Vous êtes sur le site de Robert Daoust / You are on Robert Daoust website

OUTLINE OF PANETOMETRY

by Robert Daoust

The present document is a part of an ongoing work that is described on the webpage entitled "Quantification Research about Suffering at the ISP".


PANETOMETRY

The art and science of collecting and interpreting quantitative data concerning the infliction of suffering

Parts of Panetometry (in alphabetic order)

Decisional Panetometry (or normative, or axiological, or ethical panetometry) : the study and use of quantitative data as a guide to opinion and to action concerning the infliction of suffering.

Dukkhology : the study of metrological concepts and methods related to the measurement of inflicted suffering.

Experimental Panetometry.

Panetometric Analysis : the objective study of quantitative social, economical, cultural, political or other interrelationship aspects related to the infliction of suffering.

Panetometric Bibliography.

Panetometric Data Collection : the acquisition, treatment and presentation of quantitative panetometric data. It may include Panetic Accounting.

Panetometrics : "The application of mathematics and statistics, including computer programs, to the quantitative study of the infliction of suffering and of the reduction of infliction and the practical resolution of the associated social problems" (Siu 1998, p. 588).

Philosophy of Panetometry. It may include Epistemological Panetometry (justifications, uses, feasibility, validity of panetometric general conceptions, and their criticisms), Methodology of Panetometry, and Prospective Development in Panetometry.

Qualitative Panetometry.

Terminology of Panetometry.


DUKKHOLOGY

The study of metrological concepts and methods related to the measurement of inflicted suffering

Siu 1998

P. 60-61 - Examples of indirect and partial measures of suffering : quality vs. intensity, intensity vs. quantity, verbal intensity scale, visual analog scale, cerebral potentials, indicators of material deficiencies and projected distress, Abusive Behavior Inventory, International Human Suffering Index…

P. 62-65 - Formation of the dukkha : if the two answers to the question "how badly and for how long have you been hurting?" are multiplied by each other, if a standardized intensity scale of 9 levels is used, and if the duration is expressed in days, then 1 dukkha is the amount of suffering endured by 1 person experiencing 1 intensity level of suffering for 1 day. Justifications : for millennia people have been using quantitative expressions to assess intensity and duration of suffering; they have been satisfied with it; nobody objects to this habit in medical care; multiplying intensity and duration to get quantity is an accepted practice.

P. 62 - It is proposed to measure suffering in dukkhas because of the following advantages. 1) The precision and accuracy is adequate for the purpose and context at hand. 2) The basic data is the direct personal estimates by the sufferer (how bad, how long, how frequent are your sufferings?). 3) The manipulation of the basic data to provide the final figure for quantity is logically sound. 4) The procedure is sufficiently simple, so that even laymen with minimal education are capable of using it to estimate their own amounts of suffering flowing from various sources and causes. 5) No special equipment is required other than paper and pencil. 6) The method is universally applicable for all individuals, institutions, governments, kinds of sufferings, conditions, and so on, so that comparative analyses, choices, and judgments can be made. 7) The ease and reliability of eliciting the necessary inputs to the calculations have been demonstrated in actual use for some time (see pain assessment in medical practice). 8) In view of the present urgency, the dukkha is capable of being put into general and practical use readily.

P. 65-66 - The dukkha can be used for measuring the quality of life and for gauging collective humane progress. Gross Personal Dukkhas, Gross Institutional Dukkhas, Gross National Dukkhas, Gross Global Dukkhas are introduced. The ratio between an actual Gross Dukkhas and its theoretical maximum provides an estimate of the magnitude of suffering endured during a year by an individual or a group. The ratio between the Gross National Dukkhas and the Gross National Product would provide a humane index of the economy.

P. 66-67 - Suffering at the intensities 8 and 9 should be accorded distinctive consideration in quantification reports. For example, a person that has a low average of dukkhas per day may be in a very bad condition if he or she is subjected to short burst of attacks at high intensity. Or one population may be not better off than another on the basis of a lower GND alone.

P. 67 - "Peak and end rule" : retrospectively, suffering one minute at intensity 3 followed by 30 more seconds at intensity 1 may be perceived as less hurtful than suffering one minute at intensity 3 not followed by 30 more seconds at intensity 1!

P. 67-68 - The quantitative dukkha will facilitate the attainment of more humane objectives in economy, politics, and civilization. It is essential for humane progress, as units of mass and energy are needed in science, or as a monetary unit is required in economics and business.

P. 68 - Justification of approximate measurement : monetary units have wild variations, engineers use approximation routinely, objective social indicators are judgmental…

P. 69 - Top-of-the-head estimates of the average intensity of suffering may be sufficient in certain case, but, in other cases, incremental measurements must be performed.

P. 70 - GND can be obtained by subjective polls, or if need be by objective statistics.

P. 262 - Discussion on the mathematical validity of quantification in panetics. The expression of a panetic event is more a semi-quantitative summation than a precise mathematical equation. Component terms must be similar in order to be logically additive, but mental and physical pain, for instance, are quite different. Nevertheless, components might be cumulatively agglomerated into some kind of an index of total suffering through suitable sets of empirically developed rules of thumb for practical purposes.

P. 262 - Determination of the beginning and end of an episode of suffering : it is determined by the practical question under consideration. The actual episode of choice may then be broken down into analyzable sub-episodes, each with its own initiation, intermediary milestones, and termination.

P. 277 - The Fechner-Weber Law states that the intensity of a perception is proportional to the natural logarithm of the stimulus. It is surmised, therefore, that a much greater dose of noxious input must be applied to inflict the same number of felt dukkhas in the victim as the panetic baseline rises.

P. 278 - Panetic modulus : it is defined as a coefficient of aggravation or alleviation which may affect an individual, a noxious factor, or a situation, and which must be taken into account when converting a potentially noxious input into an estimated number of felt dukkhas.

Siu 1993a

P. 24 - An inflicter does not inflict suffering but injects that ingredient that may or may not elicit varying kinds and degrees of suffering.

P. 26 - Relationships between impinging agents and subjective responses : is there a governing psychophysical equation? What would be this equation?

Siu 1993b

P. 11 - An individual's personal estimate of the intensity of his/her suffering cannot logically be challenged, granted it is an honest effort by a person in control of his/her faculties.

P. 12 - There are two main avenues through which an observer can arrive at a credible quantitative estimate of the amount of suffering being experienced by the subject at hand. One is an actual statement by the sufferer… The other is imputed by the observer based on an average intensity of a large number of reports from previous persons in a homogeneous population exposed to the same stressing condition.

P. 14 - Intensity, duration, quantity of suffering : tolerance limit may be determined by any of these factors singly or in combination with the others.

Auster, Simon - Pain, Suffering and Empathy

Panetometric comments - Quantities in pain and suffering can be measured in function of external stimuli or events, and of internal modulations. Some such factors are mentioned. Pain can often be measured against a direct external referent, but suffering is too primarily a product of the central nervous system to permit such a direct correspondence. Besides, an observer is influenced by empathy or non-empathy when he or she measures a suffering.

Davis, James N. - Panetics, Politics, and the Aircraft Industry

Panetometric comments - In this example of panetometric analysis by Davis, dukkhas (on the basis of intensity level 3, during 15 seconds, for each person exposed to one hi-noise aircraft takeoff) are used to quantify suffering within the framework of a policy-making issue.

Galtung, Johan - Panetics and the Practice of Peace and Development

Panetometric comments - Galtung asserts that five constitutive principles can be found in the concept of the dukkha unit.
1- Humanism or personalism (Man, or sentience, is the measure of all things).
2- Subjectivism (I am the only judge of what is my situation with respect to suffering).
3- Egalitarism (all dukkhas are equal, there is no worthy or unworthy sufferer despite widespread tendencies to affirm the contrary).
4- Impossibility for dukkhas to be averaged with a supposedly positive counterpart like the measure of pleasure or happiness (people who have reasons for suffering do not suffer less because they may have reasons for being happy).
5- Independence from theories or ideologies (ideas about causes, kinds, or roles of suffering are not taken into consideration).
First applications of the dukkha could lack accuracy, but the measure would still be of immense value because of these principles. For a critique of Galtung's views, see Striner's Quantification and Values : Error or Confusion?

