The Revolutionary Theme in Film

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

There are two movies that I have recently watched, and it has been awhile since I have enjoyed movies.  The first movie, is The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part 1 and then Exodus Gods and Kings.  And really, the main theme that I keep seeing in these movies is some sort of revolution.  Exodus has been redone by Hollywood I don’t know how many times, and it makes me wonder why they focus on that one story so much.  What my theory is, is it has to do with revolution.  Mazerunner was another example.  The game essentially forced these kids to risk their lives to exit the maze, a sense of rebellion/revolution.  I want to explore as to why this theme keeps recurring throughout movies over the years.

First, since the first movies of this kind have been successful, it is a recipe to be repeated by Hollywood to maximize their profits.  But why do we like them?  We like to see the oppressed to be free of their bondage.  All throughout human history, there have been revolutions because living conditions were so poor, or their treatment was so unjust, there had to be something done.  However, with the repetition that this movie theme is used, it makes me wonder, is there another purpose to this?  When the revolution is successfully fulfilled, there is a better life for many.  Seeing that moment, feels good, and maybe why these movies are so successful.  However, I think the action of putting revolutions on the big screen, undermines actual revolution.  What I mean is, when people watch something fictional on the big screen, and see the loss of life and risk involved, mixed with current contentment in their lives, people don’t even think about enacting a new government forcefully.  When I say contentment, is our way of life is decent enough to not risk for many, even though the quality of life for everyone could greatly improve if our government was forcefully abolished.  So since we have large amounts of things to consume, and we are programmed to consume at a young age, we don’t think about the possibilities of other lives.

And just as fictional stories show, there is risk involved, including one’s life.

I suppose peoples’ standards of living are at the point they aren’t willing to risk their lives for the possible betterment of humanity.  After all, things in theory may end up being practiced completely differently.  But I see so many problems with our economy, our government, and our way of life.  I suppose my life right now is fine.  I get to watch movies, play video games, listen to an insane amount of music, and have libraries full of databases and books.  However, as one example of so many I could list, The Supreme Court of the United States just issued a verdict that basically says if the owner of the property is not present, cops have the legal authority to search the property.  That basically undermines the fourth amendment.  I’m saying this, because ever so slightly, our Constitution is degrading.  We as a people revere it so much, but are not educated about it.  And our way of life is moving further and further from the intentions of our forefathers, allowing greed and apathy to consume our population.

And these movies?  In a way I think it is a defense for the establishment towards the idea of the masses revolting over what is going on.  Because the people in power, and the people making all the money, feel it too.  They dehumanize, just like any moment in history, people making less money than them, to justify their exploitation.  But they know it isn’t right.  There was a UN study done on social stratification, and it found that countries with the most social stratification had the least quality of health among all classes of that population.  When Donald Trump sees a homeless man, two things occur.  There is a pyschosocial stress experienced between the homeless man and Donald Trump.  This stress, leads to failing health.  Donald Trump, to deal with the psychosocial stress, dehumanizes the homeless man.  The homeless man, probably feels the stigma associated with being homeless, and feels worse about themselves when they see affluence.  Both parties experience stress, and both parties have less health because of it.

I also see these movies as an expression of a fantasy.  I think it in a way, because it is enjoyable to all of us, we desire a better life.  It speaks to us.  But because it is on the big screen, it is undermined.  “Because it is a movie.”  Nevertheless, I feel there is a desire in people for a better life.  For example, what the band MGMT feels.

They are giving up on life, because they don’t want to work the 9-5 life.  They don’t feel like they are living if they live that life.

So will America keep consuming movies about revolutions, or will they one day do something about the state of this country?  Time will tell.

I want a nation of workers, not thinkers.  -John D Rockefeller

 

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An Different Look into Scarcity

Mullainathan, Sendhil, and Eldar Shafir. Scarcity: why having too little means so much. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2013. Print.

 

Throughout the majority of my life, my family and I had to deal with very tight financial constraints.  I can’t count the amount of times I have feared that we wouldn’t be able to pay for food, and there have been a multitude of times when we have had to use a food pantry.  I wanted to know how this is possible.  Why are there people flying private jets while there are people unable to eat?  The resources are there!  So  I have tried to get a better understanding of how the economy works, and I have taken time to learn various philosophies when in regards to economic policy as well as general economies as a whole.  The book that I just read, adds a layer of complexity to the study of economies.  As it is stated in the book, various economists make the assumption that people will make the most rational decision.  Yet, as we all know, this is sometimes not the case.  The psychology of scarcity actually can explain this phenomenon.  What is interesting is there are other things that are scarce throughout life.  Time can be scarce at times, followed by calorie intake (diet), the book throws a curve ball and talks about “social scarcity” (loneliness), and quite frankly I think addiction can be applied to the sphere of scarcity as well.  There is probably more, but what this book shows is that what they are finding about scarcity can be applied generally to other cases, not just money.

The premise of their findings was generally stated in the introduction of the book.  Essentially scarcity first forces us to tunnel on the thing we are scarce over.  So if I don’t have a lot of time and I am working hard, I will focus on the most immediate or late deadlines.  This prioritization, or heightened focus on deadlines (tunneling), is a double edged sword.  The efficiency of the person under a strict deadline goes up substantially because he or she is focusing harder to get his or her work done.  However it is through this tunneling, that sometimes other factors that contribute to scarcity in the first place gets overlooked.  So in the time example, while working on a late deadline another deadline has to be completed late.  This is a feedback process, and eventually I would be placed in what is termed the “scarcity trap,” where I am constantly in the state of scarcity, fighting a forever uphill battle to actually complete everything on time.  There is more though.  The authors of this book used the word bandwidth to encapsulate the overall processing power of the brain.  It is found that scarcity actually taxes the bandwidth of the brain, more specifically fluid intelligence and impulse control.

Another example could be used with addiction, or chemical scarcity.  Once the addiction is established, there is a drive to put their drug of choice into their system.  When there are heavy cravings (scarcity) addicts will tunnel to focus on getting chemicals back into their system for their high.  Addicts get very creative when it comes to getting money for their addiction, and that typically means other financial to relationship obligations, fall through the tunnel.  Eventually the added on stress of not meeting those responsibilities is dealt with taking more drugs (not to mention their impulse control is down).  This again brings about another scarcity trap.  Usually addicts have to reach rock bottom in order for them to gain the motivation to stop.  In order to stop any scarcity trap, including that of addiction, impulse control is needed which is extremely difficult considering the bandwidth tax.

