There are not many places in the world where the landscape we see was also seen by our ancestors a 100 000 years ago. We still walk the same paths but our surroundings are different. The way we think, feel and remember have hardly changed over the years but the physical world now would be unrecognizable for our ancient ancestors, but we would understand there internal world without any large problems.
To use a modern equivalent, our hardware is still the same as when we got it a million years ago but we only received small software updates and are only at version 1.04, we also seldom scanned for viruses and malware and look at all the dust around the processor.
Our mind needs a reboot and an upgrade to version 2.0, and throw in some better memory and dust it of.
What do we do when we think, in silence? I am not talking about the more mundane and trivial questions you ask yourself, like what to eat or wear. I want to know what’s going on in your head when you ponder life’s questions, your shame, dreams, when you listening to your deepest feelings or ignor them. What’s going on in your mind when you think about your own life.
What I think of this has to rely for the most part on my own experience. I can ask others, but saying what one feels is hard and words are not reliable for this task, they are easy to misunderstand. The same goes for the arts, though a better tool for expressing your inner feelings it is still subject to interpretation.
If you want to understand what we all share ass human beings you should combine all the expression there are regarding our inner feelings. Try not to look for patterns, and hope some appear. We humans see patterns all to easy when we look for answers that we already have answered.
What do I think? I asked in the beginning “what we do when we think” but the thinking I am talking about here, your deepest thoughts, are literally unthinkable. Not in the sense that they are bad in a moral way but what’s going on in our mind, what we call feelings and deeper thoughts have little to do with the words we speak to ourselves. What’s going on inside us has more to do with an abstract painting or music that moves around in your mind. The painting looks strange and we try to interpret it and call the parts anger, jealousy, fear, regret and sadness, all the things that stop us in our track. They come and go and mold for you the answer you most needed, and if you don’t want it you can get lost.
Sometimes you need help to turn your life in an other direction, like what a new hinge does to a door. You also need a new hinge when you keep going in circles, stuck in one angle.
A hinge need to be used to stay in good working order. If you keep on going in one direction or lean to one particular side, time will wear out your capability to turn, to change.
Questioning and curiosity are among the best lubricants, even if you just look slightly to one side and back and don’t turn your world around. This way you make it easier for yourself to turn in the future when you want to, or out of necessity.
The things you tell yourself to do can sometimes hover around you like a fly that is unsure where to land. These inconvenient tasks and goals you set for yourself are easy to dismiss, like the fly that scares of a sudden movement. The guild you feel by skipping a step is soon forgotten, when an other fly returns.
Democracy is the best tool to organize a society that is still in it’ adolescent stage. It gives the teen the feeling they have a say but in the meantime the wise twenty year old has the last word. Like a teen, the people that vote in a democracy are foremost interested in there own well being. Easily persuaded by shiny brands end empty promises for a future still far away and a past that’s only a few moths old.
All the other systems of organizing a society are, when we use the same analogy, suitable for toddlers. Toddlers only consume including orders.
What kind of system might work for the 30 year old society or the middle age society? That is still so far in the future that it would be a waste of time to think about that. As far as I am concerned we as a world have just graduated from high school. We think we have done a lot, we just learned new things the last few centuries at school and are full of confidence that we have the answers. But as anyone knows that has past there twenties a while ago, it was a great time but life was just beginning and all the wile we thought we where in the middle of it.
A true democracy needs voters that can be honest when they look in the mirror and can set aside there personal urges and material needs. The billions of people on this earth are still all shouting from there side of the story, the shouting has to go so we can start talking to each other.
There is not an age group in real life that I can think of to brings home this last point. Maybe that’s why we can’t imagine it ever working.
From day to day we dream awake. The older we get the more we have seen it before and the years only last a few months. As a kid every corner brought something new, the day’s where full, and dinner was served.
