could somehow be overcome, I don’t think that genome-editing technology should be feared. Instead I believe it should seen for its potential to improve the lives of everyone on Earth — if used in a compassionate and ethical way. Hopefully that’s the story all of us are writing with our research now :)

A Story of Nine Probes

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

The New Scientist (@newscientist) just released a poster of the nine probes that have reached the outer solar system, with their trajectories and current location.

Compete with Intelligence and Agility

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

In a recent article, Justin Bariso (@JustinJBariso) published a mail Elon Musk (@elonmusk) sent to Tesla employees a few years ago.

Subject: Communication Within Tesla

There are two schools of thought about how information should flow within companies. By far the most common way is chain of command, which means that you always flow communication through your manager. The problem with this approach is that, while it serves to enhance the power of the manager, it fails to serve the company.

Instead of a problem getting solved quickly, where a person in one dept talks to a person in another dept and makes the right thing happen, people are forced to talk to their manager who talks to their manager who talks to the manager in the other dept who talks to someone on his team. Then the info has to flow back the other way again. This is incredibly dumb. Any manager who allows this to happen, let alone encourages it, will soon find themselves working at another company. No kidding.

Anyone at Tesla can and should email/talk to anyone else according to what they think is the fastest way to solve a problem for the benefit of the whole company. You can talk to your manager’s manager without his permission, you can talk directly to a VP in another dept, you can talk to me, you can talk to anyone without anyone else’s permission. Moreover, you should consider yourself obligated to do so until the right thing happens. The point here is not random chitchat, but rather ensuring that we execute ultra-fast and well. We obviously cannot compete with the big car companies in size, so we must do so with intelligence and agility.

One final point is that managers should work hard to ensure that they are not creating silos within the company that create an us vs. them mentality or impede communication in any way. This is unfortunately a natural tendency and needs to be actively fought. How can it possibly help Tesla for depts to erect barriers between themselves or see their success as relative within the company instead of collective? We are all in the same boat. Always view yourself as working for the good of the company and never your dept.

Thanks,
Elon

Fluid reflections on keeping a solid center

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Nearly a year from now, Maria Popova (alias @brainpicker), published a list of 10 advices from 10 years of her famous web site Brain Pickings ; as she puts it:

I first set down some of these core beliefs, written largely as notes to myself that may or may not be useful to others.

I think that they may be useful… hope you agree… whatever, here they are:

  1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. Cultivate that capacity for "negative capability." We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our "opinions" based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates. We then go around asserting these donned opinions and clinging to them as anchors to our own reality. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, "I don’t know." But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.
  2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone. As Paul Graham observed, "prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like." Those extrinsic motivators are fine and can feel life-affirming in the moment, but they ultimately don’t make it thrilling to get up in the morning and gratifying to go to sleep at night — and, in fact, they can often distract and detract from the things that do offer those deeper rewards.
  3. Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.
  4. Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.

    Most important, sleep. Besides being the greatest creative aphrodisiac, sleep also affects our every waking moment, dictates our social rhythm, and even mediates our negative moods. Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?

