Every cloud has a silver lining, they say. My mother passed a few months after my 24th birthday and I think that I have finally sound something of a silver lining. My Mother didn’t live long enough so that I could truly be a disappointment to her. That sounds petty dark. I think I had disappointed her quite a bit while she was alive, the operative word being think. Judgements about this or that will fly through various minds at such a statement but there it is, I wrote it.
The thing is, though, that I am only going on her expression as I can’t recall her ever actually saying such a thing to me. Other’s may have said it but in the strictest of terms that is simply hearsay. It is a strange thing to rethink and reflect on judgements we believe were made about us for which we have no proof and the weight they carry. I stopped wishing I could call her and ask her many years ago because I saw no use to it. IN the best terms it was somewhat masochistic. It is just a thing that I will never know and I have come to peace with that. One thing though that I do remember about Mom was her love of numbers. I don’t mean Math, I mean numbers. If you could put a number to it then it had to be true. A strange conclusion for a woman who avoided doing math.
I wonder what she would think about Scientific Materialism and Genetic Determinism?
Maybe it is just the programing on YouTube that I watch or the occasional website I visit but I have been beginning to get the impression of how quickly science, theory, practice and imaging has been progressing. The idea that our decisions are made deep in our subconscious quite sometime before we are actually conscious of making the choice. Fantastic. The understanding of brain physiology and mechanics has gotten to the point where some think that a new form of flawless lie detector is on the verge of beginning created. Amazing.
The idea of materialism in this sense is the notion that self awareness is an illusion and I can’t say that it is not. I can barely understand the concept but then it is an illusion that might make a master illusionist jealous. As wacky as this will sound this is how I understand this illusion we call consciousness:
Bundles or groups of neurons cluster about memories with some type of causal connection. This causality isn’t as defined in the sense of the physical sciences for in the mind even an imagined causality is real. These memory clusters are emotionally weighted, there are many emotions and many degrees of weights. The driving force is much like a random numbers generator mixed in with electrochemistry (neural transmitters) and buffers (salts in solution). This provides the energy to the system and scattered all about are logic gates, any one familiar with electronics or even set theory will get this. So two hemispheres at relative odds with each other both chock full of clusters of memories causally related emotionally weighted, random number generators splashing out a jolt of electric here or there and when a key tipping point is reached the logic gates are employed and TA-DA! Art, Music, political discourse or even violence and of course science.
As silly as this may seem to some there may very well be some truth to it and this truth has to be considered.
It is those damn numbers after all, even the mathematically illiterate put considerable stock in them. It is one of those acts, strictly on faith that boarders on religious. Religious as in to repeat on habit, without true understanding.
It could be a wonderful thing in a way. In the past we killed each other because we belonged to different tribes, different religions, different kingdoms, empires, nations, political ideology, economic ideology, skin color, governmental system or even because the people at the bottom wanted to organize for their own benefit.
Since we are all the same, mindless soulless blobs of polymers none more or less human than the other than all that violence should be coming to an end, maybe even in my lifetime, shouldn’t it?
In all of our scientific excitement and social hubris I can see an old well trodden road clearly before us. There are other paths but this road is familiar, it feels right and we all know where it leads. Its course has changed some, there has been recent rerouting and resurfacing and it calls to us. After all, if all we are is genes and polymers and a few inorganic compounds how bad would it be, I mean on the moral scale, to eliminate those undesirable genes?
Death camps, right? That isn’t what I am talking about. I’m talking about snipping here and sticking together there and for those of us who can’t adapt, you know make a nuisance of ourselves then there is medication and for the truly non-rehabilitateable there is prison or maybe a nice island somewhere after they have been properly sterilized. This is no where near as brutal as past occurrences. After all it is for the betterment of the human species. Maybe this is true, maybe it is for a higher quality future so long as we don’t snip away the parts that make us human. What are those things anyway, those things that make us human?
The issue isn’t intent or motive. The issue is people, people in power. IN this case scientific power, the belief that if something runs a foul it can be fixed or simply closing their eyes because they have bills to pay too. These are the words to watch out for, “You have to trust me, I’m a professional.” I only had to hear that phrase three times before I stopped asking questions. Do we really have any choice anyway?
I haven’t made up my mind on the thing. I don’t really know what to think about it and I am not trying to tell you that you should care one way or the other. If you want a smoke then smoke, if you want to go to a protest and organize then do so, if you want to game what are you waiting for, other than theft and murder if it feels go to you do it, consenting adults of course. Whatever it is you choose to do all I ask is that you keep your eyes open and watch your feet. Otherwise the walk can turn into a climb and before you know it you will be at the very top of a tree from which you can not easily climb down, then your only choice will be to jump.
I don’t know if my mother ever thought something as innocent as an IQ test could lead to something like this.