Can you imagine being the only human in the world?
Okay, that’s a bit extreme… but the key word is “imagine”… it’s a fantasy scenario for the purpose of finding something out.
To put it another way – Have you ever wondered what the experience would be like for you to be the only human on planet Earth?
If you think about it too realistically it would be fraught with all sorts of practical difficulties, especially for a human of this day and age who is accustomed to having modern amenities, which would take up too much mental time and space, and defeat the purpose of the experiment.
Although… maybe it would solve a lot of problems, since so many problems are caused by having too much time and space to think. Then again… is that really the problem which causes problems?
“We shall have to evolvePiet Hein, The Only Solution grook
problem-solvers galore —
since each problem they solve
creates ten problems more.”
What about living somewhere remote, perhaps on a desert island, with no other people around and no internet connection, no computer, no mobile phone, none of those things which allow you to interact with other people on a regular basis even while being physically isolated.
Still too extreme?
Why am I digging this hole? Well…
It all began yesterday afternoon… actually it began the day I was born, and that began before that, but let’s stick with yesterday afternoon as a starting point.
I was browsing Psychology Today’s recent posts feed, and getting pissy with it, mostly becoming exasperated by what appeared to me to be the regurgitation of the same stuff over and over again.
“WHO IS LEARNED? A definition
One who, consuming midnight oil― Piet Hein grook
in studies diligent and slow,
teaches himself, with painful toil,
the things that other people know.”
They might be using new terms, new buzzwords, and talking as though no one’s ever thought of that before, but it’s all stuff which has already been buzzed about before, decade after decade, all old problems with old solutions just repackaged as though NEW to sell it to those who are either bored of the old version, are suffering from amnesia perhaps induced by TMI or general forgetfulness (if I had a penny for… I hate that, let’s not go there), or haven’t heard about it before.
To be fair to everyone I’m being unfair to… I was already pissy before I started browsing PT’s feed.
I’d tried writing a post earlier in the day, got interrupted too many times (some of those times were me interrupting myself because I was boring myself with what I was writing) in an uninspiring way, lost my focus but didn’t really have focus in the first place which was the real problem. Reread what I’d written to try and get back into the flow which wasn’t a flow to begin with, saw it all as regurgitated old thoughts, and decided it was all rubbish, trashed it, deleted.
My mind gets like that when it’s tired.
It becomes a crotchety old person who is fed up with everything.
With a dash of sullen teenager who feels stuck in a small town and wants to venture out into the big wide world… the crotchety old person knows that the big wide world is just a larger version of the small town.
Plus a pinch of bored child that thinks the stuck in the mud game which the sullen teen and crotchety old person are playing is dumb… let’s play something else instead, but what?
We’ve played everything and all games suck say the crotchety oldie and sullen teen in unison, well at least they agree on something, thinks the child then suggests inventing a new game… but all new games are simply old games repackaged as though NEW and IMPROVED. And around in a circle we go.
“Whenever you’re called on to make up your mind,
and you’re hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you’ll find,
is simply by spinning a penny.
No – not so that chance shall decide the affair― Piet Hein, A Psychological Tip grook
while you’re passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air,
you suddenly know what you’re hoping. ”
So after being pissy with my own thoughts, I decided to get pissy with the thoughts of others… which made me pissy with myself for doing that and thinking like that.
Luckily, the one without an age weighed in and directed me to a post I’d bookmarked a few days ago but hadn’t read properly due to my dyslexia playing up – it becomes more pronounced when my mind is tired, and can cause problems not only with reading but with hearing too, all words entering my mind become scrambled…
Which is sometimes hilarious – my mind replaced the word ‘free’ with ‘tree’ and whatever I was reading where someone kept banging on about freedom became all about treedom which was more interesting, and the word ‘fears’ became ‘pears’, which somehow made more sense in context – but it can also be frustrating.
This is the post I returned to, to reread – Plagued by Self-Doubt? Get a Conscience-ectomy! The “I once was lost but now I’m blind” path to a conscience cleared. by Jeremy E. Sherman, Ph.D.
I was still experiencing dyslexic hijinks, so I read it back to front, from last paragraph to first, which seems to help reduce the anagramming function of the dyslexic mind.
