Monday 4 April 2022

Integral Vibes

Not because of some current state of affairs significant toward, maybe increasingly, dichotomous interpretations of events, I think the basis of human cognition must have a binary bias such that nuance is nonexistent. Wherever it emerges, confusion reigns, and reins it back toward the base standard of understanding, which, while inaccurate, is key to the survival of sanity.
Expressions like "things are insane" and "everything is crazy" result from a suspicion of uncertainty born of contradictions of the more comfortable view of either one thing or the other. In this context "both" and "neither" are the alternative nuanced view.
"Why?" is the most difficult of the Five Ws, which might be the reason it sometimes ends in "Why not?", if only humorously, almost always with a view toward an unknown future, either dangerous or not. You might dispute this last point and say degrees of risk are always in consideration, but I'd counter that the function of the consideration is to narrow it down to the application of two potential choices. To do or not to do.
In a world where the Whats are at odds with the Whys, and the Why Nots find themselves in an uncomfortable alliance with the How in the Hells... now that's nuance! 
But what of the way things are these days? What would anyone mean by that? When do "these days" begin? Some folk, clued in to the modern era, might see the definitive shift from one era to another at the beginning of a particular presidential regime, or an event during the same and subsequent response to it. I assume the anthropologist would be more apt to point to a major technological development or application, the proverbial dropping of the big one.
Depending on the mind's binary, "these days" could be intended to extend back through recorded history, which would represent the recollection of human attention versus that which requires an interpretation of prehistoric data. If we limit "these days" to only this century, you could mark the advent of the Internet (some styles guides advocate the capital I) as a change that enhanced other potential game changers by altering the way the human is able to view itself as affecting that story. Or not view itself (and indeed, you could cite the moment Facebook overtook MySpace and/or trended the world toward social media as the period that led to an addiction versus repulsion effect that defines choices for or against certain social media, or any at all.
For whatever it's worth, the collective discourse enabled by online activity, both the opportunity it presents and the limitations it encourages, has duly, and respectively, educated and miseducated, informed and misinformed (including disinformation as well as misattribution thereof), and broadened and narrowed analytical capabilities. It's expanded our collective vocabulary, especially if you include all the cases that will one day end up in the descriptive lexicon because people began to misuse them as required.
Like,  how many times did you encounter the words "cognitive dissonance" before the Internet? The wielding of the term in discussion usually accompanies a suggestion someone is on the wrong side of an issue in spite of their awareness of evidence that proves their wrongness. The implication is they choose to alleviate the stress of that contradiction by ignoring the evidence or mangling it to fit their bias. Alternatively, the suggestion involves a sort of glee at their wallowing, for half-witting reasons, in the resulting mental discomfort, and all-capped off in a claim that an argument's been won or lost. The notion is most discomforting indeed that we might all be ignoring or mangling evidence for the sake of believing in the T or F of everyday experience.
So many concepts are better understood or misunderstood (until standardized) these days. Every logical fallacy is on offer at the fingertips of every avid arguer, to be cited and used, even within the same argument. Time was the dormitory lawyer was that one guy. His audience has grown. The Internet is the new dorm, though it's already drinking age.
This houses virtually everyone, so does not treble down on the longstanding denigration of each new generation as if it's uniquely stupid and lazy. My experience flattens that curve, though I am hard pressed not to conclude that each new generation is faced with something that seems to be mounting. What that is, they will have to figure out. Or not.