Here is a summary of the findings of this book with regards to financial scarcity:

Tying all this together, we see that scarcity traps emerge for several interconnected reasons, stretching back to the core scarcity mindset.  Tunneling leads us to borrow so that we are using the same physical resources less effectively, placing us one step behind.  Because we tunnel, we neglect, and then we find ourselves needing to juggle.  The scarcity trap becomes a complicated affair, a patchwork of delayed commitments and costly short-term solutions, that need to be constantly revisited and revised.  We do not have the bandwidth to plan a way out of this trap.  And when we make a plan, we lack the bandwidth needed to resist temptations and persist.  Moreover, the lack of slack means that we have no capacity to absorb shocks.  And all this is compounded by our failure to use the precious moments of abundance to create future buffers.

Shocks in this context has to do with the financial surprises that life brings us.  They use the term slack to talk about room in the overall budget.  Having slack is a very important component to keeping you out of, and get you out of, the scarcity trap.  Put simply, having a little extra money allows one to save money to keep him or her out of the trap.  When in the scarcity trap, slack allows for somebody to pay for late bills without the need of a loan.  When looking at the scarcity trap, saving is the most important thing one can do to keep yourself from that mindset.  It is extremely risky to spend all of your budget every paycheck if it is avoidable.  It takes just one major “shock” to put yourself into the scarcity trap and mindset.

This book was interesting, but I must say I did not like how they structured the book.  The majority of their theory was revealed in the introduction, which made the rest of the material more bland.  If they were to reveal the theory as they went, the material would have a more interesting factor to it.  I understand they have to be thorough when explaining the evidence for their theory, but in my opinion it was a little excessive.  They spelled it out like someone was a complete moron, being so thorough of their logic.  I suppose this is good, especially considering the kind of people they are selling their book to.  But I found it irritating.  I really think they could of taken 100 to 120 pages off of the book.  Their theory is condensed, not long, not hard to understand, and could be provided evidence through their studies.

This book makes me realize that all people will do things impulsively under scarcity.  So when someone does something irrationally, it has to do with their taxed bandwidth.  I hope that this knowledge can be used by economists to better understand how people behave in the economy.  Maybe it will allow economists to change their assumptions, which would provide a more accurate understanding.  But I hope in the end this will breed more empathy for the poor.  And I hope that one day we will all have the mindset to allow the necessities of life to be provided to everyone.

Determinism Vs. Free Will Part 2

neuralpathways

The above picture is taken from neuroscientists tracking the different pathways in the brain.   It is fairly obvious that most of them head to the brainstem, but as you can see, towards the edges you have these flaps that connect with other areas of the brain.  Plus there could be some pathways touching others on their way to the brainstem.  This goes all around the brain.  I thought this picture was really cool and really enlightening as to the physical routes that these neural pathways travel.

And finally, comes my second post on this subject because I finished my book.  Determinists believe that the neural pathways that you see at the top of the post, can all be described by a set of algorithms.  That literally, since a brain is composed of biochemical processes and that they follow the laws of physics, that eventually neuroscientists with added knowledge will be able to describe different brains with different mathematics.  The implication of this, is that your thoughts, including your conscious thoughts, are just part of a system.  The conscious is just an illusion created by the brain.  The author does not go into why determinists think we have a conscious in the first place.  If conscious thought is too influenced by subconscious thought, then why do we have the experience of being us?  The best answer that I can give you, has to be one of survival.  With this view, I think subconscious and conscious thought to be part of a two core processor.  And it allows us to multitask within our thinking.  We could be sharpening an arrow head, but be thinking about what needs to be done next at the same time.  The sharpening of the arrow head would be in the subconscious networks, but the person wouldn’t really be thinking about it that hard and yet they are doing it.  The deliberation on what to do next is purely on the conscious networks.  And the conscious networks is able to probe so many different areas of the brain, that it helps ensure the most logical decision for what is known.  A different example would be having to bring livestock in when it is getting really stormy.  You are consciously trying to tie out the knots as fast as possible, but your subconscious is telling you to hurry up, forcing your conscious thoughts to center around untieing knots as quickly as you can and to do it as calmly as you can.   There is no doubt that after reading this book I have a much more appreciation for the subconscious.  It has much more influence on our decisions than we think.  And I think this influence, is enough to influence our free will that we should be truthful to ourselves and recognize that our decisions have both a conscious and unconscious component.  That our free will is not as much as pure as we would like to think.  I think right now with the experiments that were cited in this book, this is an okay assumption.

One experiment that I thought was very strong, was done with non-precise methods, so there is some intrinsic error.  However, I believe that there have been newer attempts at this methodology with better technology.  There just has to be, given the importance of this discovery.  And if it hasn’t been done already, trust me, it is going to be done.  I will show you why.

The scientist hooked up subjects to an EKG, which basically record electrical signals on the scalp, a way to record brain activity.  Then he asked his subjects to flick their wrist.  The EKG showed there was considerable amount of brain activity just before the flicking of the wrist.  So, he took the experiment a little further and had the subjects say when they were consciously flicking the wrist and he would record the time when they said it.  He found that there was heightened brain activity before the subject consciously made the decision.  Therefore, the subconscious made the decision.

The author said the experiment had a lot of intrinsic error.  It did on the precise times, but it was very clear that the subconscious was first and the conscious was second.  He then stated that we don’t know what that subconscious activity really was, that it could be anything else.  To me this is desperation at trying to discredit a pivotal experiment.  The EKG also records baseline activity, and when a certain task was presented, the activity went up followed by the conscious activity.  It is very safe to say that the subconscious activity was activity tailored towards the flicking of the wrist.  Considering the implications of this experiment, I would not be surprised if a group of scientists updated the methodology and redid the experiment.  I understand that the recording of times was not done in a very precise way.  But the scientist was able to clearly distinct the beginning of electrical impulses following by the conscious decision to flick the wrist.  To me that is good enough evidence.

And this book was a broken record.  He would come up with fictional story after fictional story to describe the moral deliberations that some of us have to make.  To show us that no algorithm can describe a “boundless” problem; therefore, we have free will.  It is true that these experiments (there are two more but they aren’t worth mentioning in my opinion) only have to do with very basic decisions.  So going to the grocery store and picking ham or bacon is probably a subconscious decision.  Or going holiday shopping and picking a dress for your daughter is subconscious as well.  But the author focused on moral problems because if you guys don’t remember, the first post on this is that if there is no free will, we have no moral responsibility.  But I think the author missed the mark on how scientists would create a algorithmic system of the brain.  He thought they would have to literally create each an every moral rule.  Killing trumps stealing, and etc.  So I guess you could make a very simple moral rule and it would be something like:  K > S .  And there would be hundreds upon hundreds of conditions, that would only deal with morality.  Computers are powerful.  But if you were to set up these “algorithms” for the entire brain, that is a lot of power a computer has to have.  Which is why I think there is a more efficient way to go about it.  And it has everything to do with the picture I showed you at the beginning of this post.

