Sunday, April 3, 2016

SuperConnectors, Glia Cells, and Creative Social Networks

The human mind is a fascinating piece of equipment. The wonders and marvels of the human mind have astonished and confounded philosophers and even scientists for as long as we have recorded history. The human brain is capable of absorbing and processing an enormous amount of information and thus able to learn a huge amount from the environment. We are even able to tap into virtual environments written about in books or through stories passed on to us through family or the community.

On the physical level, we could examine some of the elements of what makes the human brain so special compared to other primates. We could note the larger prefrontal cortex in comparison to the monkey or gorilla, for example. One of the lesser-known ways in which the human brain is distinguished from the brains of other mammals is the the abundance of a specific kind of brain cell called the glial cell. These cells are most prominent in the grey matter of the brain towards the surface of the cortex. These cells have especially-long axons and are some of the most well-connected cells of the brain. These are the “socialite” butterfly cells of the brain. Their well-connectedness suits them well for the role they play in helping to organize the signals from all over the brain into a coherent stream of consciousness. Just as communication amongst tribe members and family members is fundamentally important, good communication within the mind is also fundamentally important for the success of the organism. There has to be a common language for translating the signals from one area of the brain to the other areas.

What makes the human brain so wonderful is the ability for us to communicate ideas amongst ourselves and gain from the knowledge of those who have studied and invented things before our generation. We are able to gain some of the wisdom of the crowd. The human species is able to achieve so much because of this interaction between the subtle worlds of information--and the more stable world of matter viewed through a simpler lens. (viewed through more complex, advanced quantum lenses and theories, we know reality to be made of waves of probabilities and potentials. The waves are open to signal modification and then collapse in a cyclical pattern we might describe as a vortex or toroidal action. This is similar to quorum sensing within the mind and amongst people in a group.

Humans learn best when their curiosity and inner-motivation drives the learning process. Since humans are naturally very social beings, we usually make better decisions when we are associating with like-minded individuals. Strangely, our current culture seems to have chosen to focus on the individual and the nuclear family rather than larger formations. The American Dream, for instance, is largely based around the destiny of the individual and his or her family. I think that the problem starts at the level of the individual where people are unconvinced of their true value as a human being. The human being has a unique place within the world in terms of capability as well as responsibilities that go along with our strengths. Unfortunately, I feel that one of our greatest strengths (our social bonding) is also the biggest part of our “shadow self” both on the level of the individual, and collectively as a species.

For us to transcend beyond the current state of things and recognize our true value as human beings, we’re going to need to recognize who we are without all the layers of civilization artificially built-up on top of us layer by layer. Once we see ourselves for who we truly are, we’ll see the true power of the choices we make and the ways in which our choices affect our evolution as individuals as well as our collective evolution.

In order to reach greater levels of prosperity, we are going to need to recognize the ways in which failing to work together is hurting each of us even when it’s not obvious. This may be especially challenging for those who are in the top earning brackets since they are the most likely to underestimate the ways in which those who are ‘below’ them in the socioeconomic classes actually contribute to moving the entire society forward. But really there is no finger-pointing here..

We are all responsible for recognizing our true potential as a human being and transcending our current expectations and standards for ourselves.

“Whatever your mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve regardless of how many times you may have failed in the past.” Napoleon Hill

I love this quote by Napoleon Hill which highlights the mind’s ability to achieve something when he commits his whole being to bringing forth his genuine and persistent desires. The Universe seems especially prone to helping those who truly have a selfless passion and desire for uplifting the state of many other people. For our species to thrive, we absolutely depend on others. We depend on others to be responsible on the roads we share with other drivers. We expect those in public offices and professional roles to maintain professionalism and quality work. Civilization is built upon the principle of trust. We wouldn’t be where we are at now if it weren’t for powerful force of capitalism and economic trade. But behind this obvious system of trade, there’s an entire backbone of behaviors and expectations that we can basically consider to be the “social contract” or the status quo of culture.

When we closely examine how well these arrangements are working however, I believe that most sane people will be able to imagine a great number of ways in which society can improve our interactions from the level of the individual all the way up to the level of the corporation.