Now that I am older I behave more like the spider at the end of a summer, I feel in silence. My web reaches in the past, end vibrates when it catches what I expect. It’s what escapes this web, what I long for
Our look at the world is not only framed at a certain view, this windows is also, most often anchored in a prison wall. The first time we open our eyes and other senses we are bombarded by a unique world. A world with a particular languish, customs, morals and view points. There is not a person in the world that shares this specific experience but whole countries can share parts of these experiences like a language, customs or wars. We are thrown in the world as Martin Heidegger said and this world molded us for the most part in what we are and become.
For most people this “geworfenheit” (thrownness) is hard to except and they hold on to there certainty that they and there society is right and the others are wrong. These people not only look at the world trough a certain window that points at there place of origin. They also locked this window in place, refusing to look at other vantage points, how other people might see the world.
Every second of our life we step into the unknown. An unexpected call, a misstep or a good idea could all be just a second away. We would all be paralyzed if we worry about what the next second might bring, evolution took care of that. But we all worry about things that might happen in the future.
There are many kinds of things to worry about. You are short of money, might loose your job, live under a dictator or your car is bad. These are all related to the culture we live in and these examples played no or only a small roll 10.000 years ago when nature was more of a worry for us. These kind of problems are coming for the most part from the outside of us and changes through the ages.
The worries and doubt we have in ourselves are of an other kind and have been with us for millions of years. I can imagine that a human brain that slowly gets more complex and capable, started combining events from the past and present and projected these internally as visions, images and nightmares of what might happen. The more complex our imagination became the more elaborate these vision. These wordless visions, interpretations of past, present and future started, figuratively pumping together with our blood and became what we now call our moods and feelings.
How we feel is like a stream through the mountains, we often meander calmly through the fields, can go a little faster at times and the power of a waterfall speaks for itself. For thousands of years now we use words to describe these moods and feelings. But these words, or rationalization complicate our understanding of what is really happening with us when we feel anger, are depressed or in love. We like to rationalize our moods and feelings and use these “word constructs” to defend our actions or attack others. The words we use are chosen with little understanding of what we try to describe.
We live in an irrational world fueled by ancient visions and nightmares. We call it moods now and rationalize it’s behavior, they are used to give this inner past a structure, and the basis of our actions.
Unleashing your potential, become who you are. In modern pop culture people are motivated to find out who they are and to exploit that knowledge as good as possible. This ”who they are” is often understood as who they are “as a job”.
If people are asked who they are, what kind of job they have is often one of the first things that they mention, after name and age. A specific kind of work comes off cource with a sett of characteristics for the people that do that work, but are those characteristics you?
Summing up your age, your length, color, gender, job and hobbies will say something about you but that’s like saying of a beautiful Ferrari that it is a red car with a certain length, two seats and four wheels. The Ferrari has does trades off course but you do it more right by saying that it has strong sensual lines and the engine sounds like the thunder coming from behind the mountains. These characteristics are subjective but they stand the test of time much better than a list of trades and cold facts.
Nietzsche’s “become who you are” is understood by me not as the title of a job search website, but as a motivation for you to search for your… poetic description, a poem that constantly has to be refined but at every stage represents you.
There are people that think that life’s value overall, has to be sought in the few that where at the helm and steered the boat in other directions. But there would be no helm, let alone a boat if it weren’t for the people that built them.
A Napoleon would still be a genius if he was born in Australia but he would not have “started” the big changes that have happened during his reign. People often assume that Napoleon was the necessary force to sett these changes in motion but can we honestly say that? Are the forces of history rushing into the future so weak that they can be diverted by one person or event?
If you study history, even if you do it superficially you will notice a few things. For me it is the repetition of events that jumps out. Not that events duplicate exactly of course but it is clear to me that we humans are not good in learning from our mistakes. It is like the two steps forward, one step back. It looks to me that we humans as a whole have little control over the course we go and that a single human being at the most might think he can be a difference when it come to changing the course we are going.
