Even though still incomplete (and probably it will stay in an ongoing iteration process), I want to share this piece. So far it helped me to sort my thoughts. Furthermore this model might contain an answer to the question of Nick Nielsen: “What is it that makes us think?”. Hopefully I will soon make it to wrap my approach into words.
In the last couple of days I encountered people which are obviously seeking for god-like explanations for their existence. This made me think of the question: What is the driving force (or wish) behind this need to have a “higher being”? What kind of state of mind is necessary to have this desire?
Of course I can not offer a perfect answer to these questions, since there are probably as many solutions as humans on this planet. But I assume that there are some meta structures which emphasize a condition, which creates the appetite for a “higher”, non-human reason for their own existence.
I guess it is not required to point out that this need is to me totally bizarre (even though I admit that I was once also on diverse spiritual trips, trying to figure out why I am what I am – and the people around me and the planet, universe and so on. But I got over it – and this is another story).
So here is a short set of possible reasons that I have figured out, while I sat on stone, watching the Adriatic Sea. The set itself does not imply a priority of the possible reasons – it is just the stuff that came more or less spontaneously into my mind.
Dependency of socio-cultural patterns, while the trust regarding your own experience is turned off (= anxiety, self-distrust/non-self-love-experience, insecureness, being satisfied or afraid of not thinking for yourself). Typically related to monotheistic religions.
Strong believe that intuition always tells the truth – especially self-looped by the believe that only your intuition and animal instincts are reliable guides in finding the ultimate truth (e.g. astral travelling nerds, homoeopathy users, quantum mechanics-non-understanding, everything-is-connected-with-everything-sayers, …).
Frustrated co-primates, feeling angry about their personal or planetary state, so it must be claimed, that there must be a higher meaning. Because it must be. It must, because what else…?
Self-drugged, egomaniac relief seekers, trying to compensate their immoral behavior in order to get a compensation by living given standards (which makes no sense, but at least you feel better after you got your absolution). A truly opportunistic stance. Highly compatible with capitalistic viewports.
People who really believe that human existence can not be explained just by being human, so it is logical that there is “something”. A plan. A creation.
Super-Freaks which actually hear the “voice” of this higher being – getting commands to act in this or that way (from being really nice to others, up to taking a bomb and blowing yourself and others into the next sphere…)
UPDATE: The “agent/agency detector” – a term originating from the field of evolutionary psychology (of religion). Psychologists Kurt Gray and Daniel Wegner wrote: “The high cost of failing to detect agents and the low cost of wrongly detecting them has led researchers to suggest that people possess a Hyperactive Agent Detection Device, a cognitive module that readily ascribes events in the environment to the behavior of agents.”Source This aspect could lead to a total new post – because it implies to me that, if this detector really exists (and my guts tell me this has extreme potential), then all the above mentioned points are just emergents of the detection system.
I guess this list could be extended – but for the moment it is enough.
Just keep in your mind – it is not the sun going down – it is the earth, turning at an incredible angular speed of 465.1 m/s.
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.
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
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
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.
After blogging for some months it is time for me to change – the language and the content.
I have written a lot of biographic stuff – and it was useful in terms of getting into the habit of “having a blog = platform to write”. But in the end it is/was personal bla-stuff. Somehow nice for me on a personal level, but nothing that contributes new ideas into the social reticulum.
Hell.. yes, I can not neglect this immanent impulse of empathy for the mankind. Therefore I want to conclude – step by step – my thoughts and ideas which could be useful to prevent a total desaster for our civilisation. It took me more than 20 years before I finally followed this impulse. And yes, I admit it, I am interested in issues which deal on a planetary level. At least.
The real motivation behind my commitment is the anger about the waste of potential that would happen, if we – the people on this planet – would not solve the issues which lay ahead of us. It makes me mad if we would end up on a fucked up planet (ecological level) in a irrational, nazi-style society without any personal “freedom” (freedom in quotes, since this term needs further discussion, here used in the classical context, cf. hist. Enlightment Phase, evidence-based knowledge generation, rationality).
On the other hand I feel the obligation to leave a better planet for the next generation – not only, but also simply because I am a father. I owe my son one day an explanation why the global society is (or could be) in a dystopian state – so this attempt is something (digital), that I want to leave for him. I thought that this kind of thesis should be documented in english – if I want to deal with global challenges, I have to express myself in this planetary lingo – even if I can not be that eloquent as I could be in German. And probably I will make a lot of mistakes 😉
Nevertheless I will try to make an advantage of it, since I can not play that many word plays as I could in German. I have to focus my thoughts and adress my point in a simple, straight way. Furthermore it is the chance to connect to some friends abroad, especially in the US, Finland and Croatia.
For sure I will not write always about programmatic “insights” – it will be mixed with all day observations – but always spiced up with a view on the solutions which we IMHO should imagine in order to make them real – before the shit hits the fan. Especially because we are a generation which has the greatest of all chances – to develop exponentially forward – or downward.
And there is this specific madness again – I can not accept the idea, that our civilisation will ceed to exist on this planet. There is so much more to explore – so much more to understand – so much more to optimize. That is why I want to reflect in my next post about several patterns of self optimization in various scientific branches which I have recognized recently. My guts tell me that it is worth to structure these patterns in order to take the risk to reduce them to the smallest semantic unit. This aspect seems to me to be an important starting point in order to “manage/create/change” the future – because in the end:
I really don’t like waste.
ps: All comments are closed – because I am sick of fighting spam – I you feel like contacting me – write me a mail or circle me preferably in G+