In this time we are lucky to have access to the tremendous power of the Internet and all the information available to us. With all the information plus all the globalization, there are a lot of products on the market and a lot of information to sort through. This means that the amount of research one would need to do in order to stay well-informed or become well-informed about the subjects needed for him to really take matters into his own hands are quite grand in scope. It is doable of course to a large degree but definitely a challenge for the average individual.

This is why I believe we will increasingly find the relevance and sensibility in joining up with other like-minded individuals who share similar passions to us and are interested in optimizing similar things in their life. By linking up in these “intentional networks,” we’ll have the opportunities to share this knowledge amongst ourselves and keep one another on track. We will likely make better decisions and perform more optimally in the many aspects of modern, complex life.

I believe that there is massive potential in communicating with like-minded individuals on topics which are important and relevant for our evolutionary growth as individuals and communities. Changes at the community level are traditionally made through political bureaucracy and we all know how reliable and smooth these processes can be, right? I am mostly bullish about the potential for personal and family-level benefits but there are likely many benefits that could be seen at the community-level as well.

Take a second to notice the direction of this document thus far though. Notice how it has all been primarily focused on consumption. Even when discussing information, it has still centered around consumption of that information.

I believe that networks of individuals can be 10X as powerful when they are used as creative channels for channeling our individual dreams into collectively-generated dreams. There’s something about a team of intentional designers working on a project together that is capable of incredibly amazing accomplishments. In the world of children’s movies, just look at Pixar for an awesome example of the power of a creative team.

You see, this same type of creative force can be channeled for the optimization of the human being and the human family (nuclear and otherwise) First, we need new ways of honroing the human spirit. We need new ways of respecting the drives and motivations of the individual. Some people truly are on a mission to change the world and bring greater harmony and well-being to the community. Sometimes those who gain the most confidence and built the biggest dreams achieved these states because they went through so many hardships...or pushed themselves so hard...strayed so far outside the norms....perhaps in their own introverted worlds..that they were able to see the world for what it is and also for what it can become.

Those with the widest breadth of experience generally have learned the most through those experiences because there is so much contrast and complexity within their experiences that they can draw comparisons and analyses from. However, these people can get worn down through all these experiences so the community should take note of the values these people have learned along their journey and help support their dreams, or at least hear them out.

One thing I find a bit disturbing about our culture is that it seems that there are not many outlets these days for having deep conversation with people unless perhaps you are doing a business transaction with them or maybe if you are already good friends. The trouble with this is that it reduces the amount of exposure we get to new people with new ideas and new perspectives. If we want to increase our personal and social evolution by learning through others’ experiences, it is vital that we make the time for having these deep conversations with those who have nuggets of wisdom to share or knowledge in a specific field.

I wonder how much we would learn if we found ways of connecting with people on a deeper level and forming intentional relationships with people of a like mind. Would we raise the prosperity of nations? Would we find greater levels of peace? Would we recognize more of the interconnectedness of all things? See the overlaps between the multiple “separate” academic disciplines and begin to see the actual natural models behind all the theory and jargon?

It’s personal experiences and relationships that form real mastery of knowledge and wisdom. I propose that we all make a point to evaluate the nature of the human being and how far we can evolve. The greatest enemy only exists when we create it within ourself. The greatest ally is the one we create within ourself. And when we recognize that others are of very similar quality to us, we recognize that there are no clear distinctions between the “self” as in our body and our mind and with other human beings. We share the same DNA and blood. We all basically want and need the same basic desires, physical and spiritual.

We are only used to conceiving of the idea of a human being as we see it in civilization so it’s almost like if the only cheetah or black bear we saw was in the zoo. We would think that their behavior and habitats in the zoo were the norm. If we only imagine the behavior and habitats of human beings within the environments of cities, we will imagine a whole different breed of animal than the one we really are.

Let’s develop those tribes of individuals with like-minded purpose and direct our attention and will-power towards setting big things in motion. If we don’t, I believe our kids will ask us why we didn’t try harder to improve the state of the planet.

Cheers to Optimization!