The first step would be to mathematically map the brain.  What I mean by that, is to describe neural networks in 3D space.  And, certain regions of the brain would be excited by the resultant of certain networks, which could therefore be calculated.  Eventually, scientists would be able to have the fundamental networks, or mathematical map, of the brain.  And through the mathematical interaction of these networks, they could calculate the resulting network that would be stimulated.  Therefore, from those fundamental equations, you could run them to get every possible segment if you really wanted to.  They would have a complete map of the brain.  They would have algorithms (the author said that some of the brain works algorithmically) describing the entire brain.  So I think technically determinism is true.  But that is half the battle.  How would we derive meaning or thoughts from those mathematics?  If you had a subject look at a picture of a sunset, and you saw and were able to predict the brain activity, what exactly was the subject thinking?  Ultimately I do not think it wold be possible for us to go that far.  I think that is a limit to where this science can go.  Do I think the brain can be mathematically mapped?  Yes.  Does that mean the brain works deterministically?  Yes.  Will we ever be able to predict with supreme accuracy what someone is thinking or doing?  No.  It just isn’t possible.

If you take these moral situations that this author wrote out, it became apparent to me that there is a common strategy.  First, think of all possible alternatives.  And, once the deterministic brain looks for all the possible alternatives, it makes the most logical choice given all the information.  He was looking at how the brain would be mathematically described in a completely wrong view in my opinion.  The computer power needed would be tedious and asinine.  If scientists were able to describe the pathways with equations, that would be much easier to compute than hundreds upon hundreds of rules just for morality.

The brain is influenced by genetics, environment, and past experiences.  Environment, can even change the expression of genes.  Meaning the gene stays the same, but the protein that comes out of it is different.  And past experiences the brain is able to learn from.  I firmly believe our brains follow the laws of nature, and that even our conscious is determined.  Our trail of thinking can be recorded mathematically and later predicted, but a scientist would never be able to predict a conscious deliberation, but that does not mean that determinism is not true.  I believe the conscious and subconscious are ways to multitask.  For example, thinking while walking, or thinking while doing anything.  Our subconscious is like our firmware, deeply programmed and is able to influence conscious thought.  Does that mean conscious thought can influence subconscious thought?  I am not sure because we are talking about he subconscious, but I will infer that yes it does.  But this is how perfect our system is.  Humans evolved with these huge brains that have both subconscious and conscious thoughts among other powerful things.  The separate consciousness naturally help us survive.  Of course homo-sapiens had to fend off many species of human, and I don’t know exactly how.  But still, I think it is a beautiful thing.  That a few rearrangement of genes provides the building blocks of something so complex as the human mind.  

In short, I am a determinist.  I think we all do things for a reason, and our brain works like a machine, and works by what it was designed to do.  But skeptics are going to want more and more proof, and over time there will be more and more studies and experiments.  I think in order for these experiments to have any more merit, they have to record brain activity doing more complex decisions.  The advancement of technology is there, but essentially they would have to wear functional MRI magnets on a portable apparatus that can be fit around the head.  The results have to be sent wirelessly.  Only then, will we get the definite data that the skeptics will require.  And you never know, I could very well be wrong here, and they prove that there is a free will.

Only time will tell, but free will is losing.

The Advancements of Neuroscience Part 1

 

Sternberg, Eliezer J. My Brain Made me do It. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2010. 9-43. Print.

I can’t believe what I am reading.  I have read a forward, introduction, and three chapters, and I have to start writing about this book.  This book is going to be one of the greats that I have read, simply because the implications of what this book is saying is so profound.

The first thing I remember reading, was about a criminal that was executed back in 2005.  He basically robs a pizza joint at gunpoint, and demands all the cash from the register.  The employee follows the direction, while the manager was trying to be as quiet as possible in the back crying.  The criminal demanded to see the manager, whereby he eventually kills the manager execution style.  When asked about the crime, the criminal showed no remorse.  I will say this before proceeding, that he was eventually sentenced to death.  Now with the interesting argument that the defense put forth.

First understand that the defense did a complete physical and psychological look up.  The works.  And everything seemed normal, except that he had a deficiency of monoamine oxidase A.  I will let the lawyers themselves tell you their defense:

Stagnant MOMA activity among affected males resulted in the excretion of abnormally high amounts of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine.  When these neurotransmitters accumulate in abnormal amounts due to a defect in the MOMA gene, affected individuals will have trouble handling stressful situations, causing them to respond excessively, and at times violently.   (page 22)

In other words, the biology of his brain explains the outburst of violence that day.  This statement, is the epiphany of determinism.  Essentially determinism can be broken down into one sentence:

The brain controls the mind.

Let me share with you an experiment that I heard about on a television program.  Subjects were put into a brain imaging machine, and where given a very simple task.  This task, invoked a decision on the subject.  The brain was essentially monitored at every step of the way.

What the neuroscientists were learning was that the regions of the brain responsible for the subconscious, would light up first followed by regions of the brain responsible for conscious thought.  Finally, the motor cortex was excited because of the actual pressing of the button.  The implications of this, is that your subconscious s active before your conscious for every decision that you make.  And, because these are brain circuits, there is no doubt that your subconscious has an effect on your decision.  So, was the decision really free?  Or was it determined?  Was the decision determined by the biological make up of your brain, which is affected by genes, environment, and previous experiences?

Think of it as another way.  Your brain is a factory.  The input is sensory stimulation, and the output is resulting behaviors.  Theoretically, because neurotransmitters not only work on the biological, but the physical level as well, neuroscientists think they will one day be able to create a system of algorithms to describe mathematically an individual brain, and would therefore be able to predict what your actions would become given the environment and experiences.  Your brain is in such control, and grand biochemical system, that can be completely understood because it is deterministic.

There are two huge implications to this:

  1. There is no free will.
  2. There is no moral responsibility.

And let me tell ya, I have been reading this book slowly.  It is very well written, and everything makes sense, but it is hard for me to swallow.  It is changing the fabric of reality in front of me, like good books do.  And it is essentially saying we are not in control, our brains are.  Our brains are the determining factor on why people behave; not their free will.

If there is no free will, then the interpretation of Genesis is completely wrong.  But I already went there.

If there is no moral responsibility, then we should look at methods to recondition the minds of the violent criminals.  Their brains made them do it, due to their environment,  genes, and experiences (poverty is the subject of my next book I think) so instead of using the resources to protect ourselves for prolonged periods of time, (I agree we have to protect ourselves nonetheless) we should work for a streamline of processes to recondition the mind that hopefully would one day cost less than sustaining the criminal.  We have to rework their brains with a descent circuitry so they can function safely in society.  I’m not quite sure how we would do that, and I know part of that would be gene therapy, which is still being worked on.

But determinism is the huge landslide that is hitting neuroscience.  Some philosophers have come up with a view of free will called compaitblism.  I am not going to explain it fully, but simply this effort of making free will and determinism compatible is just a way to escape the painful implications of determinism, free will, and moral responsibility.

