“How far can human possibility be expanded in scope to approximate absolute possibility?”
asked by Geopolicratus Strategist
Before I answer your question, I want to put my reply into context.
I have no academic background, nor do I have any experience in writing scientific or philosophical texts. Therefore I choose an artistic position – so it is more of an intuitive approach. I have no „official“ resources to „prove“ my point of view.
Furthermore it is important to me to point out, that everything I write is totally relative – to almost every sentence you can add „IMHO“ – I do not want to sound like a preacher nor a teacher. I am just guessing in a hopefully constructive and inspiring way. And of course it is a very personal answer, since I am relying on my on personal system, no matter how much I try to put myself into a planetary-cosmic context.
Therefore I am not sure if I will actually answer your question, but at least I enjoy thinking and responding to it.
Another aspect, which is very important to me is to refer to Siggi Becker, since he is for me a real source of inspiration and information. That said, many of my current views and insights are catalyzed due to intense discussions and thought exchanges with him. I can not value enough how much he encouraged me to write – not by playing a „classic“ motivator role, but more by saying nothing and grinning at me.
Besides, I am glad that he connected us, because I have a strong need for brain food. A fortiori I enjoy your posts, even though I do not always respond.
Last but not least, I would like to share with you which music I am listening to as I try to condensate my thoughts. Thanks to Philipp Otterbach I am enjoying µ-Ziq – Chewed Corners – this information might help to get an idea of my acoustic-emotional state.
PS: Please consider that English is not my native language – this is why I use a lot of quotation marks. There will be a couple of errors – I hope that the essence of my thoughts will be still transmitted.
The original conversation
It all started with a question, here is a slighty modified copy of the original conversation. I just deleted the off topic chat between Harry and me.
24. Julivia Twitter
If depression is the inability to construct a future (per Rollo May) what shall we call the ability to construct multiple futures? Mania?
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Dir und Harry Stuckler gefällt das.
Mark Lambertz I would call it “braveness”
24. Juli um 13:11 · Gefällt mir · 1
Harry Stuckler Father
24. Juli um 13:24 · Gefällt mir nicht mehr · 1
Geopolicraticus Strategist Shouldn’t there be some relationship between the future constructed and the life for which it is constructed? Of course, this a minefield, because you don’t want to tell an individual that a particular future they have constructed is impossible for them.
25. Juli um 05:40 · Gefällt mir
Harry Stuckler does it matter for the individual ?
25. Juli um 06:54 · Gefällt mir nicht mehr · 1
Mark LambertzI need a practical example. Do you mean for instance a person in a wheel chair, which constructs a personal future of himself being a jet pilot?If my example fits, then it is possible to describe it as mania. On the other hand, I think it is often enough necessary to break the borders, “to boldly go, where no man has gone before”. Ad astra!25. Juli um 09:33 via Handy · Gefällt mir · 1
Harry Stuckler Consciousness creates. Depression and Mania is a sickness.
25. Juli um 09:44 · Gefällt mir nicht mehr · 1
Mark Lambertz I like to specify: consciousness can be creative, if one is conscious about the potential. And a honest portion of stubborness might help sometimes. But indeed, it is a minefield ;))25. Juli um 09:52 via Handy · Gefällt mir · 1
Geopolicraticus Strategist An ability to construct multiple futures might be a sign of creativity, strength and courage, or it might be a sign of ambivalence or mania. It is difficult to talk about human potential and stubbornness in attaining goals without falling into clichés and platitudes. That being said, someone who was really driven (and had resources) might redesign a jet to be flown by an individual in a wheelchair. That’s really not that far-out of a scenario. I guess the question here is (in part) the relation between human possibility and possibility in an absolute sense (i.e., non-anthropic possibility).
25. Juli um 16:39 · Gefällt mir nicht mehr · 1
Geopolicraticus Strategist Another way to say this is as follows: how far can human possibility be expanded in scope to approximate absolute possibility?
At first I have to question a certain part of your question: what is/means absolute? In an earlier post you mentioned i.e. non-anthropic aspects. I define it as: something that is (yet) not understood.
My example: a simple thunderbolt meant for cave men a higher existence, for us it is a physical phenomena (even though it is still not completely understood – but we have an idea of the working principles).
Therefore „absoluteness“ is just an expression of our human lack of understanding how „it is functioning/working“. „Absoluteness“ could be described as a border – but it is always in transition – an ever moving icon of our limited imagination or ability to explain the „absoluteness“.
But to get back to your question, I would like to describe the parameters which are necessary to „approximate absolute possibility“. In order to put my thoughts into perspective, I want to assume that basic existential needs are fulfilled, before a human being is able to expand its possibilities (including the ones of our planetary civilization). For instance, if you have REAL hunger, you can not expand „the“ limits. Furthermore I assume that other factors like „time to think“ are available 🙂
Beyond the point of existential needs, we are in my personal experience limited (or accelerated) by the following aspects:
– Self-efficacy experienced during childhood, which leads to self-confidence, which leads to braveness (being unafraid of being not always liked by your peers). A self-acceptance of being a freak (for me an award-like expression) -> Failing better
– Our sensory motor system – it is hard to imagine a six dimensional world – we are not really built for such systemic thinking. E.g. the quantum world might be describable with mathematical functions, but a „real“ visual understanding seems to be out of our reach. In this context I like the thought experiment: how would you explain a 2D-being a sphere? Maybe you call it a „circle, made of circles“. It is a cool approximation, but would the 2D-being truly understand what you meant?
– Curiosity / dopamine level, to activate „seeking power“, being an adventurer, being happily satisfied dealing with „unknown unknowns“.
– „Certain“ kind of IQ and/or EQ which is necessary to develop an intellectual complex – having mental tools to solve problems which arise when dealing with multiple futures.
– Empathy for mankind – why else should one be interested in thinking about the future?
– Access to knowledge (libraries, internet, conversation with peers;
no matter if it is of scientific nature, fiction or just mystical-religious related stuff)
– Freedom of speech (= freedom to think what you want, which includes having personal secrets = political situation
Your question is insofar hitting the spot, since I started reading SciFi again. And it is interesting to observe how much the visions of the authors are embedded into their current scientific context (even though the „hyper video“ and „3D projectors“ are epic revenants).
And still there is one part unanswered in my reply: my above mentioned factors contain the idea of utopian drafts of the future. I completely skipped dystopian possibilities. I did this, because I think it is easy to have dystopian fantasies.
Well, obviously this is part of my personal being, as I really see it as waste to deal with dystopia super-galore. I find it rather boring, since it is not helping in developing a life-encouraging vision of my or of the planetary future (even though I admit that I want to always be aware of the life-destroying options – because I want to encounter them with better/smarter/faster solutions).
And to get back to your initial question: is it a mania, if you like to project multiple futures (of yourself, mankind or an anthill)? Maybe. It depends.
If it kills or derogates your ability to live, then its a mania. If it kicks you, makes you smile and helps one not to behave like an asshole, then it’s good. Does it destroy you or others? Then it’s bad.
The best result would be, that one which has this „positive mania“ may inspire others – to think and to act. So it is again (as always in life) a matter of checks and balances.
In other words: if it accelerates the acceleration, in terms of „life can live“, then the mental limit is just a temporarily phenomena. The absoluteness is always closer then we think. It reminds me of the limit function in mathematics, i.e. y=1/x
The more you try the closer you get – but you will never catch the „absoluteness“.
It seems to me like an eternal game – and I love to play it.