Experiencing Thinking

(Essay) Intentional and Unintentional Thought, Low Order and High Order Complexity

How do humans experience thinking? Is it willed or does it just appear? This might be a strange question, but addressing it might help us decide the way to incubate and encourage the right kind of thinking as a society. Furthermore, we might learn to identify biases that privilege intentional thinking and “low order complexity,” a bias which could hinder creativity and the “high order complexity” which defines necessary and emergent phenomena, without which our society and lives could suffer. Both “low order” and “high order” complexity play key roles in our lives, but our brain seems to be in the business of trying to put all our eggs in the “low order” basket. If we don’t actively combat it, our brain, the great frenemy, will win.

I

Audio Summary

When one thinks about a book on a table, what is the experience of the book like? It can be said the experience is different than when one simply looks at the book; when one thinks about it, the book, in a way, “stands out” from the rest of the table. It begins to be colored by the ideas and interpretations of the viewer’s mind, ideas like “that’s my favorite book” or “that was the book Mom gave me.” To think is to color.

How do humans think? Is it willed or is it more like daydreaming? Some thinking seems willed, such as when I sit down to solve a math problem, but other times it just emerges when I’m staring out a window. There seems to be thinking that is intentional and thinking that is unintentional, thoughts that I will and thoughts that seem to produce themselves. What is the difference between the two?

Music for Reading

Intentional thoughts seem more focused and analytical, while the unintentional seem more creative and “outside the box.” If we read the biographies of Einstein and other creative geniuses, we can learn how many great ideas seemed to have emerged randomly while the geniuses were staring out a window, talking a walk, or just idly daydreaming. New ideas often seem to just “appear,” suddenly and all at once. They aren’t intended nearly as much as we think or may like to think, for we can like to think we have control (to think genius entails randomness can be disappointing).

If creativity is a result of daydreaming, we need to master the art of unintentional thinking. Creativity seems to occur when ideas and experiences people have stored in their minds associate and blend together one day, like in the subconscious or in a dream. Usually this happens in response to a new observation, but why exactly this happens is too complex and particular to say. However, it can be said that if there was nothing in the mind, there would be nothing there to fuse together when the person daydreamed. Hence, with intentional thought, we need to learn, think, watch, and read; otherwise, we fail to provide our unintentional thinking with material with which it can generate something new.

How does one will this fusion? It doesn’t seem to be in one’s control. It just happens one day, for whatever reason. It happened for Newtown when he saw an apple fall; it happened for Einstein when he imagined a man falling from a building. These experiences triggered something in these men, something that, on their own, they couldn’t readily trigger. However, had they not worked and studied diligently every day, when they saw that “vision,” there would have been nothing in their heads to fuse together. The moment or “vision” that triggers the emerging of genius might be random, but the placement of the materials within the mind out of which the revelation is born is very intentional. The gathering of the material takes intentional thought, but their construction into genius seems to be a result of unintentional thought. Both kinds of thought are needed.

It seems to me that we overemphasize thinking as an intentional act; it is often something we simply undergo. We don’t will to think about something nearly as much as we just find ourselves thinking about something. Yes, there is intentional thought, but this doesn’t compose all of our thinking, and a failure to acknowledge this has perhaps resulted in a poor formulation of our school system. We give people tests and time limits, weigh them down with homework and deadlines, and imply that thought is always something you should be able to “do” whenever and however you will. And though some thought can be so willed and though some people might be better at intentional thought than others, not all thought, especially creative thought, can be so easily willed. But by having a school system (and society for that matter) that implies that all thought is intentional, we stifle our creativity and setup for failure and disillusionment those who are more inclined to unintentionally think (which will result in a shrinking of the artifex, as expounded on in “The Creative Concord” by O.G. Rose).

This needs to change.