This is sort of like the kind of idea that will be resisted amongst the populace.  Because it is hard to accept the fact that your brain is in complete control, and the evolution of your brain dictated the behaviors of yourself, and influenced the informational input of others.

In a sense, we are like robots I think, assuming determinism is true.  We aren’t experiencing, our brain is controlling.  And so it is with that that I leave you.  Notice at the title it says Part 1.  That is because this is probably going to be a book I write about multiple times.  It is that good.

I hope you enjoyed yourselves!

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Analysis

I was fortunate enough to play Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The game was a great quality game.  The writing was superb.  Character interactions with the voice acting really made the characters come alive, which created a game that was the means to telling a story.  In my opinion, some of the strongest games ever made told an interactive story – like reading a book.  To finish off the game review part of this post, the graphics were superb.  My gaming machine is not top of the line by any stretch of the imagination and had to play the game at a measly 800 x 600 resolution.  But the game was still pretty!  The colors were very bright and bold, and really showcased the variety of the Unreal Engine.  I was impressed.  The sound effects that were tied to different instances and interactions in the game was of the highest quality and really tied in the experience.  You add that on top of a very thought provoking story and character development, and you have a game that will always be remembered.

With that done, I can now focus on what I really want to think about.  It is the implications and statement that this story brings.  And so I am going to make it known from here on out I will be spoiling the game.  Because, in order to have a resolution of the story one has to beat the entire game.  So if you want to play this game and enjoy the experience like you should, then I advise you close the browser or tab and stop reading.

The beginning starts with one of the core three characters, Monkey.  He is called monkey because he resembles one – not through looks but by mere actions.  He battles with his fists and a staff, and is able to climb pretty much anywhere.  He is very strong.  You learn throughout the game that he may lack the computer intelligence, but his resourcefulness and survivability and bar none.

In any case he wakes up in a capsule.  He cannot move.  The length of the trip was another 16 hours.  There is a red taint portrayed around his eyes to show his suffering.  He can’t sleep, is insanely bored, and can only stand in a capsule.  He can only think – nothing more.  Across from his capsule he sees a “slave” escape her pod.  This is the introduction of the second core characters, and her name is Trip.  Trip has a computer mind that can not be surpassed.  She uses her wrist computer to hack the pod she was in, and she continues to move through the huge ship.  Monkey with his resourcefulness escapes his pod and follows her.  They run into one another in the escape, but Trip leaves him for dead.  At the very end of the escape Trip occupies the last evacuation capsule.  Monkey on the other side pleads for her to let him in.  She pulls the trigger.  Monkey, clinging on for dear life, hangs onto the evacuation capsule until their landing.  This is the very beginning of the game.

When Monkey wakes, he finds a metal band across his head – Trip has enslaved him.  He wants to hurt her, but quickly there is cerebral pain experienced by Monkey.  And so, Monkey is forced to assist Trip in returning back to her hometown.  And the game is a story of their travels, and the growing bond between them.  At one point at the last stages of the game, Trip takes off the headband saying, “You can go.  There is nothing holding you back.”  Monkey looks at her with such seriousness in her eyes, “Put it back on me.”  Trip did.  I think the reason Monkey did that was because he knew himself enough to know that he would want to leave to survive.  He is a survivor.  The only way he would see things through and ensure the safety of Trip is if he was enslaved.  It was a beautiful moment.

Anyways, Monkey and Trip return to her self-sustaining community to find it slaughtered by mechs.  She is devastated and wants revenge.  This is the motivator to the end of the game, where they actually make it to Pyramid.  Pyramid is an entity responsible for enslaving millions of people and creating wastelands with its mech warriors.  The entire game the player does not necessarily know the motives behind Pyramid.  But Pyramid is exactly that.  It is a giant luminescent pyramid.  It was in a desert.  Which shows some resemblance of Ancient Egypt.  When Trip and Monkey enter the pyramid, they see thousands upon thousands of people standing in order engrossed by images being seen on their headbands (the same device that Monkey is wearing).  There is a man in the center, working freverously on a computer, wearing a mask and obviously being kept alive with mech technology.  He is very old.

It turns out that the old man was feeding memories of life on Earth before the big war.  The “slaves” were lost in a world of old Earth, living good positive experiences.  The old man wanted to provide those images to the masses to ease suffering, because all that is left of the world is wastelands with mechs.  Which he created by the way.  In his delusional eyes, he was doing humanity a favor.  He was removing the suffering of the world, a suffering that he helps contribute, by providing a new virtual life to the masses.  Even Monkey was transfixed.  He wanted to beat the argument of the old man at his own game, and had the images uploaded to his headband.  Monkey was starting to get lost in the images and memories, however Trip doing something for herself for once, kills the old man, bringing the entire pyramid back to reality.

The obvious statement that the story makes is that experiencing True reality regardless of the suffering involved is the right thing to do.  Otherwise one is not living.  The game also shows the danger of giving one man absolute power.  Even men in power are prone to delusions and faulty thinking, so even putting in place a leader with an extremely high IQ wouldn’t relieve that possibility.  I am however, for providing a ruling class consisting of individuals with exceptional intellectual ability.  Sort of like The Jedi Council in Star Wars.  I think that would be a much better and efficient way at ruling the country rather than having hundreds of representatives that just make up one third of the governmental body.  Our system has worked for sure, but I really do think it is time for a change.

But I think humanity is going to face a problem like this in the future.  Gaming technology is only going to improve and become more engrossive.  Eventually there will be virtual reality, and eventually we could probably pick the experience we would want to experience.  Humanity will undoubtedly create a reality that is better, easier, whatever the word, than our current reality.  Now we all have this desire to experience the reality for truly what it is.  But what if humanity could create a self-sustaining system that would provide a better reality for everyone?  We would definitely lose track of what is real.  And no real progress would be done to progress the species to other parts of the galaxy and beyond.  But isn’t the goal of humanity is to provide an oasis, a heaven on a planet so to speak?  It is in my experience, that we can already create better realities than our own.  I think eventually mankind would have the potential to create a self sustaining system bring virtual reality to the masses.  It could be individual instances, or it could be group.

So why am I sharing this?

We have to make a decision about video games addiction and video game entertainment as a society.  If unchecked and not debated, it very well could be possible that humanity will induce a Matrix onto themselves.  If that is what humanity wants, fine.  But we have to start thinking and debating along those lines.  We have to start making those governmental regulations to curb our tendencies.  However, it could be argued that someone is going to do it anyway if it is possible.  Which means I am scared.  The worship of a world created by humanity is the definition of idolatry in the eyes of humanism.  It will bring us further from being human.  And it is only until we become closer to what makes us human, do we feel more fulfilled.  That is what humanism would say.  But why does more fulfillment coincide with more suffering?  Is that a truth that we must accept?

