Cleaning your room, processes and ITIL

  • ITIL: A formalized way of delivering IT services
  • Processes: The structured actions taken between an input and an output
  • Cleaning your room: Tidying and removing dirt from your room before the guests arrive

If you never ever clean your room, wash the dishes or your clothes, water the plants or make dinner, the gap between your skills and your mother’s skills in these areas will keep widening. Your skills will be handicapped by your mother’s empathy and care.

If you establish processes in an organization that is supposed to take care of issues and problems for the employees, it wil handicap their abilities to handle this themselves.

In the ITIL framework, you are supposed to establish some 27 processes to cater for every part of IT service delivery in an organization. One such process is Problem Management. The purpose of this process is to handle the underlying cause of one or more issues so that it doesn’t happen again. When this is turned into a process where a subset of employees gets to be experts at detecting problems, conduct root causes analysis and solve the problems, the gap between the skills of these guys and the rest keeps widening. The process will handicap the employees problem solving skills.

Problem solving should be a skill exercized by every employee. It should be part of the company’s culture, their DNA. Everyone should jump at the opportunity to solve problems they encounter. It will hone their skills and keep them valuable as efficient problem solvers. Those who encounter a specific problem has more initial data about it and can usually solve it quicker… if they have excellent problem solving skills.

Don’t relegate important skills sets to only certain processes. Help everyone exercize and fine-tune their skills in fire-fighting, problem solving, change management, customer handling, documentation and strategic thinking.

Free – why science hasn’t disproved free will

It’s a short book by Alfred Mele, a Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. Mele was the director of the Big Questions in Free Will Project (2010-2013) and has authored several books and a large amount of articles on the subject.

Mele tackles the main scientific studies proclaiming that free will is an illusion. He takes them down, one by one, showing that they all suffer from several logical fallacies. But they have one fallacy in common, the Black Swan fallacy. That you have only seen white swans does not rule out the existence of black swans. That scientific experiments have not proven the existence of an agent of free will does not preclude the existence of free will. Some experiments doesn’t even look in the right places.

It’s an important book on the subject.

I take another route in my exploration of free will – a more principled approach if you will. And lately, I have revisited my “proof against determinism” and focused more on Alan Turing’s work. Looking at the Universe itself as one great computational device, Turing’s proof of the “halting problem” shows that there cannot be a Theory of Everything – there cannot be any all encompassing theory that will show everything as true or false. This is of course in line with Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, but it seems to be a more direct route in proving that the universe cannot be deterministic. Which in turn leaves existence open for free will.

The rational skeptic world view

Humans have always tried to make sense of the world we live in. We have always tried to come up with simple explanations that covers what we see. From the four elements and a flat earth inside a dome to a spherical earth and a heliocentric world view, our view of the world has evolved. But the quest has always been to come up with a complete and consistent model that will explain all of existence. Just like Newton’s classical physics. He viewed the world as clockwork obeying a complete and consistent set of physical laws. And when those laws didn’t quite fit the bill, Einstein extended this quest with his theories of relativity. His goal was to come up with a grand unifying theory that could be encompassed in an equation no longer than two inches.

Einstein’s famous discussion with Niels Bohr where the former exclaimed “God does not play dice” was his rejection of the spookiness of quantum mechanics. This branch of physics seemed to destroy the quest to unearth a model for an ultimately orderly and rational, complete and consistent world.

And despite the hints like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the Double Slit Experiment and Bell’s theorem, some physicists still believe in a deterministic world where everything is neatly explained and codified.

Graphics by Geir Isene

Had they only looked to mathematical philosophy and seen the same quest fail there. At the start of the 20th century, there was this adventure in mathematics where the major thinkers of that field tried to codify all of mathematics into neat axioms and rules to rule’em all. But alas, Kurt Gödel shot it all down with his Incompleteness Theorems. And decidedly so. There cannot be any complex axiomatic system that is both complete and consistent. And to those who would like to believe that the universe we can observe is all that can be, mathematics is a subset of our universe. And as the universe is then a superset of mathematics, then the universe itself cannot be both consistent and complete. And that has some profound implications that I will cover in a OnePageBook sometime in the future.

Now, what prompted me to again delve into this? I was inteviewed by Aaron Smith-Levin the other day, and one of the comments on the resulting Youtube video read:

“Geir, so much of your world view hinges on the “law” a system cannot be both complete and stable, including the large conclusion that humans are spiritual beings, have you ever questioned the conclusion on systems, and if the conclusion about systems were the opposite, would you conclude you are not a spiritual being? If you were not a spiritual being, would you feel you should adapt the rational skeptic world view?”

To which I answered:

“The proof that complex axiomatic systems cannot be both consistent and complete is among the most solid mathematical achievements in human history. It’s irrefutable. So is the double slit experiment, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Bell’s theorem. There is nothing rational about refuting any of these. They all point in the direction of consciousness being non-physical. Read my OnePageBook in free will for details:”

Just like the old, classical Newtonian world view was naive, I believe the modern “rational skeptic world view” to be equally naive.

As for the rest of the interview, here it is:


Conservatism is about conservation. It is about limiting change.

From the multitude of conversations I’ve had about the right side of politics, it seemss clear to me that the further to the right a person is, the more he or she is driven by fear. Fear of the government, fear or limitations or having freedoms or rights taken away. Fear of other cultures or unfamiliar sexual orientations – the Us versus Them. Fear of someone “in control”. Fear of change, of progression. Even fear of damnation or Hell.

It is a political belief mired in fear, of which paranoia is born. Paranoia begets conspiracy theories. From the Illuminati, “the bankers” and “reptilians” to all kinds of “Truthers”; be it 9/11, fake moon landings, hollow or flat Earth, telepathic beams from Polaris, HAARP, chemtrails or governments hiding alien life forms.

Paranoia and fear clouds the rational mind and promotes aggressive behaviour – as so often seen in online discussions with labelling of opponents, name calling, threats and the usual wide range of logical fallacies.

To have an intelligent discussion with a right-wing believer, you must first help him feel safe, or you will waste your time while he or she remains afraid.

Podcasts: Mental training, failing and getting to know Geir

Got rolling with podcasts. Brendan and I have done a few and released two so far. One is about mental training, the other about the benefits of failing. You can listen to both here:

What do I do to help Mankind’s Plan B? What programming language would I save for posterity? How often do I cook dinner? Vegan much? What’s my worst side? Today Brendan decided to do one where he fired a long list of (revealing) questions at me. No preparations. Just quick answers from the top of my head, or deeper inside. You can listen to it here:

Maximum performance: Own your actions

To perform at your best, you must own your actions. You must be fully responsible for what you do and accept the effects you create 100%. Any advice from others is only as good as you own them yourself. Any method, methodology, system of belief or guidance will only help you if you can fully own them. And to own an advice or method from another, you must prove its effectiveness by your own senses. Anything less will disparage your responsibility – your ability to perform will suffer to that degree because you will be less yourself.

Be careful when you accept an advice or adhere to a method. Take care to make it your own before you start to truly rely on them for your performance.