Article by Sophy Laughing
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Follow Me, I know a shortcut ...
A shortcut is a heuristic technique, it is what we do to learn or discover something new for ourselves. It is what we call a "hands-on" experience. It is the way in which we solve problems, learn, or discover new information.
We also know that taking a shortcut means we will see what lies just beyond our normal peripheral vision, a parallel path, if you will. This path may not be perfectly groomed and manicured, but it is immediate because it is new.
When our brains encounter new information we are nearly fully engaged. This engagement results in a quickening of the heartbeat, a livening of the imagination, and a fueling of the spirit, which invigorates and propels us onward, filling us with bravery and courage each step of the way.
There is a bias, though, as we instinctively believe shortcuts will enable us to reach our destination faster, resulting in our capacity to travel onward, further ... toward discoveries that would have not come to fruition had we taken the straight and narrow path.
As we travel along the path toward wherever it is we're headed, shortcuts speed up the process of finding that which we seek. Shortcuts deliver our dreams to us faster, enabling us to enjoy them longer. The more enjoyable the journey, the more immediate the sensation of being alive, and the happier we feel.
Deep happiness leads to altruistic behavior. When our needs are met, we are far more capable of meeting the needs of others. These are those times when we walk side by side with others, pointing out the beautiful scenery, sharing thoughts and ideas, and enjoying simple discourse, whatever the topic.
These very human reactions indicate that the goal of life is not reaching the destinations we set for ourselves but rather, the newness of information, the outward expansion of our sense of being becoming [itself]. The state of becoming is thus the ideal state.
It is in becoming where we take flight; where our true intelligence lies; where the cognitive burden of making decisions is at ease with itself. These are those educated guesses, those intuitive judgments, and common sense to which we refer when we just know something is true.
On the straight and narrow path we quickly learn the terrain, to the point we stop seeing it. But trial and error shows us that we do not always know what we think we know.
Take light, for instance. Had Einstein not questioned its fundamental nature, how long would the world have waited before someone else came along and pondered its mysteries?
Pondering mysteries is what immediately takes us off the straight and narrow path. Here we must sit and visit with an idea, a truism, or a mystery ... asking it questions and listening for answers.
Imagine putting together a puzzle. You start with a box of pieces, all randomly thrown about. You begin pulling out a few pieces at a time, matching them according to shapes and color. If you know what the puzzle "should look like" you have a head start, but you are also missing out on a fundamental experience: the realm of the unknown.
It is in the "not knowing" that we discover what we actually know. When we approach an idea with notions on what it is or what it will become, we rarely venture far from that thought path.
The ability to bring together pieces of a puzzle into a preconceived shape speeds up our success rate. It gets us to the goal of having a completed puzzle faster. From here we can move onto new puzzles, repeating the process over and over again until the point that even new information no longer feels new.
... or we can dump out all the puzzle pieces before us and without a preconceived image, begin assembling bits and pieces in a way that our instincts are exercised. When we try to see what we can derive from very little information, we engage our instincts in a way that we become more intuitive, more instinctual in the process. It is from these instincts our species has learned to survive and thrive.
Easy as this sounds, it can be a daunting experience. Few people are comfortable venturing into the unknown. Those who do, either do so tiptoeing, little by little, or do so with GUSTO, jumping head first!
Shortcuts are hard-coded within us by evolutionary processes. Our approach to taking them explains how we make decisions, formulate judgments, and solve problems when we are faced with complexity and incomplete information.
The rules or methods we use are our own, and work in most circumstances, but how delightful is it when they don't work? This is when we open a new door within ourselves, unlocking a new pathway we hadn't previously seen or considered.
Let us journey to Utopia ...
In Plato's Republic we imagine the "ideal city" - only it does not yet exist. We must first create it. Since the 4th century B.C.E. we have been in pursuit of Utopia, the beautiful society where egalitarian principles of equality are woven through its foundation, where government and justice work in harmony with principles of respect and dignity, where all beings live and work in harmony, traveling hand in hand as the entire species moves forth, venturing through an unknown cosmos.
Boundless opportunities exist in a society that travels onward in harmony, finding a place for all to contribute naturally and with great enthusiasm and joy. All of us have something to offer this society, and the society works optimally when we all are given the opportunity to share our unique perspectives, talents, and pearls of wisdom.
Life is not meant to be traveled ahead of time. Success is not moving ahead of society, taking more than one needs to actively and happily participate and contribute.
Life is all about the participation, the level of engagement we bring to the table.
*Follow me, a photography project by Murad Osmann
Article by Sophy Laughing
Article by Sophy Laughing
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Because universities are yet to offer a course in Hedonistic Calculus, we can only guess the specific algebra required to compare these variables, on how to quantify, for example, the intensity of pleasure.
We can, however, look to J.S. Mill via Sandel, at this Harvard University lecture on the philosophical notion of utilitarianism.
If this sort of lecture isn't your thing, follow these instructions.
Do that which brings you pleasure.
Prior to the dissipation of the pleasurable sensation, ask yourself these five questions:
- Are you feeling good?
- Do you want to do this again?
- To what extent are your thoughts different from ordinary, pleasure-deficient thoughts?
- How willing are you to repeat that which just brought you pleasure?
- If you could, would you choose this sensation, uninterrupted and ad infinitum?
Write down your answers.
Think about them.
Repeat, as necessary, to formulate your opinion.
Compare and contrast your opinion against your opinion outside the pleasure state.
How do these opinions differ? How do you account for the differentiation?
Formulating pleasure into a body of science requires a demonstrated replicability both of the application of the method and of the results obtained in this way.
When in doubt, guess.