It was night forever. It seemed to never end. And it was completely dark too. And cold. Very cold. I remember that. There was lots of time to think about things. But there was little to contemplate. Infinity. Eternity. Coldness. And then infinite eternal cold.
Suddenly and magically, it finally was dawn. The light was upon us and gave us energy. The light fed us and kept us warm. It brought us to life.
Things always seem smaller when you go back. I was smaller then too, I guess. The world seemed bigger to me then. And yet, I now know that it has grown. The world has grown faster and bigger than me, faster and bigger than I can know.
Life was simpler then. It was easier to get around. Everything you needed was right there. And if you couldn’t find it, it wouldn’t be a big deal to make it. I could make what I needed. I did.
You could find your way because the path was well beaten. It was the same path you had always taken. The same path your parents had used. I remember my father told of his father taking that same path. I’ll bet even grandfather told of his father on that path. That is why I remember where to go.
At one end of the path was sleep, at the other end, food. Another path was to water, and yet another led to a great view of the valley.
But there are other paths. Maybe they are less traveled, but they go somewhere. Others travel them to different places at different times.
As I walk the path, trees appear before me and recede behind me. Groves appear and disappear. Yet forests are never seen in whole, only in part. We assume they go beyond our view ahead and behind. What we learn farther down the path changes everything we knew about the path already traveled.
I learn from seeing more of the same path with its turns, rises and falls. Always the same and always different.
We live at the edge of the forest, where the trees shrink to shrubs and then to grass, and where the river comes to sit at the edge of the lake. The edges are rich and interesting. That is what makes us rich and interesting.
There were others, but not equal to us. We were given this special place and special ability to live in this place. There are none equal. It has always been this way. It will always be this way. We are the centre of a beautiful place where we belong. We are strong in our place. We continue.
That is the way it was told to me when we arrived a very long time ago. Nothing has changed. But things are different. We know more. The more we learn, the more the world changes. That is the universal law.
Now we consume. We sleep. We rise and eat again. We have light and dark. There are paths to walk and places to go. We are creatures of routine differences.
That is what they said when we arrived not long ago. That is what I am telling you now.
That is what it was like when I lived. So I am told. By one who was. And he is now gone, and then returned. If I remember right.
I think our imaginations are being stretched to the point where we can begin to believe anything is possible. The web connecting billions of people you don’t know is a fire-hose of information that overwhelms our cognitive capacities and sends us into shock, further reducing our capacity to manage information. Is there a way out? This is a positive feedback loop, meaning that as a vicious circle it is self-reinforcing and only worsens until we hit bottom. We become evermore desperate for certainty. This leaves us vulnerable to both prophets of doom and prophets of hope as well as the draw of the crowds. We are struck with a false sense of competence that keeps us going, with intermittent feelings of inadequacy, But we suffer the experience of either the Impostor Syndrome or FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). We might become “Snowflakes“. We may be driven by a manic desire to learn more, then get burnt out while climbing all those unending learning curves. After all, knowledge is power, isn’t it? Soon we have days of anxiety punctuated with moments of desperate hope.
We used to say “the more I learn, the more I realise how little I know“. Now twist that to, “the more information I have, the more uncertain I am about anything“. There is a universal Scaling Law. We know that in an economy of scale, more is better or cheaper (per unit produced). But beyond some tipping point, there is also a diseconomy of scale – more becomes too expensive. At some point, very large companies, for example, become inefficient and ineffective. This is true for all living systems, including governments, communities and civilizations. Maybe we have adapted. Maybe we have adapted badly.
In Network Theory there is an algorithm that states that beyond a critical number of relationships among nodes in the network (complexity), there is a growing level of noise in the network. Noise is like entropy in energy physics. It is junk information that makes other information dubious or suspect. We apply mental filters to sift out the noise, but eventually, as information grows, we can no longer keep up. Its like a cancerous cell that got its DNA mixed up and grows cancerous tissue rapidly.