Great provocative game.  The gameplay was great, the graphics and sound were great, and finally the story and character progression was very good.  I am very lucky to be able to experience this game in its entirety.

The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development by Jerome Kagan

Again I have finished a very revealing book.  The Human Spark focuses on human development, ranging from the first months of life all the way to the development of moralities and emotions.  The actual writing of this book is superb.  He has actually taught me some things about grammar!  As usual authors of this caliber are very avid readers, citing countless studies on the issues that he is talking about.

The book starts with the first months of life.  Infants develop what are termed schema and semantic networks.  Schema as I understand it, is an occurrence or event that is anticipated by the infant.  So for example, a mother’s greeting with a smile after waking up or the excitement of the father seeing his child after a long day of work.  Semantic networks are formed by grouping words into various categories.  The earliest semantic networks tend to be more general compared to the semantic networks that are further developed later in life.  So for example, a semantic network of living things can include units such as people, bugs, birds, and fish.  As the child develop their specificity enhances.  So the birds semantic network would consist of bald eagle, raven, or hawk–and sub-networks can span multiple networks.  The point of this, is that the development of schema and semantic networks allows the brain to develop other regions of the brain.  Human development coincides with the biological changes in the brain.  A general trend is that when an individual ages, the connection of used circuits become strengthened and sensitized.  The connection between the two hemispheres, the corpus collosum, becomes strengthened as well as the connection between the prefrontal cortex and other regions of the brain.  This has to do with the construction and maturation of various cognitive processes as well as the brain’s ability to inhibit urges.  But more specifically, after the maturation of schema and semantic networks, three important processes are developed.  Inference, morality, and consciousness.  Inference entails that children are able to deal with the hypothetical and make conclusions based on previous knowledge.  Morality is growing a perception of what is right and wrong.  The factors of morality has to do with semantic networks, personal feelings of certain events, as well as the praise or punishment of certain actions (either by parents or society at large).  With these core factors, morality progresses.  Consciousness is the next component that emerges.  A child grows more aware of their feelings, thoughts, actions, or traits, and is able to inhibit actions and redirect their attention.  Again, this is due to more regions of the brain connecting with one another.  There is an interesting source of inhibition of these regions, and that has to do with social class.  As relative wealth decreases, the growth of these regions responsible to these traits decreases.  Admittedly, there is not much known as to why this happens, just theory backed with no empirical evidence.  In fact increased stimulation of the brain has a physical effect on neurons.  There are actually more “ribs” that are present on the dendrites of neurons, the section of the neuron that is responsible for receiving electrical impulses.

Another important concept that Kagan talks about is “temperamental biases.”  This basically means how infants biologically tend to react to stressors.  People can generally be placed into two groups:  high reactive and low reactive.  High reactive means that when an event conflicts with the child’s or infant’s schema, the baby or child cries, wales the arms, and basically has a loosely defined tantrum.  Low reactive means that the child is able to handle these stressors well.  These general reactions to events is the product of the child’s biology.  Kagan worked on a longitudinal study where these children were tracked over time.  Children that were highly reactive tend to be shy, timid, and socially anxious whereas low reactives we generally more successful in our society.  It was also found, that high reactives have a more sensitized amygdala which is responsible for certain emotions, most notably fear.  It is important to note however that this temperamental bias does not solely determine the individual’s outcome.  Environment, culture, and historic era also contribute to the development of the individual.  At the very beginning of the book, Kagan relived his experiences with longitudinal studies on a wide variety of cultures, ranging from the Western countries to remote villages in South America.  What he and his colleagues were studying was the growth of children in different cultures.  What he found was that humans can develop a seemingly limitless amounts of ways, but the culture inhibits other avenues, and guides the individual toward a certain path.  It seems, that Eric Fromm’s assertions about human development was backed by science!  These individuals had a different sense of morality, emotions, and the like.

Kagan talks a great deal about the problems and limits of the current science of human development.  What is moral?  Every person has a different sense and philosophers over the ages have had different definitions through the era of time.  One school of thought places what is right on actions of the majority of the community.  Western ideals says to follow individual morals regardless of society’s.  And, since there is no universal what is right and what is wrong, how do you measure morality?  The same situation can be applied to emotions.  The primary source of data with regards to emotions are questionnaires, which have their problems.  The main arguments that are construed against questionnaires has to do with the vocabulary used.  Usually, when psychologists and the like record their findings, they do not define key words–then let people figure it out themselves.

Mental illnesses can be broken down into four different categories:

  1. Compensation in logic, affect, or social behavior.
  2. Severe depression and/or anxiety due to biological factors.
  3. Impulse control problems that is due to biological factors.
  4. Groups two and three based on life life experience.

There is a great point he makes on the current state of psychiatry.  Psychiatry aims to treat the symptoms of an illness; not the cause of it.  There are known methods to deduce causes of symptoms but usually any two psychiatrists would conclude two different things.  So the general trend is to group symptoms into illnesses that can be treated through medication.  However, if doctors are refusing to heal at the source, there will always be a battle fought in the mind.  (I must add, drug companies love this school of thought)  If however the medical field worked on a more concrete and specific methodology in determining the cause of symptoms, actions could be taken in finding a treatment and possible cure of those symptoms.

The main theme I took from this book, is that there is actually different brains in people who live in different social class.  But why do some people live a life of success, where others do not?  Surprisingly, science knows very little for there hasn’t been many studies in this field.  Part of this has to do with financial reasons.  Longitudinal studies of this caliber could stretch in the millions of dollars.  The government is willing to sponsor studies of the physical world, but when it comes to the extremely fast pace of psychological concepts and ideas–with loose methods in measuring certain phenomena–psychologists in the field of human development have to take on problems of smaller scale.  If the field could come up with more concrete methods, then it would be possible to study why difference in class affects an individual to the extreme that it does.

Kagan is great in deducing what is wrong, but for the most part he does not propose a solution.  He puts that responsibility on the rest of the community.  It is true that finding out what is the source of discrepancy among scientist is the first step, but not taking the time to think of a solution regardless of the state of technology seems to be inconsistent.  It is true that technology needs time to develop, but it would not hurt to strategize what would need to be accomplished in order to be able to provide accurate measurements on concepts like emotions and moralities.

It was a good read.  Concepts and evidence in this book solidifies my current views on what a new society would do to the overall population.  Literally, different brains would be developed, and the core concepts of morality, emotions, and consciousness would be changed.  Considering that constructive stimulation of the mind physically changes the neuron, getting rid of poverty would create a humanity teeming with constructive ways to express themselves.  The clear and fair distribution of resources to all through a Resource Based Economy would bring about values of working for the greater good.  In fact, in forums on this concept if this concept were to be enacted people already would devote their time to huge projects that had to be constructed in order for this society to work.  And, as young people see the majority of society working together, they would value this trait as well.