ISP's Document - The Dukkha

Panetometric comments - One dukkha corresponds to the amount of suffering endured at intensity level one for one day by one person. This is a convenient magnitude for a unit of measure dealing with human suffering. I suggest that the usual or standard verbal description of the 9 degrees of intensity (1- Noticeable 2- Bothersome 3- Moderate 4- Considerable, seeking relief 5- Interfering with daily life 6- Quite A lot 7- Miserable, visiting physician 8- Excruciating 9- Unbearable) should definitely be improved : we can have recourse for that to the terminology of "pain questionnaires" that have been extensively studied in the field of pain research. I bring to attention that the 9-steps scale, which Siu favored because it has an easy-to-find middle point at 5, can actually be seen as a scale with 10 levels if we allow fractional degrees between 0 and 1 and between 9 and 10.

A dukkha is a product of three factors : a degree of intensity, a length of time, and a number of individuals. I suggest that the intensity of a suffering is to be considered as a measurable quantity, not as a quality that is assessed with a mark like when we rate, for instance, the intensity of a student's efforts : the dukkha should not be a "semi-quantitative" unit. Panetometry proposes a new experimental paradigm which asserts that there is a quantity of suffering that can be attributed to an individual in the same way that there is, for instance, a quantity of seismic activity that can be attributed to a geographical region. The old paradigm says that a sensation or a feeling is not quantifiable because it is "une grandeur intensive et non pas extensive" (in French). I don't know how to translate exactly this expression, but for the new paradigm this means that the measurement of the intensity of a suffering must be based on a concrete, spatiotemporal phenomenon. What could be this concrete phenomenon? First, let us notice that pain researchers distinguish between the degree of intensity (of a pain sensation) and the degree of unpleasantness (of a pain affect) : a pain may be very intense but moderately unpleasant! A performer, a mountain climber or a businessman for instance, may sharply suffer but remain in a state of elation, while a depressed person may suffer in a dull but quite hurtful manner. All this can be very confusing. Therefore, we must be very clear about what is said to be "intense" when we measure suffering. I suggest that among the many aspects of a suffering, what we want to specifically call intense is not the emotions, nor the sensations, nor the noxious stimuli, nor any aspect that comes along with a suffering, but specifically the affective unpleasantness of that suffering... The affective unpleasantness of pain is often called "aversion", and I suggest that we adopt this term for referring to what is said to be intense when we measure suffering. Therefore, in response to the above question, I propose the following hypothesis : an unknown spatiotemporal neural process is responsible for the intensity of a suffering by producing one quantum of psychological aversion for each quantum of neural activity involved in the process.

If the aversion-producing neural process is the hypothetical concrete substratum which is responsible for the intensity component of the dukkha, then I propose that the dukkha should be technically defined as the sum of the time lenghts that each aversion quantum lasts in the course of a suffering event lived by one individual or more. A suffering event may involve one aversion quantum or more, and one individual or more, but each aversion quantum belongs to only one individual. The average intensity of a suffering is obtained by adding the duration of each aversion quantum and by dividing this sum by the duration of the suffering event. According to this definition, the intensity component of Siu's dukkha continue to be calculated, as it has been until now, with one aversion quantum for the first degree of intensity, 2 aversion quanta for the second degree, 3 aversion quanta for the third degree, and so on...

I believe that Siu's dukkha is flawed because its intensity scale is linear rather than logarithmic. For instance, its second degree of suffering is 2 times worst than its first degree(2 divided by 1), while its ninth degree is only 1.125 time worst than its eight degree (9 divided by 8). Therefore, I suggest a new dukkha measure, tentatively called the NDK, based on the same 9-steps intensity scale, but with a new relationship between intensity degrees and aversion quanta. I propose that each degree should be 2.718 times worst than the preceding one, and that one aversion quantum should correspond to the limit of the degree zero of intensity. The number 2.718 is the approximate value of the transcendental number e which is the basis of natural logarithms, and which is used in calculating many natural variations (including the proportionality of stimulus and perception in the Weber-Fechner law). The first degree of the NDK would have approximately 2.7 aversion quanta, the 2nd degree 7 aversion quanta, the 3rd degree 20 aversion quanta, the 4th degree 55 aversion quanta, the 5th degree 150 aversion quanta, the 6th degree 400 aversion quanta, the 7th degree 1000 aversion quanta, the 8th degree 3000 aversion quanta, the 9th degree 8000 aversion quanta. For example, 1 day of level 1 noticeable suffering (1 day X 2.7 aversion quanta X 1 person = 2.7 NDK) would be equivalent to about 4 minutes of level 7 miserable suffering (0.0027 day X 1,000 aversion quanta X 1 person = 2.7 NDK), while 1 day of level 7 would be equivalent to 365 days of level 1 (1 day X 1,000 aversion quanta X 1 person = 365 days X 2.7 aversion quanta X 1 person = approximately 1,000 NDK). There is one more suggestion that I must make : the degrees 8 and 9 (with their logarithmic value in base e of respectively 2981 aversion units and 8104 aversion units) should never be counted in a same continuum with the other seven degrees, on the assumption that when a certain intensity is attained, an "hypothetical element X" is added to aversion that alters its homogeneous nature, so that there are two incommensurable kinds of aversion : normal and extraordinary. Measurement is thus made more complex, but it is necessary to make it so because there is no way that, for example, some 12 seconds, or 5 minutes, or 2 hours of torture be equal to 1 day, or 1 month or 2 years of light discomfort. Dukkhas obtained with factors of the 8th or 9th degree could be called extra-dukkhas, or XDKs, and they would measure extra-aversive suffering.

When dukkhas are being calculated, I propose that a margin of error should be routinely indicated after a result, and that much care should be taken to obtain accurate numbers for each of the three factors, especially for duration (which seems to have been generally overestimated until now because no allowance is made for momentary remissions other than sleep), and for intensity (much use should be made of notions such as "average intensity per unit of time", "rate of change of intensity", "frequency and length of episodes at each intensity degree", and other statistical notions). For example, when Davis in A Panetic Analysis of a Cigarette Tax tells us that smoking in USA represents 32,6 gigadukkhas per year (for 46 millions smokers, at intensity 2, two thirds of the time), he is of course wildly guessing, though he offers a certain rationale for his guess : eventually it would be interesting to give a realistic margin of error, and to present a more detailed equation (that could become more detailed at will), taking into account subclasses of smokers with various durations and intensities of suffering… Margins of error could be provided for intensity, duration, and number of people, as well as for the total of dukkhas.

I suggest that panetics and panetometry should have more than one measure to deal with suffering : (1) the Siu's dukkha, (2) the neo-dukkha or NDK (see here above; the appellation NDK would also permit to avoid the impossibly awkward spelling of the word d-u-k-k-h-a), (3) the extra-dukkha or XDK (see here above), (4) the weighed dukkha or WDK (see comments on Striner's article), (5) the "case of excessive (or extra-aversive) suffering" (that would be a kind of epidemiological unit), (6) the "noxiousness" system of units (measuring the dukkhas-producing potential of various stressing conditions that can be inflicted to elicit suffering)…

Magerramova, Elza and Lundstedt, Sven B. - Panetics, Refugees and Displaced Persons

Panetometric comments - Limits of tolerance to suffering differ widely between individuals or cultures, but the "subjective discrepancies in direct and trans-personal appraisals of suffering lie well within quite technically manageable proportions". Social indicators that are already in used could be integrated with newly devised quantitative measurements of suffering to allow for a more comprehensive, thorough-going approach.

Striner, Herbert E. - Quantification and Values: Error or Confusion?

Panetometric comments - First, let us recapitulate Striner's position. Egalitarism is one of the constitutive principle of the dukkha unit, according to Galtung, but egalitarism cannot be accepted without restrictions under all conditions : equity, justice, or ethics often call for differentiation between less or more worthy sufferers. Errors in quantification may be allowed, because scientific progress is made through them, but confusion in values may not : since we measure suffering for lessening it, we should take into account not only intensity, duration, and the number of persons involved, but also values. But value-weights cannot be attributed in an objective, credible, impartial manner. Even with regards to value-free quantification, there can be no purely egalitarian measure of suffering : two measurements cannot be compared because there are differences between people, or between external events, or within the same person at different times. Moreover, in so far as suffering is a private emotional experience, the dukkha is perhaps as meaningless, as useless, and as misleading as would be a quantitative unit called the "christo" for measuring a Christian's level of faith! For all these reasons, the best that panetics can do is to develop, on one track, a credible (probably limited) source of quantitative data, capable of satisfying some aspects of a quantitative model, while on another track, since quantification is not the only way to develop a science, panetics should develop a methodology anchored in the use of a values-based model.

