Thesis: our (Western, modern) concepts of “being human” are fucked. Most everything wrong with the world is downstream of that.
We are not:
- rational - although we can act that way, which allows us to intervene on the simple parts of the physical world, and win zero-sum games.
- resources - tracking and optimizing is not the route to wellbeing. Although it allows us to produce more.
- in competition, let alone a race
- autonomous individuals, scalable units, minds-in-bodies, consumers, workers.
- just a set of biophysical processes that ‘result’ in things. None of our nervous system, genetics or environment are determinative (though they are all influential).
- Our base desires should not be denigrated, they can be both fun and aligned.
- We each significant agency over what happens next in our lives and around us.
- Beyond childhood, there are no stages of life we “should” progress through in any domain; this includes the psychological/mental/spiritual.
The result of this mismatch between what humans actually are (imo) and how we fit humans into boxes is especially evident at scale. A (good) startup with three employees doesn’t see mostly them as resources; but at 3000?… Let alone at government level where national capital and economic motifs have been the lingua franca for a long time.
But the mismatch is also internalized within most people throughout English-language discourse. And rarely questioned. Which is why many people are so conflicted because you ‘think you’ should be more productive, progress your self-development, follow the path or seek success or purpose, make rational decisions, buy things/experiences, work harder, etc.
And it’s why many people make decisions which have significant extrinsic harm attached to them. Which is why, despite all the good-change over the centuries, we have global heating, soil degradation, POP pollution, humans disconnecting from each other and nature, anxiety and mental health issues etc. etc.
How most people live contributes directly to all of those things, but because it’s seen as “normal-for-humans” it’s seen as hard to change. It doesn’t have to be this way - people who live Deep have already stepped into another world, some of them without internal-conflict and with minimal extrinsic harm.