II

The fact that we can intend some thoughts and not others seems to imply that we have free will. In intended thoughts, we act freely; in unintended, we act without free will (and yet are rewarded by giving up liberty with the freedom of creativity, it seems). Yet we do choose, upon having an unintended thought, if we choose to engage it “intentionally” or not: once the idea for General Relativity emerged in Einstein’s mind, he then chose to intentionally engage with that idea. Unintentional thoughts, for their creativity to be fully realized and implemented, must be shaped by intentional thought: the two need one another. This being the case, we need a society that teaches and values both intentional and unintentional thinking.

Unfortunately, the nature of intentionality primes us to focus more so on intentionality versus unintentionally. We cannot imagine or “see” how “not intending something” will result in “something”: we can only conceptualize causality as we understand it (which tends to privilege the “sensualized,” as discussed in “Sensualization” by O.G. Rose). The brain is not able to naturally grasp how sitting in an office and looking out a window will result in Einstein imagining a falling man and deriving General Relativity. It seems counterintuitive. There is no clear line of causality; there seems to just be randomness (though, it’s not actually random, since Einstein put the material in his mind to make this epiphany possible). On the other hand, the brain is able to grasp how studying for math will make one do well on a math test: there is a clear line of cause and effect. Thus, the brain naturally privileges intentionality and “low order causality,” as will be discussed.

Unintentional thought cannot be readily conceptualized, or at least not in simple terms of causality, while intentional thought can, and so our minds, in naturally lacking the wiring to grasp highly complex causality, primes us to be biased toward intentional thought (though this doesn’t mean we can’t train ourselves to refine and/or gain the wiring for unintentional thought, only that the wiring doesn’t come naturally). This means we are naturally wired against creativity and against a society that incubates creativity, which, if “The Creative Concord” is right, is exactly what we require to avoid socioeconomic self-destruction. For without creativity, we cannot create wealth, and if we cannot create wealth, our economies will dissolve (but more on that argument will have to wait for other works).

If I am making a decision on whether or not to let Einstein go upstairs and sit in an office, and you tell me that if I do, Einstein will suddenly have a picture in his head of a man falling and come up with General Relativity, but I ask you for proof, you will be unable to satisfy me. Logically then, with “evidence” on my side, I may decide to not let Einstein go upstairs, and so rob the world of General Relativity (not that I would ever know that I’ve done so). Evidence, which can only prove instances of simple causality (for the human mind cannot readily grasp or rationalize evidence for highly complex causality), can never be provided (to a satisfactory and empirical degree) for unintentional thought, by virtue of the fact that it is unintentional. Consequently, a society that believes everything that is true can be proven will be a society that will (rationally) stifle unintentional thought (to its socioeconomic detriment).

Unintentional thought cannot be guaranteed, while studying for a math test seems to provide a sense of guaranteed improvement in math skills (though this isn’t necessarily the case). I can never guarantee that Einstein will come up with the theory of General Relativity before he does so, but that doesn’t mean he won’t. Creative insight cannot be promised, and unfortunately, when it comes to socioeconomic policy, where there is a lack of guarantee, there is usually a lack of political and societal will. We want to know it will work, when such assurance is impossible. This doesn’t mean it won’t work, only that, when it comes to unintentional thought, we cannot know that it will work (or how, when, what, etc.). We can only trust, and if we refuse to trust, we will fail to incubate (and invest in) creativity, much to our communal and socioeconomic demise (as, again, is expanded on in “The Creative Concord” by O.G. Rose).

III

If we learn to pay attention to how thinking emerges in ourselves (both intentionally and unintentionally), we can begin grasping how much of our thinking is unintentional. Of course, the act of realizing this takes intentional thought, which can “color” our experiences of unintentional thought with an intentionality that can ironically make unintentional thought appear as intentional. The act of thinking about unintentional thought can thus make it appear intentional (we just have to know better). (Similarly, thinking can hide perception in the act of conceptualizing it, as expounded on in “On Thinking and Perceiving” by O.G. Rose.)