If anything, this book has taught me that the mind is extremely malleable, that decrease in its plasticity the more you age.  And, as sites develop early in the brain, this emerges sites dependent upon the previous sites’ development.  This would create strikingly different brains.  Everything from a stronger connected prefrontal cortex to the rest of the brain to the desensitization of the flight or response system.  And, the environment would change the expression of the genome!  New proteins creating a new biological profile.  Therefore, I believe the argument that says, “Capitalism works because it is our human nature,” have not read into the world of human development.  Different cultures and historical eras breed different people.

 

Transitional Methodologies

I have been thinking about a basic framework on how to transition society to a new paradigm.  The first obvious method, would be to get the overall population backing a certain ideal, and then create a revolution, by overthrowing the people in power.  This is probably one of the most improbable possibilities, because people for the most part are not susceptible to new ideas that conflict with their values and identification.  This first evidence I see of this is just participating in political debate forums.  People blindly stick to their ideals, to the point that no matter how much evidence you throw their way, they refuse to acknowledge a conflicting idea.  When they are utterly defeated through debating, they will just devalue the evidence presented which is a central component to the conflicting stance.  Part of it has to do with dominance and competitiveness.  Individuals want to become superior than their counterparts to feel better about themselves.  But there is more to it.  All people identify with a group of people in their community.  There are people that tend to identify with the minority because they want to behave in an acceptable way.  A common explanation for this, is that people who were the first born in their family when they find acceptable characteristics of their parents, will try and establish a connection with those values.  They follow the rules and regulation of the parents, which makes them susceptible to identifying with the majority.  This means, that no matter what the evidence of certain ideas that conflict with their identification or values, these ideas will be rejected.  And, part of the component to this idea has to do with majority, therefore the majority of the populace would tend to not accept these new ideals.  Not to mention, the perceived fear of drastic change.  This, and other concepts of human psychology and sociology that I have not learned about, are the reason why I do not think the majority of the populace can be convinced of a new idea or ideal.  Therefore, another method should be implemented in transitioning society to a Resource Based Economy.

The transition must coincide with the values of the populace.  One common drive of the human race, is the drive to survive.  This is apparent in various works of art, where it is theorized that humanity would bond together to defeat the obstacle at hand.  And, in our current society, things are only changed when the lives of the majority are affected.  Therefore, I think the best method would be to implement this idea after the collapse of society’s systems.

The obvious target that comes to my mind, is the global economic system.  The distribution and consumption of resources is dependent upon a monetary system.  If this is removed, people would not know what to do with regards to the distribution of resources.  One idea that I will touch based on, is that the men in power now want to create a worldwide government once the economic system collapses (which maybe happening right now.  I will touch base on this in a second.)  But this would be a prime time to put into place The Resource Based Economy.

The easiest way to collapse the economic system is by ruining the banking sector:

  1. Everyone would request a complete withdrawal of their money.  Fractional reserve banking is dependent upon the assumption that not all of their reserves is required for withdrawals.  This is how they accrue their wealth.  Because of the reasons outlined above, this is near to impossible from happening.
  2. The confidence of Treasury Bonds are lost coupled with hyper-inflation.  This is the method that I think is being used today.  The increase of governmental deficit spending forces banks to increase interest rates to remove money from the overall money supply.  This is to increase the value of the dollar.  The deficit spending also essentially increases demand because there is more money available.  Therefore, prices go up while jobs are not created because for the most part, supply of goods and services are adequate as well as the advent of automation systems and outsourcing.  Wages also do not increase in concordance to inflation.  Combined with increased interest rates on loans, people cannot afford necessities.  They then turn to the government, which would be forced to increase deficit spending.  This induces a feedback process.  Additionally, the increase in interest rates decreases the rate at which loans are taken out.  This means there is less small businesses and the like being established.  Less jobs are being created.  Furthermore, with people losing money in addition to the value of the dollar being decreased, confidence of the currency dwindles.  Once the confidence of the established currency is lost, the economy collapses (because money’s value is fundamentally dependent upon the confidence in it.)  With no system present to distribute scarce resources, not only will there be upheaval and anger over lost wealth, everyone will be fearing for themselves and freedoms because those are the values of dominant economical cultures.  With no system to distribute scarce resources, another economy must be put into place.  The people in power now I believe want to implement a world-wide government, but this would be a prime time to implement and put into action The Resource Based Economy.
  3. By halting the cycle of money.  Money is borrowed from The Fed by the government, and then is spent on various governmental programs.  Money is then taken out of the system by banks by enforcing interest, whereby they use that money to create more money by contributing that money to financial instruments.  One way to halt the system, would be to break the physical process of The Fed issuing money to the government.  There could be multiple ways of doing this, by disrupting their electronic systems by cyber attacks or physical destruction etc., or by altering the ability of the government to be able to withdraw loans from The Fed.  This would be by eliminating the confidence in Treasury Bonds.  I need to research more on how this could be accomplished.

I must admit, I am for forcing this if need be.  I believe there are people that just do not grasp or educate themselves about the essence of the world around them.  Therefore, they do not adequately have the information to make an accurate decision.  Linked together with the reasons I put forth, the only way I see a new economy put into place is if the current one is of no use.  This would unite all of humanity because an economy is necessary for survival to distribute resources to all the people on the planet.  I would love it if we could transition from people just turning their minds towards a new idea, and have the new economy be put in place peacefully and without conflict, and with the approval with the vast majority of the people.  I think in the real world however, this is not possible.  Jaque Fresco is trying to show the world that his idea is practical and could work by physically building a small establishment with the various designs he has in place.  I think this is essentially going to add to the evidence that this idea could work, but I do not think it will convince the majority of the people.

I wish there was another way, but as of right now, I do not think there is.  Life tends to be harsh and not what you hoped for at times.

I hope I am wrong.  But I do believe that this system would bring a better satisfaction of life to everyone, while decreasing a substantial amount of suffering.

I am not going to hold it against you, the reader, if you disagree with what I have written.  But I hope you think it through.  I hope you keep reading.

Thoughts on Beyond Utopia by Jacque Fresco

Beyond Utopia

Beyond Utopia is an essay written by the founder of The Venus Project.  The Venus Project is an organization devoted to a direction of sociological reform.  It is a vision that for me not only makes a lot of sense, but that I support.  I have written about some of its concepts on this forum, more of which I will discuss soon.  This I believe is a revolutionary idea.  I remember I set a goal to create an ideal for the progression of humanity.  I do not think I have to do it anymore, because this new system not only sounds appealing, but it is very possible.  I can tell he put a lot of years research into this idea, because a lot of his statements coincide with what science is learning through my own personal research.  For example, I have raved about the Humanist approach and the advancement of the study of human development.  Jacque Fresco talks about how if a new paradigm would be put into place, a new moral and incentive system would be in place.  This of course, through my readings, would change the development quite literally of the physical brain.  Hereby, coinciding with the change in development of thoughts and perceptions.  In essence, there would be new people.  People that would be foreign to greed, corruption, scarcity, and exploitation.  And, from the author Erich Fromm, humanity would be free to find their essence of man.  Being able to focus on this journey, life would seem to be more fulfilled.  Instead of worshiping man-made products, humanity would cultivate their own creativity and individuality.

