Yesterday, those were the good ol’ days. Them’s were times when people had duty, they had integrity, and they were conscientious. Well, not really. Or, maybe to an extent. But it is fun to look back and find some little thing that seemed right, something that we can cherish.
Looking back, I cherish the thought of people showing up to work on time, determined to get the job done, and willing to put forth their best effort. They learned. People figured out how to do something well, and then they learned even more. There was a sense of pride. In my own first job, it was a bunch of kids packaging and delivering ice. Cubed ice, crushed ice, block ice. It was a meaningless job, except that we poured ourselves into the work, challenging each other to go faster, work harder. Being on break, exhausted, the feeling of being tired was both the pain and the reward for a commitment to the job and to self.
Why? What was the culture of the time that made performance a reward unto itself? Today I see a split. There are a few who see personal responsibility as a challenge with inherent rewards, and there are many who see no responsibility, just a challenge without promise and no hope. They live for today and live for some unseen ulterior motive. Why? What is the difference?
Culture. Culture changed. Culture is how we weave a different fabric of society by connecting each of us together using different colors and a variety of patterns. There are many possibilities. What seems constant, is that humanity survives by creating some form of social structure. The structure we make as people is also what creates the materials and systems by which we survive. Culture is our means of survival. The patterns in the fabric are the agreements we make for means of survival. Asking why, why is the culture one way or another, is to ask why are people connecting in a particular manner for their survival.
Things have changed. To us who grew up in a culture that was responsible to work, to machines, to progress, to us any change in culture away from this does not make sense. Why would youth turn to gangs and video games and texting as means to survival? Are they crazy? As I learned in behaviorism, labels are applied according to results, not according to expectations. So, youth are only crazy if they end up dead as a result of their choice for culture. But what if they are right? What if they survive?
If youth are correct in their reevaluation of culture, then there probably will be considerable change in the way things work. Gangs will be the new communities. Texting will be the new communication. Any higher authority will be ignored except if there is a hand-out. Fate is not something in their hands, but simply what happens in the next ten seconds. Crazy thoughts or feelings are not something to be addressed through story telling, books, counseling, meditation and prayer, but rather are the driving force to meet a fundamental need for drugs and alcohol.
Nothing has changed… inside. Inside people have always wanted ease, escape from pain, avoidance of confusion. However, is it just my impression, or is there a lack of cohesion? Are we are lacking the sort of togetherness that built our roads and railways, that built a global financial network, that took us to the moon? Are we now an “everyone for himself” society? Probably this is a passing fancy. Like the hippies. The flower children had their drugs and sex and alternative culture, and then grew up to be doctors, bankers and lawyers. And then they had families.
Oops. Maybe that is the real issue. It is we people who had the families. We were still doing drugs and alcohol while raising kids. What should have existed as role modeling to show our children the fabric of society, instead the kids watched television. I was one of them. And I became a very strange kid who sought out story telling, books, counseling, meditation and prayer. Because something was wrong. I had no sense of presence in the fabric of society. I knew myself merely as a loose thread. Very difficult it is to place myself in the fabric of society while set apart from the activities that should have demonstrated cohesive interaction and an upward evolution. If there is a big “oops” in our culture, it is that the generation who raised the hippies failed to role model the fabric of culture. The unraveling began. With each passing generation we appreciate less and less our responsibility to teach our youth, modeling the fabric of society in our own homes. Bad parenting begets even worse parents for the next generation. This disease of parenting is okay however. Our culture declared it okay. More than that, our culture declared this activity sanctified. No one may interfere with the way I choose to parent my children! It is my right. However, in the good ol’ days, behaviorism was enforced. You were a good parent if your children turned out to be responsible, hard working, and intelligent. Not today. Every parent I talk to is vehement that their children all turned out different, and it was all out of their control. In other words, ignorance is bliss.
To refrain, youth could be correct. The culture needs a new fabric. We need a standard across society where it is good to eat bad food, it is expected that health will deteriorate, that drugs will pacify the resulting pain and anxiety. As the middle class disappears, as resources dry up, as beauty vanishes from the face of the earth, we are going to need a race of people with low expectations and low intelligence. They will be passive spectators, irresponsible, watching the demise of civilization. After all is said and done, we will label this generation as courageous and compassionate for having the where-with-all to endure the de-evolution of society. But they survived. The few who scratched out an existence, and with no social fabric to depend on, were well situated to create a new fabric for a new era. Coming from nothing, these idiots will be the ones to create the new working order of human civilization.
