ARE WE FUNCTIONAL ?

Suresh’s post  is an insightful wish list for some aspects of a better humankind sometime in the future. They are not new and have been part of many wish lists promoted over the decades. It was the string of short comments to this blog that motivated my starting this essay – which then took on a life of its own.

Social media, as characterized here, consists of an exchange of short messages, most expressing emotional agreement. Content contributions are usually more wish lists. Proposing more dialog spaces for more Jabber (so-called “dialog” or “collaboration”) may not change things. Are “we”, activist change agents, trapped in modes of interactivity that keep us from becoming “functional” re our intentions and desires? Although “we” are aware of concerns about negative effects of (too much) social networking, we tend to believe it traps others, but not ourselves.  The next paragraph links to s long essay that is recent {9/29/2013} and very relevant to this issue.

If you have sufficient attention span, I highly recommend the following book review by Andrew Winer:   I address this to the string of commentators to blog posts. Our intentions may be good, but might we have become trapped and our behavior irrelevant to the need? I am interested in reading Jonathan Franzen’s translation with commentary of early 20th century Viennese critic, Karl Kraus: The Kraus Project. [Inserted after composing first draft of this essay.]

Trends (local to global) are more and more discouraging. Some of our best minds with our best information are seriously concerned about literal survival.  Humankind is assaulting Gaia with the intensity of a planetoid collision, yet we are more concerned with “doing our thing” than we are acting with responsibility. We persist in our jabber dialog as if we had “all the time in the world”. On one side we believe these are truly unique times; but on the other side it is “business as usual”. But, we tell ourselves that we are relevant and we are doing our best.

Are our best change agents sufficiently competent to “do” what is needed? Since most of us (if we are honest) are not committed to fundamental change in our own basic thinking/working/living patterns (even active change agents resist changing their techniques); our “learning” is often limited to knowing some of the current happenings and histories, and techniques to use the new tools becoming available.

I confess that I “meet this billing in spades” and today probably do less than most change agents in having an impact on contemporary happenings. I have changed considerably in a few domains, even having significant insights; but I have resisted attempting the personal changes I need to become more reesee and gain the competencies I need and desire (in my “dreams”). I have discovered and accepted that I can’t do it alone, nor can anyone else personally change by “will” alone.

Those who may claim to willfully control their lives (as all life involves change of some sort) are actually locked into a behavior regime that itself is highly resistive to change. We become who we ARE is our belief, we all have destiny. Who some of us believe we are, are “persons with control of themselves”. Of course, some are truly skilled in the areas of control and change they have mastered – whereas others appear as automatons or stimulus-response machines. Our social institutions are actually structured to reinforce our highly conservative approach to living.

We, collectively, have proven potentials to create social systems that can adequately seaf significant change – but this know-how is usually applied by the “powerful” to constrain the (developmental) changes  of others. Indeed, this may be a defining characteristic of so-called “civilizations”.  The elite and powerful, addicted to their systems, only change to be more effective and efficient in what they do. They are highly sensitive to each other and become social psychologically dependent on playing the game. The game is sacred. We “dream” about “real change”, but can’t really imagine it because it requires we give up our “personalized sovereignty” and belief in “individualism”.

If our moods (which can influence our decisions) are affected by the microbiols in our bodies, when are we going to accept that “who we are” was not really our conscious and willful doing. We surfed the wave, but we went generally with the wave. Sometimes we had the opportunity of choosing between alternative waves. Each of us is very much a product of the other people in our lives and the social forces they encountered. Our powerful genetic propensities contributed a very wide range of “persons” we might become. Even how we handled situations was mostly determined by “who we were” at that moment (which was influenced by many externals to ourselves). Even those who appear to “really make it” after a “rough start” had gained those attitudes and skills by inheritance and environment, with a little conscious input.

I welcome being part of a larger whole, not because of the many constraints in my life, but because I can imagine a nu humanity where we function in harmony in teams, communities and societies. Not as ants or zombies, but we discover our personal creativity greatly enhanced and seafed by being a component of something more than ourselves, yet preserving our “selves”.

The integrated being I was in my “elementary school years” (much more than being student) has long been virtually erased (GONE from potential retrieval) by periodic “re-wiring” of our plastic neural system. I can observe from my imaged view (of life happenings emerging at that time) that < THAT I WAS COMMITTED TO BEING SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT IN THE FUTURE >  was accepted but often not dwelled upon. We would become bigger, live somewhat like those much older than ourselves. We might be attracted to idols whom we hope to emulate “when we grow up”.  We knew significant change was inevitable, and but for a few obsessed with their “future”, we “lived in the present”.

We need to reconstruct some of that attitude – accepting significant change yet to come.  But, we have no “adults” to emulate. We now have the potential (from our collective knowledge and competencies) to – in authentic cooperation and collaboration – bootstrap our own significant future development. As we were forced to give up “being a child” we should adapt the same attitude to giving up “who we are”. More than who we THINK we are. Not only can we (as persons) change, but our world can change – for WE ARE OUR WORLDS, literally.

All that you know, all that you experience “in your world” are literally patterns of activity in your brain. You experience and respond to your “perceived world” by literally “responding to yourself”, progressive activity in your brain. Today, persons who are different literally live in a world consistent with who they think they are. Significant personal change requires changes in their believed world. Our internalized worlds provide the contexts by which we interpret our experiences. These contexts can change, but we need to explore means of seafing such changes.

This is not a message to encourage you to change within, willfully induce a shift in consciousness; personally and really by ourselves (even if it involves significant relationships with others). This traditional practice is often a siren song, encouraging adapting to a ritualistic lifestyle (even when it involves “outreach” to others and working for “causes”). All of these practices originated as techniques to withstand and reduce suffering in ourselves and others. Mask symptoms, adapt. None of these practices takes seriously any action to significantly treat the deep causes of suffering. We can work on “causes” without even being aware of the deep “causes”.

Author: nuet

01/24/1935. BS-physics RPI 1956; MS-physics UofChicago 1958; PhD-physics Yale 1965; PhD-Edu Psy Uof MInnesota 1970. Auroral Research Byrd Station, Antarctica 11/1960-02/1962. MINNEMAST curriculum dev 1964-68. Woodstock. faculty Pima Community College, Tucson 1974-1997. Transdisciplinary scientist, philosopher, educator, futurist, activist. PC user since 1982. "Wife". daughter, 2 grandsons. 5 dogs & 7 cats. Lacks mental imagery in all sensory domains.

0 comments

Trackbacks