The economical ideology of a given society has a great impact on how humans develop.  As Jacque Fresco has written about, a monetary system is in place to divide available resources.  People that do not have the buying power to posses resources that they need, not only feel marginalized by the overall society, but are in a constant state of a flight-or-fight response.  More fear is induced to the individual because we are talking about survival.  The fight-or-flight pathways in the brain actually become more sensitized.  This means that literally the distance of the synapses of the neurons in these pathways decrease.  Meaning, it takes less stimuli to initiate a response.  This leads to increased anxiety, and changed thinking that is geared towards fearing the worst outcome.  Anxiety disorders might emerge, ranging from social anxiety to general anxiety disorders.  Plus, anxiety is a central component to depression.  Anxiety can cause depression, and depression can cause anxiety, probably due to the lack of serotonin in the brain.  This means, that if a different economy was in place, there would be a different development of the human brain.  If scarcity would be eliminated, less people would resort to crime, because it would not be necessary to survive.  There would still be crime, simply because there are known cases where criminals have a genetic make-up that makes them more prone to violent acts.  (This is known by looking at the lives of severely violent criminals.  There are cases where prisoners were born in families that did not have known previous history of violent crimes, and grew up in a nurturing, caring, and affluent homes.  Yet, they had a history of violent acts.  The hypothesis is that their genetics brought about temperamental biases that created a certain response to their environment that resulted in violent behavior.)

So, with a different moral and value system that can be developed, the vision can succeed.  There is an old view, one that I have touched upon, that says it is human nature to be selfish, greedy, and corrupt.  If there was an economical system that promoted the well being of humanity and the planet as a whole, the acts of selfishness, greed, and corruption would not be the norm.  This is backed by science.

The Resource Based Economy takes the middle man out of the equation.  Money, or currency, is removed.  And no, the economy is not centralized around bartering.  Humanity has the know how to transport the world’s resources across the globe.  The access to resources is what dictates action.  Money is just a system to disperse those resources.  If we make the assumption that all the world’s resources belong to every human being on this planet, then the transportation of these various resources could meet the demands of the world.  Technology can and automation can easily make this feasible.  To maximize the usage of these resources, and with the elimination of the monetary system, products would be designed to maximize lifetime, eliminating planned obsolescence.  And I have touched based on this concept, and how this economy would be implemented.  Satellites with GPS tracking systems could easily monitor the world’s resources in real time.  They could record the consumption of these resources, and relay it to automated systems on the ground.  To ensure the availability of these resources in the future, restrictions on resources could be made in real time to everyone around the planet.  With scarcity removed through technology, humanity could deal with the world’s resources directly.  As Jacque Fresco has stated in his essay, it is resources that are the determining factor on getting things done.  When there are recessions, there are still phones, clothes, books, TV’s, you name it, that are still in the shopping windows.  People do not have enough money to buy those resources, even though they are still present.

Without scarcity, there wouldn’t be wars.  Why have wars?  Resources are provided to everyone.  With an automated global transportation system, renewable energy (to maximize resource consumption, after all, this energy source is renewable) and anything else that humanity could put their minds to, a more fulfilled life would be experienced.  With the advent of robotics and automated systems ranging from manufacturing to hydroponic farming, an increased standard of living with minimization of physical labor would be experienced.

One criticism I have with this paper, however Jacque has done so much with authoring and leading this initiative, is it does not provide a plan on how to transition to this system from the old monetary based systems.  This maybe my one of my next intellectual endeavors.  Hopefully I do it well.

In all, I enjoyed the read.  It was written very well too.  This is a life that makes a whole lot of more sense to me, as it is more humane.  With humanity caring and being closer to mother nature, and individuals finding their essence of man because they are able to not participate in physical labor, happiness, peace, and tranquility would be accomplished.  I really hope humanity opens up their minds to this idea.  It is in my experience, that people are not willing to change their ideals, no matter the mounds of evidence you put forth to them.  And this, I fear, means that a revolution of this magnitude must be forced.  But I will consider other options, of course.

Enlightening read!  I hope my readers take time to read up on The Venus Project and actually read this essay!  And I hope it is received well, for if there is enough backing a better life could be lived by everyone.

Debt as Central Tool for Control —> Using our Money

So I wanted to apologize right off the bat.  First, the title to this post is pretty pathetic but I am too eager to get started.  Second, I am somewhat weary for posting more personal material on this blog, as it is not consistent with the rest of the material.  So far, I have had positive and negative responses, so maybe I will do it again in the future.  Now onto the rest of this post.

I am starting to read an entire 700 page book solely about The Fed.  I can’t wait to get into it further, because already it is an eye opening experience and I have only read the introduction.  But I am starting to piece together a more complete picture as to how banks and the central bank work, and how asinine the amount of wealth banks accrue.  To recap a little bit (you can find a more complete explanation here) banks bet on the fact that not everybody are going to withdraw all of their money at one time.  Therefore, they set aside a fraction of their total sum of money to satisfy demand, while they use the rest for loans.  I didn’t realize, that this means the loans that we owe to the banks is really the money of the consumers.  Money is literally borrowed from people to issue loans out to the people, where money is literally created to establish more power for the banks, control over the people to force them to work, and keeps control of inflation by removing money from the overall money supply because money in possession of the banks is not being circulated.  Thanks to this book I am reading, I also realized that when Modern Money Mechanics (a document published by banks explaining how banks work) stated that money from smaller banks send money to The Fed, they are actually paying for the FDIC insurance on accounts larger than $250,000.  The Fed then repeats the process.  Taking a fraction of all that money to satisfy the withdraw demands from banks, they use the remaining sum to accrue more wealth continually.  The banks are able to invest money they make from interest, because it is money that they created.  Anything from trading currency to stocks and bonds, and derivatives are fair game (banks also pay really smart people to fabricate more financial instruments, or in other words, methods to make more money).

Money is created from thin air because the banks are collecting cash flow from the continual money flow that is being injected into the economy.  Money has to be continually put back into the economy (either by printing or in other words from The Fed) to satisfy overall demand of money.  However, not too much money should be released because this affects the value of money, obviously.  Bottom line, The Fed can create money on an electric spreadsheet because it is the central bank to the United States.

The first obvious implication to this is the debt that is put on the shoulders on the public from money of the public, is to motivate or force people to work.  This is necessary to ensure a higher percent of the population contribute to the economy, which in turn increases standard of living, power, and control.  This is probably necessary to be honest, but in a progressive view of society, does not have to be required.  I know that was a drastic transition, but it is a message that I want to get through.