How a society thinks about thinking will shape how it educates, and if it doesn’t realize that intentional thinking hides unintentional thinking and that we are not equipped or encouraged to grasp what lacks intentionality (what lacks simple causality), we will have a prejudice against those like Einstein and also against a school system that encourages him to “go upstairs and daydream,” per se. Thinking that thought is mostly intentional, we segment classes, dividing English from Science, Philosophy from Psychology, and so on. We believe in creating specialists, individuals who have mastered intentional thought in their fields. And specialists are indeed very important — we need them — but it shouldn’t be forgotten that creative thought and unintentional thinking is often a result of cross-discipline between different fields (see the Bloomsbury Group or The Sociology of Philosophies by Randal Collins for more). But how exactly will new ideas emerge if a person intellectually cross-pollinates? What will reading David Hume and studying physics result in? It cannot be said for sure: until Einstein created General Relativity, it couldn’t be said that his study of David Hume was of any value (and then suddenly and all at once it was, as if it always was). But which business or government is going to fund a Physics professor to read David Hume? Lacking any clear direction, intentionally, or sense of what good will come from the investment, most businesses and individuals would forgo the opportunity to help Einstein come up with General Relativity, not seeing a clear cause and effect between reading David Hume and generating a scientific breakthrough. Many “unintentional thinkers” loved to take walks (like Kant and Heidegger), periods in which they made themselves “open” to whatever thoughts ran over them (periods today which most seem to fill with entertainment, though that isn’t to say entertainment is inherently bad). But if asked to provide proof that their walks contributed to their new ideas, they would be unable to do so, and so come off as people who prefer taking walks to working. For this, if alive today, they might be penalized and trained to abstain from the activities which incubated their genius.

There is no telling how many opportunities to support genius are missed today due to a false view of how thinking occurs and is experienced; furthermore, there is no telling how much genius has been “managed” into oblivion. Encountering unintentional thinkers, intentional thinkers, still not understanding them even after objectively trying to do so, may try to change unintentional thinkers into intentional thinkers. For, relative to the framework of the intentional thinker, unintentional thinkers are incapable of thought: they do not seem to think at all. Hence, intentional thinkers don’t believe they rob unintentional thinkers of possibility by changing them; relative to intentional thinkers, they are adding and encouraging thought where it previously was lacking. In actuality though, they are changing unintentional thought into intentional thought. Again, this isn’t to claim intentional thought is inherently bad, but rather to say that it has a tendency to overtake unintentional thought, which is needed for new insight. This is because, relative to intentional thinkers, unintentional thinkers “appear as” “non-thinkers,” and isn’t it rational and logical to think we are doing the right thing by helping the “non-thinker” (intentionally) think? Even if the (one who appears to be a) “non-thinker” cries and begs us to stop, claiming he or she can think, as an intentional thinking (who has every reason to believe the person can’t think), wouldn’t it be loving and rational for us to continue and force the “non-thinker” to take up (intentional) thinking (exclusively)? And if the “non-thinker” asks us to stop, since we are just trying to help the person, couldn’t we get upset, thinking “I’m just trying to help you. What are you doing? Nothing? Exactly, so don’t tell me to stop. I’m giving you want you need.” Trying to save the unintentional thinker, seeing a lack of thinking, it is rational for us to ignore all sobs begging us to stop and all claims of the unintentional thinker that he or she can think (which we must assume means “intentionally think,” which we do not observe). We must ignore the unintentional thinker, for it would be irrational and unloving to leave the unintentional thinker alone. The pain is necessary.

Not knowing the difference between intentional and unintentional thinking, intentional thinkers can be caught in a situation where all logic and reasoning compels them to change unintentional thinkers into people more like them. That said, unintentional thinkers shouldn’t use their “inability to be understood” to boost themselves up or to justify non-thought. As the intentional thinker can take advantage of the unintentional thinker, so the unintentional thinker can act similarly by trying to pass off “non-thought” as ‘high order complexity.” Both kinds of thinkers have responsibilities to the other.

