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Making Better Minds

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posted on Jul, 3 2015 @ 09:51 PM

Exposing the influence of the past on the present

My interest in education has to do with what I see to be a lack of understanding with how the past influences the present. For example, we can go all the way back to the beginnings of the universe, and with Einstein, we can say that the laws of thermodynamics are fairly convincing in their explanatory power. We can then take a few steps forward in the universes ontological history, and point out, with Franscisco Varela, that life adapts itself to the immediate context of it's environmental niche. Back and forth, organism (unicellular, then multicellular) and environment 'dance', in a chemical, but also in a very basic electrophysical way, with energy passing forth between the 'inside' of an apparently self-organizing life form, and the environment, which provides the facilitating condition of life's persistence.

Eventually, we reach a state of multicellular beings interacting with one another at a 'social level'. With ants or buffalo, these individual creatures do not make sense out of their environmental context. Sure, you can take an ant out of it's colony or a buffalo out of the herd, but you will be left with a confused creature - a cognitive "mismatch" made evident by it's errant, dodgy behavior. What you note, if you pay attention, is that the ant needs the colony and the buffalo needs the herd.

With human beings, at some point in deep time, symbolic thought emerged. Symbolic thought, for us, reached such 'rarefaction', that we came to believe that our minds were 'separate' from the matter from which they emerge. We also assumed, that what we thought, what we asserted, was truth - and if not any objective truth, we were adamant that it was "our truth". From Plato, to Galen, to Leonardo Davinci, human beings have been inching forward, thinking and reasoning, trying with whatever powers they had at their disposal (which back then wasn't much) to 'deconstruct' the maze of human self-awareness in the universe, and what we came up with, most of the time, particularly in the western world, was a dualism that separated mind from matter, nature from nurture, and content from process.

We live at a time and age where the majority of people in the western world simply cannot stop, disengage from the influence of their past (their own history) the immediate past (what just happened) and the present context (whats happening around them) and so recognize how horribly biased - and ergo, narcissistically distracted - they are in the way they're perceiving the world around them.

This skill, despite seeming complex, emerges naturally when a human makes the effort to think better. However, it requires a process of learning. And learning, or the prospect of learning, entails a desire to learn. The "desire to learn" is thus the linchpin, the strata that separates one mind from another. But how can one be attracted to knowledge, or feel the necessity for knowing more, when ones entire history gives one the "impelled reality" that nothing, in fact, is wrong?

Adaption contains within it's core the concept of "adjustment to a negative perturbation". Another person, such as myself, sharing knowledge of the sort that I'm currently sharing, is categorically akin to the to the "tap" that causes the snail to return into it's shell, or the cell to retract from the presence of a 'noxious' chemical. The amusing reality is, the mind, although 'above' the behavior of the snail or cell, is basically enacting the same behavior. In this case, knowledge acts as the perturbation, and the 'core' that it acts upon, is not merely the body of the cell or the flesh of the snail, but the "self", that socially emergent sense of "I am a self";the knowledge feels "bad", forcing the self back, either into quiet dissociation (disconnection) or, perhaps more likely, it'll bark, very much dog-like, with supercilious rationalizations and haughty arguments, all ultimately, at root, for the same reason: that this knowledge is FELT as a negative perturbation on the "self-organized system".

We must as a society pay attention to what neuropsychology is teaching us about the human mind. We are a leaf floating on a flowing river, the river being the influences of the past and the present context of our immediate experiences. The conscious mind 'sits atop' whilst unconscious process SELECT those things we should pay attention to; do we talk about politics or no? Do we mention what bothers us to the person were speaking to or no? Anxiety sends outs its tendrils and scaffolds experiences by "blacking out", like a government censor, those mental elements which are sure to promote anxiety or shame.

So why do we think as we do? Because the force of culture - the way action and perception meet up on one another - forms "patterns", "wells of activity" or "basins of attraction", which pulls minds into it's current by blacking out those elements sure to incite anxiety/shame, thus creating notions like popularity and ridicule, pride and prejudice. We fall into these wells of dynamic activity for no other reason other than that we do not build into the infrastructure of our educational systems repellors against these processes.

We'll make better, more conscientious, better thinking minds when we pay attention to the evolution of homo-sapiens, the motivational factors that bias our thinking, and the needs we all have, throughout development, to live meaningful, happy lives. In order to make this a reality, the concept of systems needs to move out of the realm of academia, and into our classrooms, where kids can learn and discover for themselves, how interconnected everything is, from the galaxy, to the solar system, to the earth, the atmosphere, biosphere, the human body, and the process of the social on the formation of individual human minds. Only when the concept of "systems' and "self-organization" is made popular and meaningful - i.e. by leveraging the power of educational systems - can we create the type of societies that will take care of every person who makes it up, as well as the world around it.

posted on Jul, 3 2015 @ 11:28 PM
Very good ideas.

The necessary interplay of "systems" as you say, is fundamental. Though I would personally avoid terminology such as connection, and would maybe prefer relationship, the undeniable fact that you or I require every state of matter to fulfill our finite existence is a testament to how thankful we should truly be to everything around us.

