Minds: Individual and Collective

Have you ever considered that the myriad sorrows and insecurities we all share are really not ours at all?

Despite many politically entrepreneurial and ideologically self-interested attempts to convince us otherwise, it is very likely that there is no one single way of resolving conflict or of best organising economies and societies or of organising the international society of nations.  There may be irreducible causes and reasons for the patterns of conflict and cooperation in the world but by the time these dissonances and resonances have worked their way down through cultural narrative and global communications systems to the individual level, they can generate all manner of ill-health and sickness.  A vast number of political and cultural ideologies and narratives may be demonstrated as the result of a poverty of rational thought or even may embody symptoms of mental illness; regardless – once all of these ideas and assumptions, axioms, generalisations, memes and narratives filter down into the individual mind – they do not just sit there as dormant facts or objects.  The consequences of a poverty of rational thought and the perennially tribal conflict of this world inevitably finds itself implanted in the internal communications networks of the mind and it can, arguably, wreak havoc there.

Have you ever considered that the myriad sorrows and insecurities we all share are really not ours at all?  While we remain relatively free to pick and choose from the menu of conceptual and ideological options that culture, society and communications networks provide us, we do not for the most part actually produce or generate the range of options available to us.  We have free will to choose from within the spectrum of available options but we do not ourselves generate those options.  There exists something of a network or field of culture and communication within which we find ourselves embedded and we learn to behave and think in ways largely determined by this cultural matrix.  It may be an evolutionary necessity that an organism is defined by its context in this way.  Our beliefs and convictions are generally not actually our own – they are our interpretation or learned translation of the statements and actions of other people in the world.

It is, however, not all existentially predestined doom and gloom – we are not purely and solely defined by the external world and it is in fact through each of our own individual minds’ creative aggregation, recombination, reinterpretation of existing concepts and ideas that we partially enervate and energise the cultural and material human world around us.  Human beings in this regards represent “choice engines” of a sort who in their creative participation and reflexive recombination of narratives and concepts provide a (mostly positive) energy for the ongoing change and development of the world.   Where the influence of any person or group can be shown in retrospect to have had far-reaching negative consequences, it is usually the case that there has been a strong selfish or self-interested drive to inform their ideology and action.  This is not even vaguely related to concepts of individualism in Capitalism or collectivism in Socialism – as far as I am concerned these political ideologies have both demonstrated themselves to be unrepentant disasters devoid of enduring social utility, equity or value.  As stated earlier, there is probably no “best way” of organising societies or economies and it is generally only those seeking to line their own pockets who perpetrate the fallacy that there is.

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