Maxims, rules of thumb and other observations on human cognition and sociocultural affectations

This will be added to on an irregular basis...
  • What is said to humans directly is received with skepticism and considered with dubiousness while that which is heard in passing, especially that which most conforms to their mentality or prejudices, is readily believed.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive latency between exposure to new information or experiences and the ability to think dispassionately and intellectually about it.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive spectrum starting with the moment of exposure to new information or experiences and ending with some point at which the thing is effectively "in the past" for them.
  • This cognitive spectrum is linked to the emotional process often referred to as shock, anger, denial and acceptance.
  • The more and faster information or experiences are presented to people and the closer the quarters and the lesser the distance between people, the more their early reactions in the passionate emotional stage are reflected back to them in the manner of responses to those reactions from others in light of those responses.
  • The more outrages which are suffered without sufficient time to allow emotional bleed-off, the farther the bar for subsequent reaction and outrage are pushed, and the more further events must progress before reaction and outrage.
  • It is possible for serious detriments to eventually sit below this threshold for long enough for their damaging effects to build and multiply until their entire society undergoes some reactive convulsion.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why people should drive as if millions of lives depend on it...

On June 28, it will be ninety-four (94) years since the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie.

On that day, before noon, a man named Franz Urban made a wrong turn while driving the couple's car after an unsuccessful assassination attempt earlier in the day, passed in front of a shop where one of the conspirators had dejectedly gone to for lunch after hearing of the earlier failure.

It's said he tried to reverse and the car locked up briefly.

The conspirator, Gavrilo Princip, saw the targets there, and took his opportunity.

As a result of this:

That's a death toll of what? Well over a quarter billion people at the very least.

All because Franz Urban made a wrong turn.

No, the raindrops never do think they are responsible for the flood, but we're not raindrops are we?

Should a person pay their entire life for a single mistake? We think not when it was our mistake and we look back on that moment we made a given decision and the set of events that followed on from there, and we ask G-d, why? Why do I have to pay for all my life? It's not fair. I don't have the knowledge of G-d. I can't know what my choices will do to my life in twenty years. I didn't mean all this. I didn't choose this. Why me?

So, think about that the next time you think yourself powerless. Any little thing you do, every moment you are alive, is a point of juncture between two divergent realities which themselves are divided by further junctures, some yours, some not, some which would have happened anyhow, and some which never would have without you.

You can change the whole world with one action however small.

You should also think about that the next time you are leaping to condemn people personally. No one should have to suffer forever. No one. You possess the power to short circuit chains of events such as those listed above by how you respond.

Sit still, calm yourself, and clear your mind.

You can see the future coming, can't you? You can see the world around you, feel like you're bobbing on a rapid, and for a moment, you can see upstream and downstream. You can see where things are going. You don't know all the specifics, or even many, but you feel the course. You can feel the way time is flowing. You can feel history playing out around you.

Keep that feeling. Hold on to it. See the world around you through it.

Maybe you'll see what I'm getting at, that something is coming for us. Something we're birthing. Something not right.

So I look, and I see the common themes being people believing ever more that they can't, instead of that they can, of believing the worst and not the best. I don't remember sensing this something not right before. Years ago, I sensed something better than that coming. Something has changed. A flood is coming.

And we are the raindrops.

The raindrops need to take five and clear their heads and ask, "is this really what we want?"