History rushes forwards and we like to point at the stones that seem to cause turbulence, we call these stones Martin Luther, Albert Einstein, Stalin or any other famous person from history. These big stones cause turbulence but the riverbed, all the little stones, cause the real diversion by being swept up by the current and thus changing the current unwillingly.
It is both easy and hard for us human beings to admit that we are wrong. We often know that we are wrong when we get confronted by opposing truths. You grasp every little bit of evidence supporting your side, knowing all the way you are wrong. When you cling to your story for long enough you will probably loose sight over where your story started and where reality was left behind.
Why do we (all) do this, all our lives? It’s hard to tell, but here are a few thoughts. When we are older we don’t like to “loose our face” when confronted by others. We don’t like to be seen as incompetent, after we defended our truth for years, and we suddenly get confronted and understand the facts. But even the wisest persons in the world have to admit that they only understand a sliver of all the knowledge that there is to know. Not knowing things is the default state of us humans and yet we feel ashamed to admit this.
People become scientist, Buddhist, religious, capitalist, fundamentalist and all the other forms of “bringers of truths”, because our inner truth is weak, like a tower made of playing cards build on a table we hold in our own hands. It makes us nervous and we desperately need to cling to something to ease these nerves, we need a guiding hand.
A guiding hand that hits the other.
We humans are good at recognizing faces. We often recognize a face by just an outline, a shadow or on a blurry picture. We recognize ourselves in almost the same way, we know who we are, looking from the outside at the outside.
There is a big difference between recognizing an other and yourself I think. If I see a shape of someone that I know I immediately have some kind of synopsis available with all there trades, our shared history and everything else worth remembering. We have a (one sided) judgment ready when we meet people we know, and we have a lot of drafts ready to grab when we meet people we don’t know.
But when I look in the mirror, I realize that, that is the only time when meeting someone, myself, that I am honest. I have no “synopsis” or “judgment”, at most a poorly written draft of who that is, in the mirror.
Do you ever realize that mother nature is not the victim of us humans. In the billion years that have past species grown up out of nature have come and gone. In the billions of years ahead we will not be the last. We humans are not more than a pimple squashed out by it’s own need to expand on a still adolescent and expanding universe.
I heard something on a podcast today, something I never realized (doesn’t it make you doubt yourself when you learn something new that makes sense, makes you wonder what else you don’t know in all your hubris). They talked about the different way’s we as humans can be extinct, volcano’s, wars, global warming etc. During the discussion they started talking about aliens and why we have never seen them, because a race a million years older then us should have found a way to travel the long distances you might think. One of the theories is that every civilization gets destroyed by itself before they reach the that kind of knowledge.
I think when I was around the age of sixteen I was the most authentic. Uninhibited by to much past to cloud the day and future. Slowly we start putting up roadblocks and collect bricks to make walls, so we can corner ourselves in.
Me, the person that sits in the corner of his own made brick wall is the authentic me, if the authentic me is the sum of all my experiences up till now. But why are all of my best memories, the music, cars, vacations and kisses from the time I was around sixteen? When the summers lasted forever.
On the run.
The last moths in the womb is the last time in our life that we where realy alone. There where sounds, a hard beat, movement, but we where all rolled up, alone.
We often long for a time alone, when the movement in the world and in your head is to loud. Locked in your room, dark, you listen to your hard and you calm down. You calmed down because time pulls the tide so you can stand again.
But tides return, like clockwork. If there is a negative in your life you have to fight it with an opposite force. Retreating to a state of calm only lengthen the time til you finally resolve the problem.
Your not really alive when you are in a state of womb.
I wonder sometimes if Hitler, Stalin, Osama bin laden or any other mass murderer also enjoyed a quiet sunset, like most people do. Is a beautiful sunset something we all enjoy, as human beings? Is there room for beauty when you are delusional, narcissistic and∕or paranoid? We all have these trades in little portions served to us but is that enough for us to imagine what it feels like if you overflow with these kind of “emotions”?
Hatred and love are to sides of the same same face. One day we love someone, the next day you hate them. Is that sharp border between those two “feelings” the same border that a mass murderer has between him killing and seeing a sunset?
