ALTERNATIVE HUMAN REALITIES – A POSSIBLE TAXONOMY

These insights came to me in the evening of August 19 and morning of the 20th, 2016, as I lay in bed listening to a audio novel on CD. It is a slightly different perspective of what has been brewing within nuet for quite a while, related to my perspective that we humans host “wrlds” that emerge (wrld-weaving) as patterned activity in our brains – and that all human behavior and (conscious) experientials emerge from this autopoietic “musical dance on the mind/brain”. What we moment-by-moment perceive as the WORLD is better hypothesized as ourselves reacting to our structural coupling with Gaia and other humans. “wrlds” are what we each know about and experience in our lives. Humankind is composed of 7+ billion, structurally coupling “wrlds”. Vastly different wrlds.

As was recently debated online, a rainbow is perceived as a thing, and can be physically represented in terms of light coming from raindrops into one’s eyes – yet it is different from each perspective and is created within our mind/brains. Rainbows aren’t physical things “out there”. There are processes “out there” that can be used in our creating “rainbows” in our mind/brains.

We never directly perceive each other, but experience what our mind/brains have created from structurally coupling with the light and sound coming to me from you. We don’t perceive input processed by our brains – modulated by our wrlds. Rather, the input patterns modulate our wrlds to emit behaviors and experientials.

Maturana and Varela claim, using Spencer-Brown’s Logic of Forms, that the two perspectives (information transfer vs structural coupling) are logically equivalent.  I have not followed their argument.

Structural Coupling can be dynamic and resonating, as is evidenced by mirror neurons responding to voice and gestures. Wrlds aren’t alone, it is only that there is no direct contact between minds. This has many positive aspects when you think about it.

Also, although the natural brain process of wrld-weaving is within each person, the wrld that is woven is as much (or more) from the structural coupling with all that one encounters during life. “Nature” provides the wrld-weaving OS (which can be modified) while “Nurture” provides the content threads to be woven.

Unfortunately, today, the patterns-of-nurture that humans encounter are far from optimal for their wrld’s emergence; many times suppressing actualization of innate potentials. This is the “crime” of the current mode of societal organization called “Civilization”.

All the above was already known to me.  My new insights were how the wrlds of others might be, if lacking certain conceptual schemes – such as an “environment” or “society” or “system”.

Scientifically we know our environment is an ecology of living systems among various physical structures, landscapes, oceans, atmospheres, etc. – a changing complexity that we use “systems” to label.  This is a conceptual scheme, a framework within our wrld for organizing the patterns.

The wrld of a newborn doesn’t yet have these frameworks, and tribal humans didn’t either; they are probably not inherited. Humans, with language, weave “abstract” entities in mind, “phantoms” that are never perceived, but can be “imagined”. We wrld-weave within systems of categories.

We have yet to uncover the role of dreams, mental imagery, and hallucinations in the development of wrlds. I speculate that our “consciousness” may have started with dreams and later applied to perceptions – which are well utilized by animals without language.

Birds must have excellent inner “maps” of their surroundings, as they fly away from and then all return to the flock from large distances. Even butterflys migrate in generational hops. Squirrels know where they have stored nuts for winter. Early humans did the same, even as they migrated.

Australian natives learn their culture’s names of things and when they walk on journeys they recite to themselves and remember the things observed. Later they may tell others the story of their trip, which is remembered as a “map” for others to follow the same route. A living native was frustrated, when riding in a car; having to ask the driver to slow down because he couldn’t name things he saw because they came by too fast.

Tribal persons would learn the names and uses of many things in their surroundings and evolved to care for their surroundings. They did not usually TAKE, extract – but they did DUMP, which eventually corrupted their surroundings.  Their wrlds we composed of sensorally perceived things with relative locations to other things (including the moving sun, moon, and stars).

Modern humans do the same for their immediate surroundings. For those not educated in the sciences, the wider world is a montage of different surroundings, regions that can have special names and attributes (including characteristics of their peoples). But, they are unaware of the complex relationships between components of the globe. They may assign mythological attributes from metaphors from their more immediate realities. This can often become confusing, especially if they view TV.