  5. When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as important, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.
  6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living — for, as Annie Dillard memorably put it, "how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
  7. "Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time." This is borrowed from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman, for it’s hard to better capture something so fundamental yet so impatiently overlooked in our culture of immediacy. The myth of the overnight success is just that — a myth — as well as a reminder that our present definition of success needs serious retuning. As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.
  8. Seek out what magnifies your spirit. Patti Smith, in discussing William Blake and her creative influences, talks about writers and artists who magnified her spirit — it’s a beautiful phrase and a beautiful notion. Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often. Use them not only as a remedy once spiritual malaise has already infected your vitality but as a vaccine administered while you are healthy to protect your radiance.
  9. Don’t be afraid to be an idealist. There is much to be said for our responsibility as creators and consumers of that constant dynamic interaction we call culture — which side of the fault line between catering and creating are we to stand on? The commercial enterprise is conditioning us to believe that the road to success is paved with catering to existing demands — give the people cat GIFs, the narrative goes, because cat GIFs are what the people want. But E.B. White, one of our last great idealists, was eternally right when he asserted half a century ago that the role of the writer is "to lift people up, not lower them down" — a role each of us is called to with increasing urgency, whatever cog we may be in the machinery of society. Supply creates its own demand. Only by consistently supplying it can we hope to increase the demand for the substantive over the superficial — in our individual lives and in the collective dream called culture.
  10. Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively. Fight it in yourself, for this ungainly beast lays dormant in each of us, and counter it in those you love and engage with, by modeling its opposite. Cynicism often masquerades as nobler faculties and dispositions, but is categorically inferior. Unlike that great Rilkean life-expanding doubt, it is a contracting force. Unlike critical thinking, that pillar of reason and necessary counterpart to hope, it is inherently uncreative, unconstructive, and spiritually corrosive. Life, like the universe itself, tolerates no stasis — in the absence of growth, decay usurps the order. Like all forms of destruction, cynicism is infinitely easier and lazier than construction. There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincerity and acting from a place of largehearted, constructive, rational faith in the human spirit, continually bending toward growth and betterment. This remains the most potent antidote to cynicism. Today, especially, it is an act of courage and resistance.

Mireille

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Hommage à celle qui se décrivait comme « maigre, brune et plate » et a ému toute une génération avec son carré blond, ses yeux de biche et une incroyable robe noire Guy Laroche.

C'est vrai, moi, juge, j'ai été désarmée face à un médecin

Friday, June 16th, 2017

C'est vrai, moi, juge, j'ai été désarmée face à un médecin

C’était il y a plusieurs années, j’étais juge d’instruction. J’avais instruit un dossier d’agressions sexuelles reprochées par des patientes à un médecin, depuis jugé et condamné. Je ne donnerai pas de détail sur le dossier.

Je peux juste dire que toutes ces femmes me décrivaient la même chose : leur état de sidération lorsque le médecin avait porté sur leur corps un regard lubrique, tenu des propos salaces, posé ses mains sur leurs seins ou leurs fesses.

Leur sortie du cabinet médical, éberluées, se demandant si elles avaient rêvé, si c’était seulement possible.

Leur rêcits à leur mère, leur sœur, leur copine, leur compagnon, se demandant si on allait les croire. (Celles qui étaient en couple m’ont dit à quel point le soutien leur homme avait été précieux, que c’était important qu’il les croie)

Leur plainte à la police, pour certaines tout de suite, pour d’autres après avoir beaucoup hésité, en espérant être crues. (Parmi elles, il y avait une avocate, qui avait beaucoup hésité, par peur du "qu’en dira t’on" au barreau, d’être mal vue par ses confrères)

Or, après avoir instruit ce dossier, j’ai consulté mon endocrinologue, conseillé par un ami de la famille, médecin aussi, j’avais confiance

Je l’avais consulté plusieurs fois, il me suivant bien. Un jour, il m’a fait un compliment sur mon visage. J’ai trouvé ça étrange, déplacé.

Je n’y ai pas fait trop attention. Il insistait bcp pour que je fasse des mammographies, mais pour moi, c’était à ma gynéco de les prescrire

Un jour, j’étais allongée sur la table d’examen, il m’a palpé la thyroïde. Normal, j’y allais pour ça, examen banal. Tout à coup, il me dit "je vais vous examiner les seins". J’étais surprise, il ne l’avait jamais fait, ni aucun endocrino avant. Il a prétexté que je n’avais pas fait de mammographie depuis longtemps, que c’était prudent. Et avant que j’aie pu dire quoi que ce soit, il avait mis les mains sous mon pull, sous mon soutien gorge, et faisait une palpation.

Je ne sais plus ce que j’ai pensé. Qu’il était médecin et qu’il savait ce qu’il faisait ? Que je pouvais faire confiance à l’ami d’un ami ?

