Trivial pursuit and human extinction

Trivial pursuit and human extinction

I was awakened last night by a loud knocking on my door. Fortunately the knocking was not reality but was a dream.

When I “heard” the knocking I sat upright in bed with my heart racing and immediately tried to determine if what I had heard was the real world rather than a dream. I assume such things happen to everyone; such things have happened to me before.

I was unable to go back to sleep. Instead my mind led me into contemplations that have resulted in my preparing this posting thus ending my attempt on going back to sleep.

I am retired and have been using my free time for the last several years studying the human condition. I have been trying to comprehend why humans do the absurd things we do and if there is some way to change the direction our civilization is heading. As part of this effort I have been engaged in several of these Internet discussion forums writing my thoughts about our human propensity to self-destruct.

Circumstances this summer have led me into becoming a bricklayer for the first time in my life. I needed to build a small brick wall in my front yard and I have been engrossed in this project for many weeks.

When I look back on my bricklaying efforts I recognize that I have tranquilized myself with trivia. For many weeks I have narrowed the focus of my intellectual interests to the follies of amateur bricklaying. The loud knocking was my unconscious awakening me from my holiday of trivia. My mind was willing to focus upon the trivia just as before it was focused on the important. But a sense of guilt drives my intellectual activity back to more important matters.

Have you experienced the difficulty sometimes of separating dream from reality?

Do you think that such things as hearing a loud knocking is our unconscious sending us a message?

Yes - I frequently have dreams in which I can fly - knowing of this, my sister bought me a session of Indoor skydiving - the experience resonated so strongly with my dream experiences that for a few days afterwards, there was definitely a part of me that wanted to just dive forward and start flying as I walked along the street, and this part of me really believed it would work (It wasn’t strong enough to compel me to try, but it was there, nagging me.

I don’t know - I think there are some interesting implications in the idea that we, individually, aren’t just one person, but are in fact a mosaic of overlapping and competing conscious processes, but I have a feeling that a lot of ideas about ‘the unconscious’ that used to be quite popular are now no longer considered valid or meaningfull by the phychologists.

Unconscious thought forms 95% of all thought.

In the 1970s a new body of empirical research began to introduce findings that questioned the traditional Anglo-American cognitive paradigm of AI (Artificial Intelligence), i.e. symbol manipulation.

This research indicates that the neurological structures associated with sensorimotor activity are mapped directly to the higher cortical brain structures to form the foundation for subjective conceptualization in the human brain. In other words, our abstract ideas are constructed with copies of sensorimotor neurological structures as a foundation. “It is the rule of thumb among cognitive scientists that unconscious thought is 95 percent of all thought—and that may be a serious underestimate.”

Categorization, the first level of abstraction from “Reality” is our first level of conceptualization and thus of knowing. Seeing is a process that includes categorization, we see something as an interaction between the seer and what is seen. “Seeing typically involves categorization.”

Our categories are what we consider to be real in the world: tree, rock, animal…Our concepts are what we use to structure our reasoning about these categories. Concepts are neural structures that are the fundamental means by which we reason about categories.

Human categories, the stuff of experience, are reasoned about in many different ways. These differing ways of reasoning, these different conceptualizations, are called prototypes and represent the second level of conceptualization

Typical-case prototype conceptualization modes are “used in drawing inferences about category members in the absence of any special contextual information. Ideal-case prototypes allow us to evaluate category members relative to some conceptual standard…Social stereotypes are used to make snap judgments…Salient exemplars (well-known examples) are used for making probability judgments…Reasoning with prototypes is, indeed, so common that it is inconceivable that we could function for long without them.”

When we conceptualize categories in this fashion we often envision them using spatial metaphors. Spatial relation metaphors form the heart of our ability to perceive, conceive, and to move about in space. We unconsciously form spatial relation contexts for entities: ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘about’, ‘across from’ some other entity are common relationships that make it possible for us to function in our normal manner.

When we perceive a black cat and do not wish to cross its path our imagination conceives container shapes such that we do not penetrate the container space occupied by the cat at some time in its journey. We function in space and the container schema is a normal means we have for reasoning about action in space. Such imaginings are not conscious but most of our perception and conception is an automatic unconscious force for functioning in the world.

**Our manner of using language to explain experience provides us with an insight into our cognitive structuring process. Perceptual cues are mapped onto cognitive spaces wherein a representation of the experience is structured onto our spatial-relation contour. There is no direct connection between perception and language.

The claim of cognitive science is “that the very properties of concepts are created as a result of the way the brain and the body are structured and the way they function in interpersonal relations and in the physical world.”**

Quotes from “Philosophy in the Flesh” by Lakoff

For much of this past month I would awake sure that my cel phone had rung, but it was still dark and there was nothing on the Missed Calls list.
So I assumed it was a dream and went back to bed.
Then one day I woke a little bit early and heard my neighbor’s alarm go off and be quickly silenced. It had a very similar sound to my phone. Puzzle solved. Now to decide how to tell him it’s waking me up.

coberst your op reminds me of the poem Epic by Patrick Kavanagh.

I’ve never been able to get that sixth wedge. I hope the fate of mankind isn’t in jeapordy because of that.

Actually, Miller, your inability to get that wedge is what’s keeping us from finishing the game, and the story. Keep up the good work, brah!