In popular understanding "thinking is thinking"--that is, there is only one kind of thinking. Either you "think reasonably (as men like to believe we do), or else you don't think and just act on emotions (as men often think women do)."
I now think this is a casual, even shallow perspective. I am beginning to see two types of thinking which are distinctively different, and I believe that this difference is critically important in good living. We pay, I believe, high personal and relational costs for not seeing the difference and making wise choices about what to do with each.
Typically, when the distinction is not recognized, we "put up" on the type of thinking we see and unwittingly "put down" on the other. "Thinking logically," as we males like to see ourselves doing, is praised, while "not thinking" or "thinking like a woman" is often judged negatively.
I have only recently recognized these different modes of thinking. The following pages from my journal of the past few months are a part of my effort to see them more clearly, plus to determine how best to deal with each separately and then together. For labels, I have called the more familiar type memetic or social thinking, and the less acknowledged kind, genetic or natural thinking. Memetic thinking is the way we learn to think (in family, school, and church); genetic thinking is the way our minds work naturally, before we are taught (or otherwise learn) "how to think right."
The problem is that many of us, especially men and certainly I, have become so indoctrinated and habituated in this social form of thinking that we in effect "forget" about the first type, or else "put down" on it when we see its signs, more typically in children or women. This, of course, leads to other problems in our relationships; but the more dangerous effects, I now see, are on ourselves--on men when we try to restrict our sense of ourselves to "reasonable thinking" only, or on women who either fall for social definitions which affirm male-type "logical thinking," supported by judgments which men so often make on "how women think," or else fail to embrace their own capacity for memetic thinking.
To be caught up in either type of thinking--and therefore judging, suppressing, or avoiding the other, is, at best, to set up an internal conflict likely to have far reaching consequences, and at worse to limit ourselves to living with only part of our mental capacities operative. It is like having two good legs, but judging one to be "bad" and trying to walk balanced on the other.
The alternative I am now trying to understand better and put in practice for myself is similar to the stance I proposed in my previous study of Genetic Morality, namely, to see, affirm, and activate both types of thinking, and to mix them as wisely as possible. Rather than trying to live well with "half a brain (one type only)" and unwittingly being caught up in trying to suppress one and idolize the other, I want now to become "whole brained"--that is, one who acknowledges both ways of thinking and practices the skills of artfully mixing the two.
To be sure, this chosen course also involves many challenges which identification with only one or the other (typically, males with memetic thinking and females with genetic thinking) allows us to avoid. Consequently it would be extremely presumptuous to imply that others "should" try what I am, as though this latter course is more virtuous than those more familiar to us. So, no "preaching" is intended--other than to myself.
I am satisfied though that seeing both, honoring each, and consciously trying to mix them reasonably, is more feasible in the long run--at least for myself. I present my thinking here as a part of my learning to stand more openly with what I see. Editing it has been one of my ways of clarifying my personal insights nudged into consciousness through the process of journaling. Should any reader choose to go further, I trust that he or she will simply use my perspectives as a mirror for further self-clarification of their own experience.
Although I have tried to add a bit of order to these random thoughts, any reader may be best advised to check the index on the left and skip around following his or her own interests.
Genetic thinking is a coined term to represent one aspect of genetic morality, namely, the latest-to-evolve human capacity for reasoning, made possible through expanded consciousness. For clarification I name familiar-type thinking memetic thinking, as a way of calling attention to distinctions I am now beginning to see more clearly. Genetic thinking is a natural human capacity which is inherited in genetic structures. Memetic thinking, in contrast, is not inherited, but must be learned from other people. Although both involve brain activity, the first, I might say, is "from within (inside one's skin)" while the second comes "from outside (outside any individual's skin)." Genetic thinking is a "given"; we are all born with the ability to do it naturally. But memetic thinking must be "gotten" or learned from "out there."
Genetic thinking is the gift of eons of evolution; memetic thinking also involves genetic capacities, but is, like social structures themselves (as we know them), a relatively late-comer on the biological scene. Memetic thinking is a social product which came about, I speculate, as a tool in service of social goals. It is a primary instrument used in "civilizing" or acculturating new-borns into the framework of our given social groups.
Memetic thinking is commonly learned so early in life that by the time we can say "thinking" it has become the major recognized mode of mental activity. In fact, one of the functions of memetic thinking, acquired from society, seems to be the suppression, denial, or even repression of genetic thinking. Once we become good at memetic thinking, say around ages 4 or 5, our inherited form of mental activity, though still operative like other genetic "instincts," is beginning to disappear from recognition as "thinking" at all. Memetic thinking, as it were, corners the market on acceptable and supported mental activity before we begin the first grade in school, where it is, of course, the only mode utilized, taught, and approved.
When genetic thinking rears its real-but-rejected ugly head it is generally judged as "not nice" at best and "bad" at worst. In either case, social support, even recognition, of this inherited mode of thinking is withheld so early in life that most of us seem to lose conscious awareness of its powerful existence as a force in the natural world. Thereafter, when we think of thinking, we are actually thinking of memetic thinking--as though genetic thinking either did not exist, or were a bad, even evil, remnant of "animal instincts" best suppressed for success in the all-important social worlds where we find ourselves.
Since we cannot, even with our best conscious efforts, make genetic drives, including genetic think-ability, "go away" entirely, we all face the question of "what to do with" this instinctive mode of mental activity in society which has adopted all conscious thought endeavors in its own service. It seems that one of the first answers lies in trying to deny natural thinking a place in the world of named "things." If we don't give it a name, maybe it will go away--or at least be kept out of a place of recognized power.
This is apparently what I have attempted for most of my life. Until recently I did not even recognize the phenomenon which I have named genetic or natural thinking, except as some dark force which, in quest of "good person" status, I mostly tried to suppress if I could, and control (as though it were bad) if I couldn't.
I want, first of all, to acknowledge with gratitude the benefits of what I now call memetic thinking--which I have tried to do exclusively for most of my life. The values of this mode of thinking, both for society and for myself as one trying to achieve success within social structures, can hardly be overstated. I am deeply indebted to it, and those who helped me become effective in its use, for countless social successes.
But in time I have also become aware of some of its dangerous, even disastrous, side-effects. Social-type thinking is obviously invaluable in social situations, including all personal relationships; but the suppression of natural thinking, including its exclusion from recognition as "real thinking," with banishment to the dark realms of "feelings" only, is certainly costly insofar as personal well-being is concerned. I have paid dearly, I now see, for successful mental repression in service of social values or in quest of social acceptance. Salvation in the here and now is impossible, I now believe, so long as one continues in the familiar attempt to "be good" or live well while consciously using memetic thinking alone, especially when these socially-sanctioned efforts include repression of inherited modes of thinking.
The resolution which I am finding for myself, and am attempting to clarify through these writings, involves an entirely different approach to human mental capacities. Instead of affirming, indeed making virtuous, social-type thinking, while trying to deny or suppress natural thought modes, I am now attempting to see, understand, and honor both kinds of thinking. Then, when I am successful in these difficult challenges, I try to mix the two (both "appreciated") into one workable whole which includes the best of both mental worlds.
As with genetic and memetic moralities, I now believe that both are "real"--that is, inevitably existent in us all, and can more wisely be utilized if both are acknowledged, honored, and then activated in conjunction with each other. In other words, I now think that artful mixing is better than judging one as good, the other as bad, and thereby setting the stage for a continual battle between the two which have been prejudged as inevitable enemies.
The first step in my quest in this direction was to come up with a useful name for the dark mode so commonly avoided in traditional thinking--hence, genetic thinking, plus the addition of the adjective memetic to familiar thinking, in order to distinguish the two. Once named, my next endeavor, which is outlined here, was to try to see the two more clearly in order to set the mental stage for mixing--which I believed to be theoretically possible. Memetic thinking, after a life time of practice without a distinguishing name, was/is fairly clear to me; but the darker forces of genetic thinking (previously recognized only as "feelings" or "bad impulses,") were still vague.
The pages which follow, drawn from my daily journals, represent some of these attempts to recognize natural mental patterns as much more than mere "instincts," indeed, as powerful mental capacities more clearly seen as "thinking" than as "feelings." Coming to recognize genetic thinking also called for more conscious attention to my learned ways of memetic thinking. This, in turn led to recognition of comparisons and contrasts noted between these two ways of "thinking"--as I have come to see them.
My underlying premise has been that mixing two kinds of thinking, like two types of morality, is best done if each is more clearly seen, understood, and honored in its own right. Here I can, of course, only deal with the mental phases of this process, namely, conscious seeing; but my more difficult challenges have lain, as I imagine they may be for any others who attempt such a quest, in letting go of habits of judgment, including dangerous suppressions of natural thinking and unreasonable praise of social thinking.
"Understanding" certainly does not eliminate the challenges of practice in daily life; but as an old song intoned, "things get a little easier, once you understand..."
In summary: Genetic thinking is my name for natural thinking as distinguished from the more familiar use of mind which I label memetic thinking. I am trying to more clearly see the differences because I now realize how fully I have slipped into memetic modes of thought at the expense of my own natural thinking. My way of trying to become what I see is to first try to see what I see more clearly; then, if my faith is sufficient, I may make the next crucial step in the Creative Process, namely, of becoming my seeing. But before that, I need the crutch of clear concepts while I learn to walk without them.
First I need to define (see more clearly) some of the terms and concepts which are useful in making these major distinctions between genetic and memetic thinking. Here are the ways I use these common terms:
Thinking is mental activity, activation of brain cells essential for transforming sense perceptions into movements and/or concepts. In this broad sense, all animals and people "think." To some extent all living creatures must necessarily use brain cells for bodily functioning, including action in the world.
Reasoning is the capacity for fitting diverse perceptions (bits of sense data gathered from the five basic senses) into a relatively harmonious whole. It is "making sense" of what is acquired from the senses, "adding up" small pieces of information into one conglomerate "total."
The critical distinction of natural thinking, as contrasted with memetic reasoning, is that only real personal experience is entertained in the reasoning process, and it is always fitted sensibly to the natural thinker, never twisted, contorted, or "made up" in order to contrive a fit. This is rationalization, which is an earmark of memetic thinking, but entirely foreign to genetic thinking. Small children, not yet socialized, and wise adults, are always reasonable (in this sense of the word) and never rationalize so long as they continue in natural thought patterns.
Consciousness is an evolved capacity of we creatures with bigger brains whereby we not only perceive and think, as do all creatures, but also can hold many pieces of diverse data in "mind space" for use in making greater comparisons. All creatures must have some degree of consciousness in order to make choices which are more than reflexive only; but only the human creature seems to possess enough brain capacity to remain cognizant of a vast multitude of perceptions. All creatures are aware to some extent, but humans seem to be the most advanced in expanding basic awareness into extended consciousness.
Concepts are mental symbolizations of bodily experiences (perceptions). They may be visual or verbal, that is, in pictures (i.e., facial recognitions), or in words (language symbols representing sense-experience. A concept, then, is a mental representation--in picture or words, of a physical experience. Concepts are basic conclusions drawn from reasoning which summarize diverse bits of data into one whole. These may then be held, via the capacity for consciousness, in "mind space." Such concepts or summary conclusions then become symbols or abstractions which can exist apart from actual experience in "mind space" alone. Initially all such concepts are the direct product of an individual's actual experience; but through the capacity for consciousness, any concept can be separated from the reasoning which first led to it, and then kept in "mind space" as an abstraction. What always begins in concrete experience (real world perceptions and reasoning) sometimes ends in disconnected abstract symbols, no longer tied to personal experience.
This human capacity for symbolization, for letting one single mental concept represent many comparable sense perceptions which have been summarized, via reason, into one whole, is the basis for language. Words, beginning with names (nouns) are symbols for actual experience. The wealth of perceptions involved, for example, in experiencing a furry, four-legged, experiential phenomenon may be summarized into a single concept, held in "mind space" and represented with "Fido." After many similar "Fidos" are experienced, they may all be summarized into one larger concept which could itself be named "dog." "Dog" is a language abstraction, a huge concept which summarizes many smaller, directly experienced concepts, themselves labeled as "Fido," "Spot," "Ole Yellar," etc.
The beauty and utility of these advanced concepts which are themselves made up of multitudes of smaller concepts, of these abstractions which all began as concrete experiences of some individual person, is that they can be made permanent in language and passed on from one person to another, even one generation to another, through the wonder of language and the invention of writing as an even further advancement of speaking.
But in this miraculous transformation pointed toward in the previous bulky sentence, a critical distinction in knowledge also becomes possible. Concepts which originate, via reasoning, from the concrete experience of a single individual, may then exist in abstract, apart from any one person, and, and this is the critical part, be passed on to another who may or may not have had any similar experience. That is, symbolization made possible by consciousness, allows for knowledge which is not rooted in personal experience, but is acquired via symbols alone--mental abstractions disconnected from concrete perceptions.
The wonder and benefits of this unique human capacity which is certainly at the heart of all advances of civilization beyond the jungle and cave goes without saying. But I must recall it here in order to also recognize a dangerous by-product of all such abstract knowledge ("book learning" or "intellectual information"). In spite of incalculable values, concepts acquired from other persons, either directly by conversation or indirectly from books, risk becoming substitutes for concrete knowledge which is essential for salvation in the here and now.
I must also note the immense worth of any culture's body of shared abstractions in the necessary task of "civilizing" its newest members. Without inculcating ("educating") a large portion of its structuring concepts, no group could long maintain, let alone advance, its cohesiveness. Families could never be formed into clans, certainly not clans into ethnic groups, without passing on large bodies of accepted concepts, beginning with the symbols of language and carried on to the accepted beliefs and ritualized patterns of behavior (advanced concepts) which I have elsewhere summarized as memes.
But honoring the virtues of abstract concepts (of both mind and behavior) in service of social groups, beginning with families, need not blind me to the potential dangers inherent therein. These dangers are what I am just beginning to see more clearly as I try to distinguish genetic thinking from memetic thinking. The common temptation, which I certainly fell for "big time," is to make the abstract knowledge of groups (memetic thinking) sacred, while putting down on, suppressing, and even trying to negate natural thinking, as though it were inherently evil. In this all-too-familiar error, I (and many others, I note) lose an essential contact with genetic thinking in our diligent quest for success in social membership.
Turning away from the critically important human capacity for "thinking for ourselves,"--that is, for forming personal concepts reasoned out of direct experience (our own perceptions), we (certainly, I) become proficient, even artistic, in acquiring abstract concepts not rooted in our own concrete experience. Thereafter I (I switch from generalizations to confession) came to major on these acquired concepts in coping with both my immediate acquaintances and the world at large. I used my "learning" from others both for fitting in with them and for courting external power to be used in my attempts at life-enhancement via others.
All this while relatively cut off from the natural power which I now know to be inherent in genetic experience, including natural thinking. Surely there is granted power which comes with personifying the "party line" thinking (beliefs) of any group; but such social powers can only lead to social salvation--being accepted, even loved by those who have themselves settled for memetic thinking only. Personal salvation, well-being in the here and now, only comes, I now believe, through the faith-demanding process of embracing the human capacity for participating in the Creative Process, including moving from Stage 1, perceiving, on to Stage 3, conceiving (on the longer way to Stage 4, becoming)--which I am here calling "genetic thinking."
IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL THINKING
It would, I believe, be almost impossible to overestimate the importance of natural thinking in the quest for human well-being. Among the costs of its diminished activation are: balance, physical health, knowledge, mental health, dependence, confidence, and salvation.
To live without genetic thinking is like trying to walk with one leg atrophied. Or, to use a better metaphor, life without natural thinking is like trying to be balanced with no legs at all. Natural thinking is, as noted before, only one aspect of genetic morality--but it is a crucially important part of evolved human capacities. Not to activate and regularly use this capacity is to create a serious state of imbalance in all life functions.
Currently we are learning much more about the interdependence of all bodily systems; to deprive or to curtail one system is to create disharmony in all other systems. For example, blood flow, one bodily system, is invisible to the eye; yet to curtail blood flow, as via high cholesterol levels, is to seriously upset overall bodily systems. And so on. I have previously compared genetic thinking, on the younger end of the evolutionary scale, with breathing on the oldest end of the same continuum. We all know that when breath is curtailed for any reason, balance in bodily systems is immediately thrown off; although to a lessor extent, curtailing natural thinking--at the other end of the scale, is also dangerous to balancing the effective inter-actions of all evolved capacities.
Balance in bodily systems is also crucial to physical health. But even past the necessity of balance, overall health itself is intimately related to natural thinking which serves as the most advanced capacity for regulating the coordination of physical systems otherwise left to function on primal genetics alone. Whenever we are not thinking naturally we are leaving most of the interconnected bodily systems without their most advanced control center. It would be like trying to direct air traffic at the Atlanta air terminal with the control center shut down.
All manners of physical stress become immediately operative when the coordinating capacities of natural thinking are curtailed, let alone, shut down. I believe that the common ailments to which we humans are always subject--high blood pressure, tension, allergy, even cancer, are more related to diminished natural thinking than to germs, poor eating habits, infections, or other commonly blamed causes.
If natural thinking were magically re-activated into the human race, I suspect that some 80% of our common physical ills would disappear, and that longevity would be greatly extended.
Cutting ourselves off from genetic knowledge which becomes consciously known only through natural thinking is like burning down all the libraries in the world and trying to exist in our complex societies with only what each new person is able to learn for himself. Genetic thinking is the bridge of consciousness to the wealth of evolutional knowledge--all that we have come to know through eons of evolution. Genetic wisdom is of course operative in chemical directives inherent in DNA; but it is never made available to individual influence except through the evolved gift of consciousness. And consciousness is largely inoperative when genetic thinking is shut down.
To use a more current metaphor, now that libraries are being replaced by the internet: turning off natural thinking, as is so commonly done in service of devotion to memetic concepts, is like shutting down one's modem or internet connection which links us to the information in the libraries of the world. Then, cut off from all knowledge of past generations, as well as present scientific data, one tries to live well with only information obtained from immediate perceptions--such as, looking out the window, listening to traffic noises, and smelling who knows what.
To exist with even a modicum of success in the midst of present complexities of society, we need to know all that we can. And genetic knowledge acquired through eons of evolution is certainly a major "library" or "internet reservoir" to which any individual can automatically tap at every moment of the day or night. But only through genetic thinking.
When natural thinking is even slightly curtailed, access to ancient wisdom is limited; when it is suppressed completely--as I believe to be commonly the case for many humans today, we are left relatively deaf, dumb, and blind in a world which demands vast amounts of knowledge for even minimal degrees of successful survival.