I’ve linked to and excerpted Jeremy E. Sherman’s posts before on my blog. I like his spin on things. Don’t always agree with his spin, but I enjoy that part of it too. He’s a deep thinker with a big dose of radical, different and innovative thought, who isn’t afraid of sharing his view in his own unique style. I like that!
What I don’t usually like is listening to podcasts… I’m mentioning that because he linked to one in his post, a podcast he’d recorded which went with the post, and under normal me circumstances I’d have ignored the link, but since I was bored of normal me I decided to click and listen.
In his podcast he was having a conversation with himself – doing two different voices, one for him and another one for the other him.
I had a hard time distinguishing who was who since the voices were very similar and trying to listen out for the difference made listening to what was being said difficult – I find listening to not as complex podcasts difficult anyway… so I gave up after a few minutes.
The idea was fun though… and since my posts are me having conversations with myself, I felt a sudden huge burst of connection with Jeremy which made me forget my pissy.
I love it when this happens –> OMG I’ve found someone as weird as me who appears to be on a similar weirdo wavelength!!!
However… when I get excited like that about finding someone who appears to me to be similar to me… I’m usually in for a crash landing.
So I’ve finally learned to put the breaks on it.
“Wisdom is– Piet Hein, Wisdom is grook
the booby prize
given when you’ve been
Still, even with breaks on, I could get excited enough to explore the guy online. Do some Mars in Scorpio cyber stalking. There’s quite a lot of him online.
I checked out his Youtube – Neither Ghost Nor Machine: How Life Happens
The video I picked to watch was fascinating. I didn’t understand a thing that was being said, but sometimes those are the best videos to watch and things to explore.
Here it is in case you’d like to be confused too… for those who can’t see the embed, it’s called – We try. Nonliving things don’t. What’s that about?
Maybe it’ll all make perfect sense to you, be easily understood by your mind, and you can show off about it in the comments on this post if you really need to do that kind of thing… I’ll try to be all “I’m so happy for you, thank you for sharing that!” rather than “Fuck off you twat!” about it. I can’t guarantee I’ll succeed since… what do I get for succeeding!?
Perhaps the problem I had with understanding it had to do with my not really trying to understand it. I sort of didn’t care… what do I get for understanding it!?
It didn’t help understanding matters that I got distracted wondering why his head was tipped slightly backwards… is that how you hear yourself better? … was another him giving him advice while he was video-ing himself?… and then I replicated the pose to see what happened if I did it, nothing happened… no, I’m wrong, I got even more distracted, by related but unrelated thoughts.
Afterwards I checked out his mentor, Terrence Deacon, briefly, but I didn’t want to cyber stalk two people at once, not on a tired mind day anyway.
So I returned to my original target, and because I’d half-watched that video, I noticed a result in the first page of Google results for “Jeremy E. Sherman Ph.D.” which I’d ignored before – which turned out to be a blog post critiquing J.E.S’ work, arguing against it, even going as far as to suggest revoking his Ph.D…
shit he’d really annoyed them…
they were particularly pissy about the “Trying Human” theory which he’d discussed in the video. Did they understand it!? Not sure if they did… hard to tell since I didn’t.
I’m not going to link to the Against Jeremy E. Sherman post because I only skimmed it, and it’s typical anti someone and their opinion rhetoric, but if you really want to read it just do the same search I did. Bet you don’t and won’t… what do I win for winning that bet!?
As I was skimming the argument against Jeremy and his ideas, a thought suddenly occurred to me which I jotted down quickly on a post-it:
If you didn’t have that other person + their opinion to fight against – What would you do?
That thought tied in with so much to do with me, my psyche, my mind’s wiring… I do love to fight against, not sure if I love it so much as it’s a habit which goes way back and has become a part of me and I’ve learned to appreciate it, even if I also have learned not to appreciate it for as many reasons as there are to appreciate it…
And it tied in with a comment chat I had with someone on my previous post – Mars in Scorpio: Intelligent Anger and Passion – wherein they mentioned a “battle of wits” they’d been having with another blogger.
The battle of wits can be an addictive activity… even when we know we shouldn’t engage with a particular opponent, it can be hard to resist the bait, and the lure of possibly winning against someone who has stacked the odds in their favour.
“Men, said the Devil,― Piet Hein, Mankind grook
are good to their brothers:
they don’t want to mend
their own ways, but each other’s.”