Civilizations are networks of organizational hierarchies and therefore subject to the laws of physics, information, complexity, scale, networks, etc. They have a life-cycle based on their specific organizational premises. Our civilization has grown so rapidly that we have lost our “system integrity“. We have little idea of the consequences of our vast collective actions and interactions. The inter-dependencies are far too complex to sort out. Only the more fantasy-prone futurists make longer-term forecasts. Traditions, standard practices, legacy doctrines and dogmas, common sense — all become contaminated, disrupted and meaningless. This is probably what happened to previous civilizations that got too complex to manage and were abandoned (Mayan, Angkor Wat, Olmec, Babel, etc.).
We have come to believe that our political ideologies have a scientific foundation. They do not! Both left and right ideologues argue for both flat networks and pitched or centralized hierarchies. We should be searching for the optimum mix of the two, depending on civil conditions. The apparent coherence of ideological positions is based on loyalty. In a highly complex world, we can find logic to make any two diverse ideas seem compatible. Left and right polarity is well beyond a simplistic model of our complex civil reality.
We don’t know reality directly except through consciousness and mental models of reality. These models, or worldviews, are always complex, incomplete, biased and noisy. So far, we have been able to get by because most of what we do is not critical to our survival. We drink, eat, sleep, talk and get through each day regardless of being right or wrong about politics, religion and even sex. Even homeless people can live for decades. There are leaders who, knowingly or not, see opportunity in this. They see fear and exploit it for personal aggrandizement. Tell people bedtime stories of angels and demons, of good and evil, and the masses will follow.
This is why I am studying the universal information architecture, searching for an algorithm that will spell out, not only the sufficient civil order, but the optimal civil ordering process. The optimal civil order is not a utopia. It is a process, a way, or a path through chaos and entropy. It uses a fractal to order the world from chaos and randomness to some order that preserves the essential human identity, including its diverse expressions, and provides for the pursuit of happiness through self-actualization.
Energy, by itself is rather boring. It is information that gives the universe it shape and form. I believe that there is an elemental fractal algorithm that expresses itself repeatedly through all levels of organization, from force-fields and sub-atomic particles to galaxy clusters. We are sandwiched between complex organic molecules and planetary ecosystems, navigating a path largely by innate instinct.
Humanity has come of age, an age of relative self-awareness. We are learning awareness of our collectivity and our synchronicity in Nature. Will we succeed as we approach the tipping point? Are we already too late? Have we sufficiently tested our youthful naivety?
Dear Diary: Practice makes perfect. As I explore the universe I realize that meanings run out to infinity, as force fields dissipate into oblivion. Is there a sharp line between the concrete and the abstract? No. It is a continuum from perception to perfection, with an asymptote at either end progressing toward the ultimate reality-in-itself, but never reaching beyond the mind. All my life I have practiced projecting myself into the abstract in the perennial search for greater profundity. I got pretty good at it, even as a teenager. But as psychology goes to help the abnormal fit into a normal society, its not helping the normal fit into an abnormal society. I am a groomed and suited to this churn. Or am I? My soul levitates above the fray. For better or worse… I have had my share of mindfulness, ecstasy, and peak experiences. I have felt transcendence toward nirvana. I have also felt the pull toward the philosopher’s exit strategy into nihilism. I have plumbed the depths of soul migration to the beginning and end of time, to the edges of infinity. I see the fractal pattern of universal law permeate the order with rudimentary logic as a template. I follow the trumpet’s call. I have come to believe that there is a universal memory and imagination, an inner consciousness accompanying all energy-matter, regardless of how simple or primeval. I believe we can connect to that eternal bliss and improve the performance. It begins with a thin thread but with adherence it grows to a rope. I have seen things. I know. But more importantly, logic alone has also taken me there with mathematical certainty. All that has happened still exists in a universal collective memory. All that will happen now exists in the universal collective imagination. Yet now the corporeal is instantaneous in an infinitesimally small and ignorant revolving glimpse. Yes, Dad, I know! There is still more…
Under extreme duress, such as the shock of a global pandemic, or a world war, the individual of homo sapiens sapiens will surrender its personal intelligence to join a collective intelligence, and surrender its will to the collective will.
