Brain Pickings

Sorry about that last post, I think it was really bad. It will stay up as a record of failure.

I have been following this blog for a while, and it is a really good feeder for interesting books etc…

I went to the about section and found a podcast of the author, and I learned she was 30 and has her blog in the Library of Congress. I could look it up, but I’m gonna go with what I think it is, which is this permanent recording on some sort of tape memory. Which means some people think her blog is so important for the cultural landscape of today that they want to have it preserved for future generations.

Anyway, it set me off thinking about a bunch of things…

1) Damn, she’s only 30. I’m not 30 yet, but close, and I haven’t accomplished all that much, I feel useless. But I’m gonna blame it on getting drunk too much, and that and a whiskey on ice will help me sleep at night.

2) They talk a lot about intellectual life in the podcast, and lament the sound-byte and listomania

So number 2 is more fodder for thought. Haha, number 2.

I been thinking bout memes a lot lately. And I wish I were better read on the subject. I might have to give old Dawkins’ Selfish Gene a read.

Basically, it is something that I am starting to notice everywhere (confirmation bias?). There are a lot of ideas out there, and they show up when you talk to people or when you look at license plates (Support the troops!), or worse, when you devolve to actual internet memes, and they are memes–Richard Dawkins’ memes….Or they aren’t, because I can’t prove it. Feels truthy though.

I’m also mostly finished this book. Where he goes into some theories, that people don’t use reason unless they are kicking their brains into gear. So since we use shortcuts all the time to save mental resources, if our entire daily environment were ‘easy’ enough, we need never have a critical thought. Creepy. 1984. Maybe already mostly true.

But these multiple sources are, unawares, talking about the same thing, I guess. There are thousands of these ways you can live your life. But if you aren’t deliberate, and considered in your day to day, you are probably decaying in the mind, because this life is bubble wrapped for the lowest common denominator of thinking, meaning that even very, very smart people will never be anything if they don’t work for it. They might be happy. But so are the 1984 people. Old Socrates wouldn’t be happy. I’m not happy about it.

I find it alarming how much lazy thinking I run into on the day to day. Support the troops! is a easy example.

Here are some words: Conservative, Family Values, No Abortions, Support the troops!, Pro Gay….

One of these things is not like the others.

Go with the flow.

And for a long time, I felt really ashamed at not being in sync with people, but now I count it as a blessing. Self aggrandizing is one of my favorite pass-times. But aside from that, I guess there is the other dimension of socializing. I think…with all the memes, all the time, there is a new(ish?) social phenomenon that really screws us. That is, people don’t like work. And if it is work to think, people don’t like thinking. ‘Like’ is the wrong word. More like, ‘people don’t naturally just think really hard about everything’. But, so, is there a social incentive to just conform and not think? It’s not a rhetorical question, I don’t know, I want to know. This is what I am trying to understand better.

It’s also easy to see that “thinking harder” is lame advice, if the world is bubble wrapped, cause nature abhors a butthole. It just is not the path of least Renaissance. So Idiocracy might be a prophetic movie, and Joe Rogan jokes about what happens if the smart people die might be a worth more than a laugh.

Also, I suppose this highlights to power of goals. Or setting a course, old chap. Positive thinking makes me barf, but I think living deliberately is really needed for the individual that loses sleep over fears of inadequacy. Joseph Heath (guy wrote that book) points out that we live in environments of institutional scaffolding, and that the way we act is dependent upon the ‘mental architecture’ of the roles we live. So if you chose for your role, something that requires work, you know you might get somewhere, and if you put it in a pot, baby you got a stew going. I’m probably just going to get drunk.