I’ve been involved in a many of those throughout my life. It’s a way of sharpening the sword of your mind, but it can dull the sword of your mind too.
Because after a few of those battles, you realise that there are shortcuts to winning them and you don’t really have to be clever, smart, learned, informed, intelligent, etc, at all to win it. In fact being stupid and stubborn with your stupid wins those battles more regularly than not.
The best kind of stupid to be during a battle of wits is intelligently stupid. But of course you have to be free or tree of the need to prove to someone whom you think is an idiot that you’re smarter than they are.
If you think your opponent is stupid… why are you trying to win a battle of wits against them? What do you get if you succeed!?
“Problems worthy– Piet Hein, Problems grook
prove their worth
by hitting back.”
I grew up with people whose main means of communication was through argument of the kind which usually oftne takes the form of a battle of wits… later on I realised it was a battle of twits, but that was later on, and it was the type of realisation which required that I accept that I was a twit too. Ego no like… even if ego says it’s a no-ego.
My opponents were narcissists – a type of fictional character who exists in RL whom Jeremy E. Sherman writes about on his PT blog – Ambigamy – both directly and indirectly.
In his bio he states that he’s a Psycho-proctologist:
“I also call myself a psycho-proctologist. I spend a lot of time on the question: What is a butthead since it can’t just be anyone you butt heads with? In other words, what is an objective definition of out-of-bounds behavior? In a free society we don’t want to dictate what people should do, but you still have to put a leash on buttheads or it won’t remain a free society.”– excerpt from Jeremy E. Sherman’s Bio
Which is partly what makes his work so interesting to read and explore.
This morning I perused some more of it. I know my interest will wane soon, but for the moment it’s waxing, might as well keep going until the going stops on its own.
I read this – Novum Trivium: Teaching Our Children How to Spin, Unspin and Decide What to Spin By Jeremy Sherman – on Edutopia.
A site which mainly features articles about education from a teacher’s perspective.
There are many titles about what should be being done in education but isn’t, what needs to be improved, how pupils are disconnecting from learning, how teachers can make learning more and less something or other…
“Experts have– Piet Hein, Experts grook
their expert fun
just how nothing
can be done.”
Basically the usual human rhetoric which ends up making us all feel weighed down by human failure after failure rather than uplifted by possibility, opportunity…
Sure it often speaks of the opportunity and possibility for success but…
How often does the word ‘success’ when used generate positive associations and how often does it generate negative ones, and when it generates both simultaneously – which ones outnumber the others? Which side would win in a battle of wits against the other?
I really enjoyed reading the Novum Trivium article… I loved Jeremy’s ideas to teach the three stages of Spin:
- Rhetoric: How to spin
- Critical Thinking: How to unspin
- Emotional Intelligence: How to wonder about what to spin
Partly because it made me feel better about growing up with narcissists, and the things you learn as a child of narcissist parents, which includes all three of the above, since that’s the bread, butter and knife.
Children of narcissists learn the art of spin around the same time that they learn to walk and talk, usually before since narcissist parents teach spin from before you’re out of the womb. There’s spin around why you’re being created… and you’d better get with that programming.
Learning how to unspin comes when you’re trying to cut the knot, the umbelical cord which was never cut, which ties you to your narcissist parents forever and ever in sickness getting sicker, which death does not necessarily part, death might make it even harder to part ways and go your own way.
How to wonder about what to spin… comes when you realise that being able to spin and unspin does not stop the constant circling around in a circle. You may have cut the cord, the knot, but you’re still entangled in the loose ends regardless of how frayed, fragile and brittle they are.
“Losing one glove– Piet Hein, Consolation grook – his very first and very deep grook
is certainly painful,
compared to the pain,
of losing one,
throwing away the other,
the first one again.”
What I loved the most about the Novum Trivium article was that it introduced me to the grooks of Piet Hein.
I really grok those grooks.
I was about to say “That’s it…” but then I realised I hadn’t explained the title of this post, and the bit at the beginning.
I could just leave things as is…?
Perhaps because of growing up as a child of two narcissist parents…
Perhaps because of growing up during a time when the unhealthier aspects of narcissism were gaining ground and momentum (ie. greed is good)…
Or maybe because I would have been that way regardless of nurture, other influences…
I’ve often been confused about who I was… and one of the tactical experiments (aka coping mechanisms) I applied to the confusion was to ask myself – Who would I be if I was the only person in the world?
The purpose of that question was to attempt to imagine the self without input from the other.
Similar questions are:
What would you buy if you had all the money in the world, didn’t have to be financially responsible?
What would you say if you could say anything you wanted to without having to consider others reacting to it in a way which made you censor your speech?
What would you enjoy if you could do so without someone getting annoyed with you for enjoying it and making it something you must not enjoy because it is “bad for you”?
What would you do if you could do anything you wanted to do… without negative consequences?
The last one is particularly tricky if you give a shit about others experiencing negative consequences due to your actions, but if you are only concerned about negative consequences for yourself then it becomes easier to answer… although you still might want to consider the impact it has on others as that might impact you in the long term, but if you’re myopic and only consider the short term, never connect dots, think karma only works one way – the way you want it to… then never mind.
“People are self-centered– Piet Hein, The Egocentrics grook
to a nauseous degree.
They will keep on about themselves
while I’m explaining me.”
If you grow up with narcissists… your actions become all about how they affect the narcissists. It can get to the point where you decide to become a statue because moving at all in any way causes pain and problems for the narcissists, which in turn is your problem and pain.
If you grow up with narcissists… who you are is all about everyone else’s identity and self, their narrative, their persona, facade, etc, and it can get very confusing because your identity and self shifts with theirs, for theirs.
They’re the hero today so you’re the villain, victim or random bystander. They’re the villain today, so you’re the victim, or just a witness to them victimising someone else, perhaps you’re their fan, their support system, a flying monkey if the victim proves to be feisty. They’re the victim today, you’re the hero or victimiser or both – that one is very confusing.
Because narcissists depend entirely on others, on those around them, society, acquaintances, friends, family for their sense of self…
Introspection and self-reflection is just not something they do… naturally. They can fake it and fake it in a way which makes it look more real than those who really do it (because those who really do it aren’t doing it for others, so they’re not focused on how it appears or what others think about how it appears from the outside – it’s an internal activity not an external one), if given enough information of how it is supposed to be done, especially how it is supposed to appear superficially to others so that others think you’re doing it and acing it.
Narcissists can fake anything and are masters at it… not necessarily because they’ve mastered the “it” they’re faking being masters of.
They don’t have to do that, they just have to appear to do it, or even better just “squawk”* loudly enough about doing it – HEY EVERYONE I’M BEING AUTHENTIC, MINDFUL, EMPATHIC, etc… in such a manner that others totally go along with it (anything to shut them up, right, besides it looks good and if it looks good… who cares what it really is).
*the “squawk” is a reference to something Jeremy E. Sherman said in a post – How to Tell Gloataholic Gaslighters Off
I didn’t agree with his list of things to do when dealing with a “Gloataholic Gaslighter” simply because his advice leads to further complications if you’re dealing with a narcissist who is doing that, but hey… I guess even experts can’t resist the baited lure of a battle of wits which goes around in an endless circle of increasing pointlessness.
One of the experiences you might have once you’ve been spat out of a battle of wits with a narcissist, or any prologued interaction with them, or even a short one, is a sense of confusion of self…
Who are you? How much of who you are or identify as being is reliant on others, on what they say about you, think of you, how they react to you and how you or they or others interpret the reaction, etc?
To answer some of those types of internal questions, I created the – who would I be if I was the only person in the world – imagination experiment.
Who would I be, what would I say and do if no one else had any say in the matter?
If no one else was around… who would I be, how would I experience being me?
For me that experiment helped me locate my “authentic” self in amongst the white noise of selves created for me by others and by myself in an attempt to please or suit others in other ways than pleasing.
One of the thoughts which sometimes comes up when pondering being the only human alive, for me anyway, is… you don’t have to “try” to be, say or do anything.
You don’t even have to “try” to survive… it doesn’t matter if you do and it doesn’t matter if you don’t, no one is going to give you a success or failure, thumbs up or thumbs down on it, gold star or black mark score on it.
The only one who can do that is you… and if you survive that’s not what you’re focused on, if you don’t survive that’s not what you’re focused on.
In some ways, you’re a tree, which just does what a tree does…
Now… That’s it!
Say whatever you want in the comments… pretend you’re the only human on planet Earth… okay, I see the glaring problem with that too – it may be pointless to comment on this post if that were true.