We seem wired against unintentional thinking, and this might explain why creative types can so often be misunderstood. Humans are not equipped to grasp their way of thinking, and even if people try to think about unintentional thought in an unbiased way, the very act of thinking (and how it structures phenomena) can keep them from understanding. And this may make them think, when they discard artistic thought, that they have objective reason to do so. After all, without bias, they tried to see the world like “unintentional thinkers” and couldn’t; hence, they have reason and evidence for believing the perspective of “unintentional thinkers” is an inaccurate view of reality.

If we don’t grasp the difference between intentional and unintentional thinking, our minds will keep us deceived. Everyone both intentionally and unintentionally thinks, but some more so one than the other. There are people who are primarily intentional thinkers, and those who are primarily unintentional thinkers. This isn’t the problem: the issue is the judging of intentional thought as more important and substantial than unintentional thought (the reverse would be a problem too). The issue is the hierarchy and prejudice which exist (perhaps unintentionally, ironically) because of a failure to understand how thinking occurs and is experienced.

IV

We need society to grasp the importance of “absent mindedness,” per se — of a way of thinking that isn’t as quantifiable as intentional thought. Unintentional thought is an emergent phenomenon that arises organically out of a vast web of incomprehensible ideas and connections. It’s similar to how the free market organically and incomprehensibly coordinates the distribution of resources and creates wealth (as described by Friedrich Hayek and Nassim Taleb) and, alluding to Mandelbrot, there is a sense in which unintentional thinking is “the chaos theory of thinking.” And since unintentional thinking entails order that is beneath “chaotic complexity,” we often get lost on the surface and believe there is no order at all.

“Low order causality” and/or “low order complexity” are deeply linked with intentional thought. It is when a billiard ball hits another and the second moves. The connection is observable, and anyone standing around the pool table will see it happen: the intelligibility of the causation is not bound to a particular person. Additionally, the person with the pool stick intended for the billiard balls to strike each other: the causal relationship was desired. “High order complexity,” on the other hand, is when a billiard ball hits another, the second moves, and we remember that time we played pool with our sister, and think about that story about her we wanted to write. This connection is just as real as the first, but I cannot “observe” the connection between the billiard ball and my memory, even though there is a connection: the two event seem unrelated, and yet I wouldn’t have had the memory without the collision of the billiard balls. Neither I nor the person with the pool stick intend the memory, but it happened all the same, and it happened because of the pool game. Unfortunately, I’m the only one who can experience this “high order causality” occur, so to everyone else around the table, it won’t seem real (a coincidence, at best).

It should be emphasized here that “high order causality” isn’t a phrase that is meant to imply any kind of superiority to “low order causality.” There is no hierarchy; both are vital. Instead of the phrase “high order causality,” one could just as easily say “abstract causality” or “indirect causality,” as one, instead of “low order causality,” could say “concrete causality” or “direct causality.” My point is only that it is natural for us to privilege “low order causality” and to gradually believe it is the only kind of “real” causality, and that this can be dire for creativity and emergent systems. We have to actively fight our brain, but the only tool we have to fight with is our very opponent.

Imagine you are looking at a bookshelf from a distance and that you don’t know that the books are in alphabetical order. Imagine also that you had no way of knowing the order other than by asking me, the one who arranged the books. To you they look disordered, no pattern can be found. If I asked you “Are the books in any order?” you’d have to answer either “I don’t know” or “There isn’t.” You could perhaps argue that they are in “the order the person intended by putting them the way he or she did,” but unable to know that intent, you couldn’t claim the books are in any order relative to you. If you answered, “I don’t know,” you could mean “I don’t perceive any order, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any.” If I asked you then to try and grasp if there was any order there, you’d be unable to do so, and so, relative to you, there would be no order (though that doesn’t mean you couldn’t continue to choose to believe there was order — which you may or may not be right about). If you chose to believe there was an order, you may allow me to keep the books arranged in the way that works best for me.