For the latter model, Striner suggests to resort to his decisioning analysis, a method that deals with the relationship between values, assumptions and policies in the decision-making process. We can make a connection, I believe, between Striner's decisioning and Boulding's cost-benefit analysis : Striner speaks of what is right for someone and of personal values systems, while Boulding speaks of one's best interest and of identifying what persons are considered when costs and benefits are calculated… Both authors suggest ways to assess suffering as a factor in a decision-making process. Could we make use of a Boulding-Striner analysis in panetics?

Striner's critique of the egalitarist dukkha seems beside the point as far as quantification is concerned : we have to know how much a person suffers, no matter how much worthy or unworthy he or she may be, and problems of individual or circumstantial differences can probably be attenuated by developing more finely tuned measurements or averagings… However, as far as values are concerned, suffering should be "weighed", but then it must be noted that a weighed dukkha constitutes a different unit than the Siu's dukkha, and it should have another name (the WDK?). A suffering is perhaps always more or less inherently negative, but it may be seen as more or less instrumentally positive or negative. The instrumental value of a suffering should be expressed by a weighed dukkha, the weight-value being dependent on the appraiser's preference. About qualitative, subjective, or private aspects of suffering, let us recall, as we do in comments about Whittemore's article, that the role of quantification is not at all to capture the "unsliceable wholeness of feeling and true knowledge" by a means similar to the "christo" unit. Panetometry is only a part of an integrated, evolving study which is dedicated to approach the subject of suffering in all its ramification. In any event, we should handle a gross national dukkha with as much discernment as a gross national product!

In relation with Striner's critique, I see some other problems related to the definition of the intensity component of the dukkha. On this matter, please refer to comments on ISP's document The Dukkha.

Daoust 2000/04/04

There must be a distinction between one dukkha of low intensity suffering and one dukkha of high intensity suffering.

Daoust, Robert "Preparatory Notes for Algometry"

(See text by clicking on that link)

Other Notes

Measurement and estimation should not be mixed up.

Aspects to consider in relation with duration : continuity, intermittence, recurrence, rate of change, total duration, mean duration, period of occurrence, episode, persistence, resilience, intractability, unresolvability…

To obtain a quantity of suffering, duration and intensity are needed. Bed charts in some hospitals now give readings of pain intensities : data are taken from patients who are asked at intervals to say how much they are suffering on a scale of 10. In principle, dukkhas can be calculated from such charts. As a rule, the more frequent are intensity reports, the more accurate should be the number of dukkhas, because the duration at each intensity is extrapolated from the reports… The same method could be used to calculate dukkhas in a population by periodical survey polls.

Cf. the Richter scale as a model that can be instructive in dukkhology.

Suffering is a pervasive phenomenon. There is an almost steady flow of micro sufferings in each of us. Low and Medium level sufferings are quite frequent also. Usually, people and organizations who work against "suffering" are only concerned in fact with "high level sufferings". Be it only for practical or feasibility reasons, I believe that there should be two different kinds of measurement : of suffering in general, and of high level sufferings in particular.

The dukkha is based on duration and intensity. These can vary easily and are therefore difficult to measure with accuracy. A more convenient, simple and accurate unit could perhaps be used. On a macro scale, for practical purposes, it is often sufficient to count cases without bothering about their exact durations or intensities. Often,.rather than "wild guessing" to assess a number of dukkhas, it would be more useful.to count the cases of suffering.

Here is proposed a definition for the "panetic unit" : one "panetic extradukkha" (PXDK?) is one case of dysfunctional highly aversive suffering caused by one or more individuals acting through an organization.

Noxious inputs and suffering : cf. panetic modulus. In many cases, we do not have data on felt suffering but on inflicted noxious inputs, and we are tempted to infer the suffering from the noxious input. Such a conversion may be allowed, but many precautions should be taken.


PANETOMETRIC DATA COLLECTION

The acquisition, treatment and presentation of quantitative panetometric data

Siu 1998

P. 65-66 - The dukkha can be used for measuring the quality of life and for gauging collective humane progress. Gross Personal Dukkhas, Gross Institutional Dukkhas, Gross National Dukkhas, Gross Global Dukkhas are introduced. The ratio between an actual Gross Dukkhas and its theoretical maximum provides an estimate of the magnitude of suffering endured during a year by an individual or a group. The ratio between the Gross National Dukkhas and the Gross National Product would provide a humane index of the economy.

P. 391-393 - Estimation of suffering inflicted by Americans on fellow Americans in 1979, comparatively distributed among various categories of victims and of agents. Estimation of the potential suffering that would be sustained by Americans on one day of total nuclear war.

P. 519-523 - Prototypes of useful panetic techniques : Siu's proposition of creating dukkha diagrams and panetic tables on civil disturbances; Geelhoed's and Siu's proposition of creating medical dukkha tables and medical econopanetic tables.

P. 545-553 - Proposition to measure the progress of civilization quantitatively by the Gross Global Dukkhas obtained through regular polling surveys.

Geelhoed, Glenn W. and Siu, Ralph G. H. - Humanely Cost-Effective Options for Medical Treatment and Health Care Plans (Part One and Part Two)

Panetometric comments - Inasmuch as the prevention and relief of suffering is a paramount goal for patients and health care workers, this goal should be a criterion for decision-making, and various tables that present quantitative data about suffering should be developed to allow more humanely cost-effective formulation, selection, and improvement of options for medical treatment and health care plans. Some illustrative panetometric tables for medical purposes are given (not available in the Web versions of the articles), showing the numbers of dukkhas, of cases (incidence), of dollars, and of days that can be related to certain illnesses or treatments. An interesting quotient is shown : the "econo-panetic efficiency" of a treatment or of a policy, expressed as dukkhas divided by costs. Another especially interesting number is the estimate of dukkhas typically attributed to an illness or to a treatment… Complete sets of such panetometric tables should be developed with data taken from existing medical literature, vital statistics, and public health statistics. Four sources are mentioned for assessing suffering intensity : sufferers, professional caretakers, instrumentation, and social indicators (incidentally, I note that pain is beginning to be considered as the fifth vital sign in medical practice, next to temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration : we can already see bed charts that include inscriptions at regular time of pain intensities stated by patients, and eventually we should be able to draw new knowledge by compiling these charts). The authors add that medical dukkha tables could also include the amount of suffering generated in others by a given illness : for example, the dukkhas flowing from the worries of the family members, the final burdens and associated sacrifices on the part of those who have to pay the bills, and the sadness and hardships of bereaved dependents. Let us note that the actual process of putting up these tables would teach us much on how to make them and on how to improve them.

Magerramova, Elza and Lundstedt, Sven B. - Panetics, Refugees and Displaced Persons

Panetometric comments - Social indicators that are already in used could be integrated with newly devised quantitative measurements of suffering to allow for a more comprehensive, thorough-going approach.

Other Notes

Panetometric data collection should resort to "panetic taxonomy" for classifying quantitative data.

See Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. This is probably one of the most relevant works for panetometric data collection.

Data to include : cases of excessive suffering, or register of sufferers.

Resort to sociometry, epidemiology, statistics…

Methods : interview, questionnaire, survey, poll, documentary research, documentary review…

A question like "how much are you suffering because your son is an heroin addict?" will instantly revive the suffering. During a survey, if we want to know if people are suffering from a certain cause, the question should rather be : "Just before this instant, were you suffering because of such or such cause?"

The Hawthorne effect : change occurring in a group as a result of being studied (communicated by Kevin D. Wulf in the Panetics Global Forum, 2001/03/10).

Create standard tables for converting noxious inputs into suffering.

 

Panetic Accounting

Siu 1998

P. 301-306 - An accountable means for determining the amount of suffering being engendered or alleviated by social agents is necessary if the responsibility for human well-being is to have true and enforceable meaning. Panetic accountancy, with its ledgers of dukkhas and its audits, is not for tomorrow, but, meanwhile, panetic accountability can proceed with semi-quantitative measurements of responsibility. The Gross National Dukkhas together with the Gross National Product could trace an econopanetic overview of national domestic progress, while voters could maintain an updated plot of the number of dukkhas being inflicted on them and their families by the actions of politicians. Panetic accounting for an individual or for a group could also be performed for more private purposes by means of "panetic profile charts".