Huge debates rage today about the causes of mental illness, grading from mild depression to major psychological diseases. The means of treatment, based on whatever answers one accepts to the question of causes, vary from drugs to psycho-analysis, with countless forms of physical and mental therapies between the two extremes.
Into this turbulent and yet unsettled debate with such consequential results, I toss one more theory. My current conclusion is that the most significant of all causes for mental illness, grading from mild anxiety to extreme craziness, is neither bad chemistry, bad parents, bad social circumstances, bad physical health, or bad habits, but rather it is repressed natural thinking. Each or all of the currently accepted causes for mental illness may be involved and relevant in treatment; but the most primary source of all mental illness is, I believe, rooted in suppression of genetic thinking. When we curtail or deny activation of this primary human capacity, even to small degrees, we open the door not only to imps and demons of all sorts, but also to most varieties of mental illness.
Mental health, better named as emotional well-being, is rooted, I believe, in natural thinking. Without the activation of genetic reasoning in consciousness, I do not think that any individual can achieve mental health, even with the best of today's assorted fads of treatment. If we want to become emotionally healthy, a state of existence which only begins with physical health, we must, I now believe, return to activate the kind of genetic thinking which we so often abandon in early childhood.
Cut off from the wealth of everyone's genetic knowledge, which only becomes available to consciousness via natural thinking, we have no choice but to depend on memetic thinking to inform us in the infinite number of daily decisions we have no choice but to make. Without our own natural thinking, we must look "out there" for information from memetic thinking to direct our actions in every dimension of life--from what to eat to what to do to where to go to how to act.
Without genes to guide us, via natural thinking, the memetic thoughts of others, either oral or written, become the only source of data for "making up our minds" about anything. What They Think inevitably becomes the guiding god of life, even if unrecognized in consciousness.
Rather than being relatively independent persons, as we are created capable of being, we are left far more dependent on society than Mother Nature must have ever intended. No animal, I observe, is ever as dependent on group thinking as is every human who has cut him or herself off from natural mental capacities. Were this dependence only psychological--as in needing Social Approval for personal actions, it would be debilitating enough; but all emotional issues aside, one with repressed natural thinking is also mentally dependent on memetic concepts for direction in how to live. Severed from genetic thinking, one has no other option but to "lean on" social thinking--which is notoriously fickle and continuously changing, for guidance in all "what to do's" which appear in every moment of life.
Were there no other consequences of suppressed genetic thinking than mental dependence on society, the disaster would be enough; but, alas, there are.
Who can over-estimate the importance of personal confidence ("self-esteem") in individual happiness? Any diminishment of confidence-in-oneself becomes costly at once. To live well, either alone or with others, we need a healthy amount of true "self-esteem." Ego may help in the moment, but real confidence is essential in extended personal well-being. When my confidence is lacking, as is so often the case, I suffer in all aspects my life--from physical comfort to emotional happiness.
As we all know.
But this common knowledge becomes immediately relevant in regard to genetic thinking. Con-fidence means literally with-faith. We can only "have confidence" when we are "with-faith" or living faithfully. The question is: in what? Where is our faith to be placed? What are we to "believe in" when it comes to "being faithful"?
Society, of course, invites, even demands if we want its affirmation, that we place our confidence in memetic thinking--the prevailing "party line" in every family, community, club, ethnic group, or country. Religions, on the other hand, insist on placing faith in whatever gods they choose to affirm, as reflected in the beliefs and behavior patterns associated with each local branch. We are all set-up to switch the source of personal confidence from "in here" to "out there"--to the memetic thinking of society or religion (when, if ever, they happen to be different).
And who among us is ever completely successful in avoiding falling for one or both of these powerful temptations? But before making my point (which a discerning reader will already know), I pause to praise the benefits of placing one's faith in memetic thinking, whether social, religious, or both. The confidence of any "true believer" in an external ideology of any sort--whether social, scientific, political, or religious, is a wonder to behold. So long as such an individual is able to "keep his faith" in any external source, the apparent confidence which he or she is able to exercise, is enviable to one less able to worship accordingly.
But alas! Faith placed in any external image which is a product of memetic thinking is notoriously subject to shakiness in any moment and complete loss of confidence in other dark times. While I would never undermine the benefits of faith placed in any external-to-self image or concept--so long as it is working, I cannot but also note the fragile nature of all confidence rooted in any outside source.
My point, of course, is that only genetic thinking, which roots and connects us to our essential selves, is a proper source of true and lasting confidence. The wisdom of the familiar cliche, "You must believe in yourself," is classic. Only its meaning is in question. All too often it is taken as an affirmation of egotism, self-righteousness, or even false godhood.
But with yourself understood as the culminating product of human evolution so far, as an interdependent creature with inherited genetic morality in the midst of acquired memetic morals as well, both of these mediated to awareness via consciousness, then I can confidently state that genetic thinking is the best source of confidence I am yet to discover.
Finally, I take the religious term salvation to represent the ultimate human possibility--the most we can possible achieve and become, the highest state of joy or happiness. Traditionally salvation is limited to various versions of religious goals, including a joyous after-life in some other world. As such it has acquired an "other-worldly" flavor if not context which leaves it with small relevance to an average secular citizen of this world. Even so, the term retains a sense of association with "the best life has to offer."
It is this latter implication which I take for clarification of the importance of genetic thinking. I leave speculations about salvation of soul in heaven after death to others; my concern has always been with salvation in the here and now, in this present physical world--the earth and universe as we know it via personal perceptions.
Taken to name "the most" which we humans are capable of experiencing "in our own life times," metaphored in such phrases as: "knowing God," or, "being in heaven" present tense, or, in secular terms, "finding the greatest happiness," then I conclude salvation is only possible for a human being through the full activation of genetic thinking.
To repress or cut one's self off from natural think-abilities is to preclude the possibility of salvation in the here and now. I cannot "be saved" when I am out of touch with genetic thinking. I literally consign myself to hell on earth whenever I cease natural thinking. My other observations that curtailing genetic thinking is costly in terms of balance, physical health, knowledge, mental health, dependence, and personal confidence, are summarized in this final conclusion. Full happiness or present-tense salvation is but the culmination of each of these human capacities embraced.
Only when I am balanced, healthy in body and mind, knowledgeable, relatively independent, and confident within myself, do I experience salvation in this world. And the best key I have yet found to each of these prerequisites is activated natural thinking.
So, naturally I think that genetic thinking is extremely important.
A first characteristic is present-tense living, as personified in children who still "want what they want when they want it"--which is generally "right now." Natural thinking, informed by memetics, knows about time and circumstances (in more limited degrees) and also how to wait (note, stalking cats); but its delayed delights are always in lieu of greater satisfactions later (like human seductions and courtships--when they happen to be different). Natural thinking never delays satisfactions except in prospect of greater ones later. Unlike with memetic thinking, patience itself is only a means to an end, not inherently virtuous in natural thinking.
2. MAXIMUM PLEASURE/MINIMUM PAIN
Natural thinking, now versus later oriented, aims not only at comfort and avoidance of pain, but also at escalated degrees of "feeling good," fun, expanded pleasures, greater thrills, in keeping with real genetic capacities for breathlessness without dying.
Delaying or avoiding potential pleasures, except in service of maximizing fun and evading social rejection, are unknown to genetic thinking. Only a mind for memes avoids any tolerable pleasure.
3. BOUNDARIES (LIMITS)
Whereas memetic thinking is limitless, genetic thinking is always within a genetically bordered context--i.e., how much do I need, want, or can stand? Maximum pleasure (#2) is both capacity and situationally determined. All genetic processes have a beginning and end, with pulsations, rising and falling, in between. Approaching any crest, when desire is heightened, natural thinking rides the wave bravely; but as any process, including sexual passion, abates, natural thinking returns just as easily to the pragmatics of down as to those of up.
Given the reality of processes (versus permanencies) in nature, natural thinking aims at closest correlation and adaptation to any evident process (i.e., eating, sex, or going to the mall). Thus artful pacing becomes another characteristic. Pacing means: not too fast, not too slow, but just right--whatever the chosen goal at the time.
Thus in natural thinking one never "gets in a hurry" or "dilly dallies too long," thereby evading the pleasures and challenges of any given process. Consequently there is no stress or frustration in natural thinking (or natural living) because their sources, so common in memetic life, are avoided.
In genetic thinking one always "gets with it" (whatever it is at the moment), and carefully/artfully rides the progression of any wave, both on the way up and down. But still in this mode of mind, one never "pushes the river (maybe the "envelope" but not the river)," and is thus never frustrated or disappointed. Even after disasters, he speedily "picks himself up and gets back in the race" rather than falling into regret or self-pity.
This is the nature of pacing, and of natural thinking which embodies it.
In natural thinking one always "pays attention" to all available data for perception, both to what is without and within. Always present ("with it") rather than on Cloud Nine ("out of it"), a natural thinker remains sharply alert to whatever falls within the range of genetic senses--what is visible, hearable, smellable, etc.
Primarily focused on perceiving in the here and now, a natural thinker is always open, at the same time, to all memories which are the key to past experience (Hard Knock learning). Mental repressions ("trying not to think about anything which happened before") is a great enemy of present reasoning. For good decisions in the present, where we can only live now, both immediate circumstances and past experiences are invaluable components. Any excluded ("forgotten" or suppressed) experience cheats natural thinking of its available resources. And wise decisions in complex social circumstances (as they all are) certainly require the best of all we know, present and past.
Natural thinking is inherently exciting, energizing, empowering. In contrast, memetic thinking is often dull, boring, and a drain on mental capacities--something you naturally want to avoid. Genetic thinking is recognized in the eagerness of children to "hit the ground running," because their minds are still creatively open to new possibilities in each moment.
As with other genetic capacities, like being sexual, thinking naturally generates its own energies. Power is inherent in the process of reasoning in this natural way, where elements of one's own experience are being artfully formed together into concepts which may themselves become the basis for other exciting actions.
In this mode of mental activity, all available data from perceptions, memories, and personal aims, is included in every immediate process of reasoning. Natural thinking is inclusive by nature, more like females typically think than like the focused mode more common with males. For good and practical reasons men learn early to focus our thinking, as we probably evolved capable of doing through thousands of years of hunting wild game. We tend to easily exclude many real perceptions and memories which may interfere with a present goal. This, however, though practical in many male-type endeavors, is not the way the natural mind works.
Back into genetic thinking, one's mind is continually open to all available information. Even when focusing, for practical reasons, on one present goal, natural thinking is inclusive rather than exclusive of any information at hand.
Whereas memetic thinking is typically more permanent in nature, genetic thinking is, as the participle implies, ing--that is, always on-going. Participles (ing words) are more accurate than nouns (such as, thought) for describing natural thinking. It is more like a continual running movie, where one scene is always changing into another, than like still life photographs or frozen frames on a VCR. In each new instant, natural thinking is busy perceiving new data, recollecting former experience, and re-forming both into an ever-new, always changing, form.
Certainly conclusions or concepts are being continually being drawn into shape; but, and here is the crucial difference from memetic thinking: the thoughts of the genetic mind are always temporary rather than permanent. Any new data in the next instant will call for re-shaping any prior notion formed from old information.
Whereas memetic thinking is characterized by firmly set ideas, commonly taken as "the truth," shaped as principles, beliefs, or "the right answer," genetic thinking is more like a process which can only be pinned down briefly in the mind's eye. The "thoughts" (nouns) of natural thinking are more aptly seen as "temporary opinions," or, "what I happen to think just now"--like brief still images when the Pause Button is pressed on a VCR, temporarily freezing the on-going movie which will soon resume its action.
Thus unfettered from permanent principles, beliefs, and established ideas taken to be "the truth," natural thinking is continually free to entertain whatever notions happens to "come to mind." Each thought, which is itself but a temporary summation of currently available data reasoned into a harmonious form, is freely entertained without judgment or clinging. If such a concept is exciting or inviting of further play, it may be expanded or amplified through a search for more supporting or contradicting data. Or, if not, any thought is just as freely let-go-of as it was openly invited in the beginning.
The stage of a natural thinker's mind is like an open theater stage on which any one in the audience is welcome to come onto the stage, "do his number," and then return to the darkness off stage whenever he or she chooses. No person (thought) is required to come up or to remain any longer than he feels like doing so.
Freedom to entertain, re-shape, or let go of any notion or concept is one of the most consistent characteristics of natural thinking.
Memetic thinking is the type of mental activity which most adults do "without thinking." We all learn memetic thinking so early in life that it seems natural and does not require an adjective such as memetic to distinguish it at all. When we are awake and conscious, we "just naturally"--or so it seems, think in this way. Familiar-type thinking is, in this understanding, memetic thinking. If I am thinking, as distinguished from feeling or "just hanging out," then predictably my mental patterns conform to this named mode.
What I am here calling genetic thinking (for distinction from memetic thinking) is relatively unacknowledged as a type of thinking. Being genetic, like breathing and digesting food, it occurs naturally in all humans; but because only memetic thinking is commonly recognized as thinking, its genetic counterpart must usually find some other name if consciously recognized at all. Common labels for what I call genetic thinking include: "feelings," inclinations, urges, or instincts.
EXPERIENCE VERUS CONCEPTS
Genetic thinking is always rooted in personal experience, including genetic wisdom and individual perceptions. Memetic thinking, in sharp contrast, is based on concepts alone, which may or may not have any connection with personal knowledge. For example, in genetic thinking one might say, "I know that fire burns," or, "...that I'm hungry." These are experientially based bits of knowledge. In memetic thinking one may say, "I know the Pope is infallible," or, "...that Christ arose." The first are true because they are confirmed in personal experience. The latter are true only when the concepts are accepted. They can never be confirmed by personal experience today.
And so with all beliefs or concepts of any sort.
In genetic thinking one may think that theft and adultery are impractical because he can see how each undermines the structure of our society. But he cannot say, "I know they are wrong because the Bible says so." The latter is memetic thinking, which only requires accepting certain concepts which may or may not be confirmed by personal experience.
There is, of course, overlapping between experience and concepts, because personal experience allows for concepts which emerge from individual knowing. A major element in human capacities, completely apart from memetic thinking, is for conceptualization. Consciousness both allows and invites us all to form concepts from personal experience. But concepts arising from personal experience are to be distinguished from those accepted by word of mouth or from another person. Will Rogers must have had tongue in cheek when he said, "All I know is what I read in the newspapers," because every human has the capacity for a major source of personal information, namely, what we know "in our bones" as well as have learned in the proverbial School Of Hard Knocks.
Natural thinking is a human capacity, made possible by evolution of consciousness, for translating fleeting sense perceptions into shaped mental conceptions via the process of reasoning (harmonizing perceptions). Conceptions commonly begin as images or mental pictures, which are, through the gift of language, more stably shaped into notions (ideas, beliefs).
Memetic thinking also involves the capacity for consciousness and thus holding ideas; but unlike natural thinking, memetic thinking by-passes the first two stages of perception and translating, and begins with accepting concepts from "out there" rather than from carving them out "in here." School and college may help with memetic thinking, but no matriculation in the School Of Hard Knocks is required.
Both natural and memetic mental activity go by the same name thinking, but in practice the two are distinctly different. The first asks, "What do I see (or think)?"; the second asks, "What do they say?" The first asks, "What makes sense to me?" The second asks, "What is right, whether I see it or not?"
GENETIC VERSUS MEMETIC THINKING
As with other aspects of genetic and memetic moralities, these two types of thinking are also distinctively different. Here I explore how. How am I to understand these differences? Before confronting the pragmatic issue of mixing them, I need to see each more clearly.
GIVEN VERSUS LEARNED
First I note that genetic thinking is given--that is, natural or inherent, while memetic thinking is learned from others. Babies are born with the capacity for genetic thinking and begin thinking in this mode early in life. Memetic thinking, in contrast, is not inherited. Although the same brain structures are utilized in both modes, they are applied differently. With genetic thinking one simply "does what comes naturally," that is, allows the brain to work in its given way. Just as there is a natural way of breathing and swallowing, so with thinking.
But memetic thinking only begins when inherited brain capacities are applied to grasping the thinking of others rather than activating what is given. Instead of (or in addition to) "thinking one=s own thoughts," memetic thinking shifts to discerning and incorporating the thoughts of others. Reasoning, which would otherwise go to "making sense" of one=s own experience, is directed toward the notions or sense of others, especially, authority figures, such as, mother and father in the beginning, then older siblings, peers, adults, etc.
Memetic thinking begins with learning just what the beliefs, ideas, and "thinking" of others actually is. What, for example, does mother think about any given subject? What does she think I should do? After one learns a particular notion from "out there," mental energies are then given to justifying its conclusions and/or following its directives rather than discerning one=s own sense. Instead of, "What do I want or choose to do?," one then asks, "What do they want me to do?" The thinking of others is soon incorporated under the general umbrella of should or ought. The prevailing question of memetic thinking then becomes: What should I do? What do I want to do (directive from genetic thinking) is replaced by: What ought I to do? Instead of trying to figure out what I think on a particular subject, I then, when I think memetically, try to discern what "they" think--which is generally taken as what is "right" or what one "is supposed to think" about that subject.
CREATIVE VERSUS CONTRIVED
Genetic thinking, since it involves personal sense-making, is always creative--that is, thoughts are constructed by the individual doing genetic thinking. Conceptions are created from actual perceptions of the one who is thinking thusly. In contrast, memetic thinking is contrived or "made up." The individual appears to be thinking for himself, but is, in reality, using his brain powers to figure out either what others may be thinking or what the "right" (as socially determined) answers are. When a thought is finally completed and/or stated, it then represents one=s best determination of external notions on that subject. If done well, such a thought conforms to the "party line" or beliefs of significant others.
Certainly thinking, in its literal sense of brain activity, goes on; but the mode of that thinking is contrived to discern an outside answer rather than to create one=s own opinion based on personal perceptions or experience.
REASON VERSUS RATIONALIZATION
Above all else, genetic thinking is reasonable--that is, all available data is entertained, accepted, and weighted together in an attempt to find the most compatible summary. Given what I know first hand, what sense can/do I make from this personal information. Anything that is unreasonable, that doesn=t fit congruently with prior knowledge, is excluded in genetic thinking. "If it doesn=t make sense to me, I don=t believe it," at least when I think genetically.
Memetic thinking, on the other hand, has no such requirement. Indeed the purest or best of memetic thoughts are often the most unreasonable. Instead of trying to "make sense" or be reasonable, in memetic thinking one only tries to make up reasons to support pre-accepted conclusions. For example, if a mother tells something which doesn=t make sense to a child, the child simply takes mother=s statement as true and then begins to construct reasons which would support this accepted-but-irrational statement.