If you said that there was “no” order to the books on the bookcase, all evidence would be in your favor. The heights of the book don’t line up, nor do the colors: they all “appear” to be randomly placed. Unable to know the books are in alphabetical order, you’d necessarily and logically believe the books weren’t in any order. And believing this, you may take it into your own hands to put the books in an order you can conceptualize, such as from shortest to tallest. Though this would create a new form of order, it would ruin the old one, but you wouldn’t know any better. You wouldn’t know you reduced a higher complexity to a lower complexity and made it very difficult for me to locate each book; relative to your framework, you gave what lacked order an order. You helped me, but really you ruined the library’s “high order complexity,” an order beyond your natural capacities to recognize as order.

Yet if I suddenly told you then that the books were in alphabetical order, you’d have no reason to believe me. Perhaps you’d know I was the one who put the books on the shelves, but perhaps I was tricking you or self-deceiving myself into thinking my work had design? According to what you observe and can conceptualize, there is no order; relative to your framework, believing there was an order would be irrational, even if I told you there was an order. Yet it would be true — the books are in alphabetical order — but you couldn’t know this: you could only assent to what I told you.

As with the bookcase, so it goes with unintentional thought: we cannot know it works, though we can assent to its validity and value. But to do so, we must act irrationally (relative to intentional thought). Unfortunately, because of our tendency to be rational (as we define rational) and our inability to grasp the order and complex causality of unintentional thought, we design policy in favor of intentional thinking, cause ourselves interpersonal conflict, and create myths about men like Einstein being “intentional geniuses,” rather than primarily men who put themselves in the center of a dynamic system of “chaos” so that they could be vehicles of creative thought by allowing unintentional thought to run through them. All of us could be such vehicles, but when we ascribe to the “myth of the genius” and don’t grasp how unintentional thought works and how intentional thought hides unintentional thought from us, we won’t be. We’ll stay as we are, and we’ll continue to perpetuate and push ways of life and thinking that separate us from the creativity that makes life so much better and worth living for all. In other words, we’ll continue to rearrange orderly bookshelves into less functional orders, all while thinking that we’re adding order to nothing.

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Additions

1. As we have a bias toward intention thought versus unintentional thought, we also have a bias toward intentional action. When it comes to problem-solving, we are therefore primed to act directly to solve the problem, when such intervention may not actually be the solution. It depends, but if we aren’t aware over how mental bias against the unintentional and “high order complexity/causality,” our chances of being discerning will be less.

2. Both “low order” and “high order” causality/complexity are necessary: this paper doesn’t desire to establish a hierarchy. We need equality between them and an appreciation of both, not ranking. But this will be difficult for us, given our natural tendencies.

3. Liberty is a “high order system”: individual entities are left to their own devices without an over-arching system “directly” organizing their actions (and so translating high order complexity to low order complexity). Whether liberty is better than management is a different question; the point here is that freedom entails “high order complexity.”

As “Concerning Epistemology” by O.G. Rose argued that liberty naturally yields before fear since fear is natural and a self-justifying system, liberty also naturally yields because people naturally ascribe to “low order” causality/complexity/systems over “high order.” In other words, there is a natural orientation away from liberty toward control, one that is perhaps only “checked and balanced” or “corrected” by a nation’s history, legacy, religion, etc.

The yielding of liberty is accelerated by the education system, which naturally comes to favor “low order complexity,” seeing that “high order complexity” is less natural, cannot be systemized, and cannot be (easily) graded (similar to how education moves away from creativity, as expounded on in “The Creative Concord” by O.G. Rose).

3.1 What comes naturally is what comes without effort and that is only avoided with effort. If the majority will always head in the direction of less effort (by definition), than overtime, all things that are natural will occur. If fate is defied, it will be unnatural.

4. Religion may help individuals ascribe to “high order complexity” even if they don’t understand it or any of the thoughts presented in this paper, because “God can work in mysterious ways,” miracles can occur, providence could be at play, and so on. Religion can be used to teach people to be ignorant, but it can also teach individuals to believe in something that they don’t understand and then “work into understanding,” rather than only believe in what they can understand “outright.” As Cardinal Newman talks about how we can “ascent” to the truth that a Shakespeare sonnet is beautiful before we understand it (and then come to understand it, motivated by the beauty), so we can “ascent” to the truth and validity of “high order complexity” before we come to understand it.