This is a pattern repeated throughout nature and generally serves a species well in the longer term. There will be losses. A similar result is achieved when one hits a bee hive with a stick. Instead of pheromones, homo sapiens depend on symbolic communication and body language (signalling) to recruit others in the common initiative. Individuals may be sacrificed for the common good.
Crowd size and composition diversity are factors in social movement, crowd and group formation. There are healers and feelers, planners and reporters, soldiers and sages.
Personal instincts identify triggers that set in motion a series of resonant social behaviours. Talents are redirected to the apparent defense of the species.
Yet in the mass confusion the visionary goals are many, blurry and indistinct, sometimes at odds. In one moment its is perfectly clear, next it is all fog.
Mimicry, symbology, rhythm and rituals all play roles in well-constructed movements, crowds and groups. These reinforce a sense of identity, belonging, trust, loyalty and reciprocity.
Due to the population’s diversity, imbued by nature and evolution, not all individual homo sapiens will respond to the same call to action. Messages may hold many meanings, sometimes a deliberate dog-whistle, sometimes an incidental happenstance. Information and intelligence are seen as interchangeable.
Some will see the growing hoard as group-think and avoid it as a virus itself or a weapon of mass destruction. There will be a heightened sense of chaos and confusion, even paranoia, hysteria and divisive violence.
Friends and relatives will be cancelled, others radicalized to different causes. There will be a frantic search for the enemy to defeat his evil lies and deception.
Problem: As we get busier and more distracted, we lose more long-term memory, capacity for recall, and even collective memory.
This is because, in order to increase our pace to keep up with change, we are constantly practicing and reinforcing quick intuitive and instinctive thinking, while avoiding deliberation. Deliberation is slow and takes effort, but is usually more effective and reliable. We reduce our use of long-term memory and therefore lose the ability to access it easily and regularly.
Unfortunately, the stresses of life can be cumulative as well as collective. So society as a whole, complete with our culture, economy and governing bodies, can forget past problems and their solutions. We lose memory of the long-term trends and cycles, which is important since that historical context is the foundation of meanings. No context — no meaning. No good!
Solution: Intentionally set aside more time daily to recall your life experiences and try to draw new lessons from them to explain what is happening today. Share those memories and reflections with others. Look for bigger patterns that have shaped your life and figure out how you can use them to manage some strategic planning – family, education, career, business, community …
We all need to find a better balance and step out of the short-loop mindset to add meaningful context. We used to call this “wisdom“. Use your long-term memory or lose it.
Stress is drive. Too little stress and nothing gets done. Too much and you collapse. You want the Goldie Locks zone where your stress level is optimum for performance. Manage your stress level or you may enter a vicious circle – at some tipping point additional stress reduces your capacity to manage stress.
Stress makes you go to your areas of strength. Its instinctive. This brings out your best performance, but because most tasks are complex, it also implies that you need to be engaged in a group, or collective intelligence.
In the collective intelligence of a group, you are working with diverse other specialists who are also focusing on their greatest strengths. It helps then, if your second strength is either to empathetically collaborate or just take orders from those who lead. Its easier to work with people who share values and goals.
I believe people can generally become more collaborative under stress. Sometimes you can want to withdraw because people who are new or different add to your stress. If you are going to collaborate, you should find people who share common values and goals but have different skills and knowledge bases to contribute to the common good of the group. You need to have people on your team whose strengths align with aspects of the tasks or problems you’re working on as a team.
If you are an introvert, then under stress you may become more selective about social relationships and spend more time in reflection. If you are an extrovert, then you spend more time seeking out social relationships and less time in reflection.
If you are more of an intuitive type, then you will do more imaginative problem-solving and disengage from the box of the concrete world. If you are more oriented to your senses, then you will seek greater grounding in the facts, and spend less time dreaming about possibilities.
If you are more of a feeling person, then you will spend more time evaluating how you feel about things. If you are more of a thinker, you will spend more time figuring out how things work.