If one=s religious group proffers a belief which doesn=t add up, for example, that Jesus walked on water, then in memetic thinking one learns or accepts this notion as truth, but then applies his mental capacities to making up reasons which would add a degree of sense to an otherwise irrational idea. Perhaps Jesus had magical powers to suspend the laws of gravity; or maybe he was standing on a submerged log which others could not see; or maybe this is a miracle which one should just "accept on faith" even though it doesn=t make sense.
Technically, this process of creating reasons which are incongruent with personal experience is known as rationalization. The natural process of reasoning--of putting diverse bits of personal data together into one fitting whole, is suspended in favor of making up quasi-logical "reasons" to support some conclusion which on its own is out of harmony (doesn=t make sense) with what one already knows. The process of fitting in acceptably with a social group (beginning with parents) is supported by suspending the natural capacity for genetic reasoning in favor of the socially accepted process of rationalizing.
FLEXIBLE VERSUS RIGID
Genetic thinking is always creation-in-process. Each genetic thought is an honest current summary of data-to-date--that is, each notion created from past and present experience is a temporarily conclusion representing best sense available. Since human experience is on-going, data coming next will then be weighed in with all prior conclusion. It may support or contradict or require revision of previous notions. In either case, no genetic thought is ever rigid or not subject to change, even dropping when contrary data is received. There are, in genetic thinking, no permanent beliefs which are not subject to revision if/when new information is received.
Memetic thinking, in contrast, is rigid, fixed, and usually viewed as permanent. The "right answers" are assumed to be objective, and thus to "always be true." "The truth" is an apt title for memetic thinking; in fact, it is seldom recognized as "just someone=s thinking." More often memetic thoughts are taken to be "gospel truth" or "right" within themselves. One=s relationship with such memetic ideas is only through accepting or rejecting them.
Genetic thinking is more clearly seen as "personal opinion" or "the way I see things" than as "objective truth." The truth of this type of mental activity is recognized as "true for me," regardless of what anyone else may or may not think.
EASY VERSUS HARD
Genetic thinking is easy; memetic thinking is hard. The first occurs naturally, like breathing; the second is more contrived and thus must be worked at. Natural reasoning occurs, as it were, "without thinking"; but in memetic thought I must "try to come up with" acceptable reasons. The "work" of genetic thinking is not in the process of itself, but rather in breaking out of memetic patterns which tend to snuff our natural thinking.
OPEN VERSUS CLOSED MINDED
Genetic thinking is characterized by open-mindedness--that is, any and all information from any sense or source is entertained with equal respect. In contrast, memetic thinking is inherently prejudiced. Incoming data is automatically (which is the meaning of prejudice, namely, pre-judged) categorized according to pre-accepted concepts.
Memetic thoughts, usually seen as "the truth" or "right answers," exist independently of any individual and are always acquired from "out there"--that is, from other persons, either by word of mouth or word on page. Memetic "truth" is passed from person to person, or is written down and passed from generation to generation. We may acquire knowledge of memetic thinking from reading, going to school, or listening to what others say. Memetic thinking is the standard trade of traditional education and religion. The knowledge or beliefs of others are passed on and learned by new memetic thinkers. The sense or reasonableness of any memetic thought is totally irrelevant to an individual who accepts or adopts it.
Genetic thoughts, in contrast, can never be gotten from "out there"--either by word of mouth or by reading. No amount of public education or "book learning" can give one even the smallest degree of genetic thinking. Always natural thinking is given or done within the skin of a single individual. Noone else can do genetic thinking for anyone. It can only be done by a person being honest about his own experience, adding up what he has "learned for himself."
Data for genetic thinking certainly includes available memetic thoughts, just as other perceptual information gained directly through the senses; but, and this is the critical difference: what is heard or read from "out there" has no sacred status in genetic thinking. It is simply one more source of information--often valuable and heavily weighed in the absence of personal experience in its arena, but still no more valuable than sense data.
1. Power: genetic thinking is energizing; the Creative Process is activated. Memetic thinking is draining, boring, tiring.
2. Pleasure: genetic thinking is fun, pleasurable; memetic thinking is drudgery, duty.
3. Discernment: genetic thinking is always discriminating, never judging; memetic thinking is always judging, with limited discrimination.
4. Questions: genetic thinking asks, "What will work?" "What do I want to...?" Memetic thinking asks, "What is right?" "What should/ought I to do?" When both are mixed, the questions become, "What will I do?" "What do I choose?" versus dictation by either.
5. Natural: genetic thinking is natural; one "just does so without thinking." Small children are best. It is "just being yourself" in one of self's modes (thinking vs. feeling). Memetic thinking is contrived; one "must learn to, or be taught." Professors are best; self is trying to do something unnatural.
(Note: My point is not to oppose, or judge, to present one as better or worse, but to see each more clearly, so as to mix them wisely versus keeping them at war.)
(Note: Many people, as best I can tell, never consciously think naturally, except in dreams, or with guilt when awake--in any arena where others are involved or may see; i.e., only in shower or tub, or on the john ("The Thinker" statue).
6. Examples: Genetic thinking: "I am thinking..." Memetic thinking: "I think, therefore I am."
7. Goals: genetic thinking looks for actions (something to do). Memetic thinking looks for answers (mental crutches) to guide one blindly through the day.
8. What I/They Think: Genetic thinking is What I Think. Memetic thinking is What They Think. In the first, my thinking is major; their's minor. In the second, theirs is all important; mine doesn't count.
9. Reasoning: In genetic thinking, reasoning is weighing your own experience. Memetic thinking is comparing abstract notions devoid of personal experience. The first is totally subjective (which is true); the second imagines objectivity (which is an illusion).
First comes thinking itself--the process of collecting and holding data in mind space where it may be fitted together reasonably. Genetic thinking (my coined term) is the most primal form of inherited think-ability. Next comes memetic thinking, an advanced use of native thinking capacity, made possible by accepting concepts from others, from "out there" rather than "in here"--that is, rooted in personal experience. Whereas memetic thinking is critically important in socialization, in finding a place in the social groups into which one is born, it can regrettable be cut off from genetic thinking and, like an invading virus, be turned against natural thinking. In this perverted state, memetic thinking, originally useful in learning to fit in with family and society, becomes idolized and treated as a god, eventually undermining the genetic think-ability from which it sprang.
The challenge of good living is to free natural think-ability from its common imprisonment by memetic concepts, thus allowing one to mix these two sources of information into one functional whole--to utilize full mental capacities in transforming knowledge into wisdom.
In genetic thinking, concepts are shaped in graded forms, beginning with a) images, and ending in b) abstract symbols, i.e., notions--sayable or writable--that is, capable of being represented with language symbols. All images (i.e., ghosts, angels, face memories, etc.) are rudimentary concepts, yet to be decoded into tangible symbols. Pictures in the mind are the beginning of pictorials (letters, words) of sound or symbol.
Objectified concepts require a form (sound/word) but subjective concepts only take a mental image, such as, a face. Both are representational; a mental image with no words, i.e., Mother's Smile, is as clearly a symbol or concept as is the name mother--only in picture versus languaged form. Of the two forms of concepts, images or words, the first are easiest, clearest, and the most powerful, while the second are more difficult (i.e., getting a face into words), more subject to error, but easiest to use in communicating with others.
Poets and artists traffic in conceptual images; priests, politicians, educators, use conceptualized words.
Point: The two forms of concepts are very different and easily distinguishable; but each is representational, that is, direct personal experience (i.e., perceptions) has been symbolized or placed in a form apart from the sensual experience itself. The ghost, for example, represents the fear, but is not the fear; the angel stands for a feeling of security, but is not the feeling itself. A picture stands for perceived singularity, yet is not the experience--even as a photograph of mother (tangible image) portrays mother, yet is not her warmth, etc.
Point: We may group images and words, etc., as gradations of natural concepts because together they make up "thinking" as distinguished from primary perceptions, including "feelings" which are but inward perceptions, themselves as much a "given" as are outside sights or smells.
Abstract concepts are the apex of natural thinking--rooted in direct experience, but flowering in apparently unrelated glory, like personal paintings. They are also the stock and trade of memetic thinking, but here they are severed from personal experience, like unrooted flowers or purchased paintings. In memetic thinking they become virtuous/sacred, or true icons of knowledge; whereas in natural thinking they remain but the everyday tools of thought, the paints from which beautiful mental pictures are personally painted.
In natural thinking old thoughts are to the mind as shit is to the body--that is, the remnants or by-products of past thinking or mental digestion. But in memetic thinking they are bronzed, like baby shoes, or gilded like trophies, and placed on the mantles of the mind for future pride or worship--or kept as power devices for controlling other people.
All acquired symbols, like language, are learned by mimicking, i.e., names of things; but only when they are connected in one's own experience do they become tools of natural thinking. Memetic thinking is absorbing concepts without connection, i.e., "because I said so."
Synonyms: concepts = ideas, notions, beliefs, principles; anything holdable in mind space. There are two groups of concepts: 1) images or impressions, and 2) wordable forms.
THRILL AND THINKING
(BASIS OF GENETIC THINKING)
Thrilled and thinking are the roots and blossom of genetic morality (see Genetic Morality). The powerful inclinations which form the thrust of what we "should do," genetically speaking, may be brought into focus by looking at the most primal and latest of evolution=s gifts to human beings.
Beginning at our most primal roots: the "pleasure reflex"--perhaps the deepest instinctual urge which lies at the basis of cellular division and extends to our most complex combination of cells, can be summarized as conscious humans know it with the word thrill. We are geared at every level of structural being to "seek pleasure (and avoid pain)," to be excited rather than bored--or, as I summarize here, to be thrilled.
On a pleasure continuum which begins with mild "good feelings" and moves on through "fun" and "excitement" on the way toward ecstasy, genes gear us to seek a wide variety of thrills. As I have written elsewhere, I think the genius of evolution lies in attaching pleasure to what works, in making genetic well-being "feel good." And intimately connected with pleasure, being thrilled in all its degrees, lies the generation of power. Excitement and creation of energy cannot in practice be distinguished. "Feeling good" moves us.
But if seeking thrills lies at the root of genetic morality, thinking honestly must be the final blossom at the apex of the genetic plant. We are first of all directed to "feel good," to look for pleasure, to have fun, to seek thrills; but finally we are also naturally inclined to form congruent mental concepts out of the wealth of perceptions which make up the materials of pleasure. The Creative Process, my summary term for the natural direction of all human experience, begins with perception, especially pleasurable ones, and leads through imaging (Stage 2) on the way toward conceiving or "thinking" (Stage 3). Consciously thinking straight, although the top of the evolutionary process, is, I conclude, as genetically inclined as is feeling good.
By thinking, I mean mental honesty--allowing perceptions to flow into images, concepts, and embodiment, thereby completing the Creative Process. It is as natural to "be reasonable"--that is, to "make sense" of experience as it is to activate perception capacities which allow for experience. And, as though to complete an evolutional circle, such honest thinking, like pleasure itself, feels good and generates power also.
In summary, the thrill capacity and the thinking capacity are the roots and blossom of human evolution so far. Most primally we seek pleasure; most optimally we think honestly. Both processes generate power, supplying the energy necessary for human well-being.
The problem with these directives of genetic morality is that each flies in the face of social stability. Although they properly guide us toward individual and species survival, they are both dangerous to social structures. The powers generated by thrills and thinking easily lead to "acting-out" in society. Consequently, society smartly suppresses thrill-seeking which is not carefully confined by existing social structures. Alcohol and drugs, for example, avenues toward quick thrills, are socially dangerous and reasonably (by memetic standards) condemned. Sexual thrills, lying at the apex of genetic evolution, being the ultimate biological ecstasy, are also suppressed for the same reasons.
Work rather than play is a social virtue, because inclinations toward fun as well as the energies generated by pleasure soon become problematic for group stability. "Idle hands," as many have been taught, "are the devil=s workshop." And when anything gets very pleasurable the learned feeling that "this is so much fun, it must be sinful" may kick in. Great ecstasy is still held as a theoretical virtue in some religious sects; but in practice, all but minimal thrill seeking is severely limited in good citizenship as well religious membership.
And if thrill seeking is sharply curtailed in society, honest thinking must be even more suppressed. Because all social groups are structured on established beliefs (both religious and secular), straight thinking based on genetically directed experience is a constant threat. We learn so early to "think the party line" of our families, communities, churches, and ethnic groups, that we commonly forget the parroted nature of "our" thoughts. Once established beliefs have become ingrained, they, like conscience, seem to be innate. When sacred beliefs (religious or secular) enter the mind, we truly believe we are thinking for ourselves.
This latter observation, the challenges of honest thinking, making sense of personal experience rather than believing what we are told, has been extremely difficult for me to confront. I have always believed I was "thinking for myself," only to discover years later that my assumed-to-be personal thoughts were often but an early learned "party line," or else a reactionary rebellion against established beliefs. In either case, what has long passed in my awareness for "honesty thinking" is, I now see, often but another fiction I have learned to live with.
When I come closer to natural sense-making, to thinking as little children do, I realize how unnatural most all social talk and public thinking is. At least 95% of "polite conversation" is, I now think, contrived--that is, a suppression of genetic thinking. I believe that public awareness of suppressed thrill seeking is far greater than the equally dangerous denials of honest thinking in all social groups I have known. If society is ill equipped to deal with greater thrills, it must be even more threatened by honest thinking.
GENETICS BEHIND THINKING
There is no judgment in the jungle--that is, in the natural world, discriminations reign supreme, sans judgment. Whatever evolves or happens in the natural world is sharply discerned by natural thinkers, but it always "just is"--without being put up or down on. The natural world is inherently miraculous, but devoid of miracles.
The two most distinctive elements of genetic morality, which reflect in genetic thinking, are the lower and upper ends of the evolutional scale: primal instincts for survival and replication on one end, and conscious thinking on the other. The two are but discernable ends of a continuum which is not separable in reality; that is, consciousness itself, like all other human capacities, has evolved as an attribute or servant of its primal instinctive ancestors. We may see the two--instincts and consciousness, as distinct only in mind=s eye; actually they remain intimately connected in reality.
BASIS FOR NATURAL THINKING
Natural thinking is informed by: 1) Perceptions--immediate sensations of what is without and within, what I sense "out there" via my five senses, and what I feel "in here" via my emotions, both physical and psychological; 2) Memory--prior experiences in similar circumstances, i.e., that fire burns or sex excites/scares me; 3) Goals at the time, which are structured by desires ("wants"), themselves being genetically rooted.
In combination--1) What I "see" (sense/feel), mixed with 2) What I've learned personally, and 3) What I want, become the content of natural thinking. The thrust and direction of such thinking is: given my immediate perceptions and past memories, how can I best achieve my present desires; how can I get or do what I want to?
The process of mixing-data is called reason. Natural reasoning is "figuring out" the best way to reach a goal in the quickest and easiest way. "Adding up" all the facts at my disposal, garnered from 1 and 2 (above), how can I satisfy my desires, beginning with immediate sense satisfactions (be comfortable and "feel good"), and ending with any present goals which grow out of personal desires (i.e., get food or have sex).
Although genes--and the perceptions, memories, and goals which they structure, are the primary source of data for natural thinking, information from memes (social forces) is also present from the earliest days of life, i.e., that acquired from Mother's Smiles and Frowns--what She, the first Goddess Of Us All (in the beginning), likes and dislikes.
Thus we are always, after conception and birth, in the presence of genes and memes. Genes remain our oldest, deepest, and most powerful informants, but memes are never far behind.
In practice, then, in every real-life moment, natural thinking is informed and structured first, by relatively stable genes and their effects; secondly, by limited and ever fluctuating amounts of information from memes, beginning with Mother's responses to us. How shall I find comfort and pleasure, which are basically pre-determined and dictated by my unique combination of chromosomes--half from my father, half from mother, and reach the goals which they also urge me toward in circumstances which are primarily shaped by memes, genes-be-damned?
If I am alone and away from social eyes, then I may give full attention to the former only--thinking fully about how to "feel good" and "get what I want (or do what I want to)"; but whenever anyone else is present, or might be, I must then divide my attention between instincts and social pragmatics (genes and memes). How can I maximize genetic success with minimal memetic distractions? Or better still, how can I utilize memes, including other people, in best achieving my genetic goals? Or worst, how can I fend off or deceive powerful memes so as to achieve at least a modicum of personal comfort and satisfaction?
Given major genetic thrusts toward selfing and reproduction, the primary ballparks for natural thinking become: enhanced survival and maximum replication. For males these may be summarized as: food and sex--thinking first about getting something to eat, but as soon as stomach is satisfied (self-survival is attended to), then a natural male's mind turns toward fucking, especially, ripe females.
For females too, survival comes first; clothing and shelter are speedily added to food as primary necessities; but then comes family (not just sex only) with its similar genetic requirements for the same basic needs. If men think about food and sex, women think about home and family.
Plus, for us both, about how can we get and stay together with our interlocked but divergent gender goals.
99.5% of memetic thinking and verbal social exchanges are, in my estimation, rationalizations--that is, words-made-reasonable in service of socially unacceptable real (genetic) reasons. Almost nothing said in society is truly honest; what is verbally presented is rarely what it appears to be. In colloquial language, "it=s nearly all bull shit."
Common talk, while cloaked as "honesty," is patently designed to deceive--both self and hearer. Primal motivations (genetic instincts) are cloaked in socially acceptable words and sentences creatively shaped to sound sensible, while yet in service of denied urges.
Actual honesty--saying-what-you-truly-mean, is as rare as hen=s teeth in all social settings, including family gatherings and especially in loving relationships, both sexual and platonic. This common deception is further enhanced by self-deception of deceivers. The best of social deceivers are those who are most self-deceived; they truly believe themselves to be completely honest. "True believers" are the ultimate in self-deception. They more easily and effectively fool others because, sincerely believing themselves to be truthful, they need waste no energy in hiding their true motives; having already fooled themselves by long denial of genetic urges, they are thereby freed to devote all natural capacities to the arts of fooling others.
Those who are less self-deceived and thus more aware of "baser instincts," are usually ambivalent about their deceptions--and consequently less effective in carrying them out.
Natural communication is also commonly deceptive, but with one major difference: it is consciously deceptive without self-deception; fooling others is attempted only when pragmatically feasible, otherwise natural talk is honest. Agape, the highest form of love, is the finest example of loving artistry in carefully fooling another person with no degree of self-fooling.
