Monday, July 20, 2015

Clarifying Therapy

A hummingbird just thrust its beak into a small whitish Dendrobium nobile flower.  The orchid is growing and blooming on my tree... and I can see it from where I'm sitting... on a couch... inside the house... through a window.  The tree, orchid and hummingbird aren't inside the house.  They should be.  In a better world the line between inside and outside would be very blurry.

The weather is all kinds of wonderful today.  It's the middle of summer and I was woken up by the sound of thunder.  I thought it was an earthquake... :/   Such is California dreamin'.

There was an abundance of thunder and lightening... and even some rain.  I can't remember the last time we had a good summer thunderstorm.  Now its overcast, muggy and almost warm.  I love it.

I wish we had a thunderstorm once a week during summer.  Is that too much to ask?  Am I being greedy?  Sure, it might kill the native oaks but I'm sure there would be a net gain in biodiversity.  Pretty sure.  Then again... progress is a function of difference... and winter growing plants (Mediterranean) are the exception rather than the rule.

What's remarkable about the hummingbird visiting the Dendrobium flower is that the Americas have a monopoly on hummingbirds just like the Asias have a monopoly on Dendrobiums.  So it's kinda like an American trying Chinese food for the first time.  Kinda.

Since different kinds of animals are shaped differently, see different colors, are attracted to different smells and shapes, and so on, one can often make an educated guess as to the pollinator of a flower from the flower's features.  Thus, pollination ecologists speak of "syndromes."  Some people have scoffed at the syndromes because of insects that visit the "wrong" flowers and because of flowers that do not well fit into a single syndrome.  Still, the syndromes are quite useful, if one remembers that all sorts of animals, whether arthropod, avian, or primate, often stick their noses into something from sheer curiosity; such behavior is often adaptive for the animal.  There is no reason why a hummingbird should not occasionally visit a "butterfly" flower or a butterfly probe a "hummingbird" flower.  Indeed, these two types of pollinator are really very similar (from the flower's viewpoint), and often overlap in the types of flowers that they visit.  If a long-tongued bee wishes to sup nectar from what is primarily a butterfly flower, it will do so.  And if bees consistently visit these flowers more often than butterflies, it is likely that natural selection will shift the features of the plant population toward the bee-flower syndrome.  Similarly, hummingbirds are aggressive and inquisitive animals, occasionally probing in all sorts of flowers.  In general, though, when bees visit the flowers that are well-suited to bees, it is advantageous to both the pollinator and pollinatee.  - Robert L. Dressler, The Orchids

I couldn't remember if I had collected that passage.  I'm glad that I did.

Should the Americas have a monopoly on hummingbirds?  Should the Asias have a monopoly on Dendrobiums?

Given enough pollinators, all flowers are found.

Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

The thing about therapy is that it's generally a one on one session between a client and a therapist.  Sometimes there's group therapy... which is a session with many clients and one therapist.  But I had the thought that, according to Linus's law, this ratio is really backwards.

It's a fundamentally basic rule that the more perspectives you apply to a problem... the more likely the problem is to be solved.  Watch...

The owner of the stock which employs a great number of labourers, necessarily endeavours, for his own advantage, to make such a proper division and distribution of employment, that they may be enabled to produce the greatest quantity of work possible. For the same reason, he endeavours to supply them with the best machinery which either he or they can think of. What takes place among the labourers in a particular workhouse, takes place, for the same reason, among those of a great society. The greater their number, the more they naturally divide themselves into different classes and subdivisions of employment. More heads are occupied in inventing the most proper machinery for executing the work of each, and it is, therefore, more likely to be invented. There are many commodities, therefore, which, in consequence of these improvements, come to be produced by so much less labour than before, that the increase of its price is more than compensated by the diminution of its quantity. - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

Watch?  You can't watch that.  It's not a video... but it should be.  I wouldn't be surprised if the underlying concept... two heads are better than one... has already been illustrated in some video that I don't know of.  Have you seen such a video?  If so, let me know.

People go to therapy because they have problems.  In theory, they would increase their chances of having their problems solved by throwing more, rather than less, therapists/perspectives at their problems.  This is because no two therapists are exactly alike.  It's their differences which make it more likely that the bug will be found and squashed.  More differences cast a wider net.  More differences cover more ground.

Can you imagine group therapy with the ratio reversed?  There would be a dozen therapists and one client.  The client wouldn't just be getting a second opinion... they would be getting a dozen opinions.  How much variation would there be in opinions?

And if a dozen different therapists is better than one therapist... then why stop at a dozen?  If a mental health agency has 60 therapists... why not have them all take part in Linus's group therapy session?  There you are... on a couch... surrounded by 60 therapists asking questions and taking notes.

Clearly there's a definite role for technology.  Each client would be uploaded to a server that every therapist in the world would have access to.  Therapists could weigh in on any client.  And of course... demand would be clarified.  Therapists would have the opportunity to put their money where their opinions are.  If other therapists valued a suggested solution... then they would allocate money to it.  Whoever submitted the most valuable solutions would receive the most money.  Everybody would see the demand for every solution.

Perhaps the closest system is StackExchange.  The main difference being that StackExchange is missing demand clarity.  They use voting rather than spending to prioritize problems/solutions.  It's the difference between organizing information and efficiently organizing information.

Anyways, there are a lot of blanks that would have to be filled in.  This is just a summer brainstorm.

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