If that is plan A, then I’m really hoping there is a plan B. What for me gives meaning to our existence is when I look back at yesterday to see great minds and great artists weaving their genius into the fabric. The fabric evolves. Not only do we survive, but our wisdom evolves. The result, again and again, is arriving at a place where we can look back in appreciation, and see where the creative genius of the few was role modeled for the creativity of the many. And society evolved.
In summary, our evolution as a species is not a given. Parents and the culture really do hold responsibility. Genius is a label we may apply to ourselves only if our children evolve to recreate society as more functional, more beautiful and more intelligent in an ever brighter future.
Marshall Rosenberg* was correct. I heard him say on several occasions, “People want meaning.” People may ask, “What is the great meaning of life?” However, for humans, we are limited to the bit of meaning we can create in our minds and from our experience. Rarely do people claim to experience true reality. Even then, to my estimate, they stretch their minds to make meaning of what they felt or saw or knew. We people are stuck in this reality as it is today. So, it is not unreasonable to begin with what we have been given.
People have been given a desire to find meaning. To discover, create and share meaning, that is our job. Pause for a moment to consider what is meaningful in your life.
Now consider how you enjoy sharing what is meaningful to you.
That people want meaning is not really the question here. The right question is, how do we perform our job well to create and share meaning?
From foundations. That is how anything is done well. Because we live in the phenomena called time, all that exist is seen to occur through a process, from smaller to bigger, from simple to complex. Meaning, though an abstraction of mind, is also subject to this rule. What are the foundations of meaning which we then take on as a process through time?
Sounds like a big question. So, let’s make it simple. Entropy is the dissipation of energy. Along with energy loss would be the dissipation of the process that constructs complexity. But while there are still bursts of energy in localized areas, so will there be the building of molecules, the building of stars and planets, and possibly the outcome we call consciousness. Then will consciousness use abstraction to seek its own order. We abstract our own meaning by seeking additional process and order. This universal process that moves energy away from chaos to order, to consciousness, to meaning, is the given order of things. So this process is the foundation for meaning. The universal process is our foundation for creating meaning.
We create meaning and order and then we are happy. For consciousness, happiness is the motive for finding complexity and finding meaning. Obviously, if people were not motivated to create order and create meaning, then consciousness would have the task of disorder, loss of energy, and death. Consciousness would not exist. By default, our job is to be happy creating meaning.
What a grand opportunity to exist, creating meaning, in a seemingly infinite universe. Our foundation is the universe itself. With that support behind us, our work is to refine the movement of energy, as this energy moves the clockwork of the universe through time. We get to be a part of this movement. We get to say what it all means. Wow!
The creation of meaning is a process. It is difficult. So many options. How do we choose? There are several orders to this choosing. On the first order, if you choose wrong, you die. Following instincts to survive is a priority. In the second order, people choose enculturation. The culture we are born into impregnates our mind with the working social order. Maybe we will try to make the social order work a little better, or maybe just help the order continue working for a few more days if that is all the social order has in mind. The next order of choice finds happiness in putting together a picture of meaning larger than the cultural norm. These people might see a long term destiny or maybe a different order of being. Often culture will tell these people they have got it all wrong. So the alternative order will have to muster a counter force until the new order becomes meaningful to a stagnant culture. In time, evolution is not an option. Even if the cultural norm would self-destruct first, change will indeed occur.
Evolution. Is that important? Remember, we live in the phenomena called time. Everything changes. Consciousness is here to keep up with the changes and even look ahead to the next change. Were it not so, consciousness would die because it would no longer fit in with the order of the universe. Consciousness must follow the order by refining the movement of energy into complexity. Humanity will go along for the ride or be left behind in the hands of entropy.
So, back to the deeper meaning of meaning. Actually, it is meaningful that people find meaning in doing puzzles, making mud pies, exploring fashion, teasing with riddles, writing music. These are building the neural structure to manage more complex issues. Rocket science, government, financing, and military all have the same playful meaning, to create greater complexity as a foundation for greater complexity. This happens mentally and physically and at the same time. Should one get too far ahead of the other, control would be lost. Remember, the universe works like clockwork, building from small to large, and simple to complex. Everything works together, piece to piece and layer to layer.
