Furthest Right


We are familiar with the scales of justice, but what about the scales of attention? Few of us analyze what our brain spends its time processing; we respond to stimulus, which is easier, and allows us to reserve more of our thought process for ourselves. As a result, life is not tiring at all because we are only halfway awake.

For those who study the brain, informally (which is better above 120) or formally (better below 120 IQ points), it becomes clear that mental state is a zero-sum game. During any span of time, the brain can process only so much, and so adopting more of one thing over others displaces those others. This leads to several interesting revelations:

  1. Self-world balance. The more the brain thinks about itself, the less it studies the world. And so, for those who focus on the self or are driven by the impulses of the self, less is known of the world. Conversely, the more one studies the world, the less time is available for the self and its impulses, which become seen as a means to the end of studying the world.
  2. External-internal balance. When strong authority is present, people must spend less time thinking about their choices and worrying about the risk of getting them wrong. For this reason, the stronger the authority, the less thoughtful that people are. Conversely, truly weak authority like anarchy causes people to think too much about repetitive and commonsense questions, producing the kind of neurosis that causes society to die out.
  3. Present-future balance. As we think more about the future, we exclude the present to that degree. This means that the converse is true: the more we think about the present, the less we think about the future. Since the present is a moment passing, this amounts to a backward-looking bias against the future.

Essentially, the more that we focus on our selves in the here and now, the more we miss out on what life is about beyond the self. This leads us into a condition called solipsism, where we believe that our minds are the world, and that the world therefore can be changed by intent alone, expressed through ideology.

The scales of attention show us that our consciousness is the ultimate resource. We can regulate our experience to make it more meaningful and more realistic, with the latter leading to the former because it filters out more of our own background hum of desires, impulses, emotions and reactions. But most of humanity will choose otherwise, which is why life in civilization (ideally) is a competition for who gets to clarity first, and can then lead the others.

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