I Think you're dead on to say we need to approach this at the level of elementary education, not only to provide the correct information as we deem necessary, but to also provide the means to provoke curiosity in our world, and the artistic means to paint it in a beautiful light.

posted on Jul, 4 2015 @ 01:41 AM
Thank you Astrocyte, I'm new her so let me introduce myself. I'm from Holland, raised in Indonesia, musician. I have no illusion to understand what you are writing about. I just translate your words with what is there on my "harddisk" my collected memory. To me there is no such thing as mind. Our constant utilization of thought to give continuity to our separate self is 'you'. There is nothing there inside us other than that.

posted on Jul, 4 2015 @ 01:54 AM
a reply to: lagasj

Hi lagasj.

I also do not believe in mind, but the idea of it is so deeply seeded into the western culture and languages, that we all understand what we mean when we use the word.
It is only a useful fiction, just like any metaphor or analogy, for instance hard-disk. There is no hard-disk inside of us.

When it comes to "mind" We are not speaking about anything concrete until we are speaking about the body, particularly a human body, and the rich environment in which it acts, all of which contribute to the concept of mind. The body is the glaring difference between human minds and other animal minds. We do not think or behave like pigs because we are not pigs, yet in some way we must share common elements of mind with pigs, by virtue of the fact we share a common environment.
edit on 4-7-2015 by Aphorism because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 4 2015 @ 11:20 AM

Thank you Astrocyte, I'm new here so let me introduce myself. I'm from Holland, raised in Indonesia, musician. I have no illusion to understand what you are writing about. I just translate your words with what is there on my "hard disk" my collected memory. To me there is no such thing as mind. Our constant utilization of thought to give continuity to our separate self is 'you'. There is nothing there inside us other than that.
a reply to: lagasj

Huh? Where the heck did you come from? I like how you think.

posted on Jul, 11 2015 @ 07:22 PM
a reply to: Aphorism
You know, Aphorism & donktheclown, there is already peace in man. We need not search. The living organism is functioning in an extraordinarily peaceful way. Man's search for truth is born out of this same search for peace. He only ends up disturbing and violating the peace that is already there in the body. So what we are left with is the war within man, and the war without. It's an extension of the same thing. We have never questioned the basic thing assumed here. That is: I think, therefore, I am. If you don't think it never occurs to you that you are alive or dead. Since we think all the time, the very birth of thought creates fear, and it is out of fear that all experience springs. Both "inner" and "outer" worlds proceed from a point of thought. Everything we experience is born out of thought. So, everything we experience, or can experience, is an illusion.
The self-absorption in thought creates a self-centeredness in man; that is all that is there. All relationships based upon that will inevitably create misery for man. These are bogus relationships. As far as you are concerned, there is no such thing as a relationship. And yet society demands not just relationships, but permanent relationships. I'm not a Existentialist. The Existentialists talk of despair and absurdity. But they have never really come to grips with despair or absurdity. Despair is an abstraction for them. Angst? Naufrage? Nausea? despair? To me These are abstract concepts on which they have built a tremendous philosophical structure. That's all there is to it. What I refer to when I talk of self-centered activity is an autonomous, automatic self-perpetuating mechanism, entirely different from what they are theorizing about. It is mortality that creates immortality. It is the known that creates the unknown. It is time that has created the timeless. It is thought that created the thoughtless. Because thought in its very nature is short-lived. So every time a thought is born, you are born. But you have added to that the constant demand to experience the same things over and over again, thus giving a false continuity to thought. To experience anything you need knowledge. Knowledge is the entire heritage of man's thoughts, feelings, and experiences, handed on from generation to generation.
Just as we all breathe from a common fund of air, we appropriate and use thoughts from the surrounding thought-sphere to function in this world. That's all there is to it. Man's insistence that thought must be continuous denies the nature of thought, which is short-lived. Thought has created for itself a separate destiny. It has been very successful in creating for itself a separate parallel existence. By positing the unknown, the Beyond, the immortal, it has created for itself a way to continue on. There is no timeless, only time. When thought creates time, a space is created there; so thought is also space as well. Thought also creates matter; no thought, no matter. Thought is a manifestation or expression of life, and to make of it a separate thing, impute to it a life of its own, and then allow it to create a future for its own unobstructed continuity, is man's tragedy.

posted on Jul, 11 2015 @ 07:56 PM
So drugs, right?

Cause we all know low-conscientiousness plays little role in the creative + gifted and talented.

whistle while you flow. . .
edit on 11-7-2015 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 12 2015 @ 11:50 AM
a reply to: pl3bscheese
Sorry, pl3bs, no drugs here. Knowledge is not something mysterious or abstract. I look at the table and ask myself, "What is that?" So do you. Knowledge is just naming things. It tells you that that is a "table", that I "am happy" or "miserable", that "you are an enlightened man and I am not". Is there anything to thought other than this?