PANETOMETRIC ANALYSIS

The objective study of quantitative social, economical, cultural, political or other interrelationship aspects related to the infliction of suffering

Siu 1998

P. 20-21 - List of questions, mostly relevant to quantification, about inflictive interactions on the macro and micro scale. Laws relative to the amount of suffering per capita in the evolution of mankind, laws relative to the level of inflicted suffering among various classes, laws relative to the interaction between inflicters and inflictees…

P. 261-262 - A mathematical formulation is given that represents the changes in the panetic state of an individual when an agent alters the intensity, the duration or the nature of an inflicted suffering. An agent may be an operator of positive dukkhas (inflicting agent) or of negative dukkhas(alleviating agent).

P. 263 - Panetic systems diagrams for outlining a quantitative schema. Example : Brown's cops-and-robbers panetic systems diagram.

P. 265 - Lanchester Law on quantification of inflicting forces in combat : the capability of an organized group to inflict damages on another group goes up arithmetically with its superiority in technical proficiency and geometrically with its superiority in number of members.

P. 265 - The frequency of random inflictions is a function of the competitive contacts among people. The latter depends on the number of individuals, the population density, the speed of travel and communication…

P. 265-270 - Factors determining the magnitude of an individual's activation threshold for the infliction or the alleviation of suffering. Factors determining the magnitude of the impellence needed to overcome this activation threshold.

P. 271-276 - Panetic equilibrium or quasi-equilibrium in a society is defined (on page 587) as a state in which the kinds, amounts, rates, and pathways of suffering being inflicted and those required for the smooth functioning of this society are approximately equal. There is then a balance among opposing forces and interests (cf. p. 296). Conflict arises when two parties or more are able to inflict and to endure telling amounts of suffering for the sake of their interests. Outcomes of conflicts are analyzed in relation with 4 quantitative indices that characterize an individual or a group : perception threshold, tolerance limit, infliction capacity at perception threshold, infliction capacity at 2/3 tolerance limit.

P. 276 - A mathematical formulation is given for what is termed "panetic efficiency", which may be defined as the relative amount of returns in a specified objective per instrumental dukkha inflicted.

P. 279-281 - Ten axioms and ten laws are very tentatively proposed as basic panetic principles (note by the reviewer : some of them belong to the philosophy of panetometry, and some other could eventually be reformulated to become panetometric hypothesis to be tested within specific research projects). See Krecji, Rudolph and Siu, Ralph G. H. - Toward Some Panetic Axioms.

P. 296-301 - The concepts of panetic equilibrium constant, dukkha ambiance, panetic baseline, panetic inflation, panetic deflation, Humane Index, Standard Humane Index are introduced.

P. 308-317 - Intellectual tools relevant to panetometry are introduced : Pareto analysis (in particular the 80/20 rule), Panetic system diagrams and dukkha flow charts , Langmuir's histograms and curve of concern, Striner's rate of change in dukkha levels, econopanetic matrix display of options, multifactorial spider web display.

P. 519-523 - Prototypes of useful panetic techniques : Davis' calculation of the added dukkhas brought up by Dan Quayle's decision on phasing out high-noise aircraft; Davis' estimation of the panetic impact of a proposed increase in Federal cigarette tax; Siu's proposition of creating dukkha diagrams and panetic tables on civil disturbances; Geelhoed's and Siu's proposition of creating medical dukkha tables and medical econopanetic tables.

Langmuir, David B. - Quantification: Some Experiments with the Dukkha

Panetometric comments - Poverty can cause suffering, wealth can alleviate it : is it possible to work out a dukkha-to-dollar scale that would express this axiom quantitatively? Langmuir tries and fails, but he admits that his starting assumptions are questionable. I think that one data he should have taken into account is the psychological surveys which show that as far as subjective well-being is concerned, money makes a difference only below one level of revenue : the one at which you have enough to live. Above that level, more or less money does not by itself make you more happy or unhappy. Seeking a conversion formula between dollars and dukkhas is natural, because we see that suffering and money are linked in many ways… However, I think that a dukkha-to-dollar scale would have to be worked out for every different problematique in which money and suffering are involved… A universal dukkha-dollar correlation is probably nonexistent.

Other Notes

Other objects to measure : causes of suffering, remedies, damages or noxious inputs or threats, social or economical or other kinds of impacts caused by infliction…

Panetic efficiency (Siu 1998 p. 276) : cf. econopanetic efficiency (Geelhoed and Siu "Humanly cost-effective options…) and panetic modulus (Siu1998 p. 278).


DECISIONAL PANETOMETRY

The study and use of quantitative data as a guide to opinion and to action concerning the infliction of suffering

Siu 1998

P. 264 - Panetic "critical path analysis" for determining the operational pathway for the least infliction of suffering toward a given goal.

P. 307 - Suffering can be looked upon as a cost in a cost-benefit analysis, as suggested by Kenneth Boulding.

P. 308-317 - Intellectual tools relevant to panetometry are introduced : Pareto analysis (in particular the 80/20 rule), Panetic system diagrams and dukkha flow charts , Langmuir's histograms and curve of concern, Striner's rate of change in dukkha levels, econopanetic matrix display of options, multifactorial spider web display.

P. 519-523 - Prototypes of useful panetic techniques : Davis' calculation of the added dukkhas brought up by Dan Quayle's decision on phasing out high-noise aircraft; Davis' estimation of the panetic impact of a proposed increase in Federal cigarette tax; Siu's proposition of creating dukkha diagrams and panetic tables on civil disturbances; Geelhoed's and Siu's proposition of creating medical dukkha tables and medical econopanetic tables.

Boulding, Kenneth E. - Quantification: Panetics and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Panetometric comments - Boulding proposes an analytic quantitative tool for decision-making that would include non monetary valuation elements, such as suffering, power, security, welfare… I propose to call it the "Boulding's cost-benefit analysis". The tool would work only if no value is considered to be "absolute", and if we formally address the question of "whose" costs and "whose" benefits are to be included in the calculations.

Davis, James N. - A Hypothetical Analysis of Waco

Panetometric comments - It is suggested that decision makers should have panetic estimates of alternative courses of action, i.e. "balance sheets" showing the relationship of financial costs to human suffering (cf. Boulding's cost-benefit analysis). At the time of the siege against the Davidians near Waco, an estimation of dukkhas and financial costs made by Davis showed prophetically, according to the editor's later addition to the Davis' article, that the decision to end the siege should have been taken as soon as negotiations were at a standstill, in order to minimize both cost and suffering.

Davis, James N. - A Panetic Analysis of a Cigarette Tax

Panetometric comments - In this example of panetometric analysis by Davis, the concurrent consideration of costs in dollars and in dukkhas brings us very close to a Boulding's analysis. The basis for the dukkhas calculation is intensity level 2, 16 hours per day, for each smoker. The rationale for this intensity and this duration is not clearly stated : we are left to think that level 2 multiplied by a daily duration of 16 hours constitutes a representative "average" of the suffering endured by smokers. I wonder if this kind of averaging should be generally adopted in order to bypass the impossible task of assessing all the variations of intensity and of duration in a given problematique. There would be at least one proviso : the assumptions and operations leading to the average should be clearly presented.

Fisher, Kenneth D. - Deciding What Is Safe in Food and Drugs : A Place for Panetic Analysis?

Panetometric comments - In the light of Widner's suggestions about methodology (4 conditions and 4 challenges), and with some references to Saunders' suggestions about connecting people to remote causes of their suffering, Fisher examines the relevance of "decisional panetometry" to the issue of food and drug safety. A good starting point would be to work out panetic tables that describe the complexities and trade-offs of this issue.

Lundstedt, Sven B. - Quantification: Jeremy Bentham, Utilitarianism and the Measurement of Suffering

Panetometric comments - Bentham mentions seven circumstances that affect the value of a (actual or potential) pleasure or pain : 1- its intensity; 2- its duration; 3- its certainty or uncertainty (how sure are we of its existence?) ; 4- its propinquity (proximity) or remoteness (is it present or more or less future?); 5- its fecundity (how much sensations of the same kind does it necessarily brings about?); 6- its purity (how much sensations of the opposite kind does it necessarily brings about?); 7- its extent (how many people are affected by it?). Bentham's opinion is that quality of life can be expressed as a ratio of people's pleasures divided by their pains. I believe that panetics does not have to share this utilitarianism, because values cannot be reduced entirely to affectivity. Moreover, I think that pleasure and pain are two separate, independent phenomena that should not be considered as two opposites, except in a narrow "qualitative" sense. It is granted, however, that pleasure may be a value which has to be included, along with suffering and other affective or non affective values, in processes of panetic decision-making.

