Introduction and the Mind-body Problem
Your mind is connected to your body. Your body is connected to your mind. I inhabit my very own bubble of immediate proximity, uniquely "my space." If your face is closer than six inches to your neighbor's face, you would be in "their space" and vice versa. Permission is a major driver to understanding our concepts of the modern relationship and intimacy. I plan to write more on intimacy at some point in the future. In the meantime, I need you to imagine a sharp, shiny, brass thumbtack sticking into the tip of your finger.
When this thumbtack penetrates your finger, a pain response is generated by your brain, then the pain center, within your brain, activates and dispatches lightning bolts of neuro signals throughout your body. The sensation of pain is innately familiar to both of us. Play the following mental scene in your head; imagine this pointy metal thumbtack entering the tip of your finger, right through the pointing cushion in the center of your fingerprint. It penetrates so deep that you can feel the sensation of the thumbtack scrapping on the pink side of your fingernail. Ewww. For the majority of the human population, a few atypical apathetic nihilist holdouts aside, the very thought will result in hand-shaking twists and silenced expressions of OUCH! Holding a thumbtack in your hand as you read this should heighten this anticipatory response. Now, I described the thumb tack penetrating, "your" finger because as the reader the very thought of having a thumbtack pushed into your finger causes discomfort. Besides, this mental exercise aids in framing my perspective on the mind-body discussion. It's always great to start with what you know, and I know that pokey things hurt.
We all know the difference between imagination and experience. How about free will and determinism?
To change, and eventually abandon all theories of the flat earth, I mean free will, we have to change the way we use language. The mind-body connection will, as we evolve, never be severed but will fade into the same depths of consciousness where our physiological processes exist. Replacing free will with The FW Module, we can move this layer of consciousness to the backseat. No one likes backseat drivers, however, the FW Module will influence our individual agency and will exist independent of our regulatory systems. Our internal decision-making conversation will change over time in correlation with the evolution of language. Today's languages will someday be that of the Elders and could be as passé in the future as Morris code is to us today. In our future, we still know the concept of free will exists in the same way we understand the psychology of 14th Century poetry about Heaven, Hell and the Purgatory between.
The result is an earthy bent heliotropic self in a wonderous state of equilibrium, moving and twisting through the river of life towards something bigger. I will make the case that the very psychology of humanity is evolving into something more complex and far beyond our individualistic, ego driven mentalities we started the 21st Century with. This memoir will attempt to negate all competing ideas to this thesis.
Imagine a future where the entirety of what we comprehend and accept as free will will disappear. A momentary blip on our psychological radar? Is this possible? Will we still have conversations with other humans in 2,000 years? How about 200,000 years? Will there be a need to? It's important to think about these questions carefully. The full extent of our uniquely human psychology has been defined only in the last 50,000 years. Some say 5,000 years. Now try and imagine what our species will be like in 2 billion years?? An answer is not the answer. We know the origin and data points along this vector. The trajectory is worth discussing. Stand with me and together we will see further.
Is this a Brave New World? Is this a life worth living? All excellent questions and ideal for an armchair philosopher, such as myself. So sit back and "willfully" accepted what I am teaching you. Better yet, teach me something and engage in whatever forum makes sense. I follow all the contemporary literature on the prevailing thoughts and thinkers in this space. It shouldn't be about discussing what makes a life worth living; the Socratic question could just as easily have been, "What makes life life?".
As a great man once said, "It's better to learn than teach, it's best to teach what you learn, but it's the ultimate to teach and learn at the same time." A great man did not say that. I just made it up. Let me relieve the tension and dispelled any and all myths of preconceived ideas or snobbery. This memoir was written as entertainment and a labor of love, so please treat it as such. I will most likely falter on these pages, but they are well grounded carefully thought out.
The FW Module is a future version of free will isolated to an ever diminishing area of our collective human consciousness. ↩︎