Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Conceptual Dimensionality,
Desperation Mode
& The Marvel Of Sharing

My head is an oven. Concepts are recipes I put together, then they cook in my mind until they're done. If I like how they taste then I write them down and put them somewhere, such as here. The more one learns about cooking, continuing my metaphor, the more one realizes that cooking is not about reproducing recipes, but about playing around with the ingredients to come up with a variation on an established theme. As one gets very skilled with a group of ingredients one can create new combinations almost certainly knowing what the outcome will be because of past experience with those ingredients, resulting in a new recipe. The art of food is always evolving. The art of conceptualizing is the same.

But events, such as time limitations and a lack of certain ingredients, get in the way. A lot of what we cook up gets botched or is incomplete or is missing something or other that doesn't let it taste quite right. Shite happens. That's part of being the dirt that got up and looked around. It's a messy thing being alive. I certainly believe a lot of things happen for a reason. But sorry, not everything happens for a reason. There is just sheer chaos out in the world at times, if only due to other people's bad decisions or a slight breeze in the air stirred up by a solar flare that happens to knock a balancing rock off a cliff causing it to land on your house below. Some things happen for a reason, and that is why cooking works! You can count on so many wonderful things to happen in our world. But you can also count on the unexpected and the unexpectable (I just had to teach that word to my spell checker) to happen as well. It's the old 'expect the unexpected', which is a very handy conceptual tool in and of itself.

How wonderful that we humans are so thoughtful. I enjoy making the most of this marvelous gift. But oddly, most people don't use their gift, or don't understand how to use it, or don't know they have it.... Something is wrong with their ability to cook. Even boiling water can seem daunting, despite it being a fundamental human skill, the one that comes right after knowing how to start a fire. What would any of us do without fire, that dangerous essential of civilization?

Where I live, the USA, we've been suffering an anti-renaissance for quite some time. Some call it the inevitable decline and fall of western civilization. We used to chatter about that concept when I was in junior high school back in the late 1960s, back when there was a very good book just out about the decline and fall of the Roman civilization and lots of books trying to comprehend how Germany declined and fell into fascism/naziism, and Italy and Spain and Japan and so on. We were trying to make sense of what had become blatantly obvious at my school via our very good teachers: That there were too many people on the planet and the damage was clearly showing. I'm talking about circa 1968 when books like 'The Population Bomb' were around, written by the brilliant, if imperfect, Paul R. Ehlich.

What's new in the current 'Trivia Era', as I call it, is the emphatic and demanding demolition of intelligent conceptualization within the USA. I'll probably dare dissect the situation in some future essay. For now I'll simply say that it is a complicated and acrid soup of a mindless mutation derived from conservatism mixed with heaping spoonfuls of hypocrisy, greed, short term thinking, long term disaster, hate, abuse, propaganda, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), herding mentality and a last dire dangerous ingredient I call 'Desperation Mode', or 'a la mode' if you prefer.

I've been personally studying 'Desperation Mode', deliberately or not, since I was 13. Obviously it was a direct result of that previously posted dream I had back then explaining to me what was mankind's worst enemy: Deceptive 'Truth', aka my baby talk phrase 'zunipus stargo', aka unreliable imaginings or conceptualizations, aka thought cooking. It is when we humans become desperate that we have the weakest grasp on what is real versus what is imaginary. It is when we reliably go out of our freaking minds. It is mass insanity. Its ultimate form is war.

Desperation Mode is something we humans also do our best to avoid. No one wants to think about depressing things or events, unless they're a bit mental. Been there, done that, didn't like it. But there it is as a form of disorganized human thought that leads to our ultimate failings, such as what was behind the last door of my 'Hall of Time' dream concept.

There are a variety of ways to detect when desperation is occurring. But I fell over an extremely easy marker recently while I was thinking about mind dimensionality, as an analog for spacial dimensionality. It's a very easy thing to detect in human behavior. One phrase for it is 'Reductive Thinking.' I'm going to toss out this little formula for your consideration:
The more reduced the thinking dimensionality of a group of people, the deeper they are into Desperation Mode.
I've been talking to people about Reductive Thinking for years, warning friends and foes about it being both a critical human skill and a critical human failing. While I was studying science I learned, as you may have, about the "KISS Principle". Thanks to Carl Sagan, many of us know about "Ocham's Razor", another Reductive Thinking concept. Both of these concepts can be used as tools for clearing the mind or for damaging the mind. The damage occurs when one uses these concepts as 'truth' or as 'reliable' when they are not. They are nothing more than tools of thought, much like a chisel, capable of cutting away the unimportant to reveal the essential, or they can be used to crack open someone's skull and bludgeon their brain to mush. As you might guess, in Desperation Mode, such simplification chisels become increasingly used as weapons of destruction rather than tools of revelation. Thus their danger.

