Part of being Conscious is having a fixation, like a focal point. The internal monologue must talk about something or see something or hear something. Fixating is a natural part of being a thinking creature. For good or bad we do it constantly.
The mind has a peculiar property where it manifests similar behaviour on all scales. It’s tendencies reflect and reverberate into every facet of life it touches. Like the fractals of a coastline, showing similarities between the pond, the lake, the ocean.
You have a personal narrative; the story of your life. Each one of us has a history which is a narrative written by the individual. We each create our own. That fixation tendency from earlier becomes enmeshed in the story.
As we age we define periods of our lives with a focal point. Like the college years or the time you lived with a bunch of roommates. It helps ground you and give you purpose. It’s also the reason you can get depressed after finishing a major event. You’ve lost this purpose and haven’t found yet a new one yet.
We rationalize it as giving us purpose but it’s not really the reason. Rarely are the fundamentals of the mind done for a conscious reason. Ultimately it’s just a reflection of a basic conscious need. That need to fixate.
Being aware of this is interesting. When I notice the fixation points in my life I find them fascinating. It’s challenging though because they’re almost impossible to track before they come on. They can be instigated for sure; having a child will certainly create a new fixation, as will a move to a new place. In the absence of an obvious one your brain will create something. And that is hard to track. Even if you’re already aware of the fixation point you’re in, predicting when it’s going to end is a challenge (again barring the obvious ones).
So why is this important? The narrative of your life is important. Your fixation points are the themes of periods of your life. The transition from one to the next can be painful but it’s also when the best self learning can be done. Seeing your past fixation point will help you collate your growth.
And as I keep saying, you only stop growing when you die.
Part 1 of a very disconnected study on Memetics
I’m going to get topical here. The USA elections happened this week. My social media feed has been some mixture of terrified, shocked, and angry. Unrelated to that, I’ve been working on this piece for a few weeks; a discussion on the death of human organisations. With the talk of world changing wars and the end of countries, it became very relevant.
Political parties, governments, religions, and any other organizations created by humans, are all larger memetic structures. A Memeplex. Studying the lifespan of these organisms can help us understand what is going on in the larger picture. There are two methods to learn about them, a sorta micro and macro approach. Macro would be viewing history through the lens of Memetics and seeing what traits and tactics are successful. Micro is studying human psychology and how it influences these larger structures. I’m taking the latter approach today.
The Loop of human consciousness spirals in or out over time. This is magnified in a memeplex. The extreme fringe elements of any organization will gain greater and greater dominance as the memeplex ages. Conversely, the opposite may happen. Traits which originally rendered the memeplex unique will fade. It becomes a bland, grey husk of what it once was. This is the spiral out and the spiral in. The manic and the depressive. One of these two mental states will mark the end of an organism.
This magnification means the cycles of revolution are a necessary feature of a memetic creature. When humans combine their minds it creates something unstable. Like an atomic nucleus, the balance of internal and external forces get out of whack. It creates a half-life for any memeplex. Hell, the long term stability of the human mind is questionable. Put them together and you get some monstrosity that will gravitate to an extreme. An extreme that will eventually kill it.
There’s a tendency to see memeplexes as permanent structures. They live past our own lifespans so we see them as immortal. From the perspective of a standard human, it makes sense. The apparent immortal is simply that which outlasts us. Governments, religious institutions, corporations.
When a memeplex is new, it’s quickly forced to deal with an ultimatum; to adapt or die. A majority end up with the latter. They refuse to change, relegating themselves to death by obscurity. The rest run the risk of losing any sense of their own identity through too rapid change. Only a small proportion can survive to maturity.
A Memeplex that reaches maturity is ones that has fully outlived its first generation of hosts. These are what seem like givens in our lives, the Apparent Immortal. They are not. In reality, they have a ticking time bomb inside them.
Insanity will kill them.
We call capitalism efficient but it’s not. Well it is in a sense, if you give it a limited scope for that efficiency. Economic Efficiency. It minimizes the cost for the buyer and maximizes the profit for the seller. The invisible hand guides it to the point of equilibrium. If that’s all you care about then it’s great, but any sane person will have more values than that. The environment, resource usage, economic equality, work/life balance, ethical treatment of animals/people. All of those things are secondary to the real goal of our economy.
I’ve seen this first hand on construction sites. Efficiency is guided by contract bidding. A company makes a list of what must be done and companies don on the contract, with the lowest bid winning. The overall job is parceled out so there are multiple contracts on site with different companies Then when work is being done each company is simply trying to maximize their own profit. If it saves them money to throw stuff out and reinstall ne material then they will, despite the increase in material waste. If the work they’re doing needs to be done as stipulated in the contract, but it is known that the work will be removed for some extraneous reason, it is still done. If the work will clearly cause problems for one of the other companies, but it is supposed to be done at that time, it’s still done. Occasionally the different companies will foster more positive relations and work together, but it’s rare and only when not at the expense of profit. A wasteful and stupid idea.
It’s fucked up and obvious to anyone who’ll pay attention.
But costs must be minimized, that’s all that’s important.