If you are more of a perceiver, you will spend more time exploring, pivoting, testing and changing your mind. If you are more of a judge, you will spend time persisting and staying the course.
We live in an ecosystem of talents that together match the opportunities and demands of the natural ecosystem. Each of these personal strengths are important to sorting out reality and taking the best path forward. But no individual is going to get it right alone. Collective intelligence is needed to integrate the best ideas from all people. In this way, we all win.
In February 2020 the world population was shocked to find a species-threatening virus was spreading quickly around the world and killing people at random. Suddenly we realised we were living in a science fiction nightmare. People were traumatized and in emotional shock. We locked down schools, businesses and governments. But when people are in shock they seldom realize it. In a state of shock people cannot assess the reality or magnitude of events, including their own assessments, decisions and actions. Thoughts and feelings become disordered. We try to make things make sense, sometimes with bizarre and contorted extrapolations.
There is a long history of the study of these kinds of events driven by shock. Shock comes in many shapes and sizes. Similar events affect different people in different ways. In the past we have seen outbreaks of mob behaviour against innocents, such as mob lynchings, vandalizing and looting businesses. There is often an controllable rage triggered by some subsequent event not necessarily related to the initial event. There is an instinctive drive to follow your leader like schooling fish, flocking birds or herding cattle, to avoid a predator.
Frequently those participating in an action wake up later, asking, “what was I thinking?”. They were overcome by some invisible psycho-social compulsion. Studies show that under duress cognitive function drops precipitously. You are charged for a primal fight or flight reaction. Still, you are generally able to conduct a guarded conversation in a normal way. You keep your extreme views to yourself because you suspect that others may disagree and you don’t want open conflict. Not yet.
Depending on your mood and other life events, you moderate to greater or lesser extent. In a moment of self-awareness, you regain a sense of coherence. All is well. You proclaim good mental health. At critical moments you might lose that control and your fears come pouring out as anger. Then maybe you have regrets at your loss of control. There will be personal consequences and fences to repair.
You can see that other people are delusional, even paranoid. You don’t understand that they are trying to make sense of their fears. You cling more tightly to your views on public matters in fear that those who are delusional will change your world. You don’t know which of your own ideas are valid and which are as delusional as those of others. Your biggest delusion could be that you are not suffering from shock. We instinctively defend ourselves from the paralyzing fear of failure.
“Crimes the individual alone could never stand are freely committed by the group [smitten by madness].”
Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life
The threatening virus is invisible so our imaginations search and see the threat all around us. We see the threat in each other, along traditional fracture lines, by long-standing family grievances, gender, sexual preference, wealth discrepancy, ethnicity, race, generations, and of course, political allegiance. The fears and tensions escalate across all dynamics. Self-awareness is dramatically diminished. You will see those who oppose your positions as the true existential threat. They are trying to grab power. There will be a hyper-reaction from those “others” who are now seen as evil threats against whom no action can be too excessive. Shock and trauma escalate.
In some cases, it seems apparent that, in the chaos and confusion, it is possible for leaders to catalyze a movement and remake the world in their image of goodness. Of course, this raises the fear level of those who do not see or share that vision and already feel vulnerable. Again, this cycle compounds the anxieties generally. The movement leaders sense an urgency to remake the world once and for all, while they still have a chance. The leaders too could be deluding themselves as to the rightness of their actions, or perhaps the visionary end justifies the radical means. Everyone, even confessed criminals, believe they are good people. How could you operate otherwise?
Upon brief reflection, one might conclude that of course, with all this happening around us and among us, “how could we not be traumatized?”
We have been making decisions and taking actions that will have long term effects for generations to come. More importantly, we have been taking dramatic actions along these fracture lines that accumulate and compound the impact of the original pandemic shock. The human species is perpetuating, perhaps even heightening, the state of emotional shock. A positive feedback loop (vicious circle) may be in place that escalates our collective well-being to a new threat level. The longer this goes on, the less likely we will be able to recover. More people are talking seriously about the end of civilization.