Summary: Social communication is 99.5% deception (rationalization) accompanied with degrees of self-deception up to that same %. Natural talk is also pragmatically deceptive when feasible, yet without self-deception. Its highest arts are found in love; then the goal is complete honesty, but the path is characterized by pragmatic deception in service of love.
Natural thinking (genetic thinking or "being reasonable") is the active process of harmonizing personal perceptions (without and within) with past experience (combinations of perceptions and conclusions) and potential consequences (themselves imagined or deducted from past experience, either genetic or memetic.
Animals, babies, and small children not yet socialized by memes think naturally and reasonably (in this sense of reason).
Natural and reasonable are synonyms; to think naturally is to think reasonably.
In such genetic thinking, all conclusions (thought summaries) are derived from perceptions from without and within, including awareness of instincts which are themselves but genetic conclusions.
Genetic thinking, honestly done, is always right, certain, and held confidently.
Genetic thinking is "what I think" (have reasoned from my own perceptions) as contrasted or distinguished from "what they think."
"Mother knows best," i.e., is a memetic truth which does not exist in genetic thinking, except as an additional perception, no better or worse than any other sight or sound.
Memetic thinking, as distinguished from genetic or natural thinking, is all abstract in the sense of existing out there apart from a single person; it is impersonal or objective in that personal perceptions are irrelevant. Subjective experience is not relevant to so-called objective, abstract truth.
The abstract truth of free-standing concepts--separated from immediate perceptions, is not inherently unnatural, because they too derive from and owe their existence to the natural human capacity for forming personal concepts out of personal perceptions--which all animals also do, crudely. Conceiving is Stage 3 in the natural Creative Process. Examples: from perceptions of mother/father comes the conception of people. From perceived milk comes food. From a perceived visual distinction comes color. Fido goes to dog which goes to animal versus people.
"Few think, but all have opinions." The sense of this maxim is that the natural capacity for thinking is so habitually suppressed or replaced by memetic thinking that most people only do so while asleep or in the shower, if at all; otherwise mental traffic among meme abstractions ("opinions") is the order of the day, especially while in any social context.
Memetic thinking is mental in the sense that the natural capacity for abstractions (symbolizing, which also allows for language), is operational, yet cut off from its primary source, which is, personal perceptions. In contrast, it is informed (educated, instructed, by what-they-think or memetic truths, which may have begun as someone=s natural thinking, but has since been frozen into "objective truths."
Memetic thinking is "academic" or "intellectual" in the sense that it can be acquired ("learned") from others--via conversations or reading, that is from verbal or written symbols which are themselves abstractions.
Natural thinking is summarizing your own experience. In general, females think more naturally than do males. Natural thinking is primarily informed by genes (ingrained knowledge from past generations) and personal experience (perceptions reasoned into conceptions, themselves formed into temporary conclusions). Memes are also one other source of information for natural thinking--but not a sacred or even primary source. Mostly natural knowledge is wisdom of the ages (what genes "know") augmented by one=s personal education in the School of Hard Knocks.
Natural decisions are informed by personal experience, which includes: 1) immediate perceptions--sensations of outside phenomena and inside "feelings" which can be generally categorized as pleasure/pain, like/dislike, or want-to/don=t-want-to; 2) prior experience of past conclusions drawn from remembered perceptions (of both types); 3) goals projected into the future; 4) acquired knowledge of cause/effect, including memes operative in the social world.
Memetic decisions are formed only from memetic knowledge acquired from "out there," either previously, or at the time (as from asking what to do or "trying to please" others).
COPING BY CONCEPTS
Like breathing, coping is a necessity; not-coping is not a human option. To live is to both breathe and cope. But how we cope comes nearer to realms of choice. Perhaps genes also determine the nature of this choice, like that to breathe, pointing us toward one of two major options; but at least these come closer to analysis.
Thrust, assertion--aggression, in one form or another, is the path of coping; but within it two distinct ways are open: by physical force or by mental force. The first may also be subdivided into two familiar modes: active and passive, overt or covert, obvious or concealed.
The first, active aggression, is more common to males; #2, passive aggression, is the more common female strategy. Most males use overt force to cope; they push, hit, and fight to cope. Most females use covert force; they defer, wait, and nurture to cope. Males are more likely to force with weapons; females, with guile--finally, men to kill with guns, women with kindness.
The second major mode is mental rather than physical. It involves coping through ideas rather than aggression, either active or passive. Certainly it too aims at moving things and people in the world, yet by reason rather than assertion. Its goals are the same; only its mode is different.
I fall into this second mode, the third and much rarer way of coping by mind rather than body. I learned early to cope by "thinking" rather than by fighting or deception. The "forces" I attempted to wield were: reason, sense, insight.
In hindsight I can see how I may have been influenced in this choice--if indeed it was not simply by genetic quirk. First, active aggression (getting mad, hitting, etc.) was a family no-no. My parents never fought or were openly angry in my presence. My father was passive and gave no model for any forceful action. At the same time my mother was strong on honesty, "telling the truth," and not being deceptive--as passive aggression requires.
She also affirmed thinking--"learning," "using your mind." I was praised, i.e., for good grades, but punished for fighting or using overt force. It was as though the familiar ways of typical male and female coping by active and passive aggression were less accessible to me, while the ways of coping by sense were open and supported--plus they worked with my parents.
However it occurred in the beginning, whether by family circumstances or genetic twists, I see in hindsight that I learned early and well to avoid the common ways and try to achieve all my goals via the fragile force of sense--trying to be reasonable and influence (not force) others by the same ways.
Hence my professions. I left engineering (a forceful type of male work) for preaching/counseling--coping via ideas, concepts. Thus the exaggerated significance I have always placed on "good communication"--or understanding and being understood. After all, this was my sole way of getting what I wanted. If "they" didn't understand, how could they possibly move in ways I wanted them to? I could not, by long training and practice, use force--active pushing or subtle deceptions. Both, in my acquired values, were "bad." "Fighting" was a closed door, as was the "dishonesty" required for artful deception.
What's a boy to do? Small wonder that I have majored so long on the minor path of "seeing"--trying to think clearly, to "be reasonable" at all costs, to press for and not move except within the limited confines of shared "understanding." My shift from preaching to counseling, from forceful rhetoric to careful acceptance and change only by choice and sense, fits my stance.
My gene studies have let me "make sense" of modes I missed, as my way of moving back toward re-affirming the more natural ways of coping by active and passive aggression, rather than the extremely limited powers of sense.
I published Genetic Morality yesterday. It is representative of many other of my "se-er" moves. On the surface they all reflect what I believe to simply be sharper seeing of "what's coming down the pike" of evolution, both genetic and memetic. Time tends to confirm the rightness of my reasoned perspectives, but not to reveal my deeper motivations, which are not yet purely for the fun (and pragmatics) of seeing clearly, but also reflective of my old life-long habit of trying to get others to see what I see--to "understand me" --a way, a forerunner, indeed, to give me permission to simply see what I do see.
I am no longer trying to cope (when I am aware) in regards to outward goals via sense; I am beginning to use the two more common ways for that. Still, however, my life-long habit of seeking acceptance, if not love, via reason rather than push or deception, remains in the wings of my mind.
Can I let go of coping via conceptions alone and also become a good wielder of the more primal human modes? I will see...
Ideally, I think, the two physical and one mental way are harmonized and used in conjunction with each other, one to be selected only when appropriate, not by habit or compulsion. Then I would be forceful or cunning, each in its own time, rather than being limited to proffered reasons or sense.
Sense, I now see is extremely limited as a way of coping with others. I am rather amazed to see how far I have been able to move with such a fragile mode. It is best, I think, for private coping with the world, as prerequisite for human coping--but not for achieving with people. There, active and passive aggression, not sense-making, are best, with reason kept as my own, to inform and guide me, but not to be told or "shared" or subtly used to seek understanding. This almost always backfires in time.
Sense-making is best used privately--as with animals, kept to oneself and translated into the primal modes symbolized by fight/flight, active or passive aggression. Rarely does it make sense (in the larger picture) to tell what I see; more reasonably I act on the basis of my insights, rather than trying to cope via them.
Preaching and publishing have been useful in finding out if I can stand openly with what I see, but are more wisely laid aside as a means of personal coping. For that, I will, if I am smart, return to the older ways used by most men and women--except now informed by current sense rather than old habits alone.
Understanding, making reasonable sense of experience, is the essence of natural thinking, but the poorest of all ways of coping in the world. Natural assertion, active and passive as determined by circumstances, is best for living well in each here and now.
DREAMS & GENETIC THINKING
Natural thinking is more like night dreams than familiar daytime thinking which, past childhood, tends to become totally dominated by memetic patterns--at least in my case.
In dreams (both night and day) we tend to think more naturally, without the constraints of memetic constructs, such as, concepts of time and space, cause/effect, right and wrong. In dreams we come closer to throwing off the oppressions of memetic thought modes, thus allowing our minds to function more normally--that is, reasonably in quest of genetic desires.
Wiser day-thinking is also informed by honest night-thinking, so easily dismissed when erroneously judged as "just a dream." Not that direct translation--as in: I dreamed it, now I do it, is feasible, but that awakened and entertained impulses and insights commonly repressed in service of social acceptance, are also entertained on the more constricted stage of daytime consciousness.
Dream data can be an invaluable addition, even at the heart of effective waking thought.
Transition time activities, such as, bathing in tub or shower, may often facilitate transition thinking--from sleeping to waking. I find, i.e., that my clearest insights often "come to me" in the shower before I am "fully awake"--that is, completely caught up in memetic thinking again. Perhaps this association begins with womb memories when we were fully in the water, or my later fascination with oceans, seas, lakes, ponds, fountains (the sight and sounds of water), where I'm certain I have thought more clearly than elsewhere.
Could it be that we begin losing the capacity for natural thinking even in the womb where waters surrounded us, and need to recreate similar circumstances in order to return to ancient ways of thinking? My experience would confirm such a weird notion, were it not for my meme thinking which judges so quickly.
THREAT OF NATURAL THINKING
Growing up in social circumstances where only memetic morality is affirmed, we typically tend to identify ourselves, including our thinking, with the prevailing body of thoughts affirmed by the groups in which we find ourselves. Natural thinking is commonly suppressed beginning so early in life that many persons seem to completely disassociate their sense-of-themselves from it. Instead, after recognizing the power of prevailing social thought (personified first in "mother's thinking"), we come to so absorb What They Think into our own awareness that remnants of natural thinking become completely lost to us.
Once What They Think (the prevailing "party line" in any family, community, or peer group) is absorbed into one's mind, What I Think (or would if I still did) tends to get lost in awareness. Regular denial of personal thought in favor of approved notions leads to suppression, which in time becomes repression; what was at first known awarely but simply not said for good and practical reasons (such as, social rejection), later becomes unknown even to one who might still think accordingly if he dared do so. What begins as fooling others (by cloaking one's actual thinking) tends to lead to also fooling oneself.
After repression of natural thinking is relatively complete--that is, after genetic thinking is suppressed for so long that a person "forgets" his own reasoning, then his (or her) sense-of-himself becomes attached to modes of thought which were originally "out there" but have now been so thoroughly absorbed that the source is forgotten. Thereafter one "truly believes" that accepted "party line" thinking is actually his own. Parroting the thoughts of others, beginning with notions taken in from parents, etc., becomes so habitual that any conscious connection with natural thinking--the type initiated by genetic inclinations, is completely forgotten.
Thus self-identified not only with one's social groups, but also with the groups' ways of thinking, any sense of identity with genetic thinking is lost to awareness. Even without realizing what has happened, such an individual who is then viewed as a "good" group member because he conforms so completely to the accepted notions of the group, is effectively cut off from a primal element in human capacity, namely, to "think for oneself." Outsiders less fooled by such group identifications may see that the person is "brain-washed" and not at all thinking for himself; but not so, for one caught up in group thinking only.
This state of total abandonment of personal thinking in favor of group beliefs is easy to see in religious sects, such as, the Jonestown Church, or the followers of David Koresh; but careful examination reveals that the same type of mental identifications often occur in families, communities, and ethnic groups of all sorts, both religious and secular.
Others aside, I can also see in hindsight that although I have long considered myself to be one who "thinks for himself," huge portions of my own self-identification have been attached to modes of thought which I acquired from "out there" rather than via my own natural thinking. Unwittingly, I must have absorbed (by osmosis?) the thoughts of those around me so early and so thoroughly that only years of analysis have allowed me to uncover parts of my own genetic mind.
I can only assume that others also come to so identify themselves with memetic thinking that they, even as I did, lose, in varying degrees, their own contact and identification with natural thinking.
Once such inward separations occur, and self comes to be identified with memetic rather than genetic thinking, then returning to natural thought patterns can be immensely threatening--in proportion, I assume, to the degree of earlier separations. When (or if) natural thinking begins to "break through" long established mental walls (set up originally to protect one from socially unacceptable thoughts), then a person may "feel like I am losing my mind." "I can't even imagine where such a crazy notion came from." "Something just got into me and made me say that." "Maybe the devil made me think that."
Ways of expressing the potential threat of returning to natural thinking vary, of course, from person to person, even group to group; but in common the feeling is like losing or "going out of" my mind. The critical element in understanding such threatening "feelings" may come in decoding the metaphors which are used. It is indeed like (the metaphor) "losing one's mind," because one's sense of self has so long been attached to a memetic thought pattern that contrary thoughts (not accepted in that mode) could, logically, only come from "somewhere else." One's self-identified mind (previously absorbed or taken in from others) does seem to be (another metaphor) "going away."
But in fact, all one is "losing" is a mind-set which was not originally his own, but only adopted long before (probably for good reasons at the time). Literally, he is beginning to lose his "foreign" or memetic mind which he previously identified as himself. The thoughts which seem so "foreign" or unlike his traditional memetic thinking may reflect the awakening of his natural mind abandoned long before. Finally, he may in fact be finding his own mind for the first time in a long time. The actual loss may only be of his long-established memetic mind which he had come to identify himself.
Still, decoding metaphors is itself but another mental activity. I may recognize in hindsight for myself, or see such mental breakthroughs in others, as potentially positive returns to natural thinking--but immediately the "eruption" of any natural thought which has been long repressed can be personally terrifying.
Once out of the habit of genetic thinking and into any established mode of memetic thought--either religious or secular, emotional or scientific, a return to natural thinking can indeed by very threatening.
Natural thinking easily appears to be rebellious or stubborn; i.e., "You can't tell him anything," because the nature of the Creative Process is that only personal experience is truly computable--that is, available as content for reasoning. Even if personal experience is limited or lacking in a given area, still a natural thinker wants to make some connection, however fragile, to his own experience. He wants, that is, to always "think for himself" ("see for himself") versus being told what to think.
A natural thinker is confident even with minute bits of data because his knowledge, however limited, is truly his own; but a memetic thinker with vast information acquired from others (i.e., learned at school) is still lacking in confidence because his knowledge is not personally rooted.
Point: true confidence comes only via the Creative Process of natural thinking. It is never correlated with quantity of received information, but only with quality or extent of personal experience. A natural thinker with a modicum of data is more self-assured than a college professor crammed with memetic information.
Natural thinking, operative in the Creative Process, forms hierarchies of concepts which are then used in ever increasing harmonies of escalated reasoning (sense of reality). For example, from furry creature (perception) to Muff (one image named) to cat (one combination of similar creatures) to such ideas as: cats can scratch; cats are soft; or, cats are independent.
These complex systems of concepts are called knowledge ("what one knows") and are acquired by "learning for yourself." But the summary fact is that all such knowledge is rooted in personal perceptions either present tense or in real memory (prior learning). They are always sense made from "I sees" and "I have seens." For example, numbers, like 1 and 2, are either presently seen or remembered as concepts representing personal perceptions.
This is in contrast with memetic thinking which is made of concepts rooted in What They Think, and accepted without personal seeing. For examples: Jesus saves; Christ arose; the Pope is infallible; or in my case, dancing is wrong (and so on with most other thou-shalt-nots).
Healthy minding only believes What I See, including the power of What They See, both to them and on me as a member of groups of Theys who accept or believe such and such; but, and this it the point: only the power of What They See is believed in, not the content which falls outside the parameters of What I See. One may perceive the power of What They Think (i.e., religious beliefs) like the power of gravity or electricity, and properly know both first hand. But, if one stays of healthy mind, he never absorbs any notion or belief which he doesn't see for himself.
There is no "blind faith" (believing what doesn't make sense) in healthy minding. One can see and thus believe in the blind faith of others, then relate responsibly to them and their beliefs, just as to all other perceptions--but still in natural thinking, one never believes in anything not personally known--especially in the beliefs of others.
GENETIC VERSUS NATURAL THINKING
Although I often use these two terms synonymously, I now see a distinction between them. Older genes, which I identify with genetic thinking, (i.e., ape comparables) are lacking in conceptual capacities due to lack of evolved degrees of greater consciousness. Perceptions are still tied to learned actions which worked in the past. But with the addition of younger genes for more consciousness (mostly identified with memes), genetic thinking phases into natural thinking--which remains rooted in personal experience, but now with branches into reasoned concepts via lately acquired capacity for consciousness.
Literally, through consciousness, memory capacities, including projections into future time, are vastly expanded, making the breadth of advanced natural thinking far greater than primal genetic thinking only.
But the distinction between natural or advanced genetic thinking and memetic thinking lies in the fact that all concepts of a natural thinker are rooted in personally perceived experience ("I sees")--even when other people have provided the wealth of data.
In natural thinking, listening to others or reading books (grasping at memetic symbols) is exactly like listening to or watching any other part of the natural world--that is, like a mirror in which to find clearer reflections of one's own experience--as additional sources of data from body/mind, useful in expanding the scope of personal reasoning, never for "answers" or "truth."
A natural thinker, for example, never asks for answers from other people or seeks truth from written words. He listens or reads for expanding the accuracy of his own answering, but never for answers from "out there" beyond his own skin. He may say, i.e., "Tell me what you think"; but not in quest of answers from you; instead he is open, when asking honestly, to clues in the experience of others for resolution of mysteries yet within himself. He is not asking, "What is right?," or, "What is the truth (the answer)?," but rather, "What is your insight or information?," so that I may correlate it with my own, perhaps expanding the scope of my own understanding.
Thus a natural thinker is never in awe of another's information, nor has need to put down on the errors or ignorance of others--what he hears or reads, because he is never asking or looking for answers, only for information--grist for the mill of his own natural thinking. If he finds new data, he is pleased; but if not, he is not disappointed or "let down" because he had not put the other up to begin with.