Striner, Herbert E. - Quantification and Values: Error or Confusion?

Panetometric comments - First, let us recapitulate Striner's position. Egalitarism is one of the constitutive principle of the dukkha unit, according to Galtung, but egalitarism cannot be accepted without restrictions under all conditions : equity, justice, or ethics often call for differentiation between less or more worthy sufferers. Errors in quantification may be allowed, because scientific progress is made through them, but confusion in values may not : since we measure suffering for lessening it, we should take into account not only intensity, duration, and the number of persons involved, but also values. But value-weights cannot be attributed in an objective, credible, impartial manner. Even with regards to value-free quantification, there can be no purely egalitarian measure of suffering : two measurements cannot be compared because there are differences between people, or between external events, or within the same person at different times. Moreover, in so far as suffering is a private emotional experience, the dukkha is perhaps as meaningless, as useless, and as misleading as would be a quantitative unit called the "christo" for measuring a Christian's level of faith! For all these reasons, the best that panetics can do is to develop, on one track, a credible (probably limited) source of quantitative data, capable of satisfying some aspects of a quantitative model, while on another track, since quantification is not the only way to develop a science, panetics should develop a methodology anchored in the use of a values-based model.

For the latter model, Striner suggests to resort to his decisioning analysis, a method that deals with the relationship between values, assumptions and policies in the decision-making process. We can make a connection, I believe, between Striner's decisioning and Boulding's cost-benefit analysis : Striner speaks of what is right for someone and of personal values systems, while Boulding speaks of one's best interest and of identifying what persons are considered when costs and benefits are calculated… Both authors suggest ways to assess suffering as a factor in a decision-making process. Could we make use of a Boulding-Striner analysis in panetics?

Striner's critique of the egalitarist dukkha seems beside the point as far as quantification is concerned : we have to know how much a person suffers, no matter how much worthy or unworthy he or she may be, and problems of individual or circumstantial differences can probably be attenuated by developing more finely tuned measurements or averagings… However, as far as values are concerned, suffering should be "weighed", but then it must be noted that a weighed dukkha constitutes a different unit than the Siu's dukkha, and it should have another name (the WDK?). About qualitative, subjective, or private aspects of suffering, let us recall, as we do in comments about Whittemore's article, that the role of quantification is not at all to capture the "unsliceable wholeness of feeling and true knowledge" by a means similar to the "christo" unit, and that panetometry is only a part of an integrated, evolving study which is dedicated to approach the subject of suffering in all its ramification. In any event, we should handle a gross national dukkha with as much discernment as a gross national product!

In relation with Striner's critique, I see some other problems related to the definition of the intensity component of the dukkha (cf. comments on ISP's document The Dukkha). Pain researchers distinguish between intensity and aversion (unpleasantness) : a pain sensation may be very intense but moderately aversive! A performer, a mountain climber or a businessman for instance, may sharply suffer but remain in a state of elation, while a depressed person's suffering will be dull but quite aversive. A suffering may be seen as more or less inherently negative, and as more or less instrumentally positive or negative. I believe that the degree of intensity in a dukkha should be formally defined as the subjectively stated degree of intensity of the aversion felt during a suffering phenomenon. The instrumental value of a suffering, even of an "extra-aversive" suffering, should be expressed by a weighed dukkha, the weight-value being dependent on the appraiser's preference.

Widner, Ralph R. - Application of Panetics to Government Decision Making

Panetometric comments - The principal objective of Panetics is to develop and see applied quantitative measures of human suffering that help guide decision-making toward alleviation of that suffering, says Widner. Most conditions (opinion trends, familiarity with social indicators, institutional capacity and purpose) are in place for the use of applied panetics in collective governance. What is still lacking is a method for values-based decision making. This has been evoked in my comments on Boulding's and Striner's articles : weighed dukkhas are needed to decide about trade-offs between suffering and other values, and the chosen weight-values cannot be universal, they depend on different appraisers' preferences. Each context may require its own set of weight-values, not only for suffering but also for other interests involved. In that respect, Warfield's process and systems for taking into account diverse values and expectations can probably be usefully (a Boulding-Striner-Warfield analysis?). What is also lacking for the implementation of applied panetics is an extended set of panetometric tables, like the medical tables presented in Geelhoed and Siu's article. Such quantitative data lists should be developed for spheres other than the medical sphere, like justice, security, foreign policy, education, social services… In addition, regularly-employed social or economic indicators should be integrated into the panetometric toolbox, and this is what we are beginning to do in our forthcoming Handbook on Suffering. Eventually, development of applied panetometry will have to be carried on by universities and governments.

Widner, Ralph R. - Four Big Methodological Challenges

Panetometric comments - Decisional (or normative) panetometry : this is how I suggest to call the study of panetic decision making when quantification is involved. I suppose that in order to develop decisional panetometry we could resort to plenty of works dealing with the use of mathematics in decisions, especially in ethical decisions. A bibliographical research would be helpful. I have a feeling that the field of calculation with qualitative values is still deficient, but that panetics may pretend to an original contribution in the qualitative as well as quantitative mathematical handling of suffering. Though It is clear that decisions will remain made by human beings who cannot be reformed by any means in our possession now, bringing better quantitative and qualitative data on suffering would represent a concrete progress which can lead to at least some ideological changes.

The present Widner's article is akin to Widner's Application of Panetics to Government Decision Making, but it adds new details that are relevant to decisional panetometry. To address the challenge of complexity and trade-offs, it proposes to develop graphical and analytical conventions in the line of those offered by Siu (flow of dukkhas and antidukkhas between entities) and by Langmuir (system of dukkhas aggregation, and curve of concern). For the challenge of foreseeability, it proposes to develop procedures for anticipating and monitoring panetic consequences, and for adjusting decisions. For the challenge of time limits, it proposes to prepare in advance "panetic contingency tables" in much the way military, foreign policy, or natural disaster contingency plans are prepared by policy-planners. For the challenge of conflicting perceptions and values, it proposes to adapt John Warfield's procedures for facilitated "Interactive Management", so as to help individuals of very divergent views to come together, agree on a definition of the problem, evaluate intensities of suffering, rank consequences of inflictions or alleviations, establish a sufficient level of trust to reach consensus on what strategies are likely to ameliorate the problem, decide on trade-offs, settle on a decision, and agree on who has responsibility for implementation.

Hoppe 2000/03/22

We must be aware that in quantification other aspects than the reduction of suffering must be considered (unless we agree to kill everybody) : acceptable ratio of happiness with respect to unhappiness, preferability of having a few people with a high ratio or many with a low ratio, consideration of merits in allowing higher or lower ratio…

Other Notes

The value of a suffering can be measured according to the role of that suffering and of that value within a set of circumstances and of values : the whole situation and the global value must be considered.

Some components to consider : aversion, duration, affective-cognitive-volitional dimensions, physical-mental-social damages or dysfunctional effects associated to a suffering, degree of revolt or acceptance attached to a suffering… See also Preparatory Notes for Algometry.


PHILOSOPHY OF PANETOMETRY

Siu 1998

P. 261 - Perhaps the threatened and actual infliction of suffering is so common because of a presumed quantitative law in human nature : that path to a goal will be followed that seems to require the least expenditure of effort, time, and resources.