We need to wake up somehow and come to a realistic assessment of our situation and work ourselves out of our state of shock. In the past, outbreaks of shock have been relatively isolated. The influence of those not affected would bring back a sense of normalcy. Today, however, the shock seems to impact just about everyone across communities and demographic segments. The shock seems to be a major secondary pandemic – a pandemic of the mental trauma. Even as life goes on, there is apparently little to remind us of our old normal. Authorities tell us about the Great Reset and the Great Resignation.
For the past two years, no one believes we are in any kind of normal. No one knows how this pandemic will end, so our imaginations fill the gap. When someone expresses the same familiar fear, our imaginations resonate, our truth is validated, and our commitment reinforced. A movement emerges, complete with leaders, followers, a shared belief system, viral memes and a common enemy. Historically wars have been triggered in similar tumultuous conditions.
What can we do to restore a sense of normal? How do people usually recover from shock? Most normal shock experiences, such as coping with loss of a loved one, a house fire, divorce or losing a job, need a few weeks or more time, and fortunately, most of us have supportive people to guide us in our lives. We eventually find a new normal by being reabsorbed into the ebb and flow of life around us.
To some not-insignificant extent, the global population was primed with anxiety prior to the pandemic. People already felt confused and deceived by divisive politics, invasive propaganda, fake news, popular conspiracy theories and general distrust of authorities and institutions. By some estimates, over half of western workers found their jobs empty and meaningless. We had FOMO, Snowflakes, Cancel-culture, people with Impostor Syndrome, and studies that showed that, despite our positive assessments, we are actually poor multi-taskers. Our IQs drop when we are overloaded.
The promises of success were not forthcoming. People already had doubts about their own worldviews. These preconditions made the current pandemic world unprecedented, and therefore, its consequences unpredictable. This uncertainty, once again, compounds the fears. We see many of our leaders as useless at best and pathetic narcissists at worst. And, by the way, clinical studies in narcissism were showing an unexpected rise in narcissism since around 2000.
Traditionally, those individuals who are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Shock Disorder, such as soldiers and victims of family abuse or violent crime, are treated individually or in small groups with some form of psychotherapy. In self-doubt, one could ask, “is it just me or…”. And one could get a bearing on reality from those around you. We would help one another find a new sense of reality. If the same pandemic shock was isolated to only a few people, we could have reassured and guided those in shock back to a sense of normal.
At this point, however, with people on guard against the evil ones, who do you trust? You trust an obvious ally in your battle against your greatest fear. But if you are living in a delusion then there is a good chance your ally is operating under the same delusion. You will seek truth where you find it. Once again, under normal conditions, other people and their ideas are stabilizing influences. Under chaotic conditions, other good people and their wrong ideas can be destabilizing influences.
I believe that Nature, through evolution, has created a diverse range of personalities and strengths to be shared. Recent work in collective intelligence indicates that group IQ rises with a combination of diverse talents and interests as well as a strong sense of social awareness. In other words, we are designed and constructed for collaboration. We are each born with roles to play, depending on the opportunities and threats we face. Inasmuch as we are born to constructively collaborate, we also resonate in group fear and prepare for the clear and present danger.
Personally, I have lived my entire life as an outsider observer, moving from the outskirts of one peer group to another and never setting down in one camp for long. It’s been lonely to be isolated and misunderstood. But then I find that in my innate personality, this was predestined. I no longer hold moral judgement against myself or others. While I live to help others succeed and actualize their potentials, I am naturally detached. There is no moral vice or virtue in this. As a 1/100 personality type, I have a unique functional role to play when things get weird. I have always observed and felt the pleasures and pains of others and I got good at it.
I have tried to establish a community of diversity, inclusion, trust and respect. From my earliest studies in philosophy, psychology and community development, I have tried to establish a reputation as a detached, credible, yet compassionate thinker. I feel called upon at this time to draw on that reputation to tell people that they are probably in a state of shock.
