Revolutions as changes of world view
Examining the record of past research from the vantage point of contemporary historiography, the historian of science may be tempted to exclaim that when paradigms change, the world itself changes with them. Led my a new paradigm, scientists adopt new instruments and look in new places. Even more important, during revolutions scientists see new and different things when looking with familiar instruments in places they have looked before. It is rather as if the professional community had been suddenly transported to another planet where familiar objects are viewed in a different light and joined by unfamiliar ones as well… …we may want to say that after a revolution scientists are responding to a different world.
Thomas S Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions p111.
Over the past few years I developed a different understanding of human behaviour. In the beginning this was very exciting for me, and I looked to informing others about my ideas. However I soon found out that it wasn’t as simple as that. That if what I now understood was true it would mean a major effect on society and possibly a negative one. This was coupled with an intense personal crisis about the contents of my new understanding. After a large amount of thought and personal writing I have decided to take a similar approach to the unveiling of this theory that Darwin took to his theory of Natural selection. i.e. not to unveil at this time. However, there will be the added factor that I’m going to try to make it public that I am taking such an approach, so that if anyone else comes up with the same idea, I can at least be credited with it. This is in some sense then an ego prop, but I hope to at least give enough information that if and when someone else comes up with the same idea you will be able to recognise it as the same from the information contained within.
I’m sure you know that Darwin developed the theory of evolution by natural selection long before he published origin of the species, but then it wasn’t until he received a paper by Alfred Wallace that he decided to publish. Infact we know this about Darwin’s life:
1837 May 3
Darwin was influenced by the recent discovery of “fossilised monkeys” in Africa. He conjectured that such fossils were evidence that mankind was descended from some kind of ape ancestor. However, he dared not mention this to anyone, as such talk was tantamount to heresy.
During this time Darwin was struggling between the desire to go public with his transmutation theories, and being ostracized by his fellow naturalists (Henslow, Sedgwick, Lyell and others). He solved this dilemma by keeping quiet for the time being.
Due to concern for his reputation, Darwin decided to not publish any of his transmutation theories for many years to come.
1842 late June
While at Shrewsbury Darwin wrote up a thirty-five page sketch of his ideas about transmutation. This was the very first rough draft of his theory. In it he had natural selection figured out, and had a basic description of descent, both of which he said obeyed strict laws of nature. It is interesting to note that at this time Darwin thought these “laws of nature” were set forth by god during creation, after which time god stepped back and no longer intervened with the universe.
Darwin made an outline of reasons not to published his transmutation ideas –
 Fellow naturalists would never accept his ideas.
 animal breeders would find a huge treatise too boring to read.
 the trouble making atheists would use it for their evil agendas.
 the church would scorn him.
 he did not want to be labeled an atheist.
 he would betray his friends and family to whom he owed so much.
1858 June 18
Darwin received a paper from Alfred Russel Wallace, who was still at the Malay Archipelago. The paper was titled: “On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type.” Darwin was shocked! Wallace had come up with a theory of natural selection that was very similar to his own. The paper contained concepts like “the struggle for existence,” and “the transmutation of species.”
1858 June 28
Darwin’s son, Charles Waring Darwin, died.
1858 July 1
On this date Charles Darwin first went public about his views on the evolution of species. The papers of Darwin and Wallace were read at a meeting of the Linnean Society in London.
1859 November 22
“Origin of Species” went on sale to the public at a price of 15 shillings. 1,250 copies were printed, most of which sold the first day. It was an immediate success and Darwin started the same day editing the work for a second edition.
You will note that Darwin had natural selection worked out by 1842, but it was not till 1858 that he actually went public with it. So he sat on the information for 16 years!
The difference between Darwin and I however is that he was already a respected biologist, whereas I’m effectively nobody.
At one point Darwin doesn’t want to say anything, because he believes it would be regarded as heresy. It might be said that today that isn’t an issue. However, I think that heresy today could be summed up as scepticism about humane values, as well as opinions that disagree with the majority cultural consensus about contentious issues.