Religion teaches people to seek truths “in a mode that they are true” before they know they are true, with skepticism only coming later to decide the truthfulness of the ascribed-to-truths. In this way, not only does religion teach people to give “high order complexity” a chance, but it also teaches people, perhaps coincidentally, the lessons presented in “Assuming the Best” by O.G. Rose, lessons similar to those Isaiah Berlin offers us on “verification.” Berlin points out that when our friend tells us “It’s raining outside,” we know what the statement means before we go and verify if it is raining: the statement has meaning before verification (though perhaps we disagree with the meaning afterwards). But if we will only go see if it is raining once it is verified to us that it is raining outside, we shall never carry out the process in which we can learn what is true (which, ironically, can make it seem as if were right all along).

Considering this, it is perhaps not by chance that liberty and religion tend to go together, at least in the West. This, of course, doesn’t mean religion is true or necessary for freedom (though it might be), but that religion has perhaps had unintentional consequences that are beneficial for grasping and allowing “high order complexity.”

4.1 It should also be noted that, though religion has been used to cause great evils, most religions tend to favor morality, and morality, dynamically and organically, thorough “high order complexity,” organizes the majority (via “free will”) to act in a manner that stabilizes and benefits the society, making “central control” or “large States” unnecessary. Though, on the other hand, as morality wanes (perhaps due to a loss of religion), immorality can make “central control” arguably necessary.

4.2 It is perhaps the case that a society that loses religion is a society that will become less accepting of “high order complexity,” and so less free and even creative.

4.3 Believing what we don’t understand isn’t always a vice.

5. The humanities and arts might not seem as important as math and science, in the same way that “high order complexity” might not seem as concrete or relevant as does “low order complexity.” This isn’t to say math and science aren’t complex and different or to suggest the humanities and arts are more important, only to say that they are different and that our minds might favor and grasp one over the other. Likewise, we may have a bias toward “straight talk” over “indirect talk,” though that isn’t to say “straight talk” isn’t often needed and that we don’t often need more of it.

6. We may have a natural desire for there to always be intention even where it isn’t (as we may have a natural desire for meaning and design). If this is the case, we may, without our realizing it, “see” intention where it isn’t, causing us to misread “high order complexity” as “low order complexity,” priming us for misjudgment. That isn’t to say there is never intention, meaning, or design, but that we must be aware of our tendencies to misjudge.

7. It would seem that there is sexism, racism, and discrimination that is “intentional” and also that which is “unintentional,” and a society that doesn’t make this distinction may read intent where it isn’t, consequently misreading situations and potentially causing misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts. Furthermore, the society may damage its capacity to overcome these hard realities, and try to fix the problems in ways that worsen them, say if their solution is “high order” and we only count what’s “low order.”

8. One of the great dilemmas is that “high order complexity” “appears” and/or “looks like” “no order complexity,” that the one who ascents to “high order complexity” “looks like” the one who rationalizes meaninglessness. How do you tell the difference? It’s very hard, and without critical thinking (as defined in “On Critical Thinking” by O.G. Rose), it might be impossible. Problematically though, it likely takes critical thinking to recognize its lack: the loss is likely total.

9. Our natural bias against “high order complexity” results in us having a bias toward sensualization (as defined and discussed in “Sensualization” by O.G. Rose), for the metaphysical is indefinite, uncertain, and a “high order complexity.”

10. As thinking conceals perception from us (as discussed in “On Thinking and Perceiving” by O.G. Rose), “low order thinking” conceals “high order thinking,” for the act of considering “high order complexity” is the act of translating it into “low order complexity.” To consider is to conceal.

11. If not discerning, to manage, intervene, and even consider, can be to translate “high order causality” into “low order causality.”

12. The bias against “high order complexity” can be highlighted by our openness to the idea of abolishing philosophy from universities (as supported by Stephen Hawkins, for example), but not mathematics.