You should not trust the negative thoughts prompted and promoted by fear. You should daily dive deeper in quiet reflection to recover and relive past successes and good times. Use your happy memories to feed your imagination to relive the best normal and then share that state of mind with others as though it was real today. If a critical number of people do this within their social circles, then we can become confident, clearly focused, deliberative, productive and, once again, happy. The delusions and anxieties will dissipate. We will resume progress toward building a better civilization and defining a better humanity.
This is a call to action to all those who seek to overcome this trauma and create the normal world, complete with competing yet civil ideas of utopia. Now begins our work to rebuild our civilization, one group and community at a time, to find our common humanity and purpose. Now the work begins to heal!
I sense that our human notion of morality is shifting, perhaps in profound ways.
We used to think of moral behaviour in terms of the ancient codes of don’t do this or that. “If you do that you will be punished.” People were treated as ‘moral agents’ of goodness or evil, angels or demons.
Now, it seems, more people are paying attention to the reasons why people act the ways they do. We have learned a lot about psychology, parenting and personality conflicts and management.
Rather than quickly condemning others, we are better prepared to empathically listen, ask questions and metabolize – “What would I have done if I was this person in this situation?”
It seems that we have learned a great deal about the different lives that we live and we can’t take for granted that everyone is just like us. People clearly have different strengths and challenges.
Yet we still believe there is a common moral code concerning doing no harm, charity, fairness, loyalty, order and sanctity.
And we have now seen (on media if not in person) how this morality plays out in the behaviors among animals of all sorts — our pets and livestock, and those in the wilderness, even across species. A moral code has some universal foundation.
This often goes wrong, however, insofar as admonishment and corporal punishment miss the point. These are often emotional ‘sledge hammer’ responses to bad behaviour — blunt instruments for the non-discriminating.
Moral correction has to be more surgical and administered from a place of loving and caring. Much of this has been laid out in the psychology of socialization, or how we produce good responsible and compassionate citizens.
The other piece of morality that has been neglected is the positive side. Instead of ‘do no wrong’, why don’t we put more emphasis on doing good? I believe we are all designed to be natural self-actualizing value generators. Let’s embrace that and support one another in this quest.
Different people are affected by the pandemic differently. Its well known that in excessive stress we resort to our areas of strength, yet overall performance drops. With a shift of priorities our weaknesses may freeze up.
Many people are changing jobs now while others are not going back to work, and still others are preferring to work from the comforts of home. More than 40 per cent of workers had found their work meaningless even prior to the pandemic.
This job changing and other actions may be because these people (us) have been thrown into a new frame of reference. Pandemic conditions have been a catalyst for personal change, for better or worse. Things aren’t working. Try something else.
Our subconscious minds are telling us we need to express that inner self, and actualize our potential against or in spite of the constraints set upon us.
We are natural value generators. Our genes expect a fair give and take, a reciprocity. That is the survival mechanism of social animals. The fact that we resort to areas of strengths means we then specialize. It is the division of labour, as well as symbolic communication, that made civilization possible.
Like schools of fish, flocks of birds, herds of cattle, we seek and join our pack for mutual aid and defense. We seek fellow travelers for mutual aid against the threats. We share common values and complementary talents. When our brains specialize we are preparing to collaborate with people who have different strengths so we can then create a collective intelligence through synergy. A new social organization emerges.
That collective intelligence provides heightened strategy framework and a sense of productive flow. In days of old our warriors would gather and rehearse war tactics. They held war dances and wrestling matches to not only improve personal and collective performance but to anchor a bond of trust and spontaneous synchronicity. They marched in rhythmic unison. They discovered personal strengths and reassigned the warriors for different roles.
Women prepared and practiced defense of the home and village. They sang in chorus and danced in choreography to retell stories of past successes against the odds. They cheered their warriors to pump their testosterone for battle. Men watched to know what they were fighting for.
The collective action calls for coordination. Historically that comes from our known leadership, the confident charismatic ones who maintain the big picture, decide a course of action and set a compelling vision. Managers assemble the crew and delegate pieces of the puzzle. Workers and warriors take up the charge with communal pride.
We experience a need to control our spaces. We may wish we could look the leaders in the eyes and assess their character and demeanor. This is not realistic in today’s world. We are left to mass media and social media spin and contort. We hold little more than a thread of truth.
