culture Philosophy

Culture and Mind: Surface, Depth, Continuum

Culture is the logical inversion of the human mind.

Cultural systems are information processing systems which, like emergent complexity in naturally-occurring energy-processing systems, tend towards autonomously seeking the most efficient methods of encoding information and replicating themselves. Human beings are in this sense very similar to cultural systems and it is indeed through their inner psychological and external behavioural practices and methods that cultural systems manifest and seek the open-ended metamorphosis of systemic change.

A general irrationality, unpredictability and discontinuity of thought that we should all instantly recognise as the essential inner turbulence and cognitive asymmetry of human experience is itself that interior surface of an unbroken flow of information and energy. Interior experience and external information exist on a continuum with very similar topological properties to a Möbius strip. At any notional cross-section or nodal point in the psycho-cultural network/graph there appears to be duality and separation between interior and exterior which entirely vanishes when viewed from a higher-degree of perspective or conceptual abstraction. The twist in the loop is distributed across the entire surface of encoded information and this is the key to both disentangling dualism and to understanding holism.

The existence and experience of a semi-isolated nodal self in this kind of broader gestalt or field is enigmatic. An individuated self appears to be a precondition for the intelligibility and aspirational (yet endlessly circular and unanchored) meaning of the narrative communication by which the cultural system itself manifests as integrated, interdependent network of information, communication and material artefacts. Simultaneously, the cultural system is only ever plausibly real or manifest as and through the vast numbers of adaptive and collectively volatile nodes (persons in which it is stored; in part – relatively static encoding in (and as) artefacts, and otherwise – dynamically recorded or represented in (and as) distributed patterns of communication and adaptively self-propagation through the participatory individuation and usefully random discontinuity (i.e. entropy) and emergent complexity of human minds.

Culture is the logical inversion of the human mind, as is technology

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