13. An empirical society, or a society that considers empirical data the most valid, will probably be a society that favors “low order complexity/causality” (over “high order complexity/causality”).

14. Institutions that encourage thinking may unintentionally encourage “low order complexity/causality” (over “high order complexity/causality”), as school unintentionally encourages analytical thought over creativity.

15. Humans tend to dismiss as non-order any order that the designer has to be present for us to “realize” (via explanation).

16. A person who is called “scattered-brain” might just be someone who thinks in terms of “high order complexity” — or someone who isn’t thinking coherently at all. The paradox is that the “high order” thinker often appears the same as the “non-order” thinker, creating existential uncertainty (which the “non-order” thinker may use to justify his or her lack of thought, or which the “high order” thinker may consider as evidence that he or she isn’t a strong thinker at all).

17. To appeal to experience over intellect can be an appeal to “high order complexity,” which can seem like an appeal to nonsense to the intellectual (especially the intellectual who is in position to gain power).

18. Creativity is a “high order causality” that immediately changes into and “vanishes” behind “low order causality,” as perception that is thought about seems to “vanish” behind the thought (as described in “On Thinking and Perceiving” by O.G. Rose). Considering this, a creative society requires both an understanding of “low order” and “high order” complexity, but unfortunately it is probable that a society will be biased toward “low order.”

19. In line with the thought presented in “Rewarding Discrimination” by O.G. Rose, State action is likely where there is a bias toward “low order complexity,” and as a result of this action, the State grows and becomes increasingly a “high order complexity.” Yet, unlike “high order complexity” such as creativity, State “high order complexity” is paradoxical, for it tends to be motivated by, operate according to, and only capable of thinking in, “lower order complexity.” Hence, the State is a “high order complexity” that is inefficient. In a sense, it’s not a “high order complexity” at all, but instead an abstraction that is abstract to itself — a bureaucracy in the movie Brazil.

19.1 Where there is no distinction made between “low order complexity” and “high order complexity,” it will be more difficult to articulate and understand this problem of the State.

19.2 The natural orientation of the human and brain favors the State over free exchange and individual action. This is because the human is “toward” and/or favors “low order complexity” over “high order complexity,” for the later is (virtually by definition) unobservable, and so in a sense inconceivable and irrational (though it might be rational to those who assent to “high order complexity” over their natural leanings). “High order complexity” requires assenting to what can only be abstractly known and what entails less control: though you can control if a billiard ball moves by hitting it with another billiard ball (“low order causality”), you cannot control whether hitting the billiard balls together makes you come up with a new idea for a battery charged with kinetic energy (“high order causality”).

The brain favors what it can conceptualize and control, by virtue of being a brain. This doesn’t mean the brain cannot develop an “openness” to the unknown, but that this takes work. Yes, in a sense, creativity is a kind of “lack of control,” but I would point out that when an artist paints, he or she has control over what is produced and imagined, even though he or she may not have control over what creatively emerges from out of nowhere to inspire the creative expression. In this sense, being creative still entails a translation of “high order complexity” into “low order complexity,” and though it is more “high order” than pure analytical thought, it is not as “high order” (relative to you) as say the freedom of another individual who’s consciousness you cannot access.

“The other” requires the individual brain to assent to more “high order complexity” than does a brain’s own creative act (though this isn’t to imply creativity isn’t “high order”). Considering this, a society that doesn’t even incubate an understanding of creativity is unlikely to be a society that handles the even higher complexity of “the other.” Furthermore, it is unlikely the society be one that allows freedom to remain free (and so a matter of “high order complexity”). A society that fails the lower challenges is unlikely to succeed at the higher ones.

