The Unbearable Weight of our Nature - 2

Being without the anxiety of becoming No. 2

I have been lucky enough to stumble upon another post that I must share with you. I feel every word of what this person is saying. I'll include a link at the end of this short post.

(Don't forget to click on the hyperlinks.)

Before I start sharing my personal musings on the subject of human nature & culture I'd like to share some simple courses that I've enjoyed. As the weeks pass I hope this social network will include many more people sharing much ado about everything with a curious and vivacious crowd of Globe Hackers.

We need each other to make things work.

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Being without the anxiety of becoming. I would like you to take 20 slow, deep and rhythmic breaths and meditate on that idea. Just take a few moments - 20 breaths focused on being without the anxiety of becoming. 

When I do it I feel inspired. I feel alive. I feel greater access to possibilities. 

To be truly creative one must expose oneself to as much information, knowledge, wisdom, deep thinking and complexity as one can across as many domains as one can handle for a long period of time, and then be able to edit this input to cut out everything that really doesn't matter. Throw the garbage out and keep the connections that matter. Constraints imposed from the constructs of this process will force one to be creative. While engaging in the process it's inevitable that one will create something, or be more creative. Inspiration is everywhere, if you feel bogged down, delve into something profound - deeply - and you will come out of the effort with ideas and creative actions.

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It's not so much that things are broken and need to be fixed as it's the reality that in most contexts and circumstances things can always be improved, or that new solutions can be found - within the tradeoffs - that might be better than the old ones. If something is out of balance or unhealthy there is usually a way to get back to a dynamic stasis. I don't mean to say that heuristics, or traditions must be changed, there are many good reasons why heuristics and traditions stand the test of millenia. I'm just saying that if it feels like something isn't working, it may be time for a change. And that sometimes, not always, the change will be for the better.

It's important to talk back to power and explore the unfamiliar. 

Proximity helps, but it may not be the only determinate factor in friendship.

Proximity helps, but it may not be the only determinate factor in friendship.

I've often wondered why I got along with Patrick at the back of my 5th grade class and not Thomas who was sitting right next to me in the same row. I always had a tacit intuition that it's just because Patrick is my-kind-of-people. Today science is exposing new information about mechanisms that influence human preferences. Why are some of us conservative, or liberal, or loyal, or risk takers, etc.? There are all kinds of people. Today science has given us many avenues to understanding what makes us who and what we are. A better understanding of our nature is right there for us to look into. It's not hard or laborious; it's a fascinating undertaking, and it's good for you.

I'm fairly sure that the more we know about human nature, the better we can understand ourselves, and that's a good thing. We need to go beyond just taking things for granted. If we know how we became who we think we are we will have more freedom to grow the way we like. The only way to come close to accessing "free will" is to go beyond a naive understanding of ourselves and our species. 

If you want to be mythological about it ask yourself why God doesn't just get rid of Satan? Why does he create a species that has to do his dirty work for him? "I command you to kill the first born..." "We must engage in holy war to spite the heretics." Do we really need EVIL just to access a little bit of "free will"? I wonder. I wonder if people understood their nature a lot better, we would still have so much turmoil in the world. I guess the nature of my faith is that humans can be better people when they know themselves better as a species. 

Talk back to power, and explore the unfamiliar. 

BETTER JUDGEMENT DAY

BETTER JUDGEMENT DAY

The golden rule is a simple and universal heuristic that we should remember everyday. How can any of us really feel good when we know so many of us are feeling terribly bad. How can we tolerate mass extinction just because behind the curtain there may be - A NEW CAR!

Once again, I'm calling for all good Globe Hackers to rewrite the maintenance manual for the Spaceship Earth. We can endeavor to maintain a sustainable environment, dynamic biosphere, and human culture that will last, here it comes, put your pinky to the side of your mouth, raise your eyebrows, squint a wee bit, "TEN THOUSAND YEARS"!

The Mastermind becomes an agent for good.

The Mastermind becomes an agent for good.

Here are domains to delve into if you are interested in Human Nature:

Physiology / Psychology / Biology / Neurology / Chemistry / History / Literature / Sociology / Philosophy / and yes, even PHYSICS! 

(Just to name a few.)

Here's a link to an OPEN YALE COURSE on the subject:

Philosophy and Science of Human Nature

by Tamar Gendler

It seems that those of us with access and the inclination, for now at least, are guaranteed a good liberal education. Can we all say, "thankful". I hope we can keep it like this, free as free can be - for now.

Here's something else to help you in your quest to better understand your nature. I couldn't possibly be more emphatic in recommending this comprehensive course on critical thinking. Every single one of us can benefit from watching or listening to Steven Novella. It's a must I tell you, a must! 

Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills, by Steven Novella

These are just a couple of simple, easy to follow resources I've personally enjoyed. You could also just go to your local university library and challenge yourself by reading advanced textbooks. Who knows,  you might even meet someone at the library to go out to a cafe with.  

It seems molecules, and hormones have as much to do with our nature as "nature" and "nurture". If we choose to do so we can find out more about ourselves than we might be able to imagine - through self study, work, thought and meditation. 

Our experiences make up a vast tapestry of natural things we hardly even notice. Microbes are there pushing us and enabling us, words on Facebook posts, the moods of crowds, facial expressions, brain injuries, diets, habits of movement, exercise, color, scents, and on and on.... The banal illusion of the permanent self that many of us are boxed into is an antiquated rut, a fossilized road to nowhere. A complex network of energy, matter and motion may be what determines our nature, and modeling that might be the more accurate and liberating pursuit leading us to a more productive and harmonious relationship with reality.

You can find out about all of it. It's a joy to do so.

This suggestion is good for men who would like to understand women a bit better. This trumps "Men are from Mars and Women from Venus" by far, but is still no where near a medical degree.

The Female Brain  Louann Brizendine

She also wrote a book on the male brain for the ladies in the house. 

Finally, I want to share with you an article I read yesterday. I had the feeling when I read it that I could have written it. You know what I mean. I shook my head and sighed and wondered what I'll be writing if I'm still alive at 70. I let my shoulders slump and I wondered if people 100 or 1000 years ago felt the same. I think we know the answer if we are fans of ancient texts. 

I hope you will read this:

The Future Is Not Ours, and Neither Is the Past

At age 70, a writer reflects on the so-called ‘American Century’—and the world it wrought.

Tom Engelhardt 

July 21, 2014 

One more good read:

Scientific concepts of human 
nature and their implications
to bioethics in a Scientific and 
Technologically-Altered World

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.