Mud pies, music, rocket science and war… all of these we do in behalf of happiness. Sex, being a great happiness, has a corresponding outcome of great complexity. It is called a baby. The clockwork of the universe created consciousness, and happiness, that humans would add their piece to the complexity. Contrary to this universal model is our model of education. Today’s education is an effort to divorce happiness from our appreciation of complexity. It is an attempt to dissociate complexity into painful, separated, units and then somehow dump these into the brains of youth. As if by magic we expect this disassociated dumping to prepare them to run the clockwork of society. Not gonna happen. The real education is the building of complex neural pathways with ability to manage the complexity as it evolves with time, and in behalf of happiness, so that we may all create order in line with the clockwork universe.
Given that no individual can hold the universe on their shoulders, how is it that people are to run the clockwork order? How does one person cooperate with billions to make tomorrow a meaningful day? Oddly, the answer is enculturation. It is culture that moves people as a whole. But culture must learn to evolve. This evolution is less about learning everything about everything, and more about individuals building the neurology, the inner communication, to manage complexity. With the inner complexity in place, then comes the job to communicate order to the culture. As culture receives the clockwork order, the culture will need its own working neurology to communicate and act on new information.
We have exceeded the abilities of government, financing, science, military and education to construct the next evolution of society as a clockwork. To manage the complexity that we have today demands a coordination of personal neural structure with the broader communication structure of the culture. If we succeed at coordinating communications, personal and cultural, then we will enable the individual to find their place in the march of time. We will enable happiness as the individual finds themselves part of the greater whole and the greater meaning. As we succeed at coordinating communications, then people will know the meaning of life because they will be part of meaning’s creation.
Oops, that was too much. What were these last paragraphs saying? What is the clockwork of society? What is neural structure coordinated with the broader communication structure? The point here is that everything works together. As in the human body, cancerous tissues are to die, and the working tissues are to get the nutrition. Each organ tissue is to coordinate with all other tissues for the whole to be sustained. It is all a matter of quality of communication and cooperation. Given quality, energy is used in behalf of the highest order, the greatest complexity, for consciousness and its evolution through time. Such is true of the human body, of society, and of the universe as a whole. How do we know this? Simply because that is what is happening, for us, in our mental construct of time. Human culture has the (obvious) job to form tissues and organs that cooperate to evolve culture as a thing of consciousness.
To manage this problem culture will have to evolve communication.
This essay began with the question, “How do we perform our job well?… From foundations.” This is also true for the evolution of communication. But first, we must know what communication is. Communication takes inner thinking and makes it public so to structure public thinking. This public thinking then acts as a structure, and a force, to evolve inner thinking. Such is enculturation. This being so, what might be intrinsic to this cycle of communication that it would perform the job of manifesting more complex cognition? Well, we have been doing it all along. It is a process we have been evolving. However, we have not fully evolved our consciousness of the process. Time has gotten away from us. So what is this foundation underlying communication, that has evolved complexity up until now, something that we now are to be conscious of?
Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is any means used to listen to the wisdom of many individuals. When a leader is elected because their voice declares the next evolution, which the many believe will lead to happiness, this is a certain complexity of crowdsourcing. When a government employs intelligence gathering from many levels of hierarchy, and then orders millions of people to deploy solutions, thus leading to happiness, this is another level of complexity. When the global industrial complex is sustained by a financial structure, a structure which enables every individual to promote happy outcomes using their dollar, this is another level of complexity in crowdsourcing. In the next evolution of crowdsourcing, these various sources of crowdsourcing will not function individually. Remember, this is the difference between being a cancer or an organ tissue. The parts must cooperate both between themselves and with the broader existence. The great meaning, for our consciousness, at this point in time, is to come up with the next evolution in communication as a crowdsourcing method that has the ability to pull function into a unified whole.
A “unified whole” may be scary. But it should not be. Remember that the evolution of the culture depends on the few, who mentally, escape enculturation. Just as humans depend on injections of new genetic information for our survival and evolution**, so must culture learn to appreciate these injections of information from outside the system. Now, a new injection of information will leap communication to a new level of complexity. The injection has already been occurring. It is high speed internet reaching high speed devices. Devices are rapidly being deployed across the globe. This is a huge evolutionary leap in communication. It is a good thing if it is not a cancer.
