Flicky recently raised a question:
Most people spend most of their time experiencing phantasmical projections created by their minds, and most of those don’t even have a whole lot to do with whatever is physically going on around them. Right? Like when you’re driving on an easy road and hours go by without your being conscious of any driving behaviors. I feel like I am like that most of the time. Especially when milking sheep. So probably most other people are too? My theory, which I now realize I haven’t thought about for more than about ten seconds and thus have no particular right to call a theory, only has to do tangentially with the human universal of elsewhere-mind: it is that my *social* elsewhere-mind habits are probably relatively weird?
Reproduced this here without asking because I have fifteen minutes to write this up before work. Hope it’s okay, sorry flick!
Now, for all my theorizing I have never actually considered this question. What does the idle process look like for a normal person (i.e. normal, agricultural cro magnon)? Part of the answer follows, but it will require a tangent to show how I came up with it.
My entire life I have wondered why, on TV, people scream and flee when something scary happens, like a public shooting. I thought “surely people don’t actually do this and it’s just a TV trope, like the way a window shatters when you try to jump through it, or like when a cartoon character doesn’t immediately fall of a cliff. And yet, when you watch videos on the internet, what do you hear right after the gunshots? Screams. Just like TV. So for a while, I thought “maybe they’re just conditioned into this behavior by TV.” After all, there surely is no reason it is a good idea to scream in the presence of a dangerous predator.
I’ve seen black people downtown (talking of “niggers” in the sense that NABPAN) react to tear gas or the sounds of gunshots. What do they do? They say “oh shit”, gird their saggy-panted loins, and book it. This reaction at least makes sense from an individualist perspective. When I can quickly convince myself that an emergency is none of my business (altruism FTL), my reaction is precisely the same.
But whenever somebody starts shooting in a mall or something, my first thought is “How many bullets are in a clip, and how many of you retards are there? Even if every one of us is unarmed, there’s no way this guy ought to survive until police take custody.” This is a normal reaction for someone who will occasionally simulate, in their head, what they would do in a bad situation. “What if a bomb goes off? What if the floor caves in? What if a nut walks in with a gun? What is the first weapon I can use in less than a second? What is the nearest lethal weapon? Where are the exits? Etc.”
Instead, people scream. How does it make sense to scream in this situation? Muttering “oh shit” covers all the bases here. What psychology produces this reaction? I find that the answer is related to situations which produce a similar effect. Being tortured to death, for instance, also produces a lot of screaming and an instinctive flight response. But even then, the screams tend not to be so prolonged and continuous, being interspersed with resting, groaning, and lots of futile begging. Similarly, the combined experience of horror and pain in response to the loss of a full limb will produce this response.
We must conclude that the psychology of an ordinary person experiences these things as similarly horrifying.
Now, keep in mind that in the case of a mass shooting, you can pick a direction at random (even straight past the shooter), run straight in that direction until you’re out of breath, and survive 99% of the time. The mortal danger here is actually pretty small. And in the case of most screamers, the gun is not even pointed in their particular direction. As long as they aren’t sitting still and cornered, they are not in serious danger because it is very difficult to hit a moving target.
I conclude that these people experience ALL mortal salience stimuli as similarly incomprehensibly horrorifying, like a vision of Cthulhu. Yup, people experience the same trauma, memory loss, and physical sensation from pain from a single gunshot being fired in a mall, and from being tortured to death.
From this I conclude that they simply aren’t processing most sensory data. It is no wonder that they are so focused on the environment all of the time, and so concerned about the way other people are driving. They aren’t inside their heads, they are being overstimulated by sensory data all of the time! They actually don’t have the gray matter to comprehend their baseline, natural, day-to-day environment.
From this I conclude that their primary idle process will be primarily concerned with processing the overload of sensory data, and the decision either to be overwhelmed into oblivion by sensory overload or to deny and suppress the stimuli so that it isn’t processed at all. Hence the existence of raves and dubstep, even though they are intensely boring and predictable and fit only for children.