What is common to humans with other living creatures?
We are common in that we have a desire to Express and Relate. What distinguishes us significantly from most primates is that we have a well-developed neo-cortex, that allows us to reflect ‘back’, and imagine our world Forward, envisioning our future, our possibilities. With this ability for self-reflexivity and imagination, we cannot just see ‘objects’ out there, but we can work with abstractions, imagined worlds, and imagined ideas.
We have compelled our environment to bend before the power of our minds: the discovery and use of fire, the wheel, the steam engine, printing press, the logic of digital ‘0 and 1’ to further AI, neural networks. We see further, and mysteries bend before our persistent gaze. We now have the capacity to explain our world in mathematical equations that would not take even two pages. This has made us proud.
We live in an age of compelling ‘ideas’ which has gripped our imagination. We have found ways to connect and engage with our ideas. We have discovered ways to connect both with ‘head and heart’ and even join in ‘concerted action’.
The future will allow us to take even further leaps: to co-create on ideas, and to combine thinking, feeling and action. If I know what you are thinking, feeling and modes of acting and you know mine, it would be possible to ‘connect us two’ – to create a third force. I am intrigued that married couples after decades of marriage almost seem to ‘think, feel and act’ almost alike, a kind of synchronicity, if you like. Neuro scientist have already discovered that we have empathy ‘mirror neurons’ that help us stay connected with each other. Despite all the selectively ‘violent’ reports we hear on media of looting, arson, riots, during a crisis, the fact is that humans are primed to act with reciprocity (Caldini / Peter Bloom) and we have a moral and ethical mental structure that allows us to help out each other. In other words, we are a ‘relational and connected world’ and we wish to find commune, both physically and in terms of well-being. Like hedgehogs on a cold wintry night, we huddle for ‘touch’ yet when we come two close get hurt with the ‘spines’ and keep a ‘safe distance’ as well. Our world vacillates between Existential Aloneness and Existential Connectedness.The first step would lie in our evolving to ‘CyberHumans’.
We wish to be distinctive from the other, but when we do, we end up comparing: failing to realise, we are unique – that there is no one like us. The world then becomes an Arena and a means to demonstrate our prowess. When we live in communes, we feel stifled and restless, and find the commune suppressing, and we wish to break out – find our freedom. This pendulum swing back and forth – to be a part of and be apart, is characteristic of our times.
Yesterday, in my article ‘What lies beneath’ I referred to collective unconscious. We are in the age of what Fromm would describe as Social Character, which is Collective Consciousness. In another article, a day earlier, I referred to ‘East meeting West’ as it is now at a point, when from both sides one discovers – the unknown and starts to grasp at the possibility, that somethings will be unknowable.
These COVID times have reminded us, that we were the VIRUS that was spreading, destroying our planet. It was nature’s way of resetting the balance. For many, who have not lost themselves in ‘planned and unplanned zoom calls, webinars’, the uncertainty has allowed us the time and space to reflect on our lives, our livelihood, our relationships, and what is the real source of our joy.
I aver from our current world of globalisation, the inevitable next step would be polarisation (building firewalls around roles and boundaries for ourselves, however, in some form slowed down, yet on the other hand enabled by digitalisation), leading to alliances for mutual performance and achievement. From there to ‘connecting with meaningfulness and shared intimacy. From there a leap….into holding simultaneity and multiplicity, but that is for another post.
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