I consistently return to my basic concept that:
We never know everything about anything.
An abuse of a simplification tool leads to our assuming that simplification is 'ALWAYS' a good thing when in fact we may be using it as a dire weapon of destruction. Thus the derisive terms 'ignorant' and 'stupid' and 'idiot' and 'retard', etc., where people with simple minds and simple mental systems of conceptualization are looked down upon as anything from humorous to dangerous.

Today in the USA I am surrounded by people who don't see such abuse of simplification tools as anything within the spectrum of humorous to dangerous. They wield simplification as a deadly weapon and call it 'GOOD'. That's desperate. That's insane. That's mankind at its worst. That's self-destruction.

So here is the so-simple concept I fell over that helps me detect desperation in anyone's conceptualization processes:

What are the number of dimensions in which someone is thinking?

In the olden days, like 40 years ago, one of those big burning questions was how many dimensions are there to the physical world. Is it three? Is it four? Is it five? It was in part a matter of semantics. What symbol system are we using? Are we confusing the symbol for the thing itself? (There's a huge concept for discussion some other time! For the moment I'll point you to both Zen Buddhism and what is called 'General Semantics'). The standard version, or thought system for physical dimensions back then was:

0) First you have to have existence. For convenience I call this the 'Zero Dimension'. We-The-Geeks like using zeros as the first in a list of numbers. The Zero Dimension was considered to be 'a point in space' and nothing more.

I never liked this concept. Nice as it is to be geekish and say zero is always the first number, to strictly apply mathematics to dimensionality, the 'Zero Dimension' should be plain old Zero, or nothing, as in NO EXISTENCE AT ALL. That's how it works within my thought system. Nothing is nothing is zero. Thankfully in modern times, this somewhat dim concept of the Zero Dimension has been thrown out the window along with the rest of the dimensions. But for the sake of this essay I'm going to continue to call the 'Zero Dimension' the simple state of existence, the point in space. Bear with me. Being flexible in one's thought conception system is very useful even if it can also be annoying.

BTW: I am not going to give you a link to Wikipedia's 'Zero-dimensional space' page because it will thoroughly freak you out as yet another, different dimensional concept.

1) The First Dimension is: The straight line in space. It may have a beginning and ending or it may just start and end at infinity. There is only the X measurement of dimension.

2) The Second Dimension is: The square, or plain, or the circle, or any other flat shape. It consists of lines, but they don't have to be straight, and there can be as many as you like going in any direction as you like as long as it is somewhere with an X & Y dimensional coordinate system.

3) The Third Dimension is: The cube, the sphere, or any other beyond-flat shape. It consists of lines going in any direction we can, as humans, imagine. It is what we see with our two eyes and hear with our two ears within our perceived 'reality'. There are three dimensional coordinate measurements: X & Y & Z.

Being human, I stop there. I'm done. I personally can't sense any further dimensions.

But someone just had to throw in what I consider to NOT be a dimension at all: TIME. Thus we get this monstrosity:

4) The Fourth Dimension maybe is: Time. Except we can't measure it like X & Y & Z because it is entirely relative to itself AND it only goes in one direction. You can't go backwards. It does not help define anything at all in space. It is a 'Change Factor', as I call it. For now I am going to leave it at that except to toss in this mean little quip:
You can tell a sci-fi writer is desperate when they start writing stories about going back in time.
Why am I so mean? I love watching Doctor Who! It's because let's face it: Going back in time is a physical impossibility. Such stories are not scientifically based in any way. Thus, they are fantasy. Thus the sci-fi writer has broken the rules of his trade and become a fantasy writer. Fantasy can be incredible stuff! I'm a Clive Barker addict! He is the modern genius of fantasy. Never would he call himself a sci-fi writer. I am so mean and cruel about this subject that I would tell anyone, including H. G. Wells himself to his face, that stories about traveling back in time are fantasy! Deal with it! But I digress. I tend to do that.

The only direction Time travels is forward.

Let me end this dimensional concept list by pointing out that thankfully modern science has found evidence for an incredible number of dimensions, all beyond human comprehension, that exist around and as part of us. A lot of this has been theorized thanks to the study of Quantum Mechanics within the field of physics. (When you have a lot of time to blow your brain open, go read an up-to-date book on Quantum Theory. I find it to be incredibly inspiring, so much so that I have two series of stories based upon its concepts: My stories about 'Collocation' and my Steampunk related character 'Colonel L. Afonte', aka Colonel Elephant. I may post a link to some of these stories in 2011).

How I put the Three Dimensions to work for me with regard to Desperation Mode:

Three dimensional thinking is encompasing thinking. It takes in all the information available. With time, science has become very good at applying thought concepts within an X, Y, Z sort of realm where ideas are mapped relative to one another within three chosen coordinates. What's even more super kewl is creating BIGGER coordinate systems with even more dimension measurements. We do this in computer programming all the time! It solves so many problems! But I'll restrain myself and continue.