This means that there can be no true authority figures (with "right" answers)--no gods, popes, priests, parents, or teachers, no gurus or mentors, who possess right answers capable of transmition via hearing or reading alone. A natural thinker may certainly learn from these or any other persons, in the sense of acquiring more data for expanded reasoning; but not for "getting the answers" to any of life's questions, which grade from "What shall I do next?" to "What will happen later (i.e., after death)?"
A natural thinker knows much, confidently, since all that he knows, no matter how small or great its content, i.e., whether he be a 4 year old or a PhD scientist, is his personal knowing; yet he tells little--not because he can't, or hasn't much to tell, but because he has no need for telling beyond pragmatic reasons. He is not, for example, in search of other-affirmation of his own seeing. Having faithfully moved through the Creative Process, translating his own perceptions into conceptions, he does not need external confirmation for his "seeing"--either of eye or mind.
He may tell for the fun of sharing, at those rare times when another person is open for hearing; or for teaching on request or by assignment; but most of the common reasons for telling-what-I-see, which are immensely relevant in memetic thinking, are completely irrelevant in natural thinking.
Most telling, for a natural thinker, is in service of personal goals which involve the presence or capacities of others. In such case, personal knowledge is carefully selected and shaped in accord with the hearing of the other and one's goals at the time. Rarely will such telling be the spontaneous thoughts of a natural thinker at the time, which are apt to be more personal (about selfing and sexing) than is feasible for telling in most social circumstances. More commonly, honest thinking will be shaped, even deceptively, for easier hearing or more effective results in line with the goals of the natural thinker.
LEARNING FROM OTHERS
Certainly a natural thinker learns from other people, even as from impersonal nature; but his way of learning from others is different from the way memetic thinkers learn. In natural thinking whatever they say is but another mirror for reflecting, hopefully more clearly, the darker shadows of his own knowing; or another beam for throwing more light on his own seeing.
Never, as in memetic thinking, is what one hears or reads blindly taken as the truth, until it is correlated with the best of personal knowing, itself garnered from perceptions rather than words of mouth or book. Nothing is believed just because it is said (or sayable) by another unless or until it has passed acceptable through the sacred portals of sense.
Social communication, both between persons and via media (advertising, stage, or screen) is almost 100% memetic; honest thinking is rarely discernable in human encounters outside a shrink's office--and even there it is mostly a monologue more attuned to honesty than to hearing.
Honest thinking may be possible in public; but honest communication of honest thinking rarely is. In all but the most intimate of human encounters, as when nearing orgasm or death, wise exchanges are probably 99% polite bullshit, often aimed at loving concerns, but rarely voiced in honest words. A heart may be glimpsed in what an honest person says, though rarely can it be heard by ear alone.
A truly wise person always thinks honestly, but only speaks practically, politically, and/or lovingly, because the best of natural thinking, being genetically rooted, is nearly always socially unacceptable, especially among lovers and family members.
Paradoxically, spiritual danger is greater at home than anywhere else in the world, because there inclinations toward natural honesty meet most head on with urges of genetic instincts. Away from home we all, it seems to me, are more careful and take better charge of ourselves.
In the jungles of blackboard, business, or trees, we all tend to pay more attention to danger, and therefore move more judiciously. But when mother says "leap," what child, young or otherwise, can resist saying, "How high?," or, "Betcha can't make me," in either case placing soul at serious risk?
NONSCIOUSNESS & NATURAL THINKING
Our deepest instinct, I think, is toward survival--"staying alive." But survival has two major arenas: private and public--that is, living as an individual and as a group member; in other words genetically and memetically. In early life, insofar as consciousness is concerned, social survival is far more important, not because group survival is more important than personal survival, but because in early life personal life is largely on "automatic pilot" and is primarily tended to by others (parents). Genetics, along with parents, are so efficient at keeping us alive "without thinking (via unconscious drives, such as, toward breathing, eating, and not suffocating, etc.)" that conscious attention is not required.
But not so with social survival--getting along well with mother, father, and family. Here the rules of survival are less ingrained and are more localized. Consciousness is far more relevant, for example, in surviving well with mother, than in simply keeping-on-breathing, etc. The sooner and better we learn to discern what works with mother, the more social survival is enhanced. For such learning, consciousness is our grandest asset. We truly need to "think about" how to get along best with our mothers, who, though similar in many ways, are also all unique individuals themselves.
A major problem is inherent in the fact that natural thinking--that which emerges normally from genetic direction, is commonly in conflict with memetic thinking--first, as personified in mother. What baby thinks, for example, is relatively irrelevant to what mother thinks. But baby's thinking directed toward discerning what mother thinks is crucially important in determining the best way to survive well with one's particular mother and her individual "ways" including her quirks or personality structure. And since genetic thinking, which is aimed almost exclusively at personal survival (at least in the beginning), soon finds itself in conflict with memetic thinking (yet personified in mother, attention is wisely directed in early life toward "reading mother's mind" rather than remaining attuned to one's own natural thoughts, such as, "I want to nurse right now," or, "I want you available to me 100% of the time."
So how can a child best cope with two modes of thinking which so soon turn into conflicting sources of power? When what I want conflicts with what She wants, as begins to happen soon after birth, what's a child to do? The smartest course, and one which seems to be most universally taken, involves devoting the capacity for consciousness toward discernment, first of What Mother Thinks (symbol for her favors or "good graces"), then toward What They Think (They expanding to father, siblings, then other adults and peers "out there").
The problem emerges quickly, however, since what a child wants, and therefore "thinks" (as is the course of natural thinking) is so often in conflict with what They (mother, father, etc.) think. The all too familiar resolution, which begins with such immediate success but ends up so costly in time, involves elevation of What They Think, along with suppression of What I Think --that is, with conscious attention devoted toward discerning memetic thinking and away from genetic thinking.
The path of "putting up on" What They Think and "down on" What I Think, including the addition of concepts of virtue (right, even "truth") attached to memetic thinking and notions of "bad" (even evil) associated with natural thinking, eventually leads to social thoughts held tightly in consciousness and genetic thinking repressed as best we can. We try hard, with good intentions devoted to our best interests in social groups, to "think like we should (which is another name for memetic thinking)" and not to think "bad thoughts (which are the stock and trade of genetics)."
This process of splitting thinking capacities into "good thoughts" of society and "bad thoughts" of instinctual origin, and then elevating the first while suppressing the second--all with primal survival instincts at work, only focused on "making it out there" rather than "in here," leads in time to the phenomenon which Freud called the unconscious mind. I prefer a term I coined, namely, nonsciousness to represent the opposite of consciousness, because "not-conscious" seems to me to come closer to describing the way I think the process of conscious denial works. Instead of continuing to be naturally conscious of both memetic and genetic thinking (mother's notions as well as our own), we soon begin to focus consciousness on the first and to wean it away from its natural origins.
It is not so much that we "push things down" into a reservoir or part of the mind called the unconscious, as it is that we simply void, "starve" or otherwise freeze the normal operation of natural thinking. Nonsciousness (not-being-conscious) of genetic thinking becomes the order of the day (literally), while attention becomes fixated on social concepts, beginning with Mother's Thinking. "Not-thinking" (being conscious of genetic inclinations) replaces natural awareness, while we try hard to only think (be conscious of) memetically approved thoughts.
I don't care to quibble over terms, only to expand my understanding of Freud's popularized concept of "the unconscious mind." Nonsciousness comes closer, for me, to what I find happening in myself and others as I am able to grasp how they think. I have for so long functioned nonsciously in regard to genetic thinking (as I am now beginning to clarify), with my conscious attention carefully restricted (whenever I could successfully do so) to memetic concepts, that most of my day-time thinking is limited to memetic traffic only. Only at night do I seem to more openly return to activation of what I am coming to understand as my natural thinking.
Summary: in service of survival in the social world, which, at first, calls for greater use of consciousness since "staying alive" instincts require so little "thinking," we (surely I did) commonly learn to devote most awareness to memetic thinking. In this process, which is wise at first, genetic thinking is systematically denied ("repressed" in Freudian language) while consciousness is focused on What They Think. Natural thinking is left dormant in nonsciousness--that is, the impetus and inclination toward genetic reasoning remains alive and well, except in "hibernation" or, like ole Rip Van Winkle, asleep, as it were, in a mental cave.
Nonsciousness (lost use of natural thinking) becomes the common state of the average person, while consciousness is carefully restricted to "party line" thinking only.
Literally, body/mind are but ends of a single continuum, not different entities as commonly assumed in memetic thinking. Both, in reality, are genetically rooted and finally dependent on genetic structuring. On the older end of the genetic continuum we find primal instincts more bodily ingrained, with less connection to consciousness and thinking; on the younger end, we find the capacity for consciousness and symbolization. We may, for practical reasons divide the two in mind's eye; but in reality they are always inter-connected and inter-dependent.
Memetic concepts, like body and mind, or, in religion, body and soul (with division at life's end in some religions and outer-body travel or reincarnation in others) are foreign to genetic thinking which perceives no such separation. When I speak of distinguished bodily functions, such as breathing and digesting, from mental activities, such as, thinking or reasoning, I am taking mental liberties in order to clarify two ends (especially the younger end) of the same genetic continuum.
Point: Both natural breathing and natural thinking are genetic capacities inherent in all human beings. One is "no more natural" than the other; the primary real difference is that the first is from older or primal genes, the second from younger and less automatic genetic capacities.
CONTENT OF GENETIC THINKING
The content or subject matter of genetic thinking is primarily genetic morality, that is, the moral imperatives of primal genes, which are, generally speaking, about survival and reproduction, or personal well-being and baby-making. In colloquial language, they are about "selfishness" and sex--with male and female versions in the second subject ballpark.
Both genders think naturally about replicating ourselves, but given our differing inherited roles in the shared drama of reproduction, the content of natural male and female thinking differs accordingly. In general, males think about sex with ripe females (See Genetic Morality), while females think about security with rich males--as fits the best interests of our complementary roles in reproduction.
Specifically, in genetic thinking we "think about" genetic satisfactions in the above ballparks--that is, experiencing physical delights subsumed under such names as; beauty, pleasure, comfort, satisfaction, happiness, and joy; or in figuring out ways of achieving more of each. This latter natural mental activity is called reasoning--that is, harmonizing diverse perceptions primarily for shaping effective actions in achieving the enumerated delights.
For men, such reasoning is primarily about self-enhancement and winning, especially, ripe females, plus the wealth and power needed to keep them. For women, reasoning is mostly about self-beautification plus acquiring and keeping security-providing males for the extended process of child rearing. In largest generalities: natural men think about sex and money; while natural women think about family and home.
The ideal way of the dealing with these two types of thinking is the same as for the two types of morality, namely, honoring both and mixing the two, first pragmatically, then adding artistry to their harmonization--making music and dance of the two together, like mutual orgasms between a man and woman.
But this ideal is rarely achieved, as best I can tell based on my own experience and revelations of other humans. Mostly we find memetic thinking worshiped and genetic thinking condemned, resulting in waking consciousness consumed and dictated by memetic thinking and genetic thinking relegated to night dreams which are themselves promptly "forgotten."
When good healthy genetic thinking does occasionally nudge its way into daytime consciousness (often while one is in water or privacy or in the heat of memetic frustrations), it is usually accompanied by restrictive guilt or shame, and efforts are speedily taken to deny/suppress or otherwise rationalize its reality by making up socially acceptable motivations.
Rare is the time, as best I can tell about others and know for certain about me, when natural thinking becomes beautiful and honored without guilt or shame in the course of daily activities. Sometimes at night, under cover of sleep I venture more fully into the enchanting dimension of natural thinking. Then, when I am fortunate and faithful, as in the shower or on the John, I do occasionally recall and entertain my natural dreams. On even rarer occasions, I am able to extend my processes of natural thinking, applying them to plans for the day.
Mostly, however, my old habits of memetic thinking take over before I am dressed for breakfast.
WHAT TO DO
With natural thinking we have four major options: deny it, do it, tell it, or use it. The first is the most common choice; more than all the others I, and I think most others, try to deny the reality of natural thinking. The second most often made choice it to simply translate a natural though into an outward action--to "act it out." Next, as I have more often tried to do, one may tell others about his natural thinking, usually with the intent of getting their affirmation or support. Finally, the less often made choice it to use the data of natural thinking in making real life decisions. I conclude that the most common choice, option one, is the most dangerous of the four, and that #4, though rarely made, is the wisest option.
The first choice involves "trying not to do it," that is, to deny natural thinking whenever possible. In psychological language, this is commonly labeled as suppression for milder stages, and repression for more advanced or "deeper" denials. The attempt in option # 1 is to rule genetic thoughts out of existence, to try to "make them go away" or cease to exist. Whenever a normal genetic thought enters consciousness, comes onto the stage of the conscious mind, slips into awareness, with this choice one tries to "push it down (into the "unconscious mind"), to drive it off the mental stage, or to exclude it from awareness.
Colloquial language for this choice includes "trying not to think about it," and "getting rid of such ideas." Commonly, denial is supported and maintained by various judgments, such as, "bad," "evil," "wrong," or "thinking about things you shouldn't." The assorted concepts or notions which emerge from natural thinking are pre-determined to be unacceptable and therefore "bad."
Society (memetic thinking) often assists in our most common denials by denying acceptable language for the subject. But since we naturally create sounds, and then words, to represent our experiences, total social denial for unacceptable genetic concepts is impossible. Society's second tool for denying what it cannot completely rule out of thinking is to judge the words themselves as obscene (off-scene) or "dirty," and therefore not to be tolerated in "good people." Fuck, for example, is one of the most powerful of verbal memes. Social forces become immediately operative whenever the word is voiced. When society can't completely deny a concept's existence, step two is to condemn the language used to express it.
Adopting such social memes into one's own thinking, the process of denial in any individual is supported by the ingested judgments. If one begins, for example, to have a natural thought about sex, and wants to deny it in awareness, he may first borrow the social (and religious) judgements about the act itself. "I shouldn't be thinking this." But if a sex act becomes more clearly focused in mind, additional words are required for clear thinking. Fuck, of course, is short, clear, and graphic; but the word itself is "obscene"--that is, judged bad by society. Borrowing this social judgment, one may further restrict clear thinking by "trying not to say it"--even in mind's eye only.
Guilt is another useful tool in the process of personal denial of natural thinking. Shame, as we all know, is a powerful negative feeling which helps keep us away from forbidden acts or thoughts. I have previously labeled the various shames associated with memetic transgression as false guilt, because the "sins" which evoke it are all socially determined rather than being genetically based. But this mental nit-picking, though, I think, accurate, does little to diminish the power of "false guilt." It still feels real, even if I analyze it to be false.
In either case, option #1, personal denial of natural thinking, is commonly supported first by judgments of the notions themselves, and often by further judgments of words available for bringing the ideas into further clarity. Then, to back up the "put downs," we commonly learn to feel "false guilt" about many of the acts associated with natural thinking. Even if we avoid "acting out" unacceptable deeds associated with genetically based thoughts, we may still "feel guilty" for simply thinking about them.
Bottom line: the first and most common choice when we face what-to-do with natural thinking is, "don't do it." "It's just as bad to think about it as it is to do it," is one of the supporting beliefs I acquired early in life. Nip any unacceptable action in the bud of thought. If you don't think about it, surely you won't do it. Call it suppression or repression, or simply "trying not to think about it," the attempt in option #1 is to rule genetic thinking which conflicts with memetic concepts (and much of it does) "out of mind."
Procedures associated with this choice of denial include: 1) Change the subject (try to think about something else). Switch to "good thoughts." Try to think of something "positive" or "good" instead. Focus on "what you ought to be thinking," etc. 2) Get busy and stop thinking all together. Do something which "takes your mind off the subject" or curtails conscious thinking. Get engaged in actions which make natural thinking difficult to do at the same time. Take, for example, a proverbial "cold shower."
The second option when socially rejected genetic thinking begins to occur is to immediately translate an idea into its most natural action. If, for example, you "feel like (think about) hitting someone," just do it. If the thought of "being selfish" and taking the best piece of cake or getting at the head of the line "comes to you," then just grab it, or push past the others who are waiting.
The fullness of a power-producing (all genetic thinking energizes one) but socially dangerous thought is partially avoided by such immediate actions. Even though the actual consequences of "acting out" may be greater, the internal relief from the disturbing power of thinking is eased by this process.
Literally, in this choice, the natural process of thinking is short circuited by jumping from image to action, thereby avoiding the challenges of decoding and image or standing the power produced by participating in the Creative Process. The normal Creative Process, as I have amplified before, moves from 1) perception to 2) image (picture or "feeling") to 3) conception (by way of decoding the image into ideas) and finally to 4) becoming (which includes actions). But this natural process may be stopped in the middle, curtailed, and short-circuited, by skipping from stage 2 to various actions which may occur at stage 4.
"Just doing it," whatever the process of genetic thinking was beginning to form into a sound concept, becomes the second most familiar option. Those who more often make this choice (or who have become habitual in this mode of "acting out"), are often seen as dominant, aggressive, "head-strong," impulsive, or rebellious.
This third option is the one I have, I recognize in hindsight, most often tried to take. I think that I have been less repressive (option #1) than the average person, and more careful about translating my ideas into action than are many others; but I have come to blindly major on choice #3. Even when I have avoiding speaking, somewhat aware of inherent social dangers related to my genetic thoughts, I have strongly wanted to do so.
Myself aside, this third option is like #2 in that it short-circuits the fuller Creative Process by stopping at the stage of conceptions, and then trafficking among them. Specifically, it involves translating natural thinking into writing or conversation, as contrasted with into actions (as in #2). In colloquial language it involves "just saying what you think" or "trying to be honest with others," or "telling it like it is." These expressions give the choice an acceptable flavor (given the social virtue of "honesty"), but ignore both the motives of the speaker as well as the predictable consequences of such telling.
"Telling it" means translating natural thinking into concepts which are then voiced or otherwise revealed to other persons. Often such revelations are deceptively labeled as "sharing" or "just being honest," and deeper motivations remain hidden to the one doing so. In either case, the fuller course of natural thinking which ideally leads to becoming what was at first conceived, is stopped in the middle. Whereas option #1 tries to stop the process before it begins, and #2 jumps to the end, #3 goes a step past images but dead-ends with concepts.
Those who consistently take this option often end up as teachers, preachers, writers, public speakers, professors, politicians, philosophers, theologians, counselors, advisors, "thinkers," "talkers," or "wordy people." They traffic in concepts. From the perspective of those who take other options, they (we) "talk too much" or "try to tell too much." I, obviously, have been one of these. (Even this journal is evidence of my commonly taken option.)