Managing the mind bomb
There is a theory that I can say little about, because of what I believe the consequences would be. The situation is analogous to the person who first works out how to build a new weapon of mass destruction. What should they do? They may not want that information to be released, but they won’t want someone else to later discover the same thing, and get the credit for the technical accomplishment either.
So, what I’m going to do is state as much as I can, so that in the event full revelation by someone else, I will still be recognised as the person who first understood and theorised on this phenomena. This way I will at least be credited with the intellectual ability, come that eventuality.
Recognition – What such a revelation would look like
The theory, if and when it comes, will consist of one, or both, of the following parts:
1: An intellectual theory of human behaviour
The least dangerous part is a theory of human behaviour, related to evolutionary psychology, but with massively more explanatory power, and taking into account a much larger range of actual behaviours.
It will be especially explanatory of human social behaviour.
There will be some of this theory in what follows.
In effect though, this intellectual theory is not too likely to be presented, unless someone has worked out how to access the information psychologically. That is the really dangerous part.
2: A psychological technique.
This part is a kind of psychological technique for accessing information beyond the cultural and intellectual. Once a person becomes so ‘enabled’, it is not a matter of choice whether they believe the intellectual theory. So long as it has been explained to them beforehand, it is all intuitive to them. However, if it hasn’t been explained they may adopt other interpretations.
Infact, some people are often in this state, but they don’t have the theory, and so interpret using their own personal, cultural and intellectual means. The thing is, anyone who is in this state will probably not intellectualise it, but if they do, they will probably use their existing cultural symbols, rather than explanations from evolutionary psychology and the like. In fact they may even think they are experiencing something beyond psychological explanations, and that it thus disproves such explanations.
The reality is far more terrible.
A person in this state is able to ‘see through’ existing cultural conceptions to a more primitive and basic level of human operation.
Furthermore, a person in this state will provoke much of what they will then be able to see in persons around them, when it might otherwise be absent.
A good example of a ‘psychological technique’ is simply the ability to read, and thereby pick up huge amounts of extra information from the world that you wouldn’t have otherwise. If we didn’t know about such a thing as written language, we might regard all the text around us as a kind pervasive, stylistic, cultural decoration.
Another example would be ‘magic eye’ pictures. If you didn’t know what they were and someone put one on your wall, you might go your whole life just thinking it was a decorative pattern until you were given an incredibly simple psychological technique to see what was there.
What people are doing
When people act normally, it is as one or the other, or (more probably) a mix of various classes of behavioural possibilities, which are well known and described within culture, although less so specifically within academia.
Some of these classes of behaviour, are among the things I can’t spell out, because of the cultural values respectively attached to them, which would tend to suggest that people would try and change them if they became more consciously aware of them. However, the reasons for people acting that way are usually well founded within the environment, and so it may well be unwise to change. (one of the things I would like to advise, is for the values attached to certain behaviours to be modified)
Behaviours ranging from; the exalted, to the maligned, to the criminalised, turn out to be part of our built in biological possibilities, and we are performing them from one class or another all the time, regardless of our accepted status (or behaviour class) within society.
What effect revelation of this is likely to have is anyone’s guess. Personally, I would expect widespread depression, suicide, and possibly even revolution, as the justifications upholding the basis of existing power structures collapses and and a new psychological elite takes control.
In general, I feel that the effects of general knowledge of this information would probably create social changes equivalent or greater than the sixties in the west. In some ways, we might be more human as a result, but an essential issue is that our existing values, when applied to the new understanding are likely to cause major problems, so it would be wise to modify them, in order that any revelation has less disastrous consequences.
Advised value changes include: (but are not limited to)
- Reduction of belief in supernatural entities, especially gods.
- A freer and less concept and value bound approach to sex and sexuality.
- More tolerance of psychopathic behaviour.
