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THE STORY OF NU Add your comment on this item1

About Constructed Worlds for Children. Add your comment on this item2

 

Laurence J. Victor Add your comment on this item3

11/20/2005

 

            WE CREATE OUR WORLDS Add your comment on this item4

             

            Did you know that you create your world in your mind and brain?  It seems that you live IN an external world, a "world" outside yourself. You believe you live in a "world" of things you see and hear, and within which you move about, an external world that contains other persons.  To say that you create YOUR world doesn't mean that the outer world of things and people doesn't exist. What it says is that you don't have direct contact with it. What you experience in your mind when you see, hear, smell, touch are related to patterns of activity in your brain. You experience your insides, not what is outside. Add your comment on this item5

             

            We know that our night dreams, and our day dreams and remembrances come from inside. What is also true is that what you think you experience from the outside also comes from inside.  What you experience (in illusion) as an outer world may be influenced by information on energy signals from this outside world - but what you DO experience is what your insides (your brain) does with this input. Much of what it does is creative. Light that enters your eyes doesn't imprint directly to your conscious mind. Add your comment on this item6

             

            In the model scientists have created to represent the external world, light and sound enter your eyes and ears. There they trigger a chain reaction of firings of neurons in your brain, eventually creating a pattern of brain activity. Part of this brain activity is believed to lead to what you experience in your conscious mind.  Scientists have still much to learn about how this works.  In fact, if you were in a machine that detected activity in your brain, and were asked to make a choice, the machine would show that you actually made the choice (in your brain) a very short moment BEFORE you knew that  you made the choice. Add your comment on this item7

             

            Now, much of this may sound confusing, and becomes even more mysterious if you think about it.  Scientists don't have direct access to an external world either. All that scientists "know" about the subjects they research, the instruments they use, the data that they look at and study, are experiences in THEIR conscious minds, resulting from activity in the brains of the scientists.  Scientists confirm their theories by having experiences (in their mind/brains) where they compare data and reports created by other scientists.  Scientists attempt to repeat critical experiments, but they actually do a different experiment that (to their experience) is similar to those done before. Then they compare (in their mind/brains) data from similar experiments. Add your comment on this item8

             

            Scientists call the external world of their theories a universe, which they populate with hypothetical big things like galaxies and little things like atoms, and with a planet Earth orbiting around a close star we call our Sun. And Earth is full of mountains and oceans, plants and animals, and human cities and farms.  But neither you nor anyone else ever actually observes this universe DIRECTLY.   Each moment we hypothesize that we interact with a small part of the universe and our sense organs are stimulated, leading eventually to mental experiences.  In fact, your experience of yourself is also like this, you don't experience yourself directly - that you have a body and a brain, and that you perceive with eyes and ears is itself a model or theory. Our bodies and brains and the process of perception are themselves parts of our created universe. Add your comment on this item9

             

            That we feel the experiences to be of an external world is called an illusion.  This illusion is good most of the time, as we don't want to be continually bothered about thoughts about these mysterious aspects of reality.  This view is called "constructionist", and there are some people who simply choose not to believe it, but they have no sound arguments or evidence to refute it.  Yet, they feel free to claim to believe what they want BECAUSE that is what THEY EXPERIENCE.  Their created world is one where the belief in a truly directly accessible external world is possible and the way of thinking in that world makes personal opinion more important than other ways of trying to decide what is really real.   Confused?  Join the human species. Add your comment on this item10

             

            Humans are sloppy and usually imprecise in their use of language.  This is actually good because it gives us freedom to be creative; but it can also cause trouble.  Today, most English speaking people use the term "world" to refer to the Planet Earth - or even to other planets.  But, what we must recognize is that no one can directly "know" the external world.  Even if our momentary interaction with the external universe were "direct" (think on what that might really mean), it would only be a very, very, very small part - certainly not the "whole" universe or the "whole" Planet Earth. Add your comment on this item11

             

            We also know that people from different cultures report experiencing different worlds than do most Americans - and many Americans actually believe they live in different worlds than other Americans.  The same holds for people who lived in the past, from 100 to 4,000 years ago.  So, how can this new information about "constructed worlds" be useful? Add your comment on this item12

             

            WE ARE WORLDS Add your comment on this item13

             

            This is an even weirder claim. But think for a moment on how you think about the universe, the Planet Earth, your city, your home, your parents or friends, your body, and how things happen.  Where do these thoughts come from?  When you think about the Sun you aren't tapping into the physical Sun at a distance in the scientist's hypothetical universe. EVERYTHING you know about EVERYTHING is inside you. Add your comment on this item14

             

            When you move about, like going to a friends house, or returning home, you are guided by your inner knowledge of how your city or town is laid out. This is knowledge of your world inside you.  You don't have to deliberately think about it, you can automatically act and move consistent with your inner constructed world. Add your comment on this item15

            The traditional story that you exist as a body in an external environment that is part of your external "world" is a useful fiction. But it is not scientifically true. We see others doing strange things we wouldn't consider doing in the same circumstances and wonder why they do as they do.  Are they "blind" or stupid? Add your comment on this item16

             

            Consider an alternative view.  Everyone acts appropriately within their constructed world. Why would they do otherwise? A person works hard and is honest because they are a world where working hard and being honest is important - that is what good people do.  A person commits what you think is a criminal act because in their constructed world it is OK for them to so act. They may "know" that in their world are others who view their act as criminal, but in their world that is not important. It is what in their world is important is what determines what they do.  Those we may view as criminals or crazy are criminal (or crazy) worlds.  They aren't weird people living in the external world that you believe is like your created world. Add your comment on this item17

