Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Clearing up the previous post

Ok, so seriously, no one seemed to get my previous blog.

This was the point.

Point (1.) Metaphorically speaking, your mind is an operating system for your brain, the same way Linux is an operating system for a computer.

Point (2.) An Avatar is software construct which allows you to give a face to data, regardless of whether this data is in the form of an executable program, database, or in the head of the person the avatar represents.

Point (3.) Metaphorically speaking, the version of the people you know that exist in your minds eye are avatars.  They are the face of the data you know about that person.  The better you know them, the more accurate the avatar is.

Point (4.) When in an altered state, one can interact with those avatars, rather than intellectualize about the data.  Most animals seem to think.  Many of the “higher” ones (including rats by the way) are capable of thinking about thinking, called metacognition. Humans are capable not only of thinking about the nature of their own thoughts, but the thoughts of others (interpersonal metacognition).  An altered state can be caused by REM sleep, physical, emotional, or social stress.  When in this altered state humans can access all the data they have about a person as if they were talking to that person themselves.  This is my unique application of the avatar concept.

Point (5) The evolutionary benefit to a species with the avatar is increased survival as a extension of the evolutionary theory of altruism.  Some species (such as wolves and sometimes humans) will allow themselves to die to save a member of their species.  These seems to defy the principal of natural selection, because the sacfricee is lost from the gene pool.  Despite the fact that it cost the altruist his life, it ensures the continuance of the species as a whole. This is why many large mammals seem to have a concept of altruism. However, when that member is lost to the species so is all his wisdom or data.  The avatar concept allows much of this data to continue to live after the loss of the person.

Point (6) Being this is ancient and hardwired in, the avatar concept allows for a non-pathological explanation for several human behaviors and beliefs.  Anything that humans are motivated to do from a core level must have evolutionary benefit.  The evolutionary benefit to the avatar is seen above. Yet in modern context many behaviors seem bizarre.  The explanations is usually one of mental illness, but this seems unlikely to me as the other attending symptoms are lacking.

Point (7.) Specifically, the application of the avatar concept provides a socio-evolutionary perspective to one religious belief and several paranormal ones.

A. The soul.  Despite the fact that no one has ever seen any physical evidence of a soul, the belief is almost universal.  I believe this is because the avatars that we keep of people in our minds eye are biochemically as real as the memories we have of the real things they have done.  We invent a concept to explain how when they physical world says they are dead, their files are still alive in us.  This allows the bereaved to be more effective members of the tribe, as it makes death less frightening and more approachable.  At the same time it is still unknown.  If death was too approachable people would be in a hurry to do it, harming the species.

B. Speaking with and dreaming of the dead.  Many people, otherwise very skeptical, believe that they have spoken with or otherwise heard from a dead loved one.  The most common story I have heard is a widowed spouse being told it is OK if they marry or take a lover.  The evolutionary benefits are obvious.  The avatar alows the remaining parent to continue to seek parenting advice for the shared child, as well as telling the spouse it is OK if they either enter a new pair bond (which is demonstrated to make them a better memember of the community) or to further continue the species.

C. Doppelgangers. Abraham Lincoln famously saw his doppelganger in mirror, warning him of his impending doom.  He was under an enormous amount of stress at the time including sleep deprivation. The doppelganger’s warning allowed him to relax and deal with the stress.  This in turn allowed him to be a more effective leader for his tribe.

THAT is what I wanted to say.  That the avatar concept uses a computer science metaphor to explain an evolutionary benefit which explains (among other things) some paranormal phenomena.

July 2, 2008 - Posted by | skepticism, Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. How fun is this–two blogs. One written in a story dialogue, and one written in propositional form.

    Your emergent readers would hopefully go for the dialogue–which is a writing style I believe will become more popular.

    Two observations:

    1. Do you have few emergent readers of your blog since they seemed to need the propositional style. Or is it your writing needed some work for the dialgoue?

    2. Your ability in both styles demonstrates that you may be able to speak to both sides of our contemporary church. Those who grew up with modern influences and those who grew up with postmodern influences. Hmm. Do you have any calling in this?

    Love you,


    Comment by Heather | July 3, 2008 | Reply

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