- A more communitarian approach, and the dissolution of the individual as an indivisible single entity.
Within existing concepts it is hard to provide pointers however.
Levels of behavioural causation
What I am going to describe here, is three levels of behavioural causation which make up part of a grid of behavioural possibilities (behaviour including thought). We can imagine it to be like a spectrum, with the biological at the bottom, then the cultural band then the intellectual.
1. The biological level This is the basic instinct for living. When I’m hungry in the morning and want something to eat, that’s the biological level.
2. The cultural level This is heuristics for living. When I have toast for breakfast that’s cultural. The hunger is biological but I could have rice or a chocolate cake. Why do I have toast? Because that’s become an automatic cultural response for me.
3. The intellectual level This encompasses the specifics; the problem solving for living. If there is a problem with the cultural or biological level or some kind of challenge to that, you can use your intellect to work it out. If I have to read and interpret the nutritional information on the side of the peanut butter packet I’m going to need the intellectual level for that. There’s also some stuff that could be said about the discord between the three levels, and how the biological level is built for a hunter gatherer, while the cultural reforms itself every generation, taking some elements of the past along with some innovations. The intellectual structures do this too, but they should be more flexible if based on true reason and logic.
Everyone already knows this in some sense. However, stating it clearly can provide a powerful tool for analysing and understanding human behaviour.
But that’s only part of the story. There’s another, equally important spectrum of behaviour, and that’s the one I’m not going to talk about. Together these two spectrums make a complete three dimensional map of human behaviour. Knowing one, you’re kind of like a ‘flatlander’, only seeing part of the picture.
So what is this other spectrum? It’s actually a major aspect of biological reality that has been culturally and thereby intellectually interpreted, but very badly so. Furthermore, there is also the direct seeing this biological reality when unfiltered by cultural perception.
– “Well of course it’s filtered by cultural perception” you’re going to say; “Your perception”. Well no it’s not, it’s being seen ‘technically’ and then interpreted culturally, rather than the other way round. This does create problems like the emotion of ‘the horror’, but I’ll get onto that later.
Reality for us
Reality as we experience it is cultural reality. We are not seeing biological reality, so most of the things that are happening in biological terms we are either blind to, or we explain in cultural terms.
Reality as we experience it, is infact a subset of the wider reality, that is actually more basic, but exacting in its operation. Because it is so explicit, most people would be likely to regard it with horror in cultural terms.
There are fictional examples that would throw some light on this, but to specifically mention them would be misleading.
One of the problems with revelation is; that once seen and interpreted with our current cultural understanding, events occurring in the wider reality (that people don’t currently have conscious access to) then create a too extreme response. You might call it a ‘meta response’ to subtle behaviour, when a subconscious adjustment would be the only natural expedient response.
Another reason is the actual things we are doing… (which is another area I can’t go into)
This is a reason that our values need to be readjusted along the lines of greater tolerance and understanding, a greater relaxation of the ego, and a blurring of social identity. Some kinds of meditation and Buddhist practices might also be a wise precaution.
What we a talking about here, is a full paradigm shift of all cultural understanding, and all intellectual understanding that is linked to that. It would be like something along the lines of what happens when an isolated tribe comes into contact with western civilisation. But even more than that in some ways, as it can cause a short circuiting of different parts of people’s mental lives, resulting in a crippling paralysis.
Everything is Something Else
What I am suggesting here, is not that people are wrong about their interpretation of the events which take place round them. We might call this the cultural level interpretation, augmented by some intellectual interpretation, and this is very often self referentially correct – correct on it’s own terms. There are many compelling cultural interpretations in the world, though most rely on a different conception of what human beings actually are than can be scientifically supported. For example the declarations in the American independence document.
What I am suggesting infact is; that while cultural interpretations have somewhat respectable justifications, their entire explanatory system runs in parallel to a much more accurate, complete and systematic possible explanation referring to the wider reality. This is the ‘something else’.
