Divergence: Consensus Conflict and Change

For any action undertaken, 3 intertwining processes determine our course:

  1. Attempt to achieve consensus;
  2. Failed consensus results in conflict;
  3. Conflict is resolved through change.

So let’s have a look at these in the light of the status quo versus Open Empire.

Our Goal:

As with the movies, Divergence is a positive thing, it’s easy to overcome internally, but externally it leads to conflict … NOT due to any failure of the divergent, but more so due to their success, and the failure of others – especially those whom cannot deal with divergent viewpoints contradictory to their own, but nonetheless correct.

So our goal is to achieve consensus while maintaining divergence …

… which means we must separate the two things, in order to find common ground.

Divergent book/movie series
Divergent Series


To avoid conflict, we must try to reach a consensus where the issue at hand affects multiple people; but consensus doesn’t necessarily mean agreement, it can also mean acquiescence … ie – being forced to comply by lack of other options.

Mutual agreement is harmonious … enforced compliance is dischordant.

Consensus Function:

The probability of achieving consensus is a function (C) that depends on the number of divergent views (D) & the strength of support for each (S) – something like this:

  • C = 1/(e^D)
  • D = SUM(Dx*Sx)

Though to be more precise, it is not simply the number of divergent views, but more accurately:

  • The number of divergent views
  • Strength of support & capabilities per viewpoint
  • The qualitative differences between those views
  • The qualitative similarities between those views
  • The deleterious consequences between the options (real or perceived)
  • The advantageous consequences between the options (real or perceived)

For the non mathematicians out there, let me just explain what you’re looking at.

The consensus function (C) reaches 100% consensus (1) when divergence (D) equals zero, because:

  • C = 1/(e^0) = 1/1 = 1 = 100%

In other words: the probability of consensus (C) decays exponentially (e) with increasing divergence of opinion (D) … OR … the less competing opinions, the greater the probability of consensus.


If you’re working alone, consensus is relatively easy, even if you have multiple divergent viewpoints of your own; but add just one other person, and you can easily cut your chances in half (assuming equality of power between each party). So what do you think happens when you add dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of other perspectives?

The answer is conflict … so:

  1. Limit the terms of discussion (to reach common ground), or;
  2. Brainwash, indoctrinate, control, force & destroy opposition.

In the movies consensus was reached through indoctrination & other social engineering; when that broke down, they tried to further artificially reinstate consensus via the use of force & deadly violence … but the point of the movies is that NEITHER brainwashing nor violence should be required, especially if people have better self-awareness & thus compassion for the differences in others.

However: this ideal does not free us from the dilemma, so we still have to solve it.


So we’ve already encountered a bit of conflict here, where consensus is artificially achieved through social engineering; but what happens if there’s still no consensus?


Our first point of call should be debate: for each position to argue its case, allowing only facts into the discussion; ie – your feelings count ONLY as facts if you present them honestly, but they do not constitute evidence of any unrelated topics.

For example:

  • feelings may be evidence of psychological suffering, but they are not evidence for changing the law of gravity.

The weakness of debate is that some people don’t care about the facts, they’re simply motivated by an agenda.


If debate fails to cause change toward consensus, diplomacy between opposing agendas may avert conflict.

However the weakness with diplomacy is that you’ve often got to deal with extremely entrenched positions, and without any other external influence, there’s no reason for diplomacy to succeed where debate failed.

Diplomacy is thus influenced by all our other factors:

  • internal consensus to have a united position to present to the other sides;
  • debating again the differences between each side;
  • trying to avoid the next step of deadly conflict, and;
  • changing something to reduce the consequences of divergence.

So don’t get me wrong, diplomacy is great … BUT … it depends on a lot of other factors for its success.


Where diplomacy fails to resolve conflict, the result can be deadly conflict – depending on the value of the stakes being played; ie – what are the combined consequences of no resolution, plus the downside of forcing a resolution through deadly conflict, versus the benefits of winning such a conflict.

A wise human being would avoid such violent conflict if at all possible.

However: knowing all this, the threat of such violent conflict (for better or worse) does motivate consensus.


So if we want to progress, we can use change to either achieve consensus or to avoid the need for consensus:


As mentioned already, we can achieve consensus by creating change via debate, diplomacy & death … but perhaps this is additionally achieved (most closely connected with debate & diplomacy), by changing the very nature of the question itself – about which the divergence exists – to thus reduce the relative divergence.

In other words: restrict the domain of discussion.