Ok, so how do we make communication a functioning organ and not a cancer? Crowdsourcing must come to our new communication. The cognitive wisdom of billions must continue to move from inner thought to outer thought to inner thought. And it must happen universally. I do mean universally. If a thing is not giving consideration to the principles of physics, and the problem of entropy, it must fail. Moving energy to order is essential. Failure happens if a government fails to cooperate with a financial sector, industry, science and the military. Failure happens if the individual fails to cooperate with the masses, the tissues of society. Crowdsourcing must come to our new communication as our new cooperation. This is the foundation that will make it all work.
Get ready for crowdsourcing. Because advances in technology have brought us communication as the internet, and as devices that employ the internet, so must crowdsourcing follow suit. The people, and the layers of society, must be part of the conscious order. Crowdsourcing will bring quality to our connectedness and our communications. The specific qualities that our communications need are: realism, positivity, logic, sustainability, evolution, and order. Why?… Simply because these are what lead to working outcomes that will bring happiness.
After several years of production, here now is a website that employs realism, positivity, logic, sustainability, evolution, and order to meet the crowdsource needs of an evolving society. iAmSapien.com is being assessed by you as means to communicate wisdom, and to be happy.
*Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of NonViolent Communication, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Rosenberg
** Infusions of new information, https://www.brucelipton.com/resource/article/epigenetics
Do you know the story of the vase? The vase is a glass jar designed to hold flowers. Simply cut the stems of the flowers for the size of the vase. It will present many kinds of flowers, holding the beautiful buds upright at eye level and appropriate for sniffing. Often elegant in design, yet made to accentuate the glory of the flower rather than the vase itself.
Do you know the story of the human? The human is a vessel designed to process data for logical presentation. Simply allow for unlimited input, and the human will prune the data to a size that fits. The human will then present to the world many kinds of opportunity appropriate for others to act upon. Often elegant in appearance and personality, yet made to accentuate the glory of the community rather than the personal self.
The simply answer to the question, “What are we humans here for?” is inherently answered in our design. Just as with the vase. You could use the vase for many things… your afternoon tea, or to hold a bouquet of weeds. But when used as designed, then there is beauty to life and ease and sustainability.
So, what is in the design of humans that answers what we are here for? That we have five senses and a brain means we are here to process data. That we are animal means we are here to engage the biosphere, as part of the biosphere, sustained in the same ways the biosphere is sustained (e.g., sexuality, death, communication, cooperation and competition). That we have an exceptional prefrontal cortex among the animal kingdom means we have a special duty to modify our behaviors in line with exceptional processing of data. That we used this ability to create technology is not really the point. The real point is the whole of our design, being made to listen to all of life and then respond to all of life using communication, cooperation and competition in behalf of beauty and function. To pass the design test, people must do these things we were designed for.
Just as a vase can be used to hold weeds, so can intellect be used to create functions that humans were not designed to perform. Productive use of technology would be to accentuate data collection, communication, cooperation and competition in behalf of beauty and function. Our prefrontal cortex is designed to project usage of our functions into the future and across the globe. People are remarkably equipped to enable sustained beauty. This is our function.
Such being the case, there was just one more thing to do. Activate our function. To activate the human purpose we will use our exceptional minds to operate a web platform. The web platform will function according to its design, to enhance data collection, enhance communication, enhance cooperation and enhance competition in behalf of beauty and function. Welcome to our real life.
People are biologicals. Because of their brain chemistry these biologicals apply meaning to just about anything. They love the color of their clothes and a good cup of coffee. They cherish a new car and a new house. They hope for the next ocean cruise and marvel at the next technological invention. A new marriage and a newborn baby will receive their utmost attention. Still, people are biologicals. The meaning they discern is little more than the chemical reaction within their minds.
Given that our biology, and our applied meanings, are all we have, what are we to make of life? Does life matter? Well, it still hurts when I prick my finger. A perfect friendship still means more to me than a gold watch. I would rather picnic in a beautiful place in nature than on a sidewalk in the city. Actually, the answer to what matters is quite simple. Obvious choices for health, relationship and beauty are what is meaningful. No great theology or philosophy is necessary to arive at the meaning of life. As biologicals we have built in appreciation. This appreciation is our survival.