A good analogy might be; if you were in a ‘show’ and being televised to an audience, except that you as one of the ‘performers’ did not know you were in a show, or the wider dynamics of how your relationships worked.
In this case you might say that everything you did was something else. That there were some people who you thought were genuinely interested in you, where as infact they were operating from different motives.
Everything is infact something else…
Seeing everything as being also something else, may create an emotion that I call ‘the horror’. Kind of an intense experience of cognitive disidence, this emotion is generated when the cultural and intellectual interpretations of the social environment are in conflict. For instance, if you see something happening in one sphere, that your values oppose in another.
People may look back on their experiences in another paradigm, and know of the things they thought and did, but generally not why they thought and did them. Imagine being in both paradigms at the same time.
It is one thing for example; if you could return the Pope to the German army at the end of World War II, and he had to somehow deal with that, but it would be yet another if he had to carry out his elderly duties as Pope, and his teenage duties as soldier at the same time.
You can divide up the horror into two kinds – the horror at behaviour, and the horror at language. In each case it is because two parallel interpretations might be given for the same behavioural acts, speech or written text.
Any person who is able to decode consciously both streams of information, is faced with the problem of how to deal with the separate, and often conflicting messages. This may either be through the disparate subject matter of the respective messages, or because of their conflicting, and often socially unacceptable nature.
An aware observer is likely to be confused about how to respond – even, what to respond to.
The effect may be similar to the experience of someone who hears voices as they go about their business, except that the ‘voices’ here are powerful interpretations, and identified with individuals or groups of people.
Another issue is; that it is not just the interpreted outputs of others, but the actions of the individual themselves causing a possible personal crisis of self identity. Something like alien hand syndrome or the like, where the individual feels themselves no longer in control of their own body and even mind, as if their own self becomes alien to them.
A person who is interpreting the world thus will take an action in the social environment, and then will half a second later realise that the action they have just taken, has an entirely different causal mechanism or reason for being done than the normal cultural explanation. For a further example of a similar experience of horror, imagine that a woman had to have dinner with a charismatic and powerful man, that she knew was planning to kill her. In this case his charm and interest in her life would be wasted, as it would all be interpreted as a tactic for him collecting information about her habits, in order that he could better carry out his deadly task. But still she would have to remain calm and happy looking despite her inner turmoil. Everything would be something else, so it’s nearly an exact analogy.
So, some very serious and damaging psychological effects can occur as a result of seeing the wider reality of human existence.
Why people don’t see the truth
In terms of the psycho-sexual environment, why don’t people see that, instead of the cultural mythspace that they actually operate in? The reason (so far as I can discern) is that they’re generally not using the part of their brain that is able to automatically decode such stimuli, and so it is simply edited out of the viewing process as irrelevancies.
When they are using that part of their brain, they continue to use the same intellectualisations, and so while they detect that something is going on, since there’s no words for it in the mythspace, it remains simply ‘feelings’.
Infact a more interesting question for me is; why some people do seem to know the truth and they really don’t want you talking about it. But I’ll have to go into that at a later date.
Why it doesn’t help to know the truth
In general, people ought to evolve towards a greater realisation of reality, as that should be advantageous to them in the environment. If they do not then there ought to be a pretty good explanation for that.
For something like gods it’s not too hard. All it is, is the extension of our natural bias towards seeing things in personal and social terms into the physical environment. If you don’t see things in social terms then you’re autistic and will have limited hope of reproducing, whereas if you see more than there is in social terms, then you will have just as much, or more chance passing on your genes.
For the psycho-sexual environment, because our brains have this natural level of flexibility in operation, in terms of which behaviour set is used, we can operate in vastly different kinds of social ways at different times, however only one behaviour set is truly capable of creating the mythspace, and so that is the one we operate in.
Because the mythspace allows the development of civilisation, and the others aren’t really needed once civilisation is achieved, they are simply sidelined and our effort goes into the mythspace.
