Reflections in the Judea desert

Nature has two types of changes

Type 1 Change: Change that is so gradual it is almost not perceptible to the eye

Type 2 Change: Change that is discontinuous, things seemingly stay the same for a long time but dramatically shifts when change happens.

I-Ching, the book of changes might have been a simple framework used by the elders to help predict environmental changes resultant of interactions between the broad categories of Water, Earth, Wood and Fire. It could be speculated the intent was to avoid starting initiatives during natural cycles that are counter productive.

It is likely given the long lapse of time between the originators (people who knew what it was used for) and subsequent users (people who don’t know its intended use), it became shrouded in mysticism and used for spiritual and divination purposes instead. Another explanation for the conflation of function and mysticism can be attributed to the intertwine between nature and of religion.

Nature and space

Nature provides a really vast space for all its creatures. In this space, majority of changes fall into the type 1 category. Given the thorough lack of sensory stimulation for prolonged periods of time, all sense of personal identity inevitably disintegrates. It can speculated man through sheer boredom sets himself apart by putting up walls to shield himself from the vastness of nature. He does so by setting rules and norms, making music and engaging in drama with other men.

Ali the Bedouin huddled over his iPhone to stave off boredom while riding his camel across the unchanging landscape

The desert in the canyon is observed to be flooded after sudden huge volume of rain

Type 1 change a dramatic landscape that formed slowly overtime through gradual erosion of soil

Observation on Israel and the Palestinian states

Isreal in terms of infrastructure, organization and economy is observed to be more developed than Palestine.

Walking the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, I barely see any trash. In the Palestinian States, trash is observed all over the place. The former was deliberately planned for. I observe cleaners going about their duties at 5am in the mornings.

Isreali Houses were looked clean and meticulously constructed some powered with solar panels. Some Palestinian houses remained under construction for a long time before completion. The Kibbutz is a spectacular operating stand alone model pioneered by the Israeli.

The military system in Isreal is observed to be more developed than Palestine.

The first thing my Palestinian driver mentioned as I boarded his car was that Palestinians have nothing.

The main contrast I could draw from my interactions between the two groups are the Israelis are formal and organized while the Palestinians  relationship oriented and unstructured in their organization.

The critical question I draw from all these observations is why were the Israeli able to develope their infrastructure at a much faster than the Palestinians and hence dominate the region despite having almost similar starting points post WWII?

If I dare speculate, it’s attributed to inefficient deployment of resources within the latter system due to management corruption. If a country is to be viewed as a GDP compounding machine, corruption should be viewed ad a source of leakage which detracts from the compounding effect.

As a side note, I think the original team that setup Singapore more than just borrowed the military system from Isreal. The clean and green approach to city planning might have been borrowed as well. Sections of Tel Aviv such as parks and sky lines reminds me of sections in Singapore. Last but not the least, the zero tolerance policy to

Technology gestation and social norming in Jerusalem

Observations in the ancient city of Jerusalem

Metal detector declared to not violate Shabbat

Electric bicycles not allowed in the city

The world’s first concrete piano

Utilization of new technology (QR code and Augmented Reality) to tell an ancient tale

The concept of Google transcends beyond the level functionality to become a vehicle to convey social beliefs and attitudes

Usage of Occulus Rift in Tel Aviv by college kids to support the shock tactic for converting people to veganism.


Every technology that becomes widely adopted inevitably goes through a period of gestation where the village elders (government) from various communities spend time redefining existing cultural narratives, norms and values so as to assimilate it into their daily rituals.

While the invention period might sometime be long, it should not be surprising that the gestation period is often longer. On an average gestation periods takes up to ten years.

It must be noted, in rare occurrences, in certain communities, a single rare elder (sometimes referenced by the title prophet/seer/founder) might sometimes draw from the myriad signals presented by reality, through the use of critical lens, a foundational framework upon which the rest of the community base their narratives upon. This has the effect of not just setting the community in a radically different trajectory but also kicks off a new technological arch.

Technology influences community narratives. Community narratives drives the creation of new technologies. It’s a loop.

Reference materials

  • Crossing the chasm, Geoffrey Moore
  • The nature of Technology, Arthur W Brian
  • Tribes, Seth Godin
  • The Facebook effect, David Kirkpa
  • Mein Kempf, Adolf Hitler

The proper order of things – running of a back packers

Through observation of how Overstay backpackers in Tel Aviv was setup

For the success of any social endeavors here are the list of things that need to be pursuit in sequence

  • Define clearly why you are doing what you are doing – the mission and purpose that is grounded in the community you operate in
  • Define clearly the rules, values and norms that community members will need to adhere to when engaging with the entity – aka the project
  • physically manifest the entity
  • start enlisting community members to participate in the project