My favorite three dimensional systems encompass human personalities. It is mind blowing how diverse we humans are with regard to personality. Carl Jung had one great system, well integrated into the Myers-Briggs personality system. I learned a very useful alternative system from Dr. Tony Alessandra while I was working at Kodak. At the time, he called it his 'Beyond Gold' personality system as applied to business organizational behavior. Later he expanded his system and now calls it 'The Platinum Rule'. His personality system is shockingly relevant to how today's businesses either thrive or fail due to human personality interactions and personality cultures within a business. He'll kill me for saying this, but he inspired my concepts of 'Marketing Maven' versus 'Marketing Moron', creative versus destructive marketing. And there are at least five other personality systems I can name, all of which have relevance within particular situations. Put it all together and you have a universe of personalities that can only be mapped within a three or more dimensional symbolic system.
Like it or not, we humans are extremely multi-dimensional thinkers.
That's not just a 'good thing'. That is part of our amazing diversity as a species that makes us so incomprehensibly creative as well as effective as an overall culture of social sharers. Sharing is our behavior where we pull it all together and put it to work for our benefit as a whole. I'm a sharing fanatic. Screw our stupid monetary symbol systems. Our strength as a species comes down to sharing.

Therefore, as you'd expect, I get very annoyed when people ignore their own human nature and go all Reductive Thinking about anything. That's an instant FAIL from my POV. For me, it's 3-D or FAIL.

But shockingly, even 2-D thinking is beyond the scope of a massive number of people. What I find outrageous is 1-D and even 0-D thinking.

What is One Dimensional Thinking? It's United States politics. Gag me. It's LEFT versus RIGHT. It's Democrat versus Republican. It's Liberal versus Conservative. It is one boring, entirely ineffective and non-representational straight line upon which we are all supposed to fit. It is stupid, idiotic, retarded, ignorant, etc. It is Reductive Thinking blown to destructive proportions. It is incredibly unrelated to actual human thought. It is IMHO worthless garbage, it is so far from representative of anything of importance, usefullness or goodness to mankind. It is what politicians blether on and on about every freaking day of their lives. It is one massive clue that politics really is the lowest of professions, below prostitution. If you ever meet a politician that deliberately thinks 'Off The Line', shower them with praise! They are a rarity.

One Dimensional Thinking is easy to detect within a simple conversation with another human being. When you hear it, beware. It is Destructive Reductive Thinking. What is a shame is that once you get off the topic of politics you often discover these people are as multi-dimensional in their thoughts as any other humans! I love a lot of these people! I work with them regularly, and we all pitch in to do such things as feed the poor and homeless. (I work at a food pantry one day every week). Many of these people are called 'The Salt of The Earth' because they follow some of the most wonderful of Judeo-Christian concepts. That is why I stick with them despite the all-too-frequent and vehement PoliTardiness (as I call it).

One Dimensional Thinking is Desperation Mode thinking. It is used as a Reductive Thinking bludgeon in attempt to deal with mass human behavior. It is a hammer with which to remove the inconvenient for the sake of ignorant simplicity.

But it gets worse. The final descent into insane despair is Zero Dimensional Thinking. Here is a key phrase to trigger your concern:
"You're either with us! Or against us!"
This is your cue to leave the room. Just leave. You're in the midst of the worst of despair. There is no reason to expect anything resembling sanity from someone who is so desperate that they reduce the world to The Zero Dimension. You either exist to these people, because you fit their 'Absolute Truth' point in space, or you don't exist to them at all. You're off the map. You're not on the coordinate system. You're not of their kind. You're gonna get killed. This is war. Get as far away from these freaking loonies as you can. Defend yourself and your loved ones as best you can. If need be, isolate these nut jobs so they can't do anyone any harm.

Want to understand just how badly things are going in the USA, here in our Trivia Era? Read the news and count all the examples of Zero Dimensional Thinking. The deeper the despair, the more you'll find Zero Dimensional Thinking going viral within the population.

Survival Strategy:

Please don't catch the disease. Stay human. Keep your head. Find the positive and push the positive at others if only to let them know that, when the chips are down, when you ain't got a penny, there is more to the world than Destructive Reductive Thinking. There is always sharing, that greatest of human behaviors. Put diversity back to work and make your sharing with others stronger. Help the 1-D people rediscover their 3-D natures. Skip the 0-D people entirely and focus on encompassing the best of mankind during the worst of times. There is magic in sharing.

Let me say it another way: At this point in time, as I continue to cogitate on our future as a species, the best key I've come up with to returning to personal, cultural and species sanity is simply sharing with others. It's the giving and the taking. It's the benefiting others and their benefiting you. It is strength in diversity. It is strength in numbers. It is strength in perspective. It is restored faith in mankind. It is the anchor line of culture. It is what we humans do best to be the best we can be.


Class dismissed!
Thanks for attending.

Homework: Think of something unique to you that you can do for, or contribute to, Earth our miracle planet. What can you share? Think about how to share it. Discover where you can share it. Then take that marvelous last step and . . .