P. 279-281 - Ten axioms and ten laws are very tentatively proposed as basic panetic principles (note by the reviewer : some of them belong to the philosophy of panetometry, and some other could eventually be reformulated to become panetometric hypothesis to be tested within specific research projects). See Krecji, Rudolph and Siu, Ralph G. H. - Toward Some Panetic Axioms : "Provisional Axioms — The infliction of suffering is intrinsic to the processes of life and social operation. Every decision and action of a person or an institution has the potential, qualitatively or quantitatively, to modify the state of suffering in oneself or others, immediately or n-steps removed. Everybody inflicts suffering on others and everybody is inflicted upon. The threatened or actual infliction of suffering is the most powerful instrument of persuasion. Every human being is caught in a never-ending personal tug-of-war between the largely cultivated need to inflict suffering on others and the largely natural desire to reduce it. The victim's pain is a function of the infliction actually delivered and independent of the inflicter's awareness, intentionality, and justification. It is the situational context which usually opens the door to a given spectrum of panetic choices. Any significant change in a given social relationship among parties will eventually modify the distribution of suffering among them. The success of a government in reducing the suffering of its people and maintaining it at a practicably humane level is a direct function of its panetic knowledge and integrated management. Humaneness starts with stopping the inflicting." "Provisional Laws — The equilibrium constant of an ongoing infliction/acceptance relationship between two individuals or groups will remain unchanged unless some external influence is injected. The magnitude of suffering inflicted varies directly as the intensity of the inflicter's desire for the fruits of infliction and capacity to inject noxious conditions, and inversely as the capacity of the victim to retaliate and of outsiders to intervene. When two or more inflicters concurrently inflict suffering on the same victim for mutually exclusive gains, the inflicter who gets what he/she is after is the one whose increment of infliction first increases the total suffering borne by the victim above his/her tolerance threshold. The capability of an organized group to inflict suffering on another goes up arithmetically with its superiority in technical proficiency and geometrically with its superiority in numbers. The amount of suffering inflicted, within and externally, by an organization varies geometrically with its membership and rate of growth. The amount of suffering by the citizenry in a democracy varies inversely with its depth of awareness of the panetic ramifications of governmental deliberations and immediacy of transmission of this understanding to its elected officials. The probability of revolt against a government goes up geometrically as the level of suffering among a third of the citizenry rises above three dukkhas a day for over three years (3-3-3 threshold). The drive to alleviate suffering varies inversely with the spatial, temporal, fraternal, kinship, national, and cultural distance between the parties. The amount of effort required to preclude a given infliction of suffering varies inversely and geometrically with the number of successive linkages and the duration of time before the overt act itself. A maximum position of panetic well-being of a society under a given set of conditions is achieved when any decrease in suffering of any individual will result in an associated greater increase in suffering in another."

Geelhoed, Glenn W. and Siu, Ralph G. H. - Humanely Cost-Effective Options for Medical Treatment and Health Care Plans (Part One and Part Two)

Panetometric comments - Panetometry introduces a new paradigm in science, with widespread consequences in medicine, government, business, social sciences, jurisprudence (for ex., increased uniformity and "fairness" in the award of damages for suffering in legal suits), insurance (for ex., higher predictability and confidence in the setting of related premiums), etc. I think that philosophy of panetometry would learn much, for the development of the discipline, from what Thomas S. Kuhn and other such thinkers have written on paradigmatic shifts.

Lundstedt, Sven B. - Quantification: Jeremy Bentham, Utilitarianism and the Measurement of Suffering

Panetometric comments - Bentham's opinion is that quality of life can be expressed as a ratio of people's pleasures divided by their pains. I believe that panetics does not have to share this utilitarianism, because values cannot be reduced entirely to affectivity. Moreover, I think that pleasure and pain are two separate, independent phenomena that should not be considered as two opposites, except in a narrow "qualitative" sense. It is granted, however, that pleasure may be a value which has to be included, along with suffering and other affective or non affective values, in processes of panetic decision-making.

Saunders, Harold H. - Human Suffering and Geopolitics; Decision Making in A Global Community

Panetometric comments - In a lecture that is in part relevant to philosophy of panetometry, Saunders argues that, as far as policy-making is concerned, the challenge is not to quantify suffering but to give a new meaning to the concept of suffering in people's conceptual frameworks or mindsets. He suggests valuable ways to do that, but none seems really new or sufficient. Perhaps he has overlooked one thing : could quantification of suffering provide the needed new conceptual meaning? Introducing a measuring "lens" for suffering would surely "makes a big difference how issues are named and framed for deliberation". It could modify views not only in technical or objective dimensions of decision-making, but in deliberative or subjective dimensions as well. As for Saunders' question on what the connection is between citizens and distant suffering, I think it all depends on allegiances (or on what Bentham calls sympathetic bias) : from the self to the cosmos, and between the most far-off past or future, there are various groups or individuals for whom our compassion may be more or less excited, depending on how much our loyalty or devotion to them is a part of our mindset. Perhaps the "egalitarism" of the dukkha, or the "universalism" of quantitative numbers, would have a broadening effect on the citizens' conceptual frameworks! Another, more panetometric answer to Saunders' question could be that the more we let happen avoidable suffering in humans or animals, the more probable it is that we ourselves come to suffer monstrously! In any cases, when it is possible, we should take care to point to the connection between people and the remote causes of their suffering.

Whittemore, Reed - Jeremy Bentham Meet Ralph Siu: Quantify Happiness or Suffering?

Panetometric comments - Bentham's utilitarianism is a relativism because it opposes pain and pleasure, while Siu's negative utilitarianism (least suffering for the least number of people) would be an absolutism, as is the ideology of human rights in the opinion of Hannah Arendt for example, because it favors only one paramount value. I don't think that panetics has to be utilitarian. Values cannot be totally reduced to affectivity like Bentham does, and they do not even have to be arranged in a hierarchy of superiority-inferiority : they can be envisioned as forming an ecological web in which each has its own interdependent function. Moreover, if any (anti)suffering is an absolute value, no "Boulding's cost-benefit analysis" is possible.

Daoust, Robert "Review of Messages about Quantification on the Panetics Global Forum"

In conclusion, quantification seems to arouse people's interest. That's good for panetics. "Paneticists" who are not sympathizers of quantification should acknowledge as a fact of life that much work is going on and should yet be done in quantification research. At the same time, everyone should be able to see that measurement is just a small part of the whole panetic field. Anyhow, researchers interested in quantification have now in front of them a more difficult task than merely justifying the need for quantification, or proposing ways to do it : they have to invest their workforce in the production of a practical tool. It remains to be seen what strategic importance will be given to this task in panetics.

 

Epistemological Panetometry — Justifications, uses, feasibility, validity of panetometric general conceptions, and their criticisms

Siu 1998

P. 18 - If panetics is to become a practically effective discipline and is to have major impact on the lives of people, it must include a quantitative measurement of suffering for comparisons and assessments.

P. 57-60 - Quantification brought the age of science, technology, business, and the associated industrial, managerial, and bureaucratic revolutions. Even nonquantitative spheres of activities like music and painting profited from it. The process of quantification is to measure something, that is, to count the factual or imaginary quanta that can be seen in whatever you are thinking about. Quantification often proves necessary when we have to deal with trade-offs, mutually exclusive burdens, and other concerns of masses of people. Value in financial or commercial transactions, justice in the court system, skill in football are given as examples to illustrate how measures are successfully and helpfully used despite the problematic features that they may involve, such as subjectivity, inconstancy, illogicality, gratuitousness… If you want to be influential in any game which count in competitive life, you have to be fortified with numbers of some kind : qualitative essays or speeches will not do in their place. Dukkha is to suffering of the people what vote is to its democracy and what dollar is to its wealth.

P. 61 - Seven examples of uses of quantification in panetics (note by the reviewer : this passage may also be relevant to division of panetometry in parts). 1) Comparing the magnitude of suffering in different times, spaces, conditions, sectors of the population. 2)Allocating resources to competing demands for alleviation. 3) Providing options with trade-offs between amount of decreased suffering and associated financial costs. 4) Comparing cost-effectiveness of approaches to alleviation in health care, in working conditions, in crime control, in rehabilitation, in family well-being, etc. 5) Setting goals for alleviation for a group of people or for a category of suffering. 6) Measuring progress in alleviation. 7) Accounting for responsibility in social stewardship.

P. 62 - It is proposed to measure suffering in dukkhas because of the following advantages. 1) The precision and accuracy is adequate for the purpose and context at hand. 2) The basic data is the direct personal estimates by the sufferer (how bad, how long, how frequent are your sufferings?). 3) The manipulation of the basic data to provide the final figure for quantity is logically sound. 4) The procedure is sufficiently simple, so that even laymen with minimal education are capable of using it to estimate their own amounts of suffering flowing from various sources and causes. 5) No special equipment is required other than paper and pencil. 6) The method is universally applicable for all individuals, institutions, governments, kinds of sufferings, conditions, and so on, so that comparative analyses, choices, and judgments can be made. 7) The ease and reliability of eliciting the necessary inputs to the calculations have been demonstrated in actual use for some time (see pain assessment in medical practice). 8) In view of the present urgency, the dukkha is capable of being put into general and practical use readily.