It’s like how blindness increases perception in the remaining senses. But in this case it’s more of a narrowing of focus, and operating within a narrow band of human possibilities.
We could imagine a child who is locked in a room without any kind of stimulation for years on end, and its brain would atrophy. But if you gave it a Computer and hooked it up to the internet with the online game ‘Second Life’ it would become an ‘internet child’. It would be the best at Second Life because that’s all that it would have to do. It would probably become the worlds fastest typist, even if it could speak in grunts. It might end up earning a fortune in real money playing Second Life, and so at that point you might say that within that mythical cyberspace it was doing pretty well. There would be no point taking it out of its room because it would only be a maladjusted retard like creature who could only communicate by typing.
That’s like us within our cultural mythspace v’s the ‘real’ human world.
One other point is that seeing the wider picture of what’s going on can be highly distracting. If you watch a film that’s one kind of experience, where you can be transported into another kind of cultural mythspace, for a hopefully pleasant and/or exciting transcending experience. But imagine that you went along with a video camera and filmed the filming of an entire movie, including the cameras filming the actors and the studio in the background. Then you cut it to the same length as the original, with the same scenes. Watching that footage would be quite a different experience to the actual movie, and one in which transcendence would be unlikely to be achieved.
The Possessed Ape
“Man is more of an ape than any of the apes” – Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
We’ve had the Naked Ape, The Moral Animal and The Third Chimpanzee, among others. My vote would be for The Possessed Ape. Here’s why; Once upon a time a chimpanzee was tried as a French spy1 by suspicious English villagers. Later on in history only dark skinned humans were considered to be a type of ape. Now we’ve got to to the point where if you ask the average person in the world if any human is a type of ape they’ll probably say “no”.
Not so long ago primatologists in Africa came into contact with a band of chimpanzees in the forest that had never come into contact with humans before. Instead of running away like chimpanzees accustomed to humans hunting them usually do, they simply saw the humans as another band of chimpanzees and acted as such. It’s got to the point where chimps in the forest have more of an idea about what we are than the average person on the street. Why?
At first glance of course chimpanzees would see humans simply as strange looking chimps. However, after more observation they would report something strange (if they could intellectualise it). They would see us responding to a mysterious force as we we in communion with some other invisible being, and as if something else was controlling our bodies. We would seem possessed, with jerky movements and strange actions.
This force is our power of language and abstract reasoning.
So I can even be a theist in the literal sense of John 1.1
John 1:1 (New International Version)
The Word Became Flesh 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Of course, I can’t just say all these things, as they don’t make sense within the current context. It might be hypothesised that I am undergoing an unfortunate kind of imaginative delusion or mental illness. I think this is the most convenient explanation, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to rule it out without some serious thought. It would be important to note however that this message is sane and rational and brought forward with the greatest care and sensitivity.
And to anyone else with their finger on the psych bomb – remember, I won’t press the trigger if you don’t.
What I want to happen about this post
I have no expectations. I understand what most people’s response would be. The most that I can hope for is that it is date stamped and held in some kind of filing system. Alerting me to anyone who has similar ideas would also be appreciated. Of course, if anyone wants further clarification or information about the things I can talk about, I would be happy to supply it.
Thank you for your time,
Notes to others
I may as well include this advice to anyone who discovers what I am talking about here, in case I am not available in the event of them coming into contact with it. “Once upon a time you dressed so fine, threw the bums a dime, in your prime then you…”*
Welcome to the Zoo!
First of all tread very carefully. You may become depressed or elevated. Only use anti depressants in case depression becomes severe. It is important to try to use NEW concepts to explain what you are seeing. New concepts will be needed. My worst fear is not that this is discovered, but that existing concepts will be used to explain it, and the chaos that would cause.
In particular remember that these things apply to everyone – it is just that you can see it.