             

            When two people interact, the fictional, traditional story is that they interact in a common, objective, external setting - a common external world.  This is probably a useful way of thinking for people who are interacting on issues that they both share.  But, when people are different, it may be more useful to consider them as interacting worlds than as interacting persons. Add your comment on this item18

             

            For more advanced readers, we may consider the worlds as "structurally coupling", a term invented by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela in their theories of Autopoiesis and Cognition. Add your comment on this item19

             

            So, the question shifts from why do people behave so differently in my world, to how do people happen to create such different worlds.  And, if we are each worlds, how can these different worlds co-exist in peace?  To probe these questions we need to explore our current ideas about how humans came to be as we are -- as well as to question our contemporary knowledge as to who we "really are". Add your comment on this item20

             

            A common term in dialog on important issues is "worldview".  Use of this term implies a world for the user that is traditional - that there IS an external "World" onto which there are different "Views".  The term "frame" is also in use, usually referring to a position of worldviewing that is unconscious and not known to the viewer. A recommended practices is "re-framing" - coming to different basic assumptions about THE world, the hypothesized external world. Add your comment on this item21

             

            In many situations, it probably doesn't make any difference whether we view ourselves as constructed worlds, or of having constructed worldviews. But, in other situations, as we face the Crisis of Crises in our collective future, this difference may be critical.  For example, re-framing and shifting worldviews (or paradigms) may not be sufficient when it comes to critiquing contemporary scientific knowledge or issues of good and evil in relationship to belief and faith. Add your comment on this item22

             

            WHAT IF OUR WORLDS ARE UNSATISIFACTORY? Add your comment on this item23

             

            Things often don't happen in our constructed world as we (the constructed ego-actors in that world) anticipate or desire. Is our constructed world somehow not accurate as to the "true, external" universe? We can never know, as we cannot have direct access to the external universe for comparison.  But, we can change our constructed world so that things go better for us, and sometimes the changes work.  Other times they don't. Add your comment on this item24

             

            Learning is a process of creating worlds.  Can we learn-to-learn to create better worlds?  Yes, but often we don't.  Why? Why don't we do as we desire to do? Maybe because we have (in the past) created a world that doing as we intend is impossible - it is part of our constructed world.  We need to explore our consensus reality and try to discover where our constructions may be troublesome - keeping us from creating better worlds for ourselves. Add your comment on this item25

             

            By "consensus reality" I refer to that which is common in the constructed worlds of the elites and powerful as well as those who are knowledgeable and active in some forms of criticism or protest against the actions of the elites.  This "consensus reality" is NOT shared by the majority of the human population. Most people have constructed worlds that are mixes of ethnic-traditional and/or religiously indoctrinated.  Many subject to the hi-tech Matrix of mass media are also outside this "consensus reality", although they may share parts.  However, it is this "consensus reality" that is driving our Crisis of Crises (war, poverty, environmental degradation, climate change, corporate greed, etc.) and also, in a subtle way blocking effective measures to resolve these Crises. Add your comment on this item26

             

            Note, I have shifted terminology from "world" to "reality".  At this point, treat them as synonymous. "Reality" is the defining characteristic of our accepted constructed "world". Add your comment on this item27

             

            OUR CONSENSUS REALITY, IN BRIEF Add your comment on this item28

             

            In spite of all the talk about religion, and the religious wars brewing, the consensus reality of concern here is more technological and scientific, in the context of an econo-centric view of human society, caught up in the inevitable process of corporate globalization.  Although this consensus reality is being threatened by "faith based" realities, I view this trend as a reaction to the inadequacy of the consensus reality (and a deceptive tool by the elite to control populations).   There are two general future directions as our consensus reality continues to fail us. One will be its collapse and a return to a tumultuous time of religious warfare (a return to past consensus realities, when "faith based" realities were dominant and violence and suffering was an accepted, inevitable norm) or to the emergence of a NU consensus reality, which is the theme of this story. Although both violence and suffering is rampant in our consensus reality, it is believed that it should not be the norm and may someday be ended.  The consensus reality has no real strategy or timetable for eliminating violence and suffering (other than a subtle trickle down of wealth - a historical fiction), the strategy of our NU story is both explicit and has a potentially highly accelerated timetable. Add your comment on this item29

             

            Most accept the cosmological story of science, with a strictly physical universe at the beginning, with a Big Bang and expansion, on to the creation of atomic elements, solar systems and planets, and the emergence of the biosphere on Planet Earth.  The consensus reality accepts the tenets of neo-Darwinism as the sole amoral driving force for evolution, including the evolution of human societal systems.  After some millions of years of growth in brain size, about 50-100 thousand years ago the human species suddenly developed languaging, culture, and technological prowess leading to the stages of societal organization from hunter-gatherer, horticulture, agriculture, industrial, and now into a multi-feature, rapidly changing era best left labeled post-industrial.  However, many of the peoples on the planet remain living in the earlier stages. We call the form of societal organization involving many people (beyond simple networks of tribes) "civilizations". Add your comment on this item30

             

            How can millions of people coordinate their actions?  Consider the difference between the family farm and the large agricultural corporation. The members of the family farm must coordinate their labor, but they gain their resources from their near environment and if they produce more than they need to feed themselves, a free market process distributes goods and services to other small enterprises.  But, for the large agricultural corporation there needs to be highly controlled flows of goods and coordinated labor - requiring a power structure, bureaucracy, and precise accounting. Add your comment on this item31