Ca m’a troublée sur le moment, puis je n’y ai plus pensé. C’est 6 mois plus tard, lorsque je suis allée chez ma gynéco, qd elle m’a examinée que j’ai réalisé que l’ "examen" qu’il avait pratiqué, n’avait rien à voir avec le vrai examen des faits, qu’il s’était juste fait plaisir.

Bref, que c’était une agression sexuelle.

Je me suis sentie bête. Parce qu’ayant déjà eu un certains nombre d’examens gyneco, j’aurais du me rendre compte que c’était anormal.

Et pq juge, j’aurais du réaliser ce qui se passait. Eh bien non, et c’est ça l’état de sidération décrit par les victimes dans mon dossier

Il faudrait, en moins d’une minute (ça a été très bref), à réaliser ce qui se passe, à analyser, alors que l’on est face à un "sachant"

On est dans une sorte d’entre deux, de flottement, une partie de soi qui dit "qu’est ce qu’il est en train de faire ?" Et une autre qui dit "c’est un médecin, il sait ce qu’il fait". L’image qui me vient est celle d’un sarcophage dont on n’arrive pas à sortir

Puis c’est terminé, on se lève, un peu interoloquée, on va payer, on dit au revoir, peut être même "merci docteur", comme d’habitude.

Puis j’ai déménagé, je n’ai plus vu ce médecin. J’ai été suivie par un autre endocrino, qui ne m’a jamais fait de compliment déplacé, ne m’a jamais touché les seins, juste palpé la thyroïde, prescrit des prises de sang et mon traitement, comme les autres, comme avant. (Au passage j’ai appris que l’ancien endocrino ne m’avait pas si bien suivi que ça)

Et je n’ai plus pensé à cette histoire. Le déménagement, de gros soucis familiaux, un grave problème de santé, le travail très prenant.. etc

Et porter plainte, plusieurs mois après les faits, il nierait, dirait que c’était un geste professionnel, mal interprété… à quoi bon ?

Bref, une réaction courante de victime. Et je sais ce qu’est une procédure judiciaire, ce qu’elle impose aux victimes : expliquer, justifier, être confrontée. Je n’en n’avais pas envie. Ni surtout la force à ce moment là de ma vie.

J’ai pensé écrire à l’ordre des médecins local, mais j’avais constaté son inertie dans le dossier que j’avais instruit, c’était inutile.

Maintenant les faits sont prescrits, le médecin à la retraite. C’était désagréable, mais je ne me suis pas sentie très traumatisée.

Encore que … si je floode aujourd’hui … Ou est ce que j’ai banalisé, ayant déjà subi quelques tripotages dans le métro ?

Alors, qu’est ce que j’en tire comme leçon ?
Que je ne sais pas si j’ai bien fait de ne pas porter plainte.

Que les victimes d’agressions sexuelles ont du courage pour porter plainte. (Mais ça, je le savais déjà. Là, j’en ai pris la mesure).

Que c’est encore plus compliqué si c’est un professionnel, un "notable", si l’on est soit même supposée être "armée" par son statut.

Que oui, on peut mettre du temps à porter plainte. Qu’il faut parfois qu’il y en ait une qui montre la voie.

Que la question "mais pourquoi tu n’as pas réagi ?" ne peut recevoir aucune réponse.

Et voilà comment, même éduquée, juriste, professionnelle, plus toute jeune, on peut se sentir totalement désarmée. #Fin

As the Mayor of Pittsburgh

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

This tweet made my day…

This other one too. As you can see, it was the first tweet ever from the CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Vote blanc

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Nous sommes manifestement entrés dans une forme démocratique étrange où il serait non seulement obligatoire de voter, mais également de voter pour le seul candidat envisageable. Il faut donc tous se mettre en marche, et dans la même direction, à la façon d’un troupeau de moutons… ou de lemmings.