Don’t bother trying to discuss this with anyone – they won’t understand. Worse, they will try to interpret what you’re saying using their existing cultural symbols. At first the things you’re seeing may delight or horrify you, but just remember it’s a one way interpretation, and for you to respond to it directly will only cause confusion.
If you really find it difficult to cope, I can suggest going to a place where people are less responsive. I know from personal experience that Korea is one such place. There people are often in a different mode from westerners.
Most importantly, you will have to get used to the fact that you’re not in control of yourself as you once thought and move to a more management role of yourself, with certain ‘policies’ towards certain things, rather than specific actions that you take. This is probably one of the more horrifying things, remember though that other people are in the same position, except they don’t know it.
I may as well tell you before you do anything too drastic; what you’re seeing can be unseen. Infact that’s probably the first thing you will want to learn to do. That’s right, you’ve learned to see, and now you have to learn to unsee.
It is important that you can change your mode back again, you may not see why, but don’t worry you soon will, and that’s when you can start to have serious problems.
On the other hand if you try to adjust modes just to please people it may precipitate a wholesale disintegration of self, and peoples reaction might be more negative than ever.
It is better to choose one mode and operate using that with ‘policies’. Also don’t try and use it to ‘get one over’ on people. It might seem easy, but people can act very cunningly in the environment and get you back without even knowing it themselves.
You can’t believe that people you know are now doing those things? Well just remember, you’re probably actually provoking them in the environment. From their perspective they’re not doing anything different from what they’ve always done and you’re the one who’s acting strange.
- Bob Dylan – Highway 61 revisited is the best album to listen to when this has happened to you.
A Theory of Information
Long before I discovered the things that provoked this letter, I developed a theory of how we might act which I called Informationism. Basically what the theory is, is a claim about the kinds of forces responsible for our functioning and then an optional prescription based on that fact. My intention here is to give a quick overview of this theory, rather than an in-depth justification. Also understand that this is not a moral theory. I don’t think this is what we ‘should’ do, but rather it’s something I advocate based on what seems logically correct.
The claim is; Evolutionary forces mean, that what we will tend to do is do what is beneficial for spreading our cultural and genetic information in an ancestral environment.
The prescription is; what we could decide to do, is what actually will benefit our information in this environment.
The justification for this is purely negative. You are going to do something. Now whatever you do do is going to be your brain’s cultural interpretation of some biological urgings that you have. You surely know what those biological urgings are trying to get you to do, so why not actually do that, rather than the million other variations on the theme?
Whatever the justification or explaination can be given for existing actions, it will boil down to some attempt to benefit information, so why not just benefit it? There is no ‘reason’ to, any more than there is an ultimate reason to do anything.
There’s little more that I can say about that in terms of justification, as we’re really talking about a blind biological and cultural process, out of which we get arising a toolmaking ‘rational space’ in our brains. We can actually make decisions based on logic within that, we just don’t have any motivation to make the decisions based on the original ‘orders’ to the biological forces.
All we can do is invent myths to wrap around things so people have social motivation to do them. People are eager to follow the will of their creator. As it turns out the ‘creator’ is a blind replicating process, but people say that to follow that would be a ‘naturalistic fallacy’ or idolatry in religious terms. Do we owe these ape bodies anything because rationality has arisen in them? Well at the moment the options are to go along with a mass of myths, fantasies and wishful thinking about what humans should do, or actually align with what’s happening in nature. The alternative isn’t to be more noble, it’s just to fail as an organism and believe a lie. Imagine a fly on a buzzing against a window. If you could give that fly intelligence but it still didn’t have the motivation to use it then it would still keep on buzzing against the window. If you asked it why it would say “Because I feel like it”.
So it needs more than the urge or the intelligence – it requires the urge to use the intelligence. If you decide to chop down a tree using your arm, you will quickly get the urge to use intelligence to find a better way to chop it down.
This is a major excerpt from the later half of:
A journey to the end of philosophy
If you would like more you can get it here: