Realities are a necessity for all living things, although they vary from the rudimentary to the complex. For humans and other vertebrates, reality is constructed in the mind of the brain. The mind is directly responsible for dealing with the material world for the body-colony. It needs a model of the material world as a frame of reference for the information taken in from the senses. That information is processed by the mind, which then acts upon its experience on behalf of what it deems to be its own self-interest. That model, or reality, speeds the processing to allow a better reaction time, thus a better survival rate. Our highly complex human mind is the product of millions of years of evolution of reaction time for survival.
Since humans are band-oriented primates, the construction of reality is a social endeavor. The individuals reality is a reflection of the groups abstract reality, thus experience is passed on so that each succeeding generation does not have to begin anew. Conversely, the groups abstract reality is a reflection of the individuals within the group, thus the abstract reality is made up of mostly-identical realities, which allows for adaptation due to mutation. In this way, human psycho-social evolution is similar to physical evolution, but at an accelerated rate. Reality can be seen as an evolving, complex feedback system between the groups abstract reality and the individual realities, or a hermeneutic circle.
A metaparadigm is a model of that system. The metaparadigm offered here, Logos, is constructed from the above initial conditions of our cluelessness about the true nature of existence and our striving in our own self-interest, both within a group and evolving over time. In Logos, the groups abstract reality, or culture, is an ultraparadigm, which is constructed of two megaparadigms: Society, which deals with self-interest within a group, and Knowledge, which deals with cluelessness. Each consists of four recurring themes: Religion, Politics, Economics, and Sociality are the greater paradigms within Society, and Technology, Gnosis, Philosophy, and Science are the greater paradigms within Knowledge. Each of these greater paradigms consists of major paradigms, which are, in turn, made up of minor paradigms, then lesser paradigms, down to micro- and nano-paradigms.
Each paradigm is occupied by a meme. The groups abstract reality has various patterns of being, or memes, which are carried on by succeeding generations. Memes, as opposed to genes, can be as mundane as eating and cleaning patterns to as important as socializing and governing patterns. There are nano- and micro-memes, as well as lesser, minor, major, greater, mega, ultra, and metamemes to fill the various needs of any particular culture. Logos, itself, is a metameme. The dominant meme is the meme occupying that need, or paradigm, amongst a plethora of alternative memes. All cultures, or ultraparadigms, contain multitudinous memes. Some are dominant memes, while most are submissive, subversive, dormant, unrealized, or extinct.
Society has evolved from our need to live in groups and the complex organization which has come from our complex minds. Acting in our own self-interest has brought us together in bands. Even when we act in an altruistic manner, we are still acting in our own self-interest, but our self-interest has been expanded to include our family, our genes, and our group, our memes. We each become dependent on each other, but gain the advantages of being part of a group. The greater paradigms within the Society megaparadigm are Politics, Economics, Religion, and Sociality. Using the body analogy for a culture, Sociality would be the individual cells and their neighbors; Economics would be the circulation system; Religion would be the energy which binds the body together; and Politics would be the mind.
Politics is a forum in which the leaders of the culture can pilot the group through history. For most of our civilizations history, the forum has been dominated by warlords, who take control of their society by force or inherit it from someone who has. Although, there has been a movement away from the warlords in recent times. Politics also deals with law, public works, protection, and emergency relief.
Economics is, quite simply, the distribution of food, drink, goods, and services throughout the group. Since the advent of civilization, it has become a target of manipulation. Those who gain control of the economy are able to raise their standard of living by acquiring more of the distribution. Over the last 2500 years, the principal unit of exchange has been money, which was invented to make transactions easier than trading. Money is a belief system. It is a unit of the total distribution of the group. It has no intrinsic value other than the value granted by the group members. Even gold has no value, it is only scarce. Life is valuable. Money has become an important and highly complex major paradigm within Economics. It has also made it possible for Economics to gain control of the Society megaparadigm in recent years, since it shifts power away from war and gods.
Religion and Gnosis were grafted together early in our history, but it is important to separate the actual knowledge gained through Gnosis from the social aspects of Religion. When Gnosis and Religion are separated, as they are here, Religion consists of two major paradigms, myths and rituals. Religion, intrinsically, is myth, or a living narrative. The adherents are participants of the living narrative being played out from the Creation to the present and eternally into the future. Their tale will become part of the whole saga. These living narratives are often mistaken for the Truth, because they are at the core of both the social and individual reality. The living narrative validates the whole hermeneutic circle system, which is why it is so greatly defended against change. An individual conversion would be the selection of one living narrative over another. Social conversions are much more traumatic.
The rituals and ceremonies are ways in which the group celebrates being a part of the living narrative. There is a fellowship which comes from gathering together with like-minded individuals. This communion is relieving, as it is reassuring to know there are others who agree with you. The communion is also a part of the human need to belong.
Sociality is a broad collection of ways in which everyone is included in the group. The major paradigms within Sociality are familial relationships, social relationships, organizations, morality, art, language, scope, sexuality, and education. Socialitys memes are the essence of all cultures. The megaparadigm of Society is, itself, an extension of this greater paradigm. Politics, Economics, and Religion were not of much consequence until the population growth and area expansion brought about by civilization. Sociality has always been significant.
Family relationships have always been of extreme importance to all human cultures. The family is the primary agent of the enculturation process. Its minor paradigms determine who may marry whom, how many one can marry, whose clan they should live with, how many children they should have, male or female lineages, inheritance, how to raise a child, and the proper roles of each member in relation to the other members. Since the family is the smallest group within the group, these practices are essential for the culture to function properly.
Social relationships are extremely important on the individual level. These are the customs of non-familial relationships with friends and acquaintances. Organizations also pertain to the individual as it encompasses vocation, gathering with peers, and gathering together to advocate a particular meme.
Morality is based on the human need to belong. Membership in any group requires one to first master the complex matrix of traditions which have evolved within that particular group. What is considered virtuous, normal, and abhorrent behavior has been impressed on the individual through the process of immersion into the group. The initiate is conditioned to behave in a certain manner by a process of rewards for virtuous behavior, punishment for abhorrent behavior, and acceptance for normal behavior. Each individual may belong to many groups and their moral codes may differ, thus causing a dilemma.
Art comes from the human desire to communicate feelings, beauty, and ideas through sensual mediums. Art is the manipulation of our world to convey these concepts. The mediums, themselves, would be too numerous to list here. From paintings on a cave wall to music to virtual reality, humans have a highly developed artistic ability. Art also reflects the mood of a society. It is a good indicator of a healthy or decrepit culture.
All species communicate amongst themselves. Humans have evolved with the ability to do so through a complex system of vocalizations, gesticulations, and expressions, which are able to transmit highly complex thoughts and feelings. The vocalizations, or languages, have co-evolved along with the human species. Much of the groups abstract reality is transmitted through language. Every language is a sophisticated means of labeling the reality for communication purposes. Language becomes a part of the mind, thus yoking the mind to the reality and the individual to the culture. In this way, languages also contribute to the separation of the species in scope.
Scope is our self-interest expanded to include others, such as family, friends, tribe, and nation. Unfortunately, this inclusion also leads to exclusion, which is the human trait of limiting their tribe or culture. Us and them. All of the usual ways to separate humans from humans come from this major paradigm. Gender, race, ethnicity, language, class, and nationality are just some of the ways in which we set boundaries.
Sexuality is closely related to family relationships and morality, but it is separate. Humans have the wonderful ability to fuck at will. We are not constrained by natural cycles like other animals, but we are not taking advantage of this boon to our species. Instead, we think of sex as something which must be concealed like defecation and urination. Sexuality includes the virtuous, normal, and abhorrent morality of sexual practices, as well as the responsibilities of procreation.
Education is the secondary agent of the enculturation process. It is important for the good of the individual as well as the good of the groups abstract reality. The individual is rewarded by not having to start from scratch. They are able to learn the knowledge gained from their cultures struggle to survive, while the groups abstract reality gains another advocate. Education is not necessarily formal, it can be any pedagogy from an uncle teaching hunting skills to a professor teaching calculus to the tacit behaviors learned from observation.
Knowledge has evolved from our cluelessness. Humanity has come a long way from an ape species learning how to survive on the Savanna. Our knowledge about the world is now quite stupendous, but there is still much to learn. The greater paradigms within the Knowledge megaparadigm are Technology, Gnosis, Philosophy, and Science. Technology and Gnosis dominated Knowledge at first, but Philosophy, and later Science, have both come to dominate this megaparadigm.
Technology is the ability to manipulate the material world through the utilization of tools. Humanitys mental evolution would not have been possible without tools. Our unique hyper-complex mind is a product of our tool using and tool crafting abilities coupled with a rapid-reaction oriented brain. Our ancient ancestors survived by continually fashioning more complex and specialized tools, thus beginning our mental co-evolution with them. But instead of simply reacting to the environment, we started to affect the environment for our own benefit. From the axe to the computer chip, from setting fires to digging canals, from the wheel to nuclear power, we have certainly learned how to manipulate the material world. Our technology has become quite spectacular in recent times. We are now capable of terraforming a lifeless planet as well as ruining this one. What we do with our technology hinges on our reality.
Gnosis is the spiritual side of life. The Gnosis greater paradigm is separated into the major paradigms of External and Internal Gnosis. External Gnosis was the first way in which humans tried to understand how the world works. It deals directly with spirit beings and magick. Spirit beings appear in all shapes and sizes in every culture from ghosts to nature spirits. Magick is a process in which the life-force of nature can be harnessed for a predetermined effect in the material world. Internal Gnosis has to do with the bio-energy which may be tapped with the human mind through higher consciousness and psychic abilities. Gnosis holds the key to human potential, but it has been repressed of late.
Philosophy has more to do with what is done with the knowledge than the actual collection of data. Reason and logic are applied to Knowledge to make sense of the world in an orderly fashion. The world is subjected to the rationality of the human mind through careful contemplation. Philosophy is an open forum for the thinkers, who have been grappling with that age old question, "What the fuck is going on?!"
Science is the exploration and investigation of the material world, from taste-testing food edibility to looking through space-based telescopes. The efforts of exploration and investigation are well documented, either orally or written, in order for others to follow. These detectives expect to be followed by others who may doubt their claims, and they make decisions by consensus. Modern Science has dominated this greater paradigm for the last 500 years, as well as dominating Knowledge, itself. But science can be as diverse as a midwife looking for a certain root to an explorer sailing into uncharted waters to a biologist looking into a microscope.
The model of reality constructed within the individual is relatively the same as the groups abstract reality. The individuals reality, or ultraperspective, is fashioned within each of us through the enculturation process during childhood. Each individual has learned a foundation of their groups memes, both consciously and unconsciously. Even though the reality construction process is the same, each individuals memes differs slightly from others, as well as from the groups abstract reality. Each individual brings their own unique experiences and point of view to the whole, and sometimes change occurs.
Mutations occur within a culture when an individual is able to transcend their own perspectives and cultural paradigms by stepping outside of them and contemplate alternatives. This vantage point is the metaperspective, from which the individual is able to examine the paradigms and perspectives which make up their reality and compare them to alternatives. This book is written from the metaperspective, since it is the only way to see a metaparadigm. They do not necessarily have to scrutinize their whole reality, as we are here. They may simply have a better way to make a tool or a different way to think about the environment. When others agree with the individual that the new way is better, the new meme is introduced into the reality. If the dominant meme is robust, then the new one has little chance. If, on the other hand, the dominant meme is languid, then the new one will attract adherents and a paradigm shift takes place.
A paradigm shift is when an alternative meme takes the place of a dominant meme within the ultraparadigm. At certain points in human history, even dominant megamemes and ultramemes have changed from the inside, but mutations have also occurred from outside influences. Cultural realities may be insulated from one another due to the interconnectedness of the memes within the ultraparadigm, but meme exchange among cultures does happen. These historic mutations show us that reality, itself, is evolving psycho-socially.
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