With the robotic revolution within our grasp, which was made possible by our current system, we as a human race can eventually rid the planet of a vast percentage of physical labor.  Everything from manufacturing to having a robot in a personal home.  We could even create robots to repair robots.  This would be advantageous to humanity, for we could focus on other endeavors other than tasks that require minimal intellectual effort.  This would minimize the demand for a currency.  However, scarce resources still have to be distributed.  I have an idea on how that would work (Resource Based Economy).  It must be noted, that the banks in control would not want this to happen, as they lust for power over the entire globe.

Thanks to the ideas of Erich Fromm (here) and Freud (here), a different view of society would result in different expressions of behavior.  I believe that if group-gratification is valued, it would take priority over the self, because the group can just as well be a tool of survival.  I believe that genes determine how we react to our environment; the environment being the most influential component to our development.

I know this is a recap of previous messages, but the slight and subtle clearer vision of how our banking system works is so enlightening to me that I must write it down, even if that entails writing most of it down again.  I firmly believe and am hopeful, that humanity will see past our current system, and create a life of a more humane and easy coexistence.

Basic Freud by Michael Kahn, PhD

I have to say, this has got to be one of the strangest books I have read in a long time.  It is difficult to write about, simply because the different interpretations on peoples’ lives seem very random, simply because there is a lot of freedom with the interpreter.  I’m not really going to try and analyze people too much with psychodynamics because I need more guidance in order to interpret people accurately.  After all, there is a good amount of material to cover on top of the creative interpretation.  All in all it was an interesting read even though I feel uncomfortable applying it to my everyday life.

I think we all remember the id, ego, and superego from psychology class at some point.  During the early psychosexual development, the id, ego, and superego are being developed.  The id is the unconscious thoughts that are urging to be expressed; the ego is the mechanism that determines if the unconscious thought is expressed; the superego is our conscious, the mechanism that follows societal standards.  Our human experience is the conflict between these three mechanisms.  It’s interesting, that a person has a certain amount of psychic energy, and even a libido.  The psychic energy is the energy used to repress these unconscious thoughts.  And, the libido is attached to certain people and their memories.  If more energy is exerted with the psychic energy and libido, the amount of energy that is available for everyday experience decreases.  So, if someone is having energy issues, it is possible that their ego is repressing a lot more subconscious wishes and urges than is normal.

What is interesting to me, is the development of the id, ego, and superego.  If the standards of society were to be different than our own, than the development of the superego and ego would drastically be affected.  This would also affect the expression of unconscious thinking, which would drastically change how people would behave.  However, there is one single instinct or mode of behavior, and that is the pleasure principle and reproductive instinct, at least according to this school of thought.  All living things have the instinct to reproduce, simply because it ensures the survival of the species, which in turn ensures the continuation of the super organism Gaia (or the planet Earth).  It is a brilliant system, however I believe that if there would be different societal standards, there would be vastly different people.  I think this overall school of thought is another testimony to this statement.  I am curious, how a different id, ego, and superego would affect the psychosexual development stages of every single human being.

So basically each stage is introduced when the individual notices pleasure with certain body parts.  And interestingly enough, how they deal with various stages has vast implications on their behavior, because this is following the pleasure principle.  There are two concepts that are interesting to know.  The first is fixation.  Fixation is when there is more than usual psychic energy that is associated with a certain stage.  And regression, is when there is a difficult part in someone’s life, they return to associations with that specific stage.  So, if someone is under a lot of stress, they regress to a certain stage of psychosexual development.  The oral stage is first, and fixated people in this stage I remember, can sometimes have eating problems, ranging from eating disorders, smoking, to eating when feeling down or lonely.  The second stage is the anal stage.  Someone who is anally fixated usually is either clean, or is messy, depending on whether or not they are anally explosive or retentive.  Which means, whether or not the person finds pleasure holding it in, or letting it out.  The phallic period is when children become interested in the differences between the sexes, and the awareness of pleasure with the genitals.  The latency period is when all sexual urges are repressed, simply because incestuous urges develop.  Then it is the genital period, where people want to have sex basically.  It is important to note, that the Oedipus Complex comes into play, where the child competes with the same sex parent for the love and attraction for the opposite sex parent.  And depending how that plays out, has vast consequences on the development of the individual.

I want to reiterate this again.  If parents behave differently, they would change the development of children greatly during their psychosexual development, which is central to the overall development of the individual.  Different standards would be into place when it comes to competition with the same sex parent with the Oedipal Complex.  So different behaviors would constitute a victory or a defeat.  A different society would have a different superego, which also means that the superego’s punishment of guilt would be different.  Guilt is also a factor into human behavior, and Freud believed that is our price if we want civilized society, the addage of guilt.  Guilt is actually a subconscious mechanism in the conscious superego, and a primary process.  This essentially means the guilt is associated with thoughts that have no time or associations, it is in the subconscious.

Basically psychodynamics to me is more evidence with what Erich Fromm was saying about human development.  That the human mind is practically a organ that can be developed in almost an infinite amount of ways.  (Sexual instinct is always going to be there)  Society inhibits various ways in which the human mind develops, which is similar to the changes of the superego, and therefore ego.  And like I said, this would have consequences to the psychosexual development of people, which would have a huge impact on their everyday lives.  It would also more specifically affect the guilt that is experienced to the person because the superego would be developed differently.  Again, another change in overall behavior.  (Again, I am really bad at applying this to overall human experience.  The psychoanalyst has to rely not only on their understanding of the material, but on their creativity.  It isn’t an exact science.)  In regards to my other post about human behavior, I think certain instincts will always drive our development, but there is a vast influence of society on our overall development as an individual.  Psychodynamic theory in my mind is more of a testimony to this.

And how would we change society?  It is with an intellectual revolution, which would be hard to accomplish on three main levels.  First, the revolution has to be defined, in a vision that most people are willing to follow.  Second, people would have to participate in this concept regardless of the contentment in their lives.  And third, they would have to participate and sacrifice the consumption of entertainment.

For me, even though I am thankful for what I have and I am thankful for living in America, I think life could drastically be better for the vast majority of people if things were thought differently.  No matter how much money is being printed to satisfy the demands of the economy, an ill proportionate amount of money is flowing to people that are already hording money.  I believe millions of people pay.  And I believe that the reasons why they are not overturned, are because people want the ideal of getting insanely rich (even though they will not touch the top 1 percent), the belief of individual freedom regardless of the consequences, the consumption of entertainment, and contentment with how things are, rather than wanting how things could be.

I think I am going to revisit a paper I was writing, and I was writing about this very topic.  And well, I have the difficult task of outlying the vision, how things are going to be reformed, and describing the new way of life.  I probably won’t get it done anytime soon, I may not get it done at all.  But it is definitely something cool to think about.

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