I’d once had a (brief, civil) disagreement with a childhood friend. It was nothing, really. I doubt he remembers the moment. I don’t remember the context. I said something like: “You can become smarter by studying thinking.” He disagreed. We continued talking about whatever.
That’s all. But it has always stuck with me. I took it as a sort of given that I was right and he was not. He either (and most likely) had never thought about the idea and so dismissed it out of hand in the absence of evidence, or, he was simply mistaken in his reasons for thinking that one couldn’t improve one’s intelligence by studying intelligence. It seemed to me a given. An instance of the craftiness of intelligence. Intelligence itself. A finger, pointing.
And through the years I have thought of this minor episode many times. Probably at least once a year, for maybe 15 years. And I have always felt I was right, that my intuition had panned out. That my intelligence grew.
But intelligence, as I thought of it in those moments, was nominalized. A process made a thing. Looking back, I wonder if my average intelligence, intensity has faded over the years. I speak more intelligenty and my experience fuels higher level observations, but if I look past those surfaces, what supports them? Is that process better? Was my friend right, after all?
To understand that, we must look at the process. What is it? What is it reasonable to say is better? and what is worse? What value is it built on? in? around?
I’m going to skip all that, however, because it’s a direction that isn’t calling me. I’m concerned with density right now. I’m worried about it. Is my experience becoming more dense or more diffuse? Are the things I’m noticing and factoring into my life coming closer together or drifting further apart? Am I still substantial or have I wafted away? Time seems to be accelerating, and that’s just a different frame in which to embody the answer. Years are happening more quickly. The things I look forward to expand further apart in time while seeming to pass more quickly through my experience.
Is that more or less dense? Like a Necker cube, it keeps shifting on me. Is matter more dense at the speed of light, or has it finally drifted apart? Traveling near to the speed of light will get material A to B sooner, and thus speaks to closeness. Also, from the frame of reference of an observer you appear to be shrinking. This also speaks to density. Furthermore, by accelerating towards the speed of light time begins to pass so quickly beyond you that it is as if you have you have sped up and shrunk to the point that you are just an atom of the universe. Pretty dense stuff. But!, mostly nothing. Exceedingly difficult to see. Exceedingly difficult to detect.
Just another way of looking at the particle/wave duality.
Like chipping away rock to a tunnel.
Am I more intelligent now than I was? I seem to think it has something to do with density of experience. But my experiences are passing by more quickly. This both reflects an increase in density of experiences, but a decrease in density of something. Year piles upon year sooner than the last. Days do the same. It’s slowly, now, but quickening. It’s passed Christmas already? I can’t even really reconcile myself that we reached it, but we’ve even gone beyond it. It’s 2013. It’s 2008? It’s 2005? I can accept 2004.
Am I just stuck in the past? Or has the past passed me by and I’m only catching up slowly?
I seem to always have a lot of thoughts going on upstairs, but I remember fewer of them, and more of them are repeats. 90% of what we do, we do everyday. I’ll bet that number is just an average reader value, but that it starts lower and increases as we age. Certainly the class of different sorts of things that we are going to encounter diminishes as we age. That is, if we don’t culture such _____.
Have I been culturing them? How quickly is my rate of encountering different sorts of things diminishing? Or is it increasing? And if it did increase, could I keep up with it? How much do I miss that is going on around me? How would I be different if I missed less?
Do I miss some things for seeing others? Do I miss up for down?
Is paying attention a one way transaction? Will we run out of hard coin? What is senility? How do we encourage a healthy nervous system? Can we adapt the mind to a slowly changing brain chemistry by continually running the gamut of thought patterns through falsifiable tests. Can we trust tests as they age? Do our tests have to test themselves as well? Do our tests have to invoke creativity to evolve? How can we tell we are moving straight when our footsteps disappear behind us and the stars move overhead and the featureless sand stretches into a horizon?
If our pre-flight check uncovers a malfunction, is there any hope we can fix it? Can we, by identifying the problem, train a way around it? Can we rediscover creativity over and over again? Can we keep the mystery alive? The spark aflame? Oh, Uroborus, philosopherstone, reamalgamerging.
Can society keep its automobility but lose the fossil futility?
Seems like the same question at a different scale. But, of course, being able to maintain homeostasis is not possible through the entire space of possible biochemical changes to the human organism. Most lead to disruption.
However, it seems life is equipped with a mechanism for adapting to changes. Is it too much to think that that pattern or “process” is also expressed in our awareness, our intelligence, our consciousness, our beingness?
Perhaps by nurturing it one nurtures one’s intelligence.
Is it too much to think that that pattern or “process” is our consciousness itself? Could the power of our awareness, our presence, be in fact the buzzing expression of living adaption redefining our persisting foundation?
Why is time passing more quickly as I age? I seem to be digging down into the moment just as deeply as I stretch over the horizon.
What does this similarity between experience and the physical universe have to say about consciousness?
Center of Awareness, what?