Given that life is so simple, how is it the biologicals have made such a mess of life? Spending hours in traffic jams each day is not what we had in mind. Skyrocketing prices for food and healthcare do not make life easier. On a planet of extreme abundance and extreme sophistication, how is it that even the first things are not managed to our liking? Who is responsible for this mess?
I’m tempted here to wax philosophical. Perhaps nothing matters because we are making this all up. Or I could be cynical. Perhaps they are to blame… you know, them… the white people, the black people, the yellow people, the brown people, the red people, and even the greys. Its the democrats, the republicans, the libertarians, the Green Party, or even the secrete societies. We biologicals have a unique understanding of life… simply assign responsibility either to the unknown or to the person standing next to you.
Biologicals are so smart. Or at least they think they are. But if they were smart, what would that look like? Would it be hundreds of shelves of books? How about computers running at 10 Gigabytes per second? Maybe smart is a United Nations where all the leaders come together to resolve all world problems. Smart should have been students running to their schools with excitement and joy and anticipation. Smart should have been daily news papers proclaiming the genius of various groups who work selflessly so to make life beautiful. Smart should have been a government that helps these schools and groups work together, activating all of us toward a brilliant future.
iAS is a place to work together.
Yes, it is all so daunting isn’t it?
The government is not mine to control. The climate is not mine to control. News media are not mine to control. I can barley pay my bills and keep the house clean. Little more can be expected of me. Those fleeting moments of happiness are all that keep me going. Thank heavens for friends who join me in small talk or in ranting how others should be more responsible.
Life is a really big happening. We understand so little of it, and affect even less. Our part has little or no bearing on what happens in the future. The anxiety it causes us to even consider change feels debilitating. Besides, if we did try to make a change, so many people would come against us and only a few would support us. No one has the money or the time even if we did have the desire.
If I am honest, then I have to say the real issue is, I’m afraid. Or, maybe it is something even deeper than fear. It seems like, if I change my direction in life, if I step into something new, that death is on the other side of that door. It feels like I would die. I won’t go there.
We know what life is. We know what is routine and how to survive. What more does anyone expect? We do the best we can. Who is ready for a beer?
Does this essay express the lives of people today? I’m with you. This is a strange and daunting world in which we live. But it is also amazing, beautiful and miraculous.
Engaging all of life is the deepest act of courage.
Our society, by an large, acts as if need does not exist. But let’s step back and take a look at what we are doing with the planet. Society sees the planet as if we have unlimited everything, and satisfying unlimited want. All the oceans, all the arable land, all of the wild habitats, and possibly even all of the sky and the near space around the planet are being exploited as if unlimited. People feel free to maximize their wants and satisfy all their needs. If a breaking point exists, each day we see if we can push this point a little further into the future. With great faith we believe need does not exist. Such is the magic expected of our industrial and technological revolutions and exponential growth.
Is it real… our idea that need does not exist? Maybe technology will rush to fulfill every desire. If we step back even further maybe there is an answer in the context of the larger picture.
Purely physical and Newtonian, any logical person knows we will use up most of the resources and kill most of the life on the planet. Need will indeed exist. We will need ways of creating resources and ways of restoring balance to the biosphere. Only the dead will experience any lack of need.
Purely metaphysical, any “idiot” knows we have no real need. Mentally and emotionally we each decide every moment how to experience perception. We can want something, or not. We can be satisfied, or not. Even hunger, pain and death can be accepted as merely passing perceptions. These are illusions we conjure to demonstrate an existence that never really existed in the first place.
Science seems to share the insanity. The perceptual world does not match the mathematical world. Our perceptions are here for our sense of survival and not our sense of reality. That being so, need does not exist as a measurable thing. Humanity was right all along.
Now the choice it up to you. Does need exist? Look at it this way: Because you are an individual and because you live a complex life full of mystery, you get to choose. From the depths of your being, you get to choose. The real question then, the real need, is for you to choose how deep and how vast will you make your choice? The meaning this has is to you as an individual, and who you want to be. So, who do you want to be?