The knowledge you have of the world creates the objects you are experiencing. The actual existence or non-existence of something "out there" in the world is not something you can determine or experience for yourself, except through the help of your knowledge. And this knowledge is not yours; it is something which you and your ancestors have accumulated over a long time. What you call the "act of knowing" is nothing other than this accumulated memory. You have personally added to and modified that knowledge, but essentially it doesn't belong to you at all.

There is nothing there inside you but the totality of this knowledge you have accumulated. That is what you are. You cannot even directly experience the reality of the world in which you are functioning, much less some world beyond. There is no world beyond space and time. It is your invention, based upon the vague promises of the holy men. Our sense of value springs from the world as it is imposed on us. We must accept the world.

posted on Jul, 12 2015 @ 12:17 PM
a reply to: lagasj

That seems like a whole lot of words for very basic truths.

I took some of that on here:


Pretty sure it's still drugs at the end of the day.

posted on Jul, 12 2015 @ 07:40 PM
a reply to: [post=19561720]pl3bscheese[/post
You'r right, cheese. It's just an idea. This dialogue has no meaning at all. You may very well ask why the hell I am writing. I emphatically assure you that, in my case, it is not at all in the nature of self-fulfillment. My motive for writing is quite different from what you think it is. It is not that I am eager to help anybody understand, or that I feel that I must help. Not at all. My motive is direct and temporary, I am only interested in making it crystal clear that there is nothing to understand.

posted on Jul, 12 2015 @ 08:05 PM
a reply to: lagasj

Okay cool, so I'm now going to challenge your core assumption. I am not my accumulated knowledge that is not my own. We feel. Even instinct can be thought of as memories so imperative to our survival that we hard code it into our base programming. This does not negate feeling. Animals, most, are said not to have self-awareness. They have no self-referential knowledge of who they are, and yet they are all the same. If nobody is in the forest, compression and decompressions still shift energy at wavelengths which would be representative of sound.

I think you're showing me what you're currently most focused on. Knowledge, at it's relation to the human experiencing itself in the world it creates. Feelings guide us, often unconsciously, physiological alternations to our central nervous conditioning. This is at the core of our being, and not a product of our knowledge.

If we are to have a "mind" this would tap into unconscious forces outside of the brain, yet integrated with it all the same. Our nerves, for instance, run throughout the body, muscle attached to the spine, wired to the brain. The stomach, which produces many neurotransmitters, affected by brainwave patterns, dietary habits, and whatever else all at once, relaying information to the brain. We are much more than any conceptual knowledge base we store over time. I need not know the totality of who we are to experience awe and accept our lack of knowledge as a-okay, as long as our feelings remain supreme.

This is my experience, yours will differ.

Or said another way, DRUGS!!

Where is this astrocyte jerk? He may be sheltered and naive, but knows how to describe some of this better than I.
edit on 12-7-2015 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2015 @ 03:22 AM
You are talking about the two only things we have to do. To survive and to reproduce. To make my point I ask you to formulate one question that is your own. Just one that is realy your own. Can you do that?

posted on Jul, 13 2015 @ 05:27 AM
a reply to: lagasj

Of course I can't, but that's besides the point. You're stuck in trying to reduce the human experience into it's end results, at points you choose to see as ends to means. It is flow, not points.

Homosexuals do not reproduce, yet they choose to see purpose in their lives. There are too many people who transcend what seems to be selfish limitations, and do what's best for the group. I don't create art, or work on projects to secure a woman and have offspring, I do it because it provides me joy and meaning in this ultimately meaningless world. I do it to ease the boredom, and remain in a state of growth. Surviving and procreating are base needs of the species, not the entire needs of an individual. I said earlier it's like someone who longs for the credits when watching a movie. There is a story to be told before that. To seek the credits is to miss the point entirely. Ultimately we create our own, so if you choose to focus on these bits, that's your prerogative. I just think it's silly.

posted on Jul, 13 2015 @ 11:33 AM
What I am saying conflicts with your logical framework. You are using logic to continue that separative structure, that is all. All thought is reactive. You are desperately protecting this armour, this shield of thought, and are frightened that the movement of life might smash your frontiers. Life is like a river in spate, lashing at the banks, threatening the limits that have been placed around it. Your thought structure and your actual physiological framework are limited, but life itself is not. That is why life in freedom is painful to the body; the tremendous outburst of energy that takes place here is a painful thing to the body, blasting every cell as it goes. You cannot imagine how it is in your wildest dreams. This is why it is misleading no matter how I put it.

You are all neurotic people. You drone on and on about the preciousness of life, then bomb and massacre. It is too absurd. Your "concern" about life is only to make a political issue out of it. It is just an academic discussion. I am not interested in that. Truth is a movement. You can't capture it, contain it, give expression to it, or use it to advance your interests. The moment you capture it, it ceases to be the truth. What is the truth for me is something that cannot, under any circumstances, be communicated to you.

posted on Jul, 13 2015 @ 01:08 PM
A better mind is formed by character development primarily.
And then exposure to the full range of human knowledge
a reply to: Astrocyte


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