THE HALL OF MIRRORS

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We respond to stimulus in two major ways. 

Immediately, and not-so-immediately.

This nature of our response has taken us far from other species on Earth in terms of the ability to shape the planet like never before, and our evolution.

Responding quickly gives us edge towards a certain stimulus that our mind considers being of immediate importance, and is at our utmost subconscious priority. Responding slow, however, seems to be a matter of choice, or our reflex system does not feel it important enough to address immediately, hence giving back controls to our thinking-self to assess the situation in its light. It’s like dipping hands on very hot water, and warm water, definitely that the hot water is going to trigger one’s reflexes stronger than the warm water would.

When we happen to touch a hot bar of iron or dip our hands into boiling water, we do happen not to think of whether to remove it or keep it like such. The response is hard coded, our hands automatically do everything it needs to avoid touching any hot surface without any further delay, even milliseconds would count in such situations. Such extreme reflexes are not experienced every day. Still, our reflexes are not in our control. You’d not know what you’d do when you see a Tiger in front of you unless you’ve ever encountered one before anyway.

The world we perceive is our mental abstractions of the real world that is out there. Language has given us sufficient ways to interpret the sense of our surroundings. It gives us ways to label things and experiences, although emotional descriptions are highly subjective in nature. With our brain telling us things, the very question is whether we’re all trapped in our abstractions and we do not seem to find a way out. We think, and continue thinking, but yet we do not seem to come out of the trap of abstractions of our mind to fathom reality. Sure the abstractions do help us achieve certain heights, as we have done it repeatedly, which is also a necessity to keep our focus. The thinking brain is, however, our limits to understand the world which is characterized by our disposition of vocabulary, and the ability to interpret events.

Causality is the game of mind. The world is a really random place, however, we do tend to seek patterns over things and events. This does give us some power over the noise and take appropriate actions when the signals are clear enough. Mostly, seeking patterns is not healthy, and the deterministic approach of science and technology alone has put so much complexity in the understanding of the world that it does not seem to provide a better explanation to anomalies. We seem to call them anomalies, and then dismiss the observation itself that could change the course of science and technology which I understand in some ways as the tendency of human minds not to accept defeat or failure, or randomness. We tend to look for patterns even in places when there are none.

Speaking of hierarchy and bureaucracy, we soon realized that we can not do everything all alone, hence we need someone to follow our instructions which would produce reliable results, results that would be on par with our specifications or outcomes prediction. Books have been written on such principles on how to game humans as a collective and produce results according to the design. The rise of bureaucracy so that the top chains would save time in something else while the system keeps busy working under specifications and tolerable limits. Sometimes it helps us reach heights that would not be possible without such devotion from every element in the organization and without such machinations. The threat is not the design or the problem, but the tendency to repeat those designs to future endeavours considering the past-experiences just because they worked in certain ways. The hindsight bias with greed does make systems and organizations be the victims of planning fallacies, which could be however reduced to some ways by estimating the worst outcomes if certain variables were to go wrong. This would be again be backed by the probability of events that are likely to happen, and that brings us to talk about chances. What are the chances really?

Chances are how likely or unlikely events might happen. For example, considering all the years before, it is really unlikely that the sun might not appear again tomorrow ( of course, considering a clear sky and you are at your usual time and place where there used to be sunlight before). It is also very likely that there will be more than 3 billion people alive on the planet tomorrow unless something hits the earth and swipes our species or something on that scale happens. One could keep on talking about this and the days won’t be enough. Now stepping science and mathematics into the game of chances. We’ve invented mathematical formulations to quantify the sense of chances so that we could mathematically interpret the gravity of the chances. It was important that 1 represented “definitely happening” events, and 0 represented “definitely NOT happening” events. It is where the problem begins. Now I’d say, tomorrow my horse has 20% more chances to win the game than my friends’ horse. How? “Mathemagics”! I do not understand such “mathemagics” though even if I understand that my horse has won most of the games than my friends’ and my horse is at good health until now. Mathematics and the science of prediction seem to dismiss the rare events that would affect the chances. The chances of unknowns. The idea of the chances of the unknowns are usually dismissed, and historically speaking, we have had the biggest discoveries and biggest miseries because of such unknowns. For some reason, the chances calculations are good when it comes to deterministic systems that are open to us from almost every technical perspective. The nature of the human mind is such, if it were given a hammer, it would consider everything around it is a nail.

A friend of mine and I discussed the future of humanity in the light of the human behaviour and the traps we’ve set up for ourselves. The first trap is greed. Greed is the virus, everyone knows of it, you and I , him and her, everyone. We are greedy by nature, we tend to possess and also accumulate as other animals do. We are however so much into this business that we’ve left others far in the history. The trap that everything should be in order, in control, and things should be accumulated as much as one can have crippled generations. Public Relations was set up in the past to mass-control consumer behaviour and gave birth to a new idea on how to control people which would later a good political strategy to control people in the age of democracy. Now there are more stuntmen like Bernays used to be in the 20th Century who used Propaganda into his new wrapper “Public Relations”. Greed would rise higher, and people could be boozed by allowing their innate desires to be provoked by goods that would be mass-produced later to fuel the consumerism driven economy. Once you booze people by their inner desires, all they’d want is more, and more, and fall into the traps of consumerism in every aspect of life, be that education, health, fashion, it is everywhere.

The hope for life is not to read a book, or read an article and then keeping those wise words in a corner of your mind and sealing it forever, change, in my opinion begins with action.

Are we open to act?

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