J’ai fait l’expérience de rappeler sur Twitter que j’avais pris depuis plusieurs années la décision de voter définitivement blanc, car notre forme politique très indirecte et fortement pyramidale n’a plus de sens pour moi (et je l’imagine – au moins inconsciemment – pour la majorité, qui, de plus en plus rapidement après qu’elle a élu un individu, lui accorde un niveau de confiance inférieur à 15%). Me voici donc un méchant, inconscient de la montée du nazisme et de l’oppression brutale qui va s’abattre sur la veuve, l’orphelin, « le noir, l’arabe, le juif et le pédé ».

On dit que l’histoire éclaire l’avenir… encore faut-il l’utiliser à bon escient et ne pas s’aveugler, en se braquant ce puissant projecteur en pleine face. Il est très sain d’être vacciné contre le nazisme, et de faire une réaction allergique lorsqu’on détecte ses prémisses ; mais ce n’est pas une raison suffisante pour débrancher ses neurones et atteindre le point Godwin à la vue d’un nationaliste ou d’un facho d’opérette.

L’injonction du vote Macron est probablement la résultante de cette saine vaccination et d’une paresse intellectuelle qui l’est beaucoup moins : faire le bilan que notre mode démocratique est usé jusqu’à la corde obligerait à un travail inventif, à s’investir dans l’exploration des moyens de démocratie directe qui sont désormais accessibles à notre société maillée, comme les jurys citoyens ou la démocratie liquide ; à l’opposé, vaquer à ses occupations en imaginant que le paradigme en cours est une constante intangible et se doter d’une image personnelle favorable en « votant bien » tous les cinq ans est grandement plus confortable.

Prenons un peu de recul sur les excitations de campagne électorale, voire même beaucoup de recul car ma propre sensibilité vaccinale m’amène à craindre les foules qui acclament un leader, quelle que soit la forme de la foule et la motivation de celui qui la galvanise – elle m’amène également à railler gentiment ceux qui pensent, avec leur vote, arbitrer entre les sept plaies d’Ègypte et le concert de louange des anges.

D’un côté, donc, il y a le nationalisme du Front National. C’est nauséabond et ringard, basé sur un enfermement étriqué « dans les murs » justifié par la haine de celui qui ne nous ressemble pas – et qui, au passage, doit faire peur afin de justifier la protection d’un état fort. Dans les régimes récents, on peut le comparer à la troïka Trump, Putin, May. Si on cherche une vision longue, ce serait plutôt la démocratie israélienne, historiquement prise en tenaille entre les militaires et les religieux orthodoxes au prétexte du péril islamiste.

De l’autre côté, il y a la forme essentiellement opportuniste de En Marche. Je dois avouer que, si je n’écoute jamais Marine Le Pen, je ressens une forme de malaise à écouter Emmanuel Macron. Ce qu’il dit est essentiellement creux et bien-pensant, mais il y a quelque chose de plus profond que je peinais à analyser jusqu’à ce qu’une amie me mette sur la voie. Pour la petite histoire, elle a d’abord été enthousiasmée par Emmanuel Macron au point s’apprêter à monter une antenne de En Marche dans sa commune puis, de retour de vacances lointaines, elle a ressenti elle aussi une forme de gêne qu’elle a analysé en décortiquant les images : Emmanuel Macron prêche la bonne parole, il fait de la politique sur le mode de la harangue religieuse.

Le véritable choix n’est donc pas entre le nazisme et la démocratie, mais entre un nationalisme ringard et une démocratie très indirecte dirigée par un gourou.

Imaginons maintenant l’après ; le troisième tour : les législatives.

