Dialog is how we individuals think. It’s not possible to get far along in any creative thinking about this world without discussions with others.
This is why books and periodicals, universities, tech corridors, and blogs and forums are so crucial to furthering knowledge. A big percentage of my blog posts are replies to other peoples posts.
Wojciech Majda commented on the main insight of my last post; that mechanical pleasure is a distinct category of pleasure.
Interesting observations xsplat. I started an online shop selling lifesaving supplements, and it’s all good, but I still want to “create” something real, not only being . In my case it’s growing high quality fruit and vegetables, not machines, but the rule stays.
Gardening and farming is likely to be not only a cultural adaptation, but also an evolved trait.
Worms fed worms that have learned certain associations also act as if they directly learned those associations. All animals are born with extremely specific hard-coded learning, and we call this instinct. Even the tiny brains of insects retain extremely complex learning that is passed down through generations, and can be programmed to skip generations, or to only activate during certain developmental windows.
We don’t know how these instincts and learned behaviours are encoded and passed on. I’d expect reward circuits to be involved. We already know that people are wired to be rewarded differently, and genes play a part in that. I’ve heard of genetic information, epigenetic information (genes that are triggered by the environment which includes actions of other genes), and RNA also encode heritable information. It is being considered that the bulk of our DNA which is termed junk DNA because we can’t see any function for it isn’t junk but has unknown functions. We know that epigenetic changes, such as hormonal reactions to food availability and environmental stress, can be passed down more than one generation. As of now we only know of some bacteria that carry the CRISPR genes, which allows for cutting and replacing parts of DNA, however I suspect that learning and epigenetic changes can lead to longer term heritable changes through changes to DNA. We certainly see a world filled with examples of animals selected for very detailed learnings. Humans for instance have been selected to throw a ball, something no other animal can do. That may have happened from random mutations being favored, but I don’t think that’s the only reasonable explanation.
The creative urge could be a broad stroke instinct that encompasses other urges in our Venn diagram, but the specifics of our creative urges could also be heritable. A male bower bird has the specifically directed creative urge to gather and arrange colors around his nest, but no urge to garden.
So I think gardening could be an instinct that many humans share, that is distinct from the tool making and tool using instinct.
Some people are strongly inclined to draw. Others to write. I don’t believe that the basic creative urge itself, even when combined with differing aptitudes, fully accounts for these predilections. Especially when we consider the Darwinian advantages to having bower bird specific urges.
Some humans are known to have a strong urge to travel to new places, and we’ve pinpointed genes correlated with that urge. I’d think it quite likely that just like everywhere else in the animal kingdom, humans too have heritable pinpoint specific urges for specific actions.
Hunting on land
Hunting from above the water
Musical instrument making
Tool and weapon use
Martial arts including one on one sports like tennis
Group martial arts including team sports like lacrosse
Drumming (beat as distinct from melody)
Music making (rap is not music)
Representational art making
Peacocking through fashion
Bower birding through architecture and decorating
Arguing including legal arguing
Some of these urges and a basic underlying creative urge can overlap, and environment will always play a part in how active and developed our base instincts can become.
It’s obviously not the case that we are a homogeneous species; as a species we have castes of personality types, much as do the social insects.
Therefore there is a key to finding job satisfaction. It’s not as simple as finding our bliss, because most stuff we like to do doesn’t pay well, or isn’t sustainably pleasurable as a job. But that’s got to be the core of it; finding and playing to our strengths. To our instincts.
And that’s not obvious. People change their university majors many times before taking a career in a different field before changing career directions. Sometimes people take a pay cut in order to enjoy life more by enjoying their work more. Sometimes people increase their pay by finally finding their calling and putting in real passion towards their work.
Throughout my life I’ve had some obsessive daydreams. I’ve wanted to build house boats out of bamboo. I’ve wanted to build a robot army. I’ve wanted to have a synergy of businesses with broad marketing and social outreach. And fundamentally I’ve always wanted to rule the world. I doubt labeling that as narcissism really captures it. Some of us feel entitled to rule the world. Churchill used to go around saying that he always felt it was his destiny to rule England – and this was way before he actually did. Was that sense of entitlement a delusional pathology? Or could there be predilections towards leadership that are similar to predilections towards gardening?
Ruling the world by the way is often done behind the scenes, rather than as a charismatic front man. Think bankers instead of Hitler, Rupert Murdoch instead of Barack Obama. The urge to rule can be an urge to primal power, which has many faces.
A lot of people really get evolution wrong, thinking that power was always fundamentally about who is the strongest ape. But pack leaders are not always the strongest; social alliances play a huge role in dominance hierarchies, and political skills are not the same as arm wrestling skills. And humans have evolved socially and with job specialization for long enough that our hierarchies barely match up with physical dominance; in many fields there is scant advantage even to being tall and handsome. To be powerful in this world, to have the status that comes from being at the top of important hierarchies and to be able to have others do what you say and laugh even when your jokes are stupid, isn’t about showing up in prison and taking down the biggest badass, and it isn’t about being telegenic and kissing babies to get votes. There are as many ways to power as there are rivers on the planet.
You can be a Feinman.
You can be a Pete Townshend
You can be a Hugh Hefner
You can be a Warren Buffett
You can be a Dr. Seuss
So what I’m coming to realize is that the will to power should not always be approached directly. Instead of realizing that I want and expect and must be incredibly rich, and going straight after that, I am better served by also knowing how I can best enjoy getting rich. How I can follow my bliss, even if it means a pay cut.
Do I want to be marketer? Do I want to be an inventor? Do I want to keep my creative hand in a thousand different piles?
The brain doesn’t hold a single personality, and as with the rest of the world, it is composed out of competing interests. Part of me is a big slacker, part of me really only cares about fucking, and part of me loves sleeping most of all. But as a team, are we at our peak playing football, or hanging out with the drama club?
I can see the team shifting interests over time. People mine the depths of interests only to surface and dig an oil well in a different county.
Our interests can shift and even evolve, but more than that it takes trial and effort to match our interests with practical advancement. I’ve tried being a marketer. I’ve tried having my hand in a thousand different entrepreneurial piles. Some of it is pleasurable but not all of it is practical, and vice versa. I doubt any school or anyone else’s advice would have been able to sort that out for me.
It’s an interesting and difficult question; what should I major in in life? One I never thought would make any sense asking myself. I’ve usually felt that I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.
Only now I feel that more than usual. Could I have planned earlier to get into inventing and selling machines? Mmm, probably not, because I had to build up the resources first. I like to make machines as a manager more than as an engineer and craftsman. And nobody would have ever hired me to do that. Nobody except for me.
Can our instincts be consciously harnessed to match up with our careers? If so, how on earth. I think we are often unaware of what they are, and more often unaware of how to capitalize on them.
So the question is the answer. How to be more aware of what we enjoy and want to be good at? By asking ourselves how we can be more aware of what we enjoy and want to be good at.
And an equally important question is how to use other peoples strengths to shore up our own weaknesses, and how to work in a team. Because there is no corporation of one, no mafia of one, no army of one, nothing of substantial power that is composed of one.