Terms like government, economy, environment, society don’t mean for them what they mean for those who have learned the conceptual schemes. We have yet to study (or maybe some have and I don’t know about it) how their realities are organized. From their perspective, it is OK to take, as “out there” is but a collection of things for the taking – not a system where what is taken may disturb other important things.

What we (educated & enlightened humans) must not do, is assume that our reality is shared by most other humans living on Earth today. Their wrlds are alien to ours – and many of ours are alien to each other.

For example, most persons familiar with the conceptual scheme of “systems” are unaware of how this even limits their wrld. Crudely, a system is composed of components with properties, linked by relations, and embedded in an environment of things and stimuli. Specific knowledge of a system enables a person to sometimes forecast how the system will respond to changes. Some systems can be mathematically described and forecasts can become predictions. This conceptual scheme can be intuitively comprehended by persons working with machines, for example, that can be viewed as systems, without having any formal instructions about General Systems.  This frame called “systems” can then be applied to many different things, but each in isolation.

A person may acknowledge that components can be viewed as smaller systems and that a system can be a component of a larger system, where each system is called a “holon” in a “holarchy”. What is often ignored is that holons at separated levels in a holarchy can interact. Molecules from cells can effect experience and behavior, and can interact with social systems that distribute molecules (eventually) to cells. Networks and webs are “things” different from “systems”, but are often called systems. “Systems” often becomes the scientific replacement for “things”.

I use four frames for organizing: systems (holons), networks, ecologies, and holarchies.  [sys/net/eco/hol]  I take them to be conceptual tools I use to organize my experiences. They may not be “out there” anymore than a rainbow is “out there”.

We are far from ready to create a taxonomy of wrlds in our global population, but we need to make a good estimation of distributions soon. Otherwise we don’t know who we are.  Ethnicity, gender, age, wealth, health, education are grossly insufficient to characterize humankind. Our cognitive profiles, learning styles, imagery competencies, etc. are much more important for us to comprehend our diversity of wrlds.

How do wrlds change, evolve and emerge? How do different wrlds interact (structurally couple – via language)? How do our use of media effect wrlds. Paradigm shifts, a concept many decades old, hints to a shifting of wrlds. Most formal education is devoted to the assimilation of new information to fit a pre-existing wrld. Accommodations and equilibration do occur, as Piaget proposed – but his application was child development. How wrlds change and shift for adults in turbulent and stressful times is a major challenge, today.  Different psychiatric states can be also viewed as different wrlds.

What exactly was my recent insight? I groked the diversity of wrlds, with an increased awareness that many humans don’t have what I have as societies or sci/tech or evolution/emergence within the frames of their wrlds. They lack categories I use; although they may hear or read terms for those categories.

Last night I was interrupted at this computer, and shut down early, by Milo, a beautiful male cat, who insisted on my attention for an hour. A few months ago Milo had a few weeks of hourly seizures, which we were able to cure with a medication I learned about online. I am convinced Milo is expressing thanks to me, as I held him many, many times during his seizures.  I  sometimes wonder about the scale of wrlds from Milo through chimps to the taxonomy of human wrlds.

A sys/net/eco/hol of wrlds hosted by humankind is emerging towards the “birthing” of humanity via Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis. UPLIFT is a conceptual scheme that intentionally and systemically seafs the merging and shifting of wrlds – one-at-a time (analogous to the embryonic development from fertilized egg to baby – each cell in mitosis to become two cells). One human, already uplifting within a seafing network of others uplifting, engages a person from the societal environment of UpMov and they become TWO members – both change in the process. Then each of the TWO, become FOUR, then EIGHT, on to the exponential viral penetration of the UPLIFT meme into the global human population.  Diversity within Unity.

Four decades ago (minus two years), alone on a hill top near Perth, Scotland, I raised my arms in the air and shouted:  HUMANKIND METAMORPHOSIZE , many times. Am I beginning to hear the echos?

 

 

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.

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