Si Emmanuel Macron est élu, En Marche deviendra un attracteur massif pour tout ce qui compte de dynamisme et d’opportunisme chez les socialistes et les républicains. Siphonnés par ce trou noir, il ne restera dans ces deux partis que les ringards et les vieux… qui assureront l’intérim avant fermeture définitive. Nous serons donc passé d’un système où les deux « partis de gouvernement » étaient le Parti Socialiste et Les Républicains à un système d’opposition entre le Front National et En Marche ; ce dernier, le parti du président en exercice, étant alors composé d’un assemblage hétéroclite qui tiendrait principalement en place par l’exercice du pouvoir et l’opposition « antifasciste ». Pour résumer, le Front National serait en majesté (puisque la principale raison d’être de En Marche est de lutter contre le FN), et parfaitement positionné pour les échéances futures.

Si Marine Le Pen était élue, la position providentielle d’Emmanuel Macron disparaitrait. Le gourou n’étant pas élu, la glu qui réunit la troupe de ses adorateurs disparaitrait et chacun retournerait dans sa « famille politique » ; les législatives permettraient alors aux partis classiques de revenir dans le jeu et de se coaliser pour mettre le front national en minorité à l’Assemblé. Comme ils savent que c’est le seul scénario qui leur permettrait de survivre, j’imagine par ailleurs que beaucoup de ceux qui ont affiché en public leur volonté de « bien voter », ne mettront pas un bulletin Macron dans l’urne.

Quoi qu’il arrive, notre démocratie est très ancienne ; son caractère très indirect est hérité d’une époque où les communications se faisaient à cheval et où la plus grande partie de la population était illettrée ; le rôle dévolu à son président avait peut-être du sens au siècle dernier, il est intenable dans l’environnement complexe d’une société mondialisée maillée par Internet.

« Bien voter » parce qu’on se réveille une fois tous les cinq ans en réalisant que « ça risque de mal se passer » est à la fois facile et gratifiant… mais c’est une solution fausse.

Il est urgent de s’impliquer dans l’invention d’une nouvelle forme démocratique, par exemple en créant une « shadow gouvernance » qui oppose à chaque texte parlementaire celui d’un jury citoyen, par exemple en testant et validant à une échelle suffisante les outils de vote de la démocratie liquide, par exemple en évaluant le gain en « intelligence collective » de citoyens qui, en s’impliquant dans ce type de démarche de citoyenneté active, évolueront vers une logique de « faizeux » (terme emprunté à Alexandre Jardin).

Quoi qu’il arrive, aucun président, député ou maire n’aura plus jamais mon vote. Je suis parfaitement conscient que nous entrons dans la période des monstres, mais aussi que le bulletin de vote, en tant que participation affichée à un mode de gouvernement d’un autre temps, est le meilleur moyen de les faire naître.

I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create – William Blake

S-1

Monday, April 17th, 2017

À une semaine des élections, il est de bon ton, puisque le Brexit n’a pas eu lieu et que Trump n’a pas été élu, de prétendre que Marine ne passera pas. Aux États-Unis, la méfiance est quand-même de mise, comme le prouve cette géniale émission Last Week Tonight avec John Oliver (@iamjohnoliver) (HBO)

Comme "ne pas prévoir c’est déjà gémir", il est assez édifiant de consulter le tableau réalisé par l’équipe de TTSO et titré "ne croyez rien" où ils calculent le ratio "score réalisé / moyenne des sondages" aux dernières présidentielles :

Feeling like an elephant on a trampoline

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

On Trump’s Mental State

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017


In a letter to the editor published on February 14, 2017 on the New York Times’ web site, an eminent psychiatrist demurs on Trump’s mental state:

Fevered media speculation about Donald Trump’s psychological motivations and psychiatric diagnosis has recently encouraged mental health professionals to disregard the usual ethical constraints against diagnosing public figures at a distance. They have sponsored several petitions and a Feb. 14 letter to The New York Times suggesting that Mr. Trump is incapable, on psychiatric grounds, of serving as president.

Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.

Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).

Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.

His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.

ALLEN FRANCES

Coronado, Calif.


The writer, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical College, was chairman of the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (D.S.M.-IV).


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