In retrospect I am able to see some of my deeper motivations in my life long habit of "trying to tell it like it is (as, that is, I see it!)." My quest for "understanding," which lay at the base of much of my "telling what I think," has been a slightly cloaked wish for company in "standing-under" what I see with me. Lacking the nerve to move smoothly along in the natural Creative Process, affirming my own experience, I have, blindly at the time, looked for others to support me in my seeing. As I have amplified elsewhere, I find that movement from stage 3 of the Creative Process (conceptions) to stage 4 (becoming what one sees) is extremely difficult, requiring much faith. Mostly I have opted out on faith through various forms of "telling."
Obviously, however, I have no corner on the market of "telling it," as one way of dealing with natural thinking. Fewer, it seems to me, choose #3 than #'s 1 and 2; but I do have company.
The fourth, and least chosen, option involves taking genetic thinking and using it as another source of data for informing personal decisions--using it, that is, for making smarter choices in life. Instead of denying, acting out, or telling about natural thoughts, one may take this information rooted in genetic wisdom and utilize it in daily living.
In practice "using it" involves the larger mental process of mixing genetic with memetic thinking and arriving at decisions which include both these major sources of human knowledge. More commonly we try to exclude genetic thinking (option #1) and make decisions based on memetic concepts only ("doing what we should do"); but with this fourth option we move past denial or acting out, and fully entertain genetic thoughts in consciousness; then, with social (memetic) thinking also in mind, we carefully mix data from both sources in the process of deciding what we will say or do (or not say or do).
Using genetic thinking requires, of course, that we first become able to hold it in mind space (avoiding options 1 and 2), to entertain each natural thought on the mental stage. Allowing genetic thoughts must then be phased into accepting them without judgment--that is, getting over typical memetic judgments (i.e., that fuck is a bad word, or that "selfishness" is evil). No thought, genetic or memetic, can be carefully "entertained (considered)" so long as it is shrouded with judgments, either bad or good. Only after any language (including "obscene" words) or action has been freed from inherent judgments, plus or minus, can it be freely used in making wise decisions.
MIXING GENETIC AND MEMETIC THINKING
The pragmatic issue is how can I properly mix these two types of thinking? Since I exist with the capacity for genetic thinking in a social world dominated by memetic thinking, how am I to live with both? I, like all others, have been born with inherited "think-ability" and have also acquired a vast amount of social information--memetic thoughts commonly accepted as "the truth." I have no choice but to exist among both types thinking--that which I do privately "in here" and that which I have gotten from "out there." I have long tried to treat "objective truth (memetic thinking)" as though it were inherently sacred. In this process I have generally put down on genetic thinking whenever it contradicted socially accepted notions, and tried to believe what I read or was told to be "right."
I now think my prevailing habit is improper--not the best way to live among both possibilities. Some of my present thinking about a better way includes these observations: first, as noted previously, most public conversation (99.5%?) is meme dominated and properly so. Thus memetic thinking--saying what is socially shared, is the proper and primary concern of nearly all public talk. In sharp contrast, genetic thinking, also as described before, is without rationalization; it is "straight" and entirely honest. The challenge is how to mix reasonable genetic thinking with memetic rationalizations in social conversation.
Before thinking about practical mixing of the two modes of thinking/talking, I need to be clearer about the difficulty of acknowledging/recognizing my observation that social talk is perhaps 99.5% contrived rather than honest. To simply state categorically that natural thinking is totally reasonable, without any rationalization, while social thinking is almost 100% rationalization, is easy enough; but to see this fact? in real situations is quite another matter. In the midst of social exchanges we may never be aware of this observation. We tend to believe (at least I do) that we are mostly "being honest" in talking with others. "Bull shitting" or "bamboozling" commonly goes unrecognized, especially by those who do it best and most.
The problem is that habits of rationalization--creatively making up socially acceptable reasons which are in fact entirely contrived, are generally acquired so early in life and become so ingrained in practice that we hardly ever recognize what we are doing, especially when doing it well. Only later, if ever, may our attempts at social deception be seen as such. At the time we are thinking/speaking with others, we tend to take ourselves as "sincere" and "really meaning what we say."
Unrecognized rationalization (denied deceptions) are further cloaked by the fact that most of the things we actually say (i.e., the stories we tell) may be entirely true. Our stated observations, for example, about the weather, the kids, or what=s been happening, are often "completely honest." We tell the truth about the rain, our children=s activities, and even about our emotional events. What is missing in awareness is our deeper motivations for what we so easily tell in such social exchanges. Our rationalizations lie not so much in objective or stated lies as in unfaced habits of currying social favor (or rejection) via those we select to tell (or not tell).
Even if catching on to the secretly deceptive nature of most social exchanges is difficult at the time, I believe that my theoretical observation (99.5% contrived conversations) is true. Furthermore, like oil and water, reason and rationalization are hard to mix. The easiest resolution is the one most commonly taken, namely, carefully exclude natural thinking from social talk and substitute denied rationalizations. In other words, be unconsciously deceptive while acting "completely sincere."
The success of this mode when done well, insofar as social success is concerned, goes without saying. It works "out there." But I seek a better way because of the prices we also pay "in here" for the self-deception which the popular way requires. The challenge of mixing good genetic thinking (instinctual honesty) with good memetic talking requires honoring both. I cannot be myself in social situations if I do not continue to think naturally; but neither can I be acceptably present if I simply "say whatever I think" and ignore the pragmatic necessity of carefully fitting what I say into the current social context.
To respect both conflicting realities, I must continue to think naturally (awarely), to reasonably fit all my data into sensible-to-me conceptions (as previously described), while at the same time shaping whatever I say into words and ideas congruent with the social context in which I find myself--that is, in keeping with my own goals and current circumstances. In broadest perspective this means that I will rarely be wise in simply voicing natural thinking in its most direct form ("saying whatever I feel like saying"). 99.5% of the time I will either contain my natural thinking in "mind space" and give voice to thoughts related to the current subject of conversation, or else carefully shape whatever I say, considering those with whom I am speaking.
When deception is called for in service of these guidelines (as is most often the case with genetic thinking), the major rule in pragmatic mixing is to artfully fool others without ever fooling oneself--never the other way around (as is so prevalent in memetic thinking). Other-deception in service of personal goals and/or social harmony is often the order of the day; but self-deception (denying genetic thinking in awareness) is never acceptable when one is also attentive to personal well-being. If I am to remain a natural person in any social context, even in the presence of a single individual, I must remain carefully attuned to my own genetic awareness without slipping into easy denials in quest of social acceptance. At the same time, honoring social connections which also have their limits, I must remain equally attuned to those around me--to their hear-ability, personal interests, and current state-of-being. Then, respecting both my own as well as their goals at the time, I mix, when I am wiser, the two as best I can.
THINKING IN RELATIONSHIPS
Three familiar personality patterns are evident and relevant to understanding the nature of thinking in the context of human relationships. They are: dominant, submissive, and dependent. Quite apart from a person's mental abilities (think-ability) these same character traits tend to become operative in the realm of thinking as well as behavior. One who is dominant in personality is also likely to be dominant in thinking; one who is submissive in behavior will tend to be submissive when thinking is operative in a relationship. And so on.
Surely these are broad generalities, but they let me get a handle on patterns which are full of other subtleties. For example, most couple relationships involve one person who is more dominant than the other, and one who is more submissive. Then, in consort, the dominant person tends to direct actions when the two are together, while the submissive person "goes along" with what the other wants or chooses. The same pattern tends to be operative with their thinking as well as actions. If the dominant person expresses an opinion, the submissive one "accepts it without argument." But if the submissive person tells a thought, the dominant one is likely to disagree and state "the way it really is."
The opinions of one dominate or take precedence over those of the other. The submissive one "gives in quickly" when the other has a contrary idea. "Okay, you are right," or, "Yes, let's do what you want to do."
Typically then, we find "yes men" and "no women," or vice versa; that is, persons who consistently agree (on the surface) with whatever the other says (thinks), and others who just as consistently disagree. One is "always right (or thinks he/she is)," while the other is "always wrong." In any argument the dominant thinker always wins, no matter whose information is greater or more reasonable. The conversations (literally, shared monologues) of such persons become quite predictable. Whatever the dominant thinker says, the other listens to and "goes along with." Whatever the submissive person says, the other argues with, "finds holes in," or otherwise maintains a contrary position. One is "always right," the other "always wrong."
Closely related to the submissive pattern is the dependent personality. Often they are the same. But a "dependent personality" may sometimes overlap with either of the two major patterns. Either a dominant or submissive thinker may be more dependent than independent in most circumstances. A dependent person is fearful of "standing up for himself," or tends to "lean on others" for making decisions. "Standing out in a crowd (or alone)" is cause for "seeking cover." When a dependent personality is mixed with a dominant thinker, as in my case, the nature of thinking in relationships is further complicated.
If the dependent person is also submissive in nature this conflict is less evident, because the two traits merge into one stance; lack of independence and regular "giving in" appear as one and the same. But when a dominant thinker (one who is confident of his opinions) is dependent in nature, this difference easily becomes problematic. Even though he is confident of his ideas, he lacks comparable nerve in standing up for himself in times of conflict.
Because a dependent nature tends to be deeper than patterns of dominance or submission, even an independent thinker will tend to "give in (or appear to)" to others when he is not an independent person. And conversely, an independent person, even with a submissive pattern of behavior, will tend to dominate (in thinking) a dominant thinker who is dependent.
This is because the dependent personality, even with confident thinking, still needs (wants) support for his ideas. He may be confident in mind, but in practice he still seeks outer affirmation for ideas firmly held alone. He, as in my case, "needs understanding," not because he is unsure about his thinking, but because he fears to stand up with his ideas whenever there is possible conflict with others. Even when confident in his beliefs, he "gives in" to irrational thinking of others because he needs emotional support more than he does mental affirmation.
This dependent stance is easily confused with a necessity for agreement, as though everyone must agree with his ideas before they are valid. In fact, the need is less for agreement than for acceptance of him as a person who thinks differently. He looks for affirmation of seeing (with which he personally identifies himself), not necessarily for agreement. Being dependent in stance, though not in thinking, he wants support for his dependence. Disagreement with ideas is okay, even welcomed, as long as it is not accompanied with rejection of him as a thinker.
The "understanding" he (and I) seeks is more like "standing-under" what he sees with him (acknowledging that the hearer sees his points) than about agreement with the ideas themselves.
Both genetic and memetic thinking obviously utilize the same brain. The same mental capacities operative in natural thinking are also at work with social thinking. Both, for example, use "reasoning" as a way of establishing concepts. But here the similarities part ways. Whereas genetic thinking only creates concepts which emerge from "making sense" of personal experience--that which the individual "reasoner" knows for himself (is congruent with private perceptions), memetic thinking "borrows" concepts to begin its reasoning process. No personal experience required.
Such beginning concepts for memetic thinking may come from any external source--something read, heard from a friend, or simply recognized within the culture. The critical difference is that these beginning concepts are from "out there" rather than "in here."
They are like axioms in mathematics or premises in a logical argument. Once the basic tenets are accepted (in religion this is called "by faith" rather than "by sight" or personal knowledge), then a logical conclusion may be reached by weighing data (which may in fact be personally perceived) against the premises.
For example, if one first accepts the objective notion of a soul (or self) as an entity residing in the body, then principles of reason may then be applied to answer such questions as: Can this entity leave the body for outer-body travel? What happens to a soul after bodily death? Where does it go? Since, as personal experience confirms, "everything's got to be someplace," then logically an assumed soul must also "go somewhere." Some, who also accept the premise of a place called heaven "out there" somewhere, may then logically conclude that the soul "goes to heaven" after physical death. Others who do not accept the concept of an external place may reason that after the soul leaves the body at death, it simply returns to inhabit some other body on earth. And so on.
The point is that memetic reasoning begins with certain concepts which come from "out there" beyond one's own personal experience ("in here"), and then seeks to relate these premises to other real life data. If the initial, unfounded-in-personal-experience premises are accepted and taken as "the truth," then the reasoning which follows may be equally logical with genetic reasoning--which only uses data supported by the experience of the natural thinker.
The requirement of memetic reasoning is only that the concepts being stated fit together in some logical fashion. Since the conclusion is foregone, for instance, souls, if they exist and are presumed to be eternal, must go somewhere after bodies cease to exist, then figuring out where only becomes an exercise in creating concepts which fit logically together (such as, "to heaven," or, "they are reincarnated").
Such memetic conclusions, which exist apart from personal experience, need only conform to "laws of logic" which are themselves but accepted premises from "out there." Once a premise-based conclusion is made, such as, "souls (assumed to exist to begin with) go to heaven or hell after death," then reasoning enters in only as an exercise in logic. For example, with both heaven and hell assumed to exist as places, one need then only "figure out (reason)" how to get to the best rather than the worst place. Answers, of course, vary from religion to religion; but in common they are made reasonable by connecting behaviors (which can be seen) with conclusions which cannot. In general, the logical way to get to the good place after death is by being good before death. And "good" is of course also defined by the sect to which one belongs.
On less weighty matters, the same principles of memetic reasoning apply. Suppose a woman's goal (a conclusion or concept in her mind) is to get a new pair of shoes. Then her reasoning need only conform to the laws of logic, for example, "they are on sale." Since "saving money" is commonly another accepted value, then doing something which "saves money" is logically a good thing to do. The same applies, of course, to a man with a closet full of guns who wants a new rifle. Finding one on sale, he can "reason" that since he "needs it (another assumption)," and it is "on sale," then logically he, also wanting to "save money," should just go ahead and get it.
Genetic thinking always
reasons, never rationalizes
Memetic thinking seldom reasons, mostly rationalizes
Memetic thinking is commonly
in making up socially acceptable reasons
for genetically motivated desires or actions
Genetic thinking is the way we naturally think before we get "brain washed" (literally, "brain dirtied") in the process of socialization (adapting genetic drives to memetic structures. Genetic thinking is the mental arm of genetic morality; as breathing is to body, so genetic thinking is to mind.
Although those of us who do it seldom recognize the fact at the time, the so-called reasoning of memetic thinking is more clearly seen as rationalization, rather than a true summary of all known facts, as pure reason would require. That is, in memetic thinking one creates or "makes up" reasons to support conclusions already drawn from premises, either seen or unseen (conscious or unconscious). In an imaginary society which did not so highly honor "being reasonable," such exercises in logic would hardly be necessary. For example, were it not for husbands who insist on "being reasonable," many wives would likely buy new shoes without the necessity of "making up" reasons (which are themselves often "shallow" from male perspectives). Seeing the shoes they like, they might simply buy them, avoiding the processes of rationalization.
The same is true with so-called "scientific reasoning" which, on the surface is commonly taken to be "purely objective," unlike female buying habits which men often see as "totally subjective." Scientists, including mathematicians, always begin with at least one, usually many premises, and then build plausible conclusions (concepts) which are themselves but logical deductions from accepted premises. For example, assuming a "big bang" theory for the beginning of the universe, or a "God did it" premise, a process of logic may follow in which other bits of real data are harmonized to fit with the non-experienced premises. Scientists then explain the "expanding universe" and the progress of evolution, just as theologians go on to theorize about the which elements and creatures were created on which days.
GENETIC ROOTS OF MEMETIC THINKING
Although the subjects of memetic thinking range far from any obvious personal basis, often seeming to be totally objective, careful analysis is apt to reveal that even the most "objective" of memetic thinking is subjectively rooted--that is, primal genes are usually at the heart of "purely objective" memetic (secular and religious) thinking.
Memetic thinkers are rarely aware of genetic motivations, having long forgotten (if ever we knew) our blindly accepted concepts; usually we see ourselves as "objective" or "impersonal" in all our thinking. Any projection of opinions, either as ideas or associated actions, are generally seen as "being for your own good" rather than useful in achieving our own genetic goals.
Levels of competence associated with the learning process can be correlated with degrees of consciousness. At the lowest level of consciousness, competence is often surprisingly high. For example, at level 1, one who knows nothing about tennis may pick up a racket and play quite well during his first game, with little awareness about the arts of tennis strokes.
But then, as degrees of consciousness increase, as he "begins to think about," say, his backstroke, his competence will predictably decrease noticeably. The more he focuses on ("thinks about") his backstroke, the worse it may get. This second level has been called "conscious incompetence." As consciousness went up, competence went down.
Although many tennis players (and other athletes and ordinary people) stop at this level, blaming their problems on "thinking too much," there is a third level of competence for those who persevere. In time, continued consciousness (including natural reasoning) is likely to lead to even greater proficiency--whatever the undertaking. This third level has been called "conscious competency." Thus the natural process is from: 1) Nonscious ("unconscious") competency, to 2) Conscious incompetency, to 3) Conscious competency. This is typically the course of natural thinking when applied to any human endeavor.
My explanation lies in an affirmation of genetic wisdom, even when it exists only in nonsciousness, entirely apart from conscious awareness. Just as small boys often know how to throw a ball (or spiders to build a web) without ever being taught (due to genetic knowledge), so it is with all other human endeavors rooted in genetic motivations. Adults often puzzle at how small children "just know how to do" many things they haven't been taught--for instance, to use a female example, girls to flirt. My answer is genetic knowledge.
But when ancient and wise instincts are confronted with data from Johnny-Come-Lately "thinking," the conflict is predictable. In the presence of notions on "how to do something right (memetic thinking)," older genes are, as it were, temporarily confused, resulting in decreased efficiency at whatever acts they were previously directing "without any thinking."
In arenas of human relations, this phenomenon is often apparent. Those who know less about how to relate often relate better operating on instincts. Any type of psychological knowledge, i.e., can interfere with natural wisdom. Specific arenas include: female flirting, male seducing, or either gender fighting--physically or verbally.
Natural fighters, whether with fists or words, when they are psychologically unsophisticated (not conscious about "relational skills") usually win in relational conflicts hands down, operating on instincts alone. Meanwhile those who "know more about human relations (are more consciousness of psychological ploys, etc.)" are also more consistent losers in encounters with those "not burdened" with conscious knowledge. As with tennis strokes, "a little information can be a dangerous thing."
LANGUAGE OF NATURAL THINKING
Although genetic thinking utilizes the same mental faculties as memetic thinking, its commonly chosen language is different. It seems that thought-associated words have been largely taken up by memetic type mental activity, leaving natural thinking to find its own ways of speaking.
In general, natural thinking is worded in emotional or "feeling" language rather than in "thought" language--that is, corresponding thoughts are more apt to be expressed as, "I feel like...," than, "I think that..." Even though genetic thoughts are the same kind of mind activity, they tend to be worded in emotionally related words.
