Inconceivable!

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.

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18 Responses to Inconceivable!

  1. Koanic says:

    This is interesting. It appears that your combat-stress response (CSR) is intrinsically altruistic in a way that mine is not. I wonder if this is a general TT trait. To me, it seems inefficient.

    I have four CSR instances adrenally imprinted in long-term memory. I’ll discuss three openly, one obfuscated.

    1. 4 wheeling to 2 wheeling on a cliff’s edge
    2. Deliberately doing something very illegal
    3. Nose to balls with a German shepherd at midnight in its backyard
    4. Firefighting a propane grill threatening the side of a house.

    #4 is the best example of my stereotypical response. At the time, the risk of the tank exploding and spewing shrapnel into my gut was unknown, assumed high. I did the mental math on this first. Then I circled and observed. I mentally reviewed the disengagement and delegation to 911 firemen scenario, calculating potential damage to the house in event of explosion. Meanwhile, the stupids were engaged in a fire-brigade line carrying water in basins from faucet to ineffectually dump on burning grill. I evaluated the 2-3 feet of snow on ground, made a connection to putting out fire with dirt and a shovel. I asked whether we had a shovel, and was dismissed with anti-Thal prejudice. Other (me) didn’t “get” the “manly” emergency vibe. Everyone was operating under some sort of taut tension groupthink field, and I offended by not participating. The brushoff was like admitting something explicitly that had long been tacit.

    So I went by myself into the dark shed and started searching. Continued to be ignored. Found shovel. Used shovel to rapidly bury the entire grill. Most nervous at this point, because well inside theoretical shrapnel kill radius. Fire brigade gradually petered out into quietly admiring, semi-abashed comments. Always remembered the moment of rejection. Somehow I was different, other. The status turnaround merely continued to underline this.

    Now, nowhere in here or the other examples did I exhibit anything explicitly altruistic. I didn’t bother calculating others’ shrapnel risk or attempt to persuade them not to expose themselves. My only real concern was for the house, with the people (women) inside as a distant abstract concept, and the “soldiers” fighting the blaze completely expendable. The math I did was me vs. the problem. Total communication to the “team” was one sentence. As soon as I determined that the other people were useless objects, that’s how I viewed them.

    In crisis, I very quickly regard anyone who won’t calmly comprehend and act on a single-sentence quiet input as useless and irrelevant. I am far too busy with survival-mode math to turn on my shut-off monkey brain to interface with these baboons. Doing so would compromise both my own survival and my ability to destroy the problem.

    That’s what I hate about most action flicks. They inevitably involve an adrenaline-filled moment where the hero takes time to monkey-lead some panicking comrade or rescuee. Were I the opposition, I would very much enjoy using that moment to shoot the hero and his subordinate in the head. Were I the hero, the extent of my leadership would be stifling the persistent urge to cut the stupid distracting monkey’s throat. In fact, I might use the distraction of a panicking ally to achieve my objective. Double win.

    In the aftermath of the grill incident, the persistent thought at the back of my mind was not, “Yay, now I’m the cool guy,” but, “Why the fuck am I with these fake humans?” And these were, by normal measures, worthy and intelligent friends.

    Part of this lack of altruistic drive is that I typically do not envision CSR scenarios in my head until they actually happen. I know my CSR response will effectively engage the details of the situation, and I’m not concerned about optimizing it to save others.

    Nice connection to raves.

    Even though you’ve explained the why’s, in the CSR moment I won’t care, and will continue to divide the world into soldiers and inanimate environment.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >This is interesting. It appears that your combat-stress response (CSR) is intrinsically altruistic in a way that mine is not. I wonder if this is a general TT trait. To me, it seems inefficient.

      It is more of a curse than a blessing, but it certainly changes the quality of alienation you experience in similar situations. I get more of a “glad that thing is on our side” reaction, but the idea of failing to step in and save a retarded slut from her boyfriend is, in the moment, quite excruciating.

      >My only real concern was for the house, with the people (women) inside as a distant abstract concept, and the “soldiers” fighting the blaze completely expendable.

      This is the difference between our responses. Who gives a fuck about a house? In the moment I would burn a city to save a person. I know it’s not on purpose in both cases, because Christianity for you and rational economic response for me, but rather instinctive.

      >Part of this lack of altruistic drive is that I typically do not envision CSR scenarios in my head until they actually happen.

      wat srsly? When I was a teenager that was probably 10% of my total CPU cycles, which is to say every free moment.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >And these were, by normal measures, worthy and intelligent friends.

      Last thought: There’s fake humans and there’s children. You can’t really know for 100% sure until a person is about 50, although by then it’s too late for anything useful.

  2. lflick says:

    I didn’t understand your last two paragraphs, which seem to contradict themselves.

    You’re saying normals are using their idle process either 1) swamped under an overload of sense impressions or 2) not processing sense impressions at all. I am very confused. Maybe you mean 1) using all their mental powers to process sense impressions, no cycles free to do anything else and 2) uh… sleeping? And people are “focused on their environment” because they’re “aren’t processing most sensory data”? What? I have the impression that the brain silently drops all packets it doesn’t have time to process.

    I sometimes yelp when startled, which does feel like very brief physical pain.

    Anyway I wasn’t that interested in how people react to mortal salience stimuli. What I want to know is what the system idle process is doing. I find it hard to believe that dumber people don’t have one. They just probably have a sparser one.

  3. Koanic says:

    Yeah bro. I fucking knew there were more of me.

  4. Pingback: Daily Linkage – August 24, 2015 | The Dark Enlightenment

  5. Pingback: Redux: Most people aren’t processing most of the environment most of the time | Aeoli Pera

  6. Aeoli Pera says:

    >Koanic’s post illuminates this perfectly. Ive been in several separate situations just like this. In one I had to build a fire for a bunch of rubes while they stood around trying to organize, and kept it going all night.

    Hmm, might be able to weaponize this for Office Space productivity. “Here’s a whiteboard, I reserved y’all a table at Starbucks, go brainstorm and plan this project and I’ll be there in a minute…tackety tackety tack…”

  7. Russell says:

    “How many bullets are in a clip”

    Magazine. The word you want to use is ‘magazine’. Unless the dude’s sporting an SKS or M1 Garand.

    Koanic: Dumping water on grease fire with the propane still flowing? Further proof intelligence doesn’t equal common sense.

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