P. 62-65 - Justifications for the dukkha : for millennia people have been using quantitative expressions to assess intensity and duration of suffering; they have been satisfied with it; nobody objects to this habit in medical care; multiplying intensity and duration to get quantity is an accepted practice.

P. 67-68 - The quantitative dukkha will facilitate the attainment of more humane objectives in economy, politics, and civilization. It is essential for humane progress, as units of mass and energy are needed in science, or as a monetary unit is required in economics and business.

P. 68 - Justification of approximate measurement : monetary units have wild variations, engineers use approximation routinely, objective social indicators are judgmental…

P. 262 - Discussion on the mathematical validity of quantification in panetics. The expression of a panetic event is more a semi-quantitative summation than a precise mathematical equation. Component terms must be similar in order to be logically additive, but mental and physical pain, for instance, are quite different. Nevertheless, components might be cumulatively agglomerated into some kind of an index of total suffering through suitable sets of empirically developed rules of thumb for practical purposes.

Siu 1993a

 P. iv - "(…) no international standardized quantitative unit of suffering exists. Without it, attempts at a thorough and unified treatment of the subject are hampered. Planning and management toward systematic and sweeping reduction of suffering are severely handicapped. Assessment of the state and advancement of human well-being remains blurred. What is required is an insistent push by socially responsible personnel toward the development of such a parameter and its continuous improvement in real-life utilizations. So primitive is our present practice that we do not even possess an accepted provisional quantitative measure of suffering. Imagine the present status of science and technology without the quantitative units of mass and energy. Or that of economics and business without the quantitative unit of money, albeit so highly variable and subjectively pegged."

Siu 1988

P. 14 - Quantification of suffering is necessary. To understand human behavior. To weigh accurately the total cost of a personal decision, an industrial enterprise, a religious doctrine, or a government program. To come to grips with the externalities connected with economic production, as with environmental pollution. To knowingly decry exploitation and propose solutions. To speak truly of ethics, morality, law and justice, peace, love, and nobility. To be able to maximize the effectiveness of our efforts at succoring and curing victims of mental pains and damages through counseling, psychotherapeutic, psychoanalytic, and religious avenues.

P. 16 - Can we formulate a semiquantitative unit of suffering for evaluative purpose, and thus make possible the growth of panetics into at least a quasi-scientific branch of knowledge?

P.20-21 - Uses of panetics. Among them some can be more readily identified as uses of quantification. "Potentially inflictable sufferings can be taken into concrete and semiquantitative consideration by decision makers at the source. One might envision a world in which such a practice becomes as standard an economic, social, and political exercise as that involving dollars in business investments, vitamins in infant feeding, and guns in war preparation." Quantification of suffering makes possible to measure social progress, and to assess humaneness in the conduct of governments, corporations, or persons…

Eisler, David C. - Panetics, Law and Social Exchange: A Proposed Line of Enquiry

Panetometric comments - Philosophy (or epistemology or critical study) of panetometry should take note of the view that "objective quantification for the purpose of control" may be a source of problems rather than of solutions.

Geelhoed, Glenn W. and Siu, Ralph G. H. - Humanely Cost-Effective Options for Medical Treatment and Health Care Plans (Part One and Part Two)

Panetometric comments - Panetometry introduces a new paradigm in science, with widespread consequences in medicine, government, business, social sciences, jurisprudence (for ex., increased uniformity and "fairness" in the award of damages for suffering in legal suits), insurance (for ex., higher predictability and confidence in the setting of related premiums), etc.

Langmuir, David B. - Quantification: Some Experiments with the Dukkha

Panetometric comments - Ten years after Ralph Siu asked the question : "Can we formulate a semi-quantitative unit of suffering for evaluative purposes?", Langmuir expresses doubts and asks : "What would panetics be without the dukkha?". One answer can be found in Striner's Toward a Values Based Methodology for Panetics. Another answer would be to furnish objective, repeatable evidence that the basic concept of the dukkha is valid and useful.

Magerramova, Elza and Lundstedt, Sven B. - Panetics, Refugees and Displaced Persons

Panetometric comments - A quantitative measure of suffering could have many uses for humanitarian organizations, national governments, international agencies, the international community as a whole, and all those who have to deal with problems related to refugees and displaced persons.

Michael, Donald and Striner, Herbert E. - Quantification: Approximations, Subjectivity and Objectivity

Panetometric comments - Michael worries about accuracy of dukkha measurement : well, a science become more valuable by becoming more accurate, and this comes with time and practice… Let us be optimistic for widespread acceptance of new measurements concerning suffering : in social sciences, it often happens that approximate judgmental indicators (e.g. the Consumer Price index, the poverty threshold) assume over the years the status of objective indicators.

Striner, Herbert E. - Quantification and Values: Error or Confusion?

Panetometric comments - First, let us recapitulate Striner's position. Egalitarism is one of the constitutive principle of the dukkha unit, according to Galtung, but egalitarism cannot be accepted without restrictions under all conditions : equity, justice, or ethics often call for differentiation between less or more worthy sufferers. Errors in quantification may be allowed, because scientific progress is made through them, but confusion in values may not : since we measure suffering for lessening it, we should take into account not only intensity, duration, and the number of persons involved, but also values. But value-weights cannot be attributed in an objective, credible, impartial manner. Even with regards to value-free quantification, there can be no purely egalitarian measure of suffering : two measurements cannot be compared because there are differences between people, or between external events, or within the same person at different times. Moreover, in so far as suffering is a private emotional experience, the dukkha is perhaps as meaningless, as useless, and as misleading as would be a quantitative unit called the "christo" for measuring a Christian's level of faith! For all these reasons, the best that panetics can do is to develop, on one track, a credible (probably limited) source of quantitative data, capable of satisfying some aspects of a quantitative model, while on another track, since quantification is not the only way to develop a science, panetics should develop a methodology anchored in the use of a values-based model.

For the latter model, Striner suggests to resort to his decisioning analysis, a method that deals with the relationship between values, assumptions and policies in the decision-making process. We can make a connection, I believe, between Striner's decisioning and Boulding's cost-benefit analysis : Striner speaks of what is right for someone and of personal values systems, while Boulding speaks of one's best interest and of identifying what persons are considered when costs and benefits are calculated… Both authors suggest ways to assess suffering as a factor in a decision-making process. Could we make use of a Boulding-Striner analysis in panetics?

Striner's critique of the egalitarist dukkha seems beside the point as far as quantification is concerned : we have to know how much a person suffers, no matter how much worthy or unworthy he or she may be, and problems of individual or circumstantial differences can probably be attenuated by developing more finely tuned measurements or averagings… However, as far as values are concerned, suffering should be "weighed", but then it must be noted that a weighed dukkha constitutes a different unit than the Siu's dukkha, and it should have another name (the WDK?). About qualitative, subjective, or private aspects of suffering, let us recall, as we do in comments about Whittemore's article, that the role of quantification is not at all to capture the "unsliceable wholeness of feeling and true knowledge" by a means similar to the "christo" unit, and that panetometry is only a part of an integrated, evolving study which is dedicated to approach the subject of suffering in all its ramification. In any event, we should handle a gross national dukkha with as much discernment as a gross national product!

In relation with Striner's critique, I see some other problems related to the definition of the intensity component of the dukkha (cf. comments on ISP's document The Dukkha). Pain researchers distinguish between intensity and aversion (unpleasantness) : a pain sensation may be very intense but moderately aversive! A performer, a mountain climber or a businessman for instance, may sharply suffer but remain in a state of elation, while a depressed person's suffering will be dull but quite aversive. A suffering may be seen as more or less inherently negative, and as more or less instrumentally positive or negative. I believe that the degree of intensity in a dukkha should be formally defined as the subjectively stated degree of intensity of the aversion felt during a suffering phenomenon. The instrumental value of a suffering, even of an "extra-aversive" suffering, should be expressed by a weighed dukkha, the weight-value being dependent on the appraiser's preference.

Whittemore, Reed - Jeremy Bentham Meet Ralph Siu: Quantify Happiness or Suffering?

Panetometric comments - Whittemore seems anxious about quantifiers' mischiefs. We can agree with him that we are in many ways victims of greedy, power-hungry, quantitatively oriented perception manipulators. But as scientists, we must share our belief that quantification is indispensable for modernity and progress. Panetics is precisely a quest against the wrongdoers, including ourselves... Whittemore also questions the validity of quantification for suffering, saying that it cannot capture the "unsliceable wholeness of feeling and true knowledge". Let us recall that quantification is only a part of an integrated, evolving study that is dedicated to approach in all its ramification the subject of suffering.