But "feeling" language does not necessarily mean that the thoughts expressed accordingly are about actual physical emotions. Technically, "feeling-talk" for genetic thinking is metaphorical rather than literal. Sentence analysis often reveals the implied metaphors--i.e., "I feel like (comparison) hitting (hurting, fucking, loving, etc.) you," sounds as though (metaphor) it were an emotion. Literally, however, in genetic thinking, the notion is a thought.
Decoded from emotional metaphors, the same expressions might become: "I am thinking about hitting (etc.) you."
Other genetic language is drawn from experiences of desire or taste (likes and dislikes). Perhaps the most common of all genetic thoughts is worded as: "I want (expression of desire) so and so," or, "I like...," or, "I don't like..." Even though such statements about genetically rooted information are expressed in words about desires, they are about natural thinking. In literal talk such sentences might be worded as: "I am thinking about doing/getting such and such (rather than, "I want to..."), or "My idea about this is favorable (evidencing the thought)" rather than "I like or don't like...").
The point is not to quibble over language; all words are simply tools of thinking (at least from a genetic perspective). Whatever works, works. But if we are to recognize and understand genetic thinking, its common expression in emotional language--or in words related to "wants" or "likes and dislikes," rather than in "thinking" words, must also be seen. What may sound like only "animal desires" or blind instincts, are often sharp genetic thoughts expressed in its familiar language. Not that genetic thinkers don't commonly feel "animal desires," but that many expressions in the language of desire are literally thoughts rather than "wants."
The reverse of this subtle use of language may sometimes be recognized in memetic thinking also. Language about thoughts, i.e., "I think you don't like me," while sounding like an idea, may actually be a cloaked expression of natural anger.
Summary: In order to recognize and understand natural thinking we must be alert to the fact that memetic mental activity more commonly uses thought-based words, while similar genetic mind work is typically expressed in either emotional language, or in words about desires and tastes. Even so, differing languages notwithstanding, both memetic and genetic "thinking" emerge from the same type of mental activity. "A rose by any other name..." And so with a thought...
PRACTICING GENETIC THINKING
First, genetic thinking is as natural as breathing and hence need not be learned or practiced. Just as babies are born with a knowledge of how to breath, digest milk, circulate blood, etc., so we all arrive with the inherent capacity for natural thinking. Left on their own, all children do so as easily as they reach and move.
The "learning" required for thinking naturally is more literally seen as unlearning habits of memetic thinking which have, like weeds in a garden, crowded out the flowering of genetic thinking. Before we can think normally again, we must in some measure be freed from dictation by compulsive memetic thinking. We must, in effect, weed the garden of our minds, allowing native thinking to go freely about its natural activities. Once memetic thinking is recognized and contained (here my weed metaphor breaks down, since memetic thinking is not bad and to be "pulled up"), then genetic thinking will reappear as though by magic.
The best practice I have found lies in coming to recognize genetic thinking when it occurs, and being careful not to let habitual memetic thought patterns immediately snuff it out. From a memetic perspective, most natural thinking is apt to be quickly judged as bad, wrong, or even evil--surely not a flower to be watered and tended in life's garden. For natural thinking to "take root" such judgments must be laid aside while I learn to "become as a little child" thinking naturally again.
Prevailing social thoughts (memetic concepts) are not to be put down on, or judged as inherently bad, but rather respected and contained while fledgling genetic thinking is given a fair entrance onto the stages of the conscious mind.
THINKING AND DREAMING
Dreaming is sophisticated thinking in symbols--both visual and verbal, unfettered by the laws of language or limitations of logic. In dreams we make reasonable sense of our experiences (perceptions) even (or especially) when our conclusions are socially unacceptable, i.e., when parents, friends, and lovers might disagree or reject us for what we think.
The more we learn to cope with rejective others, i.e., dominant parents, by repressing reasonable thoughts, the more likely we are to dream visually, dramatically, and in cloaked symbols, unless or until we become so accustomed to suppression of day thinking that we also repress night thinking, thereafter saying, "I never dream," or, "I hardly ever remember my dreams."
Wise decisions on all levels--from what to eat for breakfast to what to do with your life, are rarely possible without mixing both genetic and memetic thinking. Information from both older genes ("genetic thinking") and younger ones (called memes) are needed for functioning wisely in the world. Informed by only one or the other, I may be smart or clever, but truly wise decisions must utilize the whole range of what I know--both genetically and memetically.
Such mixing has several prerequisites: 1) Knowledge from both sources. I obviously cannot use genetic knowledge in conscious decision-making when I am not aware of its existence. Lifelong habits of suppression of genes in favor of memes often leave me only attuned to memetic knowledge (what I "should do"), with little awareness of primal gene directions. Thus my first requirement involves becoming and being alert to genetic information as well as memetic concepts whenever I face any decision. Memetic knowledge is obviously more available to me, so I am mostly aware, without much attention, to what I "should do."
2) Facing myself, or unsuppressing genetic knowledge, actually comes first; knowing what I know genetically cannot happen until and unless I risk "facing myself"--that is, becoming conscious of instincts and experiences which I may have long run from. The challenges of self-honesty ("facing up") are well known.
3) Suspending judgment comes next. Not only must I be aware of both genetic and memetic knowledge, I must be able to view each equally and respectfully. By habit I tend to "put down" on most genetic awareness, while unfairly honoring memetic truths as though they were "gospel." Either type of judgment--down on genetics or up on memetics, interferes with reasonable thinking. Before I can be truly reasonable about mixing, I must be able to suspend judgments which inherently prevent honest appraisals of either set of data.
4) Careful weighing of equally respected bits of information held comfortably in mind space is the next prerequisite. With full knowledge (at least as much as I have) of both "what I want to do" and "what I ought to do," I then face the challenges of merging both into a functional whole. This, obviously, requires my additional attention to personal goals at the time. Along with what I know from both sources, I must also be attuned to "where I'm going" just then. What am I after? What, if anything, am I trying to accomplish? Goals-at-the-time, as noted before, are a third common element in natural thinking.
Beyond necessary attention to these 3 elements in decision making--that is, genetic knowledge, memetic knowledge, and personal goals, I know of no other "rules for practice." Some miraculous how, wisdom--as best I can discern it, seems to eventually appear when I am carefully attentive to these three sources of information.
TRUST AND NATURAL THINKING
Paradoxically, no one is so trusting as a natural thinker, yet a natural thinker trusts no one. By nature of itself, genetic thinking is trusting while in the process of reasoning, but does not "place trust" in any external source, such as, another person, place, or thing, including a god. A genetic thinker is trusting, because faith is an inherent requirement of being in the Creative Process--of which natural thinking is a critical part; yet while still in this process rather than having slipped over into memetic thinking alone, one never projects his trust "out there." Trusting remains an internal way-of-being, not a psychological stance of dependency on an outside source of authority.
In practice this means that while one is thinking naturally he "never believes what anyone says, just because they say it"--that is, no external word (or concept), whether spoken or written, is idolized as inherently right or "the truth" unless or until it is correlated with one's own experience in the reasoning process.
For pragmatic reasons a genetic thinker may "mind his mother (or other social authority)," but he never, in effect, "gives his mind (his capacity for sense-making)" to any other person, mother included. Certainly he listens to what others say, even as he remains alert to other worldly sounds; yet as with all other noises in the night or day, no sound, including a memetic concept, is blindly ingested without being filtered through the thinking process.
Surely stances of trust, in which one appears-to-be trusting, or "acts like" he trusts someone (i.e., a loved one), are socially practical; but the critical factor in natural thinking is that all such appearances are for practical purposes only. In natural thinking, one is faithful to (literally, within) the Creative Process itself--that is, in the events of being (including thinking) oneself--but such life-sustaining trust is never projected externally.
TOOLS VERSUS IDOLS
In natural thinking all concepts are mental tools, like spades, for digging in the soil of the mind. They are created out of experience, via the Creative Process, in service of the genetic thinker. Unlike memetic concepts, which are commonly treated as sacred icons (i.e., "the truth") and bowed before as though permanent, genetic concepts are all lightly held and easily dropped when new information down-grades old reasoning.
Even when a genetic concept is operative over an extended period of time, it never becomes sacred within itself (as memetic concepts commonly do). It remains a tool which is only kept as long as it works. For example, a spade (metaphor) which dug well in soft soil might be kept in use for years as long as its owner (genetic thinker) only needed to dig in soft soil. But if he moved to rocky land he would easily drop his old tool, which no longer worked well, in favor of any new one which dug better in harder ground. He would never idolize his spade (tool) beyond its utility at the time.
SQUIRRELS DON'T PREACH
Nor do natural thinkers. Since their ideas are only tools proven useful to themselves, not concretized into permanent truths which, for example, "everyone should have," natural thinkers have no reason to either feel self-righteousness about what they know, or to think that their knowledge is right for anyone except themselves.
Thus natural thinkers never seek to evangelize, proselytize, or otherwise try to force their ideas on to others--except for pragmatic personal reasons, i.e., making money. Their confidence exists in their think-ability, not in the rightness of any ideas. Thus they have no "message" which they believe "others should hear," for example, "for their own good."
Genetic thinkers may share concepts when asked (or for personal reasons), but, like squirrels, they do not "preach."
THINKING LIKE A WOMAN
(Gender And Genetic Thinking)
Although genetic thinking is a human capacity, like breathing and feeling emotions, inherent in Homo sapiens regardless of gender, it is more commonly found, it seems to me, in females than in males. Most women think more naturally than most men--as I observe us. Few women, for example, ever get as devoted to any concept as we males commonly do. Pure genetic thinking is very rare, I conclude, among males today. To see it in operation we do best looking at animals, small children--and women.
Perhaps this is because of powers initiated by 2 X chromosomes in each cell, with no weaselly Y to engender natural limitations; or maybe it comes from having larger corpus callosums; or maybe males evolved with constricted (idolized as "focused") think-ability (along with suppressed emotional capacities) in order to succeed in hunting wild game and are now stuck with old evolution; or maybe females are just too naturally smart to idolize any concept, to worship any belief, or otherwise depend on the fragile powers of notions to cope in this dangerous world. Or maybe none of the above, and for some reason I am yet to see.
Whatever its basis, my best evidence is that most all of the females I have known or read about seem to be better at natural thinking (as I am coming to understand it) than almost any of the men I have known or read about. How can they so easily dismiss or evade ideas and concepts which men will often live, or even die for (such as patriotism or religious beliefs)? How can they be so eclectic in religious beliefs, or even evade them all together? Howe can they so quickly and easily see through male bullshit when we men ourselves "just don't get it"?
I don't know; yet I acknowledge that my current quest is to reclaim what I believe to be a human capacity, now more lost to males than to females, and, men forgive me, to learn again to "think like a woman"--hopefully without losing my male "focus-ability (train-track thinking)" in the process.
But to note that I see females more often thinking naturally than males is not intended as a wholesale affirmation of "how women think," nor as a put down on the obvious wonders and benefits, both to woman as well as ourselves, of typical male focus-ability. Many (most?) technological, political, and social advantages taken for granted today (i.e., computers, democracy, and equal opportunity laws) could not, I think, have evolved so rapidly without male memetic thinking.
The ideal I see, and seek for myself, is not to simply return to primal genetic thinking alone, as seen most clearly in children and females; nor to put down on memetic thinking as though it were bad, since it is "not natural" (as is often done today, i.e., with "genetically engineered" foods not seen as "natural"). Rather I want to reclaim a natural human capacity, e.g., genetic-think-ability, which I think I (and most males?) have suppressed so long and well as to leave it in a somewhat atrophied state--not dead, but badly impoverished from long disuse. But I seek this reclamation as an addition, not a substitution, for memetic thinking at which I have become quite proficient.
I want, that is, to be able to "think like a woman," but not to lose memetic (and male) think-abilities which I have either inherited and/or honed over a life time. To my "good male-type focused-thinking-abilities" I want to now add other long lost think-abilities--as most often seen in females.
The typical error/limitation which I observe in females is not in a loss of natural thinking or idolatry of memetic thinking (as seems more common in males), but rather in their failure to carry natural think-ability on to its sharper focus when pragmatics call for it. All too commonly, females retreat from the demands of acquiring more widespread data and thereby sharpening their reasoning, by falling back into dependence on emotions only for direction in life.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with emotional knowledge; it does represent the best of genetic wisdom before the evolution of the cortex and hence consciousness. But primal emotions, only four in number, are hardly wise enough to discern sharply in any single relationship, let alone in the complexities of society today.
Women err, I conclude, not from their failure to think naturally, but from their cop out on carrying natural thinking on to its fuller fruition (via more data and sharper reasoning). It is not
"the way they think," but the times when they quit thinking and retreat into emotional dictation, that limits female powers today. Emotions are indeed a primary informant of genetic thinking; but set up as dictator rather than guide, they easily become inadequate at best and tyrannical at worst, especially when used as a crutch to evade fuller thinking.
I only want to reclaim natural thinking abilities which I see more clearly in females than in males, but not to acquire habits of depending on "emotions (ancient genetic knowledge)" whenever stressful times arise. In other words, my aim is to be equally able to "think like a woman" and/or "think like a man," so that I have options of using either mode when circumstances call for it, but can more regularly mix the two wisely in my daily living.
The human capacity for concept-making, the third step in the Creative Process, made possible by the evolution of consciousness, is a vital part of both natural and memetic thinking; but in the latter it is commonly perverted from a creator of flexible mental tools into a maker of frozen mental idols, which are thereafter either worshiped as inherently sacred (i.e., religious or scientific beliefs), maliciously used to wield power over (control) others, or as mental crutches to avoid the faith required for moving natural thinking on to step 4 of the Creative Process, namely, becoming what we know.
And often all three; but in either case the evolved gift of expanded conceiving, our primary human distinction from animal cousins, is short-circuited if not stopped, and perverted for destructive (though well-intended) purposes, rather than allowed to achieve its fuller growth which, I think, is essential for entrance to heaven here ("good life" in this world).
MYSTERY AND GENETIC THINKING
Mystery is that which we don't know. Memetic thinking seems to erase mystery, so men are drawn to it. Genetic thinking knows mystery, that is, knows not-knowing; since women thrive on mystery rather than being threatened by it, as are men, they are equally drawn to genetic thinking.
Memetic thinking is like pyramid building out of blocks--metaphors for accepted concepts. Once you accept unexperienced concepts (memetic thinking) you use logic (memetic reasoning) to build super-structures which are all predicated on accepted concepts (premises, axioms, etc.). For example, given a premise of God and experience of World, we may see the World which is unexplained, want to solve the mystery, and conclude, by memetic reasoning, that God did it.
In genetic thinking one knows what he knows--that is, is confident in his experiential knowledge since it was all obtained first hand via personal perceptions. But such knowing of one's own knowledge includes its edges as well as its body, that is, its limitations. Like having a candle in a cave, genetic thinking is confident in the small circle of light illuminated by the candle, but also of the larger circle of darkness (mystery) which always surrounds any experiential knowledge.
Thus the knowing of a genetic thinker is twofold: first, there is the small body of what he knows (experiential knowledge), and second, the always larger wealth of what he doesn't know, the vast mystery always surrounding even the brightest of flickering human candles of knowing.
But memetic thinkers need not face their limitations. By carefully constructing small but logical mental worlds (thought pyramids) based on accepted premises (which are commonly forgotten or not taken as such), and moving into them, they easily acquire illusions of certainty, notions of permanence ("abiding truths") which are taken to be "the way things truly are."
The threats of mystery, along with its delights, are largely lost to memetic thinkers. By acquiring permanent answers, i.e., knowledge of right and wrong, the truth, they can safely (it must seem to them) live within the borders of the known, even without recognizing their borders. They can, or so it seems, eliminate the mystery which is obvious in genetic thinking. Self-righteously they can either "feel sorry for" those who don't have the truth, and/or "try to help the poor souls" who don't yet possess eternal truth.
The illusionary basis of all memetic thinking is rarely recognized by those who flee the mysteries surrounding all genetic thinking in search of some permanent security, which, of course is never present in the real world.
Small wonder that males, fearing mystery, are seduced into the realms of memetic thinking where it does indeed seem to be erased by "our answers"--whatever they may logically be. Nor is it any wonder that women, well practiced with mystery via monthly periods, et al, are drawn to the type of thinking which inherently acknowledges and includes ever-present mystery and shuns the illusion of permanent truth. After all, their greatest powers are wielded by way of mysteries (of womb and cunt) as surely as those of males are empowered by light rather than darkness.
MIXING GENETIC AND MEMETIC THINKING
The pragmatic issue is how shall I properly mix these two types of thinking? Since I exist with the capacity for genetic thinking in a social world dominated by memetic thinking, how am I to live with both? I, like all others, have been born with inherited "think-ability" and have also acquired a vast amount of social information--memetic thoughts commonly accepted as "the truth." I have no choice but to exist among both types thinking--that which I do privately "in here" and that which I have gotten from "out there." I have long tried to treat "objective truth (memetic thinking)" as though it were inherently sacred. In this process I have generally put down on genetic thinking whenever it contradicted socially accepted notions, and tried to believe what I was told to be "right."
I now think my prevailing habit is improper--not the best way to live among both possibilities.
KIDDING & NATURAL THINKING
Natural thinking is rarely acceptable in polite conversation and even less often feasible in close relationships. In most social exchanges either artful deception, in which genetic thinking is carefully cloaked for sake of social acceptance and/or success in personal goals, or memetic thinking are the appropriate means of conversation. "Just saying what you think (naturally)" is only pragmatic in the most unusual of circumstances. "Talking off the top of my head" or "saying what I feel like" is best limited to journaling, therapy, or the privacy of my own mind--while keeping my mouth shut. Or so I have found it to be--especially as I have become more consciousness of the nature of genetic thinking.
I have never heard or read of others acknowledging this observation; but I do observe that many others who are socially wiser than I have been in the past seem to live regularly by these apparent facts. One notable exception involves the device of kidding (joking or humor). Genetic truth does often show up in social conversation carefully cloaked in phrases or stories which are intended to be humorous. Often after a statement which comes close to natural honesty, one using this device (almost always unconsciously, I think) may say: "Oh, I was just kidding."
If a hearer gives any indication of "taking it personally"--that is, of having an honest reaction to an honest statement, the speaker (who is smart) will predictably counter with: "What's the matter with you? Can't you take a joke?," or, "Oh, don't be so sensitive; I was only kidding." In memetic values humor (jokes or kidding) is placed in a special category apart from commonly accepted subjects. It is like "company" coming to visit a family, in that it is afforded unusual dispensations of acceptability, even when it would otherwise be quickly rejected.