Extending this idea above: we can avoid the question of divergence entirely, by changing the question so dramatically, that divergence disappears without a fight … and this usually requires someone who is truly visionary.

The extremely negative example of this we’ve already discussed, is the notion of deadly conflict … ie – you remove the divergence question by killing it … but such action is full of negative consequences beyond even the deaths that occur.

The wiser path requires insight and wisdom, to understand the nature of the conflict profoundly, and to see the whole thing in everyone’s eyes simultaneously, in order to see a common ground that is obscured by the circumstances.

Nothing however changes the fact that sometimes you’re dealing with unreasonable, irrational & disingenuous people.


So how does capitalism deal with all this?


Typically divergence is disadvantageous when you’re poor, but nonetheless necessary; only the wealthy get to truly enjoy it without interference.

When you’re poor, divergence is necessary to keep working & get an income to keep a roof over your head, but what you’re doing with it is dictated by necessity & survival, not necessarily pleasure.

Meanwhile, the capitalist system will economically punish you for failing to specialise, but even when you do specialise, if it then betrays your investment in that specialisation, you might be right royally fucked … and if you’re one of the ones being punished for failing to specialise, not only does that punishment block you from later specialisation, but you’re further required to indulge in the very divergence they punished you for, so that you can survive the punishment.

Capitalism’s approach to divergence is hypocritical, inconsistent, & nonsensical at best.


Capitalism is quite ok with brainwashing, indoctrination, misinformation & other social engineering … its defenders & proponents may claim otherwise, but the reality is that anyone able to manipulate masses of people will be greatly rewarded by capitalism. The entire modern day fields of advertising & marketing are built around this reality.

Capitalism is also ok with murder & genocide … again it will claim otherwise, but if you can manufacture sufficient weapons & brainwash an army of loyal soldiers, you can steal anything you want, and capitalism itself won’t care EVEN IF the law does … but often times the law turns a blind eye, depending on who is doing the killing.


As per the comments above, this is a no-brainer … capitalism considers conflict extremely profitable.


The only change capitalism is ok with, is that which it can control.

Open Empire:

Open Empire by contrast has a vastly different approach.


  • Does it make you happy? Great we support it.
  • Is it productive? Great we support it.
  • You just want to do something but you’re not sure why? That’s fine.

The only thing is, whatever you do, however you do it, why ever you do it … you’re responsible for the consequences, so here’s a system to support you in understanding those consequences, maximising the beneficial ones, and mitigating the harmful ones … the choice is yours, but the motivation & support is there to at least minimise harm in the process.


  • Is it quantifiable? Great.
  • Is it verifiable? Great.
  • What are the consequences?

Assuming an issue comes up that requires collective & unified action, but there are competing agendas:

  • IF you can show your agenda does the least harm, creates the most good, and this is both quantifiable & verifiable;
  • THEN you’ll likely get consensus & support;
  • ELSE IF you don’t get support, people do something else, and it turns out you were right;
  • THEN they may regret not following you, depending on the difference in consequences.

So people are free to work independently & collectively on whatever basis they choose, but they’re also motivated to find a consensus that is perspective agnostic … AND REGARDLESS of whether such a direction agrees with any status quo.


Peaceful conflict (debate & diplomacy) typically have less deleterious consequences than violent conflict, so it’s in everyone’s interests to resolve conflict peacefully … BUT … if the actions of some are seriously deleterious, they may invite such violent conflict if they refuse to deal gracefully with attempts at peaceful resolution.

So there’s no “judgement” of conflict, nor indeed of violent conflict, merely an awareness that violent conflict has extreme consequences that are best avoided wherever possible, but which may become necessary in some cases.

Where such violent conflict becomes “necessary”, it will only be because:

  • The situation involves extremely deleterious consequences;
  • Peaceful resolution failed at every attempt to reach a resolution;
  • Failure to act will result in the aforementioned extremely deleterious consequences;
  • No other options are left on the table, and time for effective & successful action is running out.

Open Empire is not averse to all violence, just most of it … there’s no authority holding exclusivity on “the legitimate use of force”, but there’s also no incentive to use force if there’s any other way around it, plenty of disincentive without extremely good justification, and plenty of incentive to find non-violent alternatives whenever & where ever possible.


Open Empire is built on perpetual change & evolution. If something is in the least way wrong, inaccurate or incomplete, one of the greatest value actions a person can engage in, is the discovery of such flaws & the design of solutions … in which respect, Open Empire welcomes change.

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