If were going to make a better world, we need to understand what that means and what we need to pay attention to.
This is a model of Self-World engagement taken from Walter Freeman
This is a rather complex diagram that is not exactly easy to explain, so I'll just you the bare meaning of it all: the self (the mind) is connected
to the world through basic feedback mechanisms occurring within our body - endogenously - and with the body-in-the-world - exogenously.
I'll take a simple phenomenological example to highlight how this works in life.
You walk past a girl in the library whom you find attractive; you look at her; she looks back at you. You turn away; she turns away.
Simple? Not quite.
First, why did you even look at her? Because you saw her, you'll respond. Yes. But again, why at that moment did you look? And you're response; did
you plan on that? Or did it just happen?
Phenomenologically we can discern things that are happening which occur unconsciously. And this is basically how human beings are: we attune
prereflectiviely to the world around us; we are feeling creatures at our root: descartes couldn't have been more wrong that to assert his existence
as a matter of thinking. Thinking happens AFTER the feeling; it is a personal interpretation. What ultimately matters is what we feel.
In the above diagram, our motor systems feed into our attentional networks; this supports evidence from neurobiology which shows that mirror neurons
are primarily motor based; its the observed motor movements we see which feed into us and unconsciously educe a feeling state (as an eruption within
the limbic network), which we than interpret - unconsciously - and appraise, which determines - again unconsciously - our next protension into the
Thinking has 3 basic properties; first, it is largely intentional; and within any intentional stance is a 3 fold structure of retention (what just
happened) current perception, and protension (whats expected to occur next).
Its important to know this, because without knowing this you become unaware of how the world about engenders certain perceptions; certain intentional
stances; and ultimately certain behaviors.
A basic principle of the new science of non-linear dynamics is that all systems have parameters: or limits. Right now were all learning of the limits
of our planetary system; that we cannot just do as we do unconsciously - "business as usual" - indefinitely. Eventually we encounter the limits of
the system. All systems - our bodies, our minds, our planet, have limits.
This thread, admittedly, is simplistic. But it is meant to just sketch out what needs to be attended to if we want to fix how we experience ourselves
and how behave with one another. In taking this position I'm also implying that this world is pathological. I could define the various problems there
are but that would derail me too far from my theme; suffice to say that the various geopolitical and interpersonal problems have the same basic cause:
human beings acting without being aware of how and why they act.
Cultures which do put these considerations under analysis are famously much more diplomatic and tolerant of disagreement; take Buddhist Tibet, or
contemporary Democratic cultures as an example. When the simplistic - and instinctive - sensorimotor, emotion and environmental feedbacks are
interrupted; and the conscious mind analyzes what is happening within itself and between itself and the larger system it is a part of (society or the
planetary life system) it can stop and prevent the enactment of unconscious behaviors that are being induced from without by non-linear dynamics: that
is, together, the "culture" which forms, draws us insistently into certain topographical and geometric forms of being
This world is riddled with dualities; and we can describe these dualities from a larger sociological perspective as Narcissism vs. Masochism. That is,
certain people become very strong and "successful" - the so-called "haves" of marxist theory; while other people struggle, suffer, which
internally, within them, is a strong - yet very unconscious - masochistic urge - the "have nots".
The conditions of society in this sense bifurcate human beings into these two camps; and these two camps emerge because the locus of individual focus
for each human being is mostly identical: the instinctive 'programming" of historical evolutionary patterns.
The patterns are more epigenetic than genetic; they arise as biological patterns imprinted within our cells "above" the genes themselves; these
methylation and other forces which turn certain genes "on" or "off" incline our subjective minds along a certain course of thinking; and the
thinking itself - it's very ontogeny, is borne from the body-culture nexus; the culture 'attunes' the biology to a certain way of being. And the
biology inclines the mind to support the creation of a type of culture.
Fixing this situation means learning how certain lower order systems feed into larger order systems. Overall, we can say that there is an isomorphism
between our thinking, or relating, and the cultural reifications which ultimately emerge. What we thus need to do is correct things at the various
levels to "bias" the various systems, the superordinate "society" and the lower-level individual, to see things from a more holistic perspective.
Because emotion happens and we are moved by emotion, the way to "transcend" the suffering and bifurcations we create into "rich and poor" and
various other classes that put the "strong' into an indifference and the "weak" into a want, is to appreciate how it is we become who we are.
I do not think the world is by any means "evil"; its certainly better than in the middle-ages; but we nevertheless need to progress more, to the
point where our subjectivities and who we become fall within our power of influence. So that the world we emerge into is one where the context
impresses upon us a feeling that makes living less a struggle in dueling dualities, and more what it is: an existential experience of Being-in