mindsight - Deepstash
mindsight

mindsight

Saying "How are you?" was a huge leap fwd in the interaction between human beings: It shows you are interested in others. It allows relationships built on trust and ... trading. 

Mindsight is the ability to pick up on other people's mental states. It is a massive cognitive advancement of people from 40,000 years ago.

And once we started paying attention to others, we also started paying attention to our own mental state. 

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A very long series of lectures about meaning from a Canadian cognitive academic. I plan to watch them all and will share my insights as I go.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Ep. 1 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Introduction

Shamanic rituals

Shamanism is a cultivated ritual for altering your consciousness. It was so pervasive in prehistorical civilization, to today the shaman became an archetype: Yoda, Merlin, any old wise man are all Shamanic characters.

Shamans do this through sleep deprivation, imitation of animals, isolation, or psychedelics. The goal is to create awakening experiences by disrupting the normal patterns in the world, which trap you.

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Upper Paleolithic Transition

Humans existed for 200-300 thousand years. But 40,000 BC something happened. Humans started living in settlements. And they started to make ... art. Sculptures, paintings, and even music.

This is the period where humans have an upgrade to their cognitions. They invent abstract tools like the calendar or projectile weapons.

Meaning began when our ancestors started to complement their tech with psycho technologies to allow them to deal with the environment but also with others. Literacy or shamanic rituals are some early such technologies.

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Psycho Technology

We evolved to use tools. In that sense, we are natural-born cyborgs. Our clothes, our objects are tools we enhanced ourselves with biologically. 

Psycho technologies enhance our brain. Like literacy, which enhances our cognition by helping us to remember. Taking notes makes time obvious.

If we use a computer analogy: regular technology enhances our hardware, while psycho technology is like a software upgrade. Since humans operate on pretty much the same basic hardware it can be concluded all our major advances were psychological. 

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John Vervaeke's "Awakening from the Meaning Crisis"

John Vervaeke teaches cognitive sciences University of Toronto. Similar to his Canadian colleague, Jordan Peterson, he became popular through his Youtube channel, where he explores deep philosophical ideas. 

In 50 hour-long episodes, Vervaeke analyses the crisis of meaning (which he describes as a pervasive feeling of alienation from the world and from each other). To get to the bottom of the meaning crisis he puts in context various historical philosophical schools of thought, combining them with cognitive sciences and much more.

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The meaning of life in the 21st century

To seek our purpose in the world is a human pursuit for millennia. For Vervaeke, the meaning in life is found in wisdom. But the modern world has distanced us from the goalpost and Vervaeke points out spikes in depression, suicide rates, and social unrest.

But while things look bleak the public seems to be much more interested in topics related to meaning: mindfulness, stoicism, psychedelic ... all of these weird Hippie interests points to a revival of the meaning conversation.

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JOHN VERVAEKE

When the shaman dresses like a deer, he is not imitating the deer. He is becoming the deer.

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RELATED IDEA

Socrates and the association of truth & relevance

Socrates is considered the creator of classical Greek philosophy. He is famous for engaging in debates with the 2 types of wise people of the day:

  • material philosophers who tried to explain what the world is made of
  • sophists, interested only in rhetoric and not in truth.

He believed wisdom has to have relevance for the individual. While the materialists focused on truth and less on relevance, the sophists were only concerned with relevance while ignoring truth.

Socrates believed the person needs a philosophy that is both relevant & truthful.

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Socrates is a mythical figure that sparked a revolution in thought.

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Archaic Learning: Implicit, Intuitive, Metaphorical

Implicit learning refers to the process of acquiring knowledge about the structure of the environment without conscious awareness. Like how we learn to ride the bike. Explicit learning is a conscious operation where the individual makes & tests hypotheses in a search for structure. Like how we learn math.

During the Palaeolithic times, knowledge was 100% implicit. There was no abstract thought, patterns were recognised intuitively and expressed in metaphors. Shamanic rituals was how knowledge was passed around. 

The Axial Revolution will introduce abstract thought & explicit learning.

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The second part of this amazing course. It discusses the transition from Paleolithic to the Bronze Age. At the end of which we get the Axial Revolution when get the likes of Buddha and Plato. Abstract thought. Second order thinking.

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Know about The Perseid Meteor Shower.

The Perseid meteor shower takes place every year between July and August. It is caused by a trail of debris from a giant comet called 109P/Swift-Tuttle. The comet has an oblong orbit and takes about 133 years to orbit the Sun. 

Every year, between July 17 and August 24, Earth crosses the orbit of Swift-Tuttle, which is filled with years of debris from the comet. When these pieces smash with our Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds, they burn and light up the sky causing, the Perseid meteor shower. According to NASA, the meteor velocity is 59 km/second.

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