Fear. What is fear? Fear is often irrational. Like fear for a spider, a tiny spider. That kind of fear seems to be inherited from our ancient forefathers, from a time when spiders where dangerous, when we lived under the canopy of an ancient, humid forest.
Why do people fear change? Did we inherit that to? Are we still used to the slow moving lifestyle of a wondering tribe, where the trees slowly change and the mountain far away is only reached in two summers. Are we so used to a slow change and the same routine for years, for several million years? Is our journey from the tree branches to the ground not just started? Are we all not still making a nest and protect it by flapping our wings?
Is that not still the thing that we do to the stranger, who fell out of the tree.
Staring in the wind.
Some people feel like they have not done enough with there life. I myself find that hard to understand. If you think you haven’t done enough, why haven’t you done more?
Is the sum of your life up till now not who you are? All your experiences, your body, your origin, are these things combined not who you are? If all of this plus the state you are in (drunken, in love, high, sick etc) is you then every decision you make is because of the combination of all these things, it is your decision.
Are there some choice you would have changed in hindsight? Where you not yourself at that point? Are you not always yourself? You where, and nothing is gonna change that decision, it was the only choice you could have made, because you made it.
If, for instance, you regret buying a pair of pants because they don’t fit you anymore when you came home. You have to go back to the moment you tried them on. At that moment your are ”the sum of your life up till now “ and you are YOU, and you thought that holding your breath and squeezing in those tight pence was the right decision. If it was otherwise you wouldn’t have bought them.
Is this deterministic? Yes and no. Yes, because every choice you make is the outcome of who you are and your experiences. You don’t make a choice, without some thought mixed in it. And how is it not deterministic? Well, things happen, you meet people, lose a job, get sick, all these things are not directly related with who you are but they can change your life, and more important your look at your life.
In short: Don’t think you are driving your life, most of the time you are a passenger and you shouldn’t blame yourself for being one.
Driving in thick mist with your car is demanding. You follow the white line because that is all that you can see. In our own life’s we sometimes go through mist to. When we believe something so hard that we cannot see what is behind, besides and even in front of us. We only see the line, the line we sett for our self to follow. We are not all the time in the mist, sometimes the weather is fine and you turn right and there is the mist, your ex, a colleague you don’t like or someone that rubs you the wrong way.
Some people can not live outside the mist. They need the one line that guides them. They are strong in there mist, and feel like the winner. But time goes on and those people always disappear… with/in the mist.
The information that our senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and maybe moods) receive is several times more then we, our consciousness, is made aware of. Maybe you know that we all have a blind spot in our vision. The nerves in our eyes come together at the back of the eye and at that place the eye can not receive any information, it is blind on that little spot. But like a reverse spot removal tool from Photoshop our brain fills in the missing information. This is a simplified example of what our brain is capable of when it comes to showing our consciousness a version of reality.
Imagine that you see everything, all the time. When you drive a car your brain receives a lot of information but it only presents to you, your consciousness, the parts that are important for driving. Like the road in front of you and the car coming towards you and the other that is standing still at the crossroad. Our brain presents a simplified version of reality for us. You probably have had the experience while driving that you suddenly realize that you have no clue “who” was driving for the last 5 kilometers. In these moments you are almost going along in autopilot and your consciousness is in lala land playing around. You might say that your brain decided that all the information you received the last 5 kilometer of your trip was not important, you could also say that time was sped up and yo have suddenly arrived. Now imagine the opposite, you get all the information, all the sounds, all the smells, buildings, people and minute details. You wouldn’t be able to decide what information is important for your current task, driving the car.
We also have a filter the other way. We sensor the thoughts that pop up in our consciousness (and maybe also the unconsciousness thoughts) mainly to fit in the society we live in. Imagine everybody telling out loud whats pops up in there mind, for that we have social media.
What do you rather miss? The filter that blocks information coming in or out.