On a Wheel

Cultural processing of information is one of the main tasks we carry out. It is costly and can be very difficult. Our brains are on one hand dedicated to the maintenance and sustainable continuity of the bodily vessels that support them but also must process the symbolic complexity required to sustain the systems of culture they inhabit. This dual dependency is very old in terms of the evolution of civilisations. We hardly notice it but it is quite real.

Brains do not only process existentially significant biological (and psychological) information, they process cultural information. This is a realisation that allows us to begin to understand the ways that brains and minds are intrinsically a function of the environmental systems they inhabit. This is also, and of interest, one of the critically absent features of the current paradigm of artificial intelligence.
I wonder what more traditional societies might be able to teach us about this brain/culture nexus. As putative earlier states in the developmental processes that arrive at Global cultural communications systems most of us now consciously or unconsciously inhabit. A key point of reference and consideration is that those earlier forms of social and cultural selfhood did not always find themselves ratcheting their way up the greasy pole of accelerating technological development.

Not only can these earlier iterations of social technology teach us much about the ways in which minds and cultures reflexively reproduce each other, we might also learn some key points about when it makes more sense to jump of this accelerating rat wheel of largely meaningless productivity such that we might once again simply live these brief lives we all have.

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