Politicians, CEOs and other leaders may feel extra pressure and need to exert their authority. We may see some drama. But in the flood of drama, this becomes the new normal. Civilization may be permanently changed. The historians may never know what really happened in these chaotic times.
But we now find ourselves isolated and unable to talk openly lest we hit a raw nerve on any given controversy… and there are many in a world of uncertainty. Bonding has lapsed, community disintegrated. There is an instinctive drive to compromise, conform and comply to support the common good. Trust our leaders, even as they argue, as solidarity against the common enemy is paramount.
Personally, I have always been a freak. I have the rarest personality profile, shared with just one percent of the population. I truly am misunderstood (poor me!). I learned this early in life. I do not expect anyone to listen to me, let alone accept what I have to say. But now I feel no delusions about my assessment of today’s human condition. I must speak out.
This over-analyzer has spent a lifetime studying human nature and the changing human condition so I can protect my hyper-sensitive self. Knowledge is power. I have studied the Nature of time and space, energy and information, knowledge and value, cybernetics and systems theory. I have studied enough physics, chemistry, biology, psychology and social science to know that the changes we have been facing started long before covid-19, hundreds of years ago. We face an accelerating accumulation of knowledge, technology, values and beliefs. We are over-taxed with processing complexity and uncertainty. Covid is just the latest “straw”.
In the past few decades we just have started to realize the implications of accelerating civil complexity. We have faced information overload, burnout, cocooning, FOMO (fear of missing out), impostor syndrome, and snowflakes (what else am I missing?). We all thought we were good at managing disruptions… to a point. But then we saw clinical studies that showed that multitasking causes your IQ to drop by 10 to 15 per cent.
We delude ourselves about how well we are managing. To a point, deluding oneself works. It helps us stay confident, focused and productive. But if deluding becomes a habit we get really good at it and repeat constantly. It gets easier to delude oneself. Denial becomes a crutch and we no longer see reality in a constructive manner.
We need to gather and talk about our common struggles.
I am impressed with the social media displays of personal resilience in the face of our common yet uncommon troubles.
I see landscapes that ground us. I see paintings that express us. I see humor that refills us. I see poems that reframe us in our world, and hear music that reminds us of our history together. I see family that binds us and pets that tie us in friendship with Nature. I see adventure, escape, exploration and discovery and I see invention and creation. I see mirrors of mirrors of our humanity.
We each pursue our diverse strengths and passions and offer them up to support others. We graciously accept the humble offerings of others.
And what have we left behind in the rush to be modern? There are few higher pursuits than those of identity, belonging, mastery and self-actualization. What is the meaning of self? We are value-generators. And I find there is no goodness, no value, without truth and no truth without meaning. For me, chasing the nature of meaning is an unparalleled paramount pursuit.
As for me, I am pursuing the nature of meaning. I am peeling back the layers to reveal a network of relationships among ideas. How are worldviews constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed? Ideas are connected by perceptual patterns, abstract classifications, cause and effect, patterns of conceptual similarities and differences.
Yet meanings as a whole are self-referential, grounded only in our often faulty perceptions. And then I see that there are innate ideas grounded in millions of years of evolved DNA. Our brains are wired by Nature to deal with elements of a reality that has changed very little in billions of years — energy and form, entities and events, causation and communication.
It makes sense that evolution, as a long-learning process, has discovered constant and reliable practical truths. Through centuries of progress we have sufficiently approximated reality with cultural constructs. Science and engineering are usually not wrong, but always incomplete. What have we missed that stalks us elusive in the darkness of ignorance? I mine that darkness.
The evolved innate ideas form the circuitry of our brains and set the foundations for meanings in our cultural and personal worldviews. They are ‘instinctive’, assumed and never questioned. I assume order in the universe. I’d like to reconstruct my worldview based on some yet undisclosed primal master fractal that organizes our universe.
Wish me well!!!
In the meantime, don’t take anything too seriously. Stay resilient!