The Key to Blissful Loneliness

One of the most intriguing concepts I have learned about human psychology is that every human emotion has a natural purpose in certain scenarios. Fear tells us to run away from dangerous predators, Sadness tells us to make changes to our lives or strategies in order to continue despite a loss, Anger tells us to prepare for an attack and Surprise tells us to open our eyes and ears really wide so that we can figure out what the hell is happening. This is a rather rudimentary idea, but I still find it very interesting.

All base emotions were developed before society and as the limbic system(emotion part of the brain) is the brain stem, all modern-day rational behaviour was built on top of that. Jealousy developed as a means of motivating people to win over the competition(fairly or otherwise) and Lust developed as well, it should be obvious.

But up until recently, I was a bit divided as to why loneliness is met with depression. I originally thought that it could be either an in-built incentive to keep people socially exchanging ideas and emotional expressions(in order to remain in the loop and somewhat enlightened), or a means of encouraging people to be compatible with the people around them. I now have a completely different theory and I’m quite sure this one is more relevant.

How loneliness typically feels:

When loneliness is met with depression and almost forced rumination, it makes the loner feel hopeless, helpless, empty, worthless and dissatisfied with life. Depressed people also have trouble enjoying what they usually enjoy and can make them feel guilty.

When somebody fails to connect with other people or relate with other people intimately, it can be seen by that person as a reflection of worthlessness. Whether it be worthless genetics(ugliness, baldness, obesity etc.), a deficit of social grace(awkwardness) or simply a failure to emotionally connect with other people. Either way, being conscious of this can lead to the previously mentioned feelings and because most of the aforementioned skills and attributes develop from either genetics or childhood(read “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman if you don’t believe me) it can also make the loner feel helpless.

Why these feelings exist as a result:

One thing that led me to ask this question is, why do our primitive selves care about these capabilities. Although it obvious that being alone it makes us feel these ways, it isn’t quite obvious why these feelings exist.

I’ve got it. Lacking these capabilities is met with the natural notion of being an evolutionary dead-end. This notion would have come into existence back when civilisation was just starting up. During this period of time, the only way anyone could pass on their legacy or influence, was by having a blood-line. Ergo, if you repeatedly failed at finding a mate, than you would have become depressed.

Loners feel; worthless for being 2nd class and guilty for occupying space and resources that evolution never intended for them to have. Loners feel hopeless for not being able to pass their influence on through time, but more importantly, loners feel that their emotional selves will never be expressed and embraced.

The key to blissful loneliness:

During civilisation’s humble beginnings, living a life without having children or falling in love would be a pointless life that the world would not care about or respond to. But in modern society there are far more numerous ways to influence the world. Whether the legacy you want to leave behind is an expression of your character or an ideology that you fervently believe in, is all up to you.

If you are longing to let someone close enough to know who you really are and empathize with you, know who you are inside, then instead make something that expresses your feelings and portrays your emotive character. Maybe even an artwork that portrays the feeling of loneliness itself, like some artists have done in the past(eg. Celldweller’s lyrics or The Company of Myself game).

If you want someone to care for and appreciate you, but have trouble getting that close to somebody, then make a significant change to the world for the better. People will remember you for years to come. There are scientists, engineers, artists, athletes etc. that are remembered for decades after they die. That’s not the same as someone caring about you, but try to think what I uncovered and you may be able to alleviate those feelings.

The first option is best for the loners that are lonely due to a lack of social grace or emotional expression. The second option is best for the loners that are alone due to factors like ugliness, insensitivity, addiction problems or anything really. Which ever you choose, just take in mind that depression is completely demotivating. Though if you take in mind what I said then you may be able to transcend the link between solitude and sadness.

Transcending Prejudice Part 2

Al Mualim: What is the world, then?
Altaïr: An illusion. One which we can either submit to; as most do, or transcend.
Al Mualim: What is it to transcend?
Altaïr: To recognize nothing is true, and everything is permitted. That laws arise, not from divinity, but reason.”

Mathematics is not a practical tool, it is a medium of logical thinking. It is calculation and decision without prejudice. Even the sciences are prejudiced. New scientific paradigms only arise when we encounter anomalies that force us to change our way of thinking. Mathematics is a way of building an interpretation that doesn’t take into account the sketchy perception limits and sloppy sentiments that we apply to the real world.

Transcending Prejudice Part 1

Currently, I’m attending Secondary School and two separate mathematics classes. More often than most of the time a student questions the practical value of a mathematical concept.

“When will I ever use Quartic Equations in my future art career?”,”Why would I ever need to know how to factorize an already pointless function?” or “The hell is a boxplot? and when will I ever use it?”

