On our thought architecture

by Dorian Minors

March 28, 2021

Analects  |  Newsletter

Excerpt

Our thought architecture is one organising principle around which to collect tools to focus on any value system if you believe what I believe. In more cases than we might care to admit, we are full of ideologies that have been produced for us, not designed by us. These are, of course, protective—graceful solutions to an impossibly complex world. Yet, ideologies are dangerous left unexamined. We should do that.

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Our thought architecture is those ideas and beliefs laid down by others that we can adopt to smooth our own path.

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Humans are animals first. Our obsession with the ‘special’ character of the human psyche disguises this fact. At our core, we are creatures like any other–responding adaptively to the environment around us. We see this in our habits, our routines, and our rituals. Automatic patterns of behaviour that gracefully handle the predictable shapes of everyday life. Less obvious is how these automatic patterns are reflected in our minds. Rituals of behaviour are preceded by rituals of thought.

The word ideology is drenched with dark meaning. And yet, on close inspection, we find that we are, each of us, saturated with them. Beliefs and philosophies grounded in experiences that correspond only to those thin slices of the world we have experienced.

This fact is made more potent still when we consider our most fundamentally human characteristic—our capacity to share ideas. We don’t simply create our own ideologies from our interactions with the world, but we adopt those that have been thrust upon us by the societies we are embedded in and the culture that we share.

In more cases than we might care to admit, we are full of ideologies that have been produced for us, not designed by us. These are, of course, protective—graceful solutions to an impossibly complex world. Yet, ideologies are dangerous left unexamined.

Unfortunately, the information we might use to examine these these things is necessarily filtered. Not always by intent, but rather by the pressures attendant upon producing the information in the first place. Narratives which centre on an economy of shame, outrage, yearning, and terror have come to dominate, and narratives of growth have become increasingly superficial.

Even the scholastic enterprise has gone a bit funny. The pursuit of truth, but only for those who can read the articles. Terminology that isolates us from expression. Facts for the sake of facts, without understanding. A thousand proliferating disciplines, showering us with knowledge split into a million isolated fragments until “we know more and more about less and less”.

Ideologies should be an architecture of thought—a set of beliefs we can trust to at least point our errors in the right direction. Heuristics, or frames, through which we make some of the chaos into meaning while accepting that in doing so, we are choosing to make some meaning into chaos. But, at least the credenda we adopt are in this way, the credenda we have chosen.

So let’s do that. Let’s choose our ideologies.


Ideologies you choose at btrmt.

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