Paying attention to your subjectivity is about the most objective thing you can do in this world. When you accept and understand the processes - and
limits - imposed by being human, you can look at the other guy (or girl) and know that their minds are similarly constructed to your mind; and
furthermore, the genuine needs you feel - to be liked, to be accepted, to be recognized, as strong, intelligent, etc - are the same as the needs of
Few lie outside this category - basically people born with neurological abnormalities (such as Temple Grandin, the autistic behavioral scientist,
whose brain is very different in anatomy from normal brains). All the rest of us our bound by a few "control parameters": we are very needy at birth,
so we need people to feed us, clean us, and care for us. The "care for us" part is something that is objectively true, yet because it is an idea with
social connotations, people are prone to feel 'iffy' about the concept of dependence. There's a strong urge to distance oneself from the weakness (or
insufficiency) that dependence entails. And, this of course, given the competitive instincts that the human brain evolved from - hominins/primates -
is a natural feeling. What makes this feeling so utterly paradoxical, is that it is true. BOTH ideas are true. The human brain is structured
primate-like in the sense that human beings form groups with very heavy amounts of social communication being shared between the parties.
The evolutionary anthropologist Michael Tomasello characterizes great-ape minds as "cognition for competition" as opposed to human minds, which are
evolved for "cognition for cooperation". A principle of evolution is conservation of existing structures, which for human beings accounts for those
impulses we have which make us so self-oriented. On the neurological level, this competition between individuals of the same species is rooted in
cellular processes in the brain - that is, a type of neural darwinism, where groups of neurons "compete" for the "information" that each responds to
(not hitting your brother vs hitting your brother). Because of this, feedback processes that correspond to one behavior (say, hitting your younger
brother) if mediated by dopamine (which is felt as desire or pleasure) will lead to repetition, or feedback, with the dopamine creating chemical
feedback processes that maintain its circulation through cells and their genetic/epigenetic products.
This is basically how we form habits. When we born, we need a mother, and we need the mother to feel love. The mothers love triggers nurturing
behaviors, which elicits from the baby feelings of warmth and comfort - a sense of being lovingly held by the other. The mother enjoys this feeling of
giving - a positive re-enforcing feedback in the brain - and by doing so, the baby grows 'more complexly" -by simply being related to in such a kind
and loving way. But development isn't perfect because people aren't perfect. Never mind perfect, people aren't even mentally equipped to both act and
know WHY they are acting. Our actions are action-based - that is, to aid survival. They occur primarily through non-conscious systems - as annoying as
that may sound, it is basically the truth. Only willful, and fearful blindness could prevent one from accepting that. In any case, whenever a mother
"reacts" i.e. spontaneously and "unconsciously" (or acting within what alan fogel calls "the subjective emotional present") the 'self' that comes
through might be coming out by habit. That is, internal (endogenous) and external (Exogenous) factors can elicit in us different ways of responding to
the world. A way of speaking that may have been associated with a past trauma we experienced can be elicited by simply hearing "it" in the voice of
another person. Because what is recalled is the "feeling" i.e. the motivational 'core', we naturally need to "make sense" of why were acting this way.
Not knowing the truth - that the past event coded in your neurons has elicited a dissociative state (that is, the habitual enactment of a dissociated
feeling from an earlier experience that bears some loose trivial relevance to the present situation) - the normal human reaction is to cause a
raucous, treat some badly and not realize that they're doing so because they've been guided by past emotional feelings and enacting "adaptive"
We do not pay attention to how beautifully responsive our body's are to the world it interacts with. Its a constant game of response: the body's
cellular activities incessantly organize the world "out there" in wondrously complex ways. Neurons in particular amaze. They seem to be the real
actors (or so it could seem) if not for the meanings "out there" in the world encountered that allow us to transform the meaning of the world of cells
We are propelled into the world like a torpedo, buzzing so far out before we even know that we are the latest edition in the evolution of life,
life-now-self-conscious. Because life is now self-conscious, were trying to understand how existence can also be non-existence, which is what the
universe before life, or before self-consciousness with us, essentially implies. Now with us, we are 'lifting the layers', the stuff which occludes
the information and meaning that will help us create a better world - an intrinsic need we all have. Pain -> Suffering -> Release from suffering ->
Necessity of Compassion. This, I believe, is also a natural process, forced into us by the contingencies of the universe we entered, at the time we
did, and with the particular others we develop around. At all times, the whole process is "connected".
But needs complexify. The need to reproduce spurs other needs: for sensuality, sexuality, and combined with an attachment need, generate caregiving
needs, affiliative needs. More basic needs like exploratory needs interact with aversive responses. When any need is challenged, an aversive response
occurs. This can be withdrawal, or negative aversive, or assertive, or positive aversive. The "bad feeling" of aversion can be reduced by escaping to
safety, or going over to that kid who irritates you and pushing him around. Aversions are normal responses to having your needs not met, yet we don't
like we have needs. The way we ignore social-safety nets, and even denigrate the concept as if it didn't hold any scientific merit, exemplifies a
society that is structurally dissociated from the human needs encoded in our genome, or, rather, the whole 'connectome' that exists between the
biology of human beings and the social structures they develop within as they mature.
To create a better world, it's rather simple: be aware of how you function, and simply act towards others as you would want others to act with you. If
you act this way, you
1) Acknowledge that biological processes limit how we actually are
2) Because of this, we are forced by reality to acknowledge the needs that emerge from this vulnerability.
To forestall confusion, it is clear that the needs we have our mediated by feelings, which in turn influence the formation of our thoughts. These
needs are occurring THROUGH molecular processes between and within cells. Cells - i.e physical things - change the probability of our behavior by
creating feelings/states that act as 'constraints' on our behavior.
As a society, we will grow wiser when we pay attention to subjectivity.
edit on 21-7-2015 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)