Watts 2000/03/22

Quantification is not possible because different instances of suffering are not comparable.

Davis 2000/03/22

Quantification can be attained concerning suffering as it has been attained in other domains, but rhetoricians may resist to it in order to preserve their realm.

Warfield 2000/03/26

Quantification is possible, being granted that nothing is never quite adequately quantifiable. The method of experimental verification of hypothesis could be used to progress on the subject.

Koisumi 2000/03/22

We need a counterpart to economic quantification. Panetics is to pains what economics is to pleasures.

Gruen 2000/03/22

Quantification would highlight individuals' and politicians' responsibility concerning suffering.

Overweg 2000/04/28

Quantification tools should highlight the economic and social costs of inflicted sufferings, in such a way that self-interest in the study and mitigation of suffering becomes evident to individuals and policy leaders.

Davis 2000/03/22

Decision makers need quantitative tools regarding suffering.

Daoust 2000/04/06

Measurement of suffering is fundamental for most theoretical and applied disciplines having to deal with suffering.

Overweg 2000/04/28

If we could make clear the uses of quantification, we could, by means of a video for instance, attract attention to the importance of panetics.

 

Methodology of Panetometry

Siu 1998

P. 69 - Between paneticists, there must be agreement in the interpretation, understanding or significance of technical data as well as in the generation of technical data.

P. 294-295 - An example is given of the importance of boundary conditions in quantitative panetic assessment : Widner's "Hypothetical panetic problematique on suffering of destitute in US".

P. 308-317 - Intellectual tools relevant to panetometry are introduced : Pareto analysis (in particular the 80/20 rule), Panetic system diagrams and dukkha flow charts , Langmuir's histograms and curve of concern, Striner's rate of change in dukkha levels, econopanetic matrix display of options, multifactorial spider web display.

Ewald 2000/03/22

Use graphics in addition to words.

Warfield 2000/04/05

If we had at least two quantifiable components, we could compute a vectorial value for suffering.

Widner 2000/04/05b

Can we focus on what we know for sure about suffering measures and build from there? Let's lay down a step-by-step research and development strategy.

Daoust 2000/04/06

To develop quantification we have data from the ISP, from Jeremy Bentham's sequels, from algologic questionnaires, from physiological algometric equipment…

Daoust 2000/04/23

The dukkha should be defined as a unit of "inflicted" suffering, otherwise it does not belong to panetics but to what could be called "algometry". Panetics is not defined as "the" discipline dealing with the measurement of suffering.

Other Notes

Panetometry, like mathematics, is concerned with quantities but also with certain qualities (e.g. order in a series, forms of figures, logic…).

 

Prospective Development in Panetometry

Siu 1998

P. 279-281 - Ten axioms and ten laws are very tentatively proposed as basic panetic principles (note by the reviewer : some of them belong to the philosophy of panetometry, and some other could eventually be reformulated to become panetometric hypothesis to be tested within specific research projects). See Krecji, Rudolph and Siu, Ralph G. H. - Toward Some Panetic Axioms.

P. 355-374 - Courses for a curriculum in panetics are described. Nine of the some 90 courses seem particularly relevant to quantification : ACC 25 Introductory financial accounting, MATH 99 Mathematics for behavioral and social sciences, MATH 126 Operation research and panetic network analysis, MATH 250 Game theory and panetics, PAN 51 Quantitative measurement of suffering, PAN 52 Introductory panetic accounting, PAN 180 Advanced panetic accounting, PAN 185 Dukkhas and dollars, PAN 285 Panetic inflation, deflation, and the Humane Index.

Siu 1993a

P. 29 - One of the most urgent task for socially conscientious intellectuals and operators is the improvement of the dukkha to the point of international standardization.

Geelhoed, Glenn W. and Siu, Ralph G. H. - Humanely Cost-Effective Options for Medical Treatment and Health Care Plans (Part One and Part Two)

Panetometric comments - Panetometry introduces a new paradigm in science, with widespread consequences in medicine, government, business, social sciences, jurisprudence (for ex., increased uniformity and "fairness" in the award of damages for suffering in legal suits), insurance (for ex., higher predictability and confidence in the setting of related premiums), etc. I think that philosophy of panetometry would learn much, for the development of the discipline, from what Thomas S. Kuhn and other such thinkers have written on paradigmatic shifts.

Siu, Ralph G. H. -How About a Gross National Dukkha Report?

Panetometric comments - Siu here mentions some of his grand visions that are relevant to futurology in panetometry : gross national dukkha, gross global dukkha, overall equation of human well-being (into which is melt the generation and expenditures of dollars with the infliction and alleviation of dukkhas), unified mathematical theory of humane capitalism, international flow of dukkhas and antidukkhas… It may take 50 years before such things happen, he says, though many could also happen in a span of 6 years if political will was there. What can we do for now? Siu mentions a short-term possibility that is perhaps within our reach : "Any sophisticated polling body, like the Gallup organization and the New York Times-CBS News, can come up with a reasonably fair estimate of the running GND within a relatively short time." Such a service is unaffordable for us now, but national and international surveys have been made in the past about a lot of questions with which we are concerned, even about such things as people's happiness or unhappiness : our forthcoming Annual Handbook on Suffering could take advantage of those surveys, and for the future, we could perhaps get associated with pollers to suggest new contents and methods.

Widner, Ralph R. - Application of Panetics to Government Decision Making

Panetometric comments - The principal objective of Panetics is to develop and see applied quantitative measures of human suffering that help guide decision-making toward alleviation of that suffering, says Widner. Most conditions (opinion trends, familiarity with social indicators, institutional capacity and purpose) are in place for the use of applied panetics in collective governance. What is still lacking is a method for values-based decision making. This has been evoked in my comments on Boulding's and Striner's articles : weighed dukkhas are needed to decide about trade-offs between suffering and other values, and the chosen weight-values cannot be universal, they depend on different appraisers' preferences. Each context may require its own set of weight-values, not only for suffering but also for other interests involved. In that respect, Warfield's process and systems for taking into account diverse values and expectations can probably be usefully (a Boulding-Striner-Warfield analysis?). What is also lacking for the implementation of applied panetics is an extended set of panetometric tables, like the medical tables presented in Geelhoed and Siu's article. Such quantitative data lists should be developed for spheres other than the medical sphere, like justice, security, foreign policy, education, social services… In addition, regularly-employed social or economic indicators should be integrated into the panetometric toolbox, and this is what we are beginning to do in our forthcoming Handbook on Suffering. Eventually, development of applied panetometry will have to be carried on by universities and governments.


TERMINOLOGY OF PANETOMETRY

Siu 1998

P. 580-588 - Appendix B — A Panetic Glossary : about 50% of the some 100 entries in the glossary are relevant to quantification.

Other Notes

Words to define : quantity, quality, "grandeur" (size value?), quantum, extensive, intensive, measure, estimation, value, quantify, quantification, intensity, magnitude, level, dimension…


PANETOMETRIC BIBLIOGRAPHY

Siu 1998

P. 31 - List of a number of documents published by the ISP : some of them are relevant to quantification.

P. 239 - Mention of papers by Davis and by Langmuir on the relationship between dollars and dukkhas.

ISP's Document - The Quantitative Debate: Three Dukkha-Like Scales Used in Medicine

Panetometric comments - An extensive literature can be found on the subject of pain or suffering measurement. It is panetometrists' responsibility to establish comprehensive bibliographies, and to review periodically what is published in the field.

Widner, Ralph R. - The Social Health of the Nation

Panetometric comments - Social indicators, such as the ones presented by the Miringoffs in their book The Social Health of the Nation, are definitely an important tool for the measurement of suffering and for "decisional" panetometry. The use of indicators in the forthcoming ISP's handbook on suffering will be a first step toward developing a collaboration between us and people interested in social indicators.

Other Notes

Panetometric bibliography could have two different sections : non-panetometric documents used in panetometric research, and documents that belong to panetometry literature.

Does the word bibliography apply to unprinted or unwritten document? If not, what is the right "all-including" word? Mediagraphy?

See Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential : it seems to be highly relevant to panetometry.

Panetometry should have a system of documentary review.


© Robert Daoust, Montreal 2004 (except texts published by the ISP)

Last modification : 2006/10/30

Email : info@algosphere.org