Practical Use =/= Practical Benefit

I’ve never seen much of a practical use to understanding these concepts either, other than software engineering and programming. Programming clearly puts mathematical thinking to practical use. What is practical? Why adore practicality? Why go to school and study if your only reason for being there is practical benefit? There is a practical benefit to studying mathematics, like there is a practical benefit to physical exercise. Both physical exercise and understanding mathematics maintain the functionality of the machine.

There is no practical use for running around a circuit for 5 minutes. When you are doing so you’re not transporting anything, you’re not completing a task and you’re actually wasting a lot of precious energy. Although you are not employing this process as a means of fulfilling a task, you are fulfilling a basic practical need through the process. The practical benefit of exercise is to maintain your body.

Just like physical exercise, there is no practical use for contemplating and solving a matrix. When you are doing so you’re not designing a bridge, you’re not calculating a profit margin and you are wasting quite a bit of energy and time.

Mathematical understanding is not a tool.

So what is the Practical Benefit?

Part 2…

What defines something as Alive?

This article would be easier to understand if you have knowledge and understanding of object oriented programing and basic physics.

This is my overall and universal definition of a living object (trying to avoid bias towards humans);

“An abstraction of complex systems to establish high-level motivational interfacing and processing for one’s own perpetuation or something more meaningful than the practical processes that perpetuate the existence of one’s self.”


Actually, this is more like the definition of sentience, but in order for something to be considered living anyway it needs this (apparently). What we experience as consciousness, sentience, free will or owning a soul (whatever you wish to call it) is just a series of electro-chemical calculations in the brain, responding to input from external influence. When I say external influence I’m also referring to the body, because it is an extension to the brain.

So how can we tell if something is alive? Most people would only consider something alive if it interacts with other people or other animals. Less people would consider plants to be alive, because most plants almost never respond physically to agitation. Even less people would consider an atom to be alive, because it’s too low-level. But if our own sentience is merely existent because of the complexities of our own mind being abstracted into something that can be interacted with and understood on a different level, then all these others can be considered alive as well.

The human brain is merely an electrochemical calculator responding to inputs and giving out outputs. Some ones personality, knowledge, intellect and imagination are results from their past experiences. Mood is a bit more dependent on hormones like cortisol (negative emotions) and oxytocin (positive emotions). What makes a human alive is that the complexities are abstracted to the point where an object defends it’s current set-up and/or improves it’s current set-up. An unstable object will keep evolving until it is stable, this is the same with nuclei, animals, planets and organic cells.

Law of Demeter

A conscious object is not fully aware of its own thought processes, because consciousness and awareness itself are the processes. An atom in it’s own regard is a living object, it intercepts inputs such as; photons, nearby ions, heat, electrical charge and bits of radiation and outputs results such as; heat, radiation, photons and electrical charge. The process is simple, but the forces and processes behind these high-level functions are abstracted. An atom is still motivated to defend its own existence, despite it’s low intellectual pallet and simplistic functionality.

Anyway, a function that doesn’t rely on another function in order to operate isn’t (or shouldn’t be) aware of that function. This is the Law of Demeter. Of course this isn’t a runtime law, this is just a design guideline, but evolution has a way of automatically following this design guide. When a link in the brain isn’t used, it will be obsolete and makes it harder to resurrect that link in order to use it again. Like a memory that you didn’t need for a while and when you need it again, it takes a while to conjure up that memory again.

How alive is it?

If it’s structure and functionality is focused towards perpetuating it’s existence, then it is alive, every other structure tends to disintegrate. Intellect is measurable by runtime functionality. How alive something is, is measurable by how abstracted it is.

You cannot judge how alive something is by how it interacts or responds, because it shouldn’t have to respond or interact on the same level as yourself in order to be alive (that’s just being bias).

More than self perpetuation

Living objects also have the tendency to reproduce themselves given proper nutrition and a mate if necessary. Even atoms have a will to reproduce, not a very strong will to do so though. When an atom has an increase or decrease in sub-atomic particles it might become unstable and discharge some radiation, which might hit another atom and ionize. So it has the will not only to perpetuate itself but others like it. Similarly, plants spread seeds in order to reproduce.

Conclusion

An abstraction of complex systems to establish high-level motivational interfacing and processing for one’s own perpetuation or something more meaningful than the practical processes that perpetuate the existence of one’s self.”

If my contention didn’t come out clear or if there are any flaws you’d like to point out, please don’t hesitate to comment. Next philosophy post I’ll go through the second clause of this definition.