Even the most taboo of subjects in common conversation can be allowed into speech when they are shaped or presented as jokes or humor. For instance, mother-in-law or sex jokes may be tolerated, even laughed at openly, when the subjects would otherwise be unspeakable in polite talk. And so with personal feelings (genetic thoughts) when they are voiced as "just kidding." Even the harshest or most negative of personal emotions (honest natural reactions) will often be tolerated in social exchanges when they are carefully tucked away in the various shapes of humor.
Given this paradoxical degree of social acceptance of humor, many persons become quite skilled in "just horsing around" like professional jokesters much of the time--that is, in actually giving public voice to deep and socially dangerous natural thoughts which would otherwise be pragmatically hidden. This skill is enhanced by practice at self-deception or personal denial of the offensive thoughts. Society also gives great leeway for what is "unintended" or not consciously meant. So if a person can succeed in remaining unconscious (personally unaware) of his natural honesty, he can often "get away" with expressing powerful and threatening ideas (or "feelings") without bearing personal responsibility. After all, he is "just kidding."
Under cover of such socially accepted humor one may regularly inflict spirit-killing jabs, even at loved ones, with complete social immunity. Only the ones who are left emotionally bleeding, if not dead--that is, those who have felt the verbal knives artfully inserted between the third and fourth ribs protecting the spiritual heart, may acknowledge what has occurred, while most others, including the rampant jokester, all laugh as though it were truly funny.
Unfortunately, at least for the victims of such "kidding," the phenomenon of unconscious competence (described previously) is also operative in these socially acceptable forms of spiritual destruction. When a "good kidder" is himself unaware of his own genetic thinking or the effects of his kidding, he is likely to become increasingly competent as long as he remains unconscious of his emotionally destructive humor. If he ever begins to see the personal nature of the "confessions" he cloaks in jokes, or to recognize the harmful effects of his "innocent" humor, he may, if those who bear the brunt of his kidding are lucky, move on to stage two: conscious incompetence.
On the plus side, so far as kidders themselves are concerned, joking does allow for a degree of self-expression, including the relief of powerful emotions deemed intolerable to oneself, all without having to assume personal responsibility for them. It is like having your cake and eating it too; the kidder dissipates threatening emotions of his own and often exercises much power over others, including inflicting injury on "enemies," while remaining "Scot free" himself. The "innocent" status afforded kidders in society can indeed be a great luxury and advantage when it comes to expressing genetic honesty in places it would otherwise be rejected.
Some ramifications of these uses of kidding include: If you want to "really see" the natural thinking of others, their "joking" is one of the best windows for outside viewing. Because they themselves (being unconsciously competent) rarely recognize that they are actually revealing their own natural minds, the level of their honesty is often escalated far beyond what it commonly is. The same is true with the type of jokes they find humorous, even when not telling them themselves. What "tickles us" or what we "find amusing" is often reflective of our deeper personal repressions.
If nervy, switch from "analyzing others" to examining your own kidding, humor, or "what you find funny." If I dare to look, I find that my own kidding of others--or temptations to do so, can be very revealing of my natural thinking commonly suppressed from my conscious self. Such acknowledgments, though embarrassing at the time, often lead me to escalated degrees of consciousness which are even more useful than the kidding which they tend to replace.
There is, paradoxically, a use of humor, even kidding, which is a culmination of natural thinking brought fully into consciousness, rather than being suppressed and acted out in joking. Although similar in verbal forms and likewise an invitation to laughter, this type of jest is sharply different in nature. First, it is a result of the highest level of natural thinking--that is, a product of Stage 4 experience in the Creative Process. Only when one is past Stage 3 concepts, and into the absorption of knowledge into self, does truly creative humor become possible.
Such creative humor is born out of recognition of the limitations of all language, after its full wonders have been digested and made conscious. It represents the culmination of language and natural thinking pushed to their fullest potential, a state which is impossible for those who still seek to suppress the socially rejected aspects of genetic thinking. The inherent "cosmic joke" is finally recognized at this level of human experience--and laughed at! This difficult acknowledgment of the boundaries, as well as wonders, of humanity opens the door to what might be called "divine pathos."
In such humor one, in effect, "laughs at life," or more particularly, "get's a laugh out of being himself." Whether focused on the wondrous inconsistencies of the world "out there" or the delightful limitations of selfhood, this Stage 4 humor is for-itself-alone, never for or at the expense of others. "They" may or may not get such jokes, but even when the humor evades them, spiritual injury is unlikely. When creative kidding is operative in the fuller becoming of what we know, there is never any hidden motivation or concealed emotional weapon tucked away in the joke.
Natural thinking has reached its highest potential in the humor which is but the simple, artful voicing of life's absurdities finally confronted, embraced, and expressed in kidding.
WOMEN AND REASON
Women are commonly seen by men as being "unreasonable." From a typical male perspective this is accurate--but only with a narrow definition of reason sharply colored by male limitations and wrapped in male judgments. To the degree that I am able to see beyond these perspectives which have characterized most of my life I am beginning to recognize a quality of reasoning which has previously eluded me. Or perhaps "it" hasn't eluded me as much as I have had good reason to avoid seeing it. In either case, I now want to look more clearly at the nature of female thinking (as best a male can do so) in regard to "being reasonable."
My summary observation is more about myself than any female--so what else is new?; I am, sans projections, just beginning to see how limited my own "reasoning" has been and how judgmental-rather-than-sharp my view of female thinking has been in the past. I excuse my blindness somewhat by acknowledging how completely dependent my own mode of coping has been on male-type "reason," that is, "making sense" in the limited way we so commonly do. The fragility of such "reasonableness" in the face of most real life situations yet amazes me to recognize. That I have relied so long on a mode of thinking with such relative impotence in the world must surely, were I able to be reasonable at all, stretch the limits of reason far beyond any "reasonable" limit!
But I have.
Back to my subject: with reason defined as adding up all available data, making sense of all known facts, fitting scattered bits of information into consistent wholes--all that is commonly implied by "being reasonable," then surely at a male's first glance (my long looking) we with a "thing" do indeed appear to have a corner on this thought market. But this is only so, I am now beginning to acknowledge, when I carefully limit my looking to typical male perspectives--that is, to focused-type thinking which begins with excluding all emotional data, then moves on to exclude other facts not easily seen as directly related to the subject at hand, and finally limits itself to a very small view of reality.
When we males judge females as "not being reasonable" they, I am only yet glancing to see, may more "reasonably" be seen as being "more reasonable" than we are because they take more data into account in their decisions. We appear to be "more reasonable" (and like to see ourselves as such) primarily because we severely limit the number of facts we allow into awareness. Well trained to "aim" at any specific goal, which inherently requires "focusing" which basically means limiting vision to a single point, we easily (and often very pragmatically) bring this same mode of seeing to mental visions as well as ocular observations. Carefully we exclude data as well as we do distracting sights while we are trying to focus on any goal.
I pause to affirm the pragmatics of this male mode of thinking, both for men evolved to hunt for "game" (including beavers) and for the women I suspect we have also evolved to "service." It's truly effective for "bringing home the bacon," inventing vacuum cleaners and computers, and getting to the moon; but past such goal-oriented activities, into the more regularly relevant matters of good daily living, our sharply curtailed "reasoning" does often, as females sometimes note, leave us looking dumb rather than smart. Or, as they sometimes note among themselves, reasoning more clearly than I usually do, "men just don't get the picture." We may get the bull's eye, but at the expense of extremely limited "reasoning," miss the rest of the bull!
Our goal-focused reasoning, our train-track type thinking, which serves us well in the jungle, as well as in war and winning, turns out to be grandly limiting in general effectiveness insofar as everyday well-being is concerned--especially when we come to effective and loving relationships with the "other half" of the species.
Comparisons and confessions aside, what I am trying so say so I can see it more clearly is this: truly sane reasoning must certainly include these types of data I have tended to ignore in the past, namely, "emotions," including physical feelings as well as the wealth of right brain data commonly dismissed as "just ESP" or what women describe as "what feels right" or "gut feelings." It must also include what I have perhaps ignored even more than deep-brain information, namely, the "big picture" which includes both the value and utility of any "logical conclusions."
In my blind devotion to "making sense" I have regularly ignored how ineffective and basically irrelevant my "reasonable ideas" turn out to be in most of the matters which truly matter more to me than "winning" in all its varied arenas.
Another major element in female reasoning which I have not seen before is self-care. Typical male reasoning, the kind I am most familiar with, completely ignores "taking care of ourselves" in any way other than winning (trying to be #1). Certainly the benefits of "success" are manifold, but in comparison to taking good care of oneself, "getting there first" is relatively insignificant in all the things which now matter to me most.
I hope to become as reasonable about my "success" in selfing as I have previously been about "making sense" at all costs, and that with such limited amounts of available information.
IMAGES & NATURAL THINKING
Images--mental and verbal pictures, are a natural step in genetic thinking. Perceptions (Stage 1 of the Creative Process) are first shaped into images (Stage 2) before they are decoded and transformed into concepts (Stage 3). Children, for example, commonly shape a perception of fear (an internal perception) into a visual image, such as, a ghost in the closet or a tiger under the bed. But then they just as naturally set about to translate the image into a concept. They want to turn the light on so they can see and dispel the ghost, or to get parents to look under the bed to get rid of the tiger.
Thus we may generalize and note that natural thinking moves from perceptions to images to concepts formed from the data of perception and images. Images, of course, are powerful and useful at Stage 2; but speedily children (who still think naturally) seek to decode their images into concepts. Santa Claus is a wonderful image for bringer of gifts at Christmas; but how does he get down the chimney? And how does he get to the whole world in one night? Etc. Quickly a child's mind turns naturally to moving on to create sensible concepts from data at hand merged from other experiences remembered.
And so with adults whenever we stay within the process of natural thinking.
The data which goes into forming concepts in this process is all personal, that is, is drawn from the experience of one who is conceiving. Sources, as noted before, are twofold: from within and without. Inside data is primarily desire or "wants" as the voice of genetic inclinations, plus memories of prior experience which seems similar (recallable "feelings"). Outside data is what we commonly call perceptions, namely, information from the world outside our skin received via the 5 senses.
The critical element in natural thinking, as contrasted with memetic thinking, is that all data is drawn from personal experience (perceptions and memories); the concepts of others, which are the essential base of memetic thinking, are irrelevant or weightless in natural thinking. They may be heard (received via ear) just as any other outside sound, but are never blindly accepted until the pass through the filter of personal experience.
In summary, natural thinking begins with personal perceptions, moves through a phase of imaging, and continues on with concept-formation which is dependent on prior and immediate perceptions merges into one sensible whole. In such genetic thinking we "believe what we see"--past and present (that is, data garnered from our own perceptions). We "don't believe what they say" unless if fits in with our own experience.
Another notable part of the process of natural thinking is the urge and speed which we feel to move on from images to concepts. Forming concepts out of images must be as natural as shaping perceptions into images. Images are necessary and useful, but only temporary. We must be as moved to decode them as to form them in the first place. I now think that clinging to prior images, rather than moving on to transform them into concepts, is both unnatural and certainly unhealthy. It is, to use a bodily metaphor, like clinging to food in the body ("constipation") rather than proceeding with the process of digestion (food or images).
Surely images can be fun to play with after partially decoded, but only for fun, never seriously. Ghosts, Santa Claus, and all other images can be delightful recollections; but the natural process has been impeded or avoided when the more powerful urge to create our own concepts has been derailed by clinging to those we receive from others (i.e., The Tooth Fairy)--that is, when we "believe what they say (accept their concepts)" rather than daring to make our own sense of things ("believe what we experience").
RELIGION AND NATURAL THINKING
Religion is a crudely functional
way-station on the arduous human path
toward the latest genetic gift of consciousness
There, in the seemingly safe confines
of a near infinite variety of sanctuaries,
one may traffic freely in moving images
yet, if ever, to be decoded into ideas
which may be used in the faith-demanding
quest for becoming what we know
and finding Eden here instead of
hoping for heaven later
Being religious, in the sense of continually participating in the natural wonder and awe, plus joy, of the real world is natural; but popular religion easily becomes an evasion of the normal process of natural thinking. Specifically, traditional religions, as distinguished from personal "religious" experiences, are structured by perpetual existence at the image stage of human experience.
Popular religions center around images (visual, verbal, and tangible) which are acquired from the experiences of other persons--in other words, images which come from external concepts rather than internal perceptions. For instance, no one alive today has seen Jesus (perceived him with their own eyes); Jesus then, and all other concepts related to him (such as, "Jesus saves)," are literally images. They may be transmitted by visual pictures (paintings of Jesus), by physical icons (statues, etc.), by mental stories (images put into words), or by doctrinal concepts presented from the bible or in sermons and teachings. Transmission may be complicated and extended, but in summary all data about Jesus is literally imaged from the concepts of others rather than formed from one's own personal experience.
Certainly these transmitted images may also be "borrowed" to give shape to personal experience, as in imagining a devil (a notion acquired from religion) who "scares me in the dark," or an angel (like a helpful parent) who "takes care of me." In the main, however, religions traffic in images which are foreign to immediate experience, except when adapted (like scary demons or helpful angels).
Jesus and related doctrines are but one set of many powerful images which go into the making of popular religions. The utility of image-packed religions goes without saying. Who could overestimate the functionality of such accepted images in easing human passage through difficult natural processes, such as, facing death.
At a funeral yesterday I was reminded of these immense values. A 33 year old father of two daughters had apparently killed himself. We were all faced with the reality of an untimely death in a socially unacceptable mode of dying. The minister's traditional messages--that death is not real, that we will see him again, that he is better off now out of the crises of life, that he has gone to be with God, etc., were mental images of obvious comfort at the time. After reading the obituary he noted that he had not used the word death, but had only said departed, thus softening the shock. And if useful at times of tragedy, so also with many of the lessor challenging but still difficult events of daily living. How comforting, for instance, to image protective angels or a listening, all-loving Father, while we try to move through worldly jungles with dangers at hand.
But my point here is not to question the utility of religions comprised mainly of supportive images. This we all know. I want rather to relate these common religious images to images-in-general in the process of natural thinking. How do religious images relate to other secular images? What happens to religious images in the course of genetic thinking?
After a life time (almost 70 years now) of experience and practice, including one extended profession, I conclude that the images of all popular religions, apart from obvious temporary comforts, are but way-stations on the challenging human path of embracing the gift of consciousness which allows us not only to shape images, but also to decode them into sensible concepts needed for fuller living in each here and now.
As such, religion is a useful crutch when spiritual legs are weak (when "times are hard"), but a dangerous escape from the redemptive process of natural thinking when faith would otherwise allow normal movement on toward Stages 3 and 4 of the Creative Process, namely, decoding images into knowledge and becoming what we know.
More specifically: death, for instance, is obviously difficult to perceive in the face of countless remembered perceptions of life. The parents (of the apparent suicide "victim") who I saw and hugged yesterday had 33 years of perceptions of his life, but only a single sight of his lifeless body. How could they yet "believe what they saw"? The worded images of the preacher which essentially pictured him as "not dead" allowed listeners to keep images consistent with prior memories and to evade computing the newest data, namely, the fact that he lay lifeless in a coffin before us. Further images of him "with God" and "beyond the pale" of crisis-type experiences (i.e., lost custody of two daughters), "where we will eventually rejoin him," were certainly easier than trying to decode the obvious mysteries of death in the heat of anger and sadness at "our loss."
And yet natural thinking, which is shaped from personal perceptions rather than concepts of others reduced to images for ourselves, is rooted in "believing what we see (sense for ourselves)," not "what they say." His corpse (he had shot himself in the head) had certainly been imaged to look alive, as had the words which surrounded that difficult time; but children who still think naturally would probably have seen through these images. Though made up to look asleep, to a natural thinker he would, I think, have looked lifeless--which is to say, dead.
I choose what is perhaps the most difficult of all life's mysteries, namely, human death, to illustrate what I am trying to see more clearly. If I can apply my theories about genetic thinking to the practicalities of life, including death, then surely lessor difficulties will fall more easily into understanding. Seeing dead as dead rather than simply asleep or departed must be among the most difficult of all human sightings; yet a necessary vision on the challenging path toward seeing God in this Garden of Pleasure.
Being comfortable with dark knowledge projected onto images yet to be decoded into concepts is not to be confused with ignorance, as males are often inclined to do. Nor is the larger darkness which always surrounds the small glow of man's enlightenment (even when focused into spot lights or laser beams) to be seen as but another frontier for eventual lighting--as scientists are won't to do.
Mystery is, instead, to be recognized as such--and profoundly so. By great courage far exceeding the religious "faith" of small minded men who settle for the idolatry of beliefs or the secular pride of scientists who still blindly sacrifice at the altar of science, an honest person dares embrace both what is seeable and what is not.
Mystery truly recognized and accepted as such is darkness respected, like a well known but unseen friend, or a guardian angel protecting the wonders of heaven from the eye-rape of faithless humans. Such an uncommon man might well sing with Simon and Garfunkle on the occasion of meeting the edges of his concepts, "Hello darkness, my old friend; I've come to meet with you again."
Scientific-minded men often recognize the dark space beyond present borders of their own branch of analysis-oriented study. The best of them are even humbled by their recognition of what they do not know--yet. Unlike religious men who use "God" as a theological answer, they dare remain open to questions, indeed to explore by instruments and mind the dark space beyond their concepts. But unlike wise men, they see mystery only as a dark place yet to be lighted, not as the inherent nature of reality past the wonderful but severely limited scope of all human perceptions.
I relish the comfort I take in sensible concepts, in my theories which, when taken as truth, shield me from fear of the unknown. Blindly I thrust with the sword of my mind to try to carve out answers, any answer in time of threat, when I have unwittingly wandered nearer to recognition of mystery. Momentarily I often panic when no lighted knowledge appears (as when I've forgotten the name of a "friend" or dared to look for love), until, if ever, I find the nerve to stand knowingly with the unknown.
Mostly though, I regret to acknowledge, I hasten to create another theory, however fragile my facts, rather than mustering the faith essential for loving the awe of darkness as I already do the delights of light. From long practice at creating answers even when there are none, I stand easily with knowledge; rarely, yet, can I endure the wonder of mystery for long--let alone, love Her.
Perhaps I should have been born with only 400 eggs and no place to go, alonw with a monthly period, instead of billions of sperm always looking looking, as do I, for answers! Who knows...
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