To leave “the other” alone — to keep the State from intervening on the freedoms of individuals, for example — is to resist the urge to translate “high order complexity” into “low order complexity.” This urge exists because the brain naturally desires to “understand,” and assenting to the validity of freedom is to allow “others” to do that which we have no control over (and so that which we cannot predict, understand, and/or conceptualize). Furthermore, the brain naturally values “initiative” and/or “action” (which translates “high order” into “low order”), and this too benefits the State and its growth. The brain is wired to desire State involvement, and to maintain that involvement and to “give it the benefit of the doubt.” This doesn’t mean that State action is never the right course, but that if we don’t recognize the orientations of our brain, our ability to be discerning will lessen.

20. Jazz, like much of black culture, strikes me as “high order complexity” (as expanded on in “Cypher Mentality” by O.G. Rose and Bernard Hankins) — hinting at a reason minority cultures can be discounted, for if they are indeed more “high order,” the brain, especially if untrained, will naturally resist them. “High order”-ness is a reason I think it was once argued whether jazz was real music when it first started. Improvisation is also “high order complexity,” and something that if we just “don’t get it,” it’s very hard to explain. Often the word “it” is used to describe that which is constituted by “high order complexity,” but if you don’t “get it,” we can’t explain it. Just “come and see.”

21. It is very difficult to collect “high order complexity” data; as far as I know, humans have no means for gathering it. Considering this, a culture that is focused on data gathering (for whatever reason) is a culture that may not incubate “high order complexity” well. If data is required to justify action — if a program that can’t provide certain results will be canceled consequently — action that consists of or produces “high order complexity” will be action that is discontinued. Considering this, a culture that is data-driven will be a culture that struggles to finance and perpetuate creative institutions, seeing that those institutions operate efficiently in terms of “high order complexity.” If “The Creative Concord” is correct, this means an overly data-drive Capitalism will likely self-destruct.

21.1 Also, if people are aware that data is being collected about them and that the data collectors are looking for certain kinds of data, those people may be incentivized to avoid “high order complexity” or to make what they do fall in line with “low order complexity,” even when such could e inefficient and threaten creativity. In this way, the act of collecting data can change how the data is created (and so change what is “objectively” the case). If humans learn that human action creates data, humans may change how they act to create better data, even if that action doesn’t create better results.

22. Because humans are creatures of “low order complexity,” humans are primed to standardize, to create lists, to generalize, to summarize, and to transposition “high order complexity” into “low order complexity.” We must be aware of this if we are to keep ourselves from making the world simpler than we should.

23. One may note that a person could call anything a “high order complexity” relationship, when in fact there is no connection whatsoever, and so the phrase “high order complexity/causation” could be used to justify nothingness and/or false premises. This is a fair point, and so we must be careful how we use the phrase. At the same time, “high order causality” does exist, and so we much acknowledge its presence when it’s there; furthermore, we must learn to cultivate the ability to discern its presence.

24. The motives of those who ascribe to “high order complexity” are easier to question than those who ascribe to “low order complexity,” because what is “high order” cannot be directly experienced, and so easier to question, while the “low order” entails directly-experienced phenomenon and “events,” hence not creating “space” in which it can be questioned.

25. As brought to my attention by Shegufta Razzaque, the term “high order complexity” can be associated with “emergent phenomena” and thought of in light of Systems Biology.

26. “High order complexity” causes more existential uncertainty and tension than “low order,” and this may contribute to a leaning toward science over the humanities — “hard science” over “soft science.” At the same time, organic chemistry is incredibly difficult: greater existential difficulty does not mean greater difficulty overall.

27. “High order complexity” hides behind/in “low order complexity,” as Being hides being/in being(s) (to allude to Heidegger). We know “high order” through the “low order”: we know of it through that which hides it.

28. What makes the world work is “high order complexity,” but we are “low order complexity” beings. This hints at why Democracy can self-destruct: the majority naturally votes according to “low order complexity,” and through time, it is only a matter of probability that they increasingly vote against “high order complexity” that benefits and sustains the society, the damage increasingly compounding.

29. To realize a “high order” system isn’t being grasped by an intellectual, an economist, an expert, or etc., you’d have to be able to think in terms of “high order complexity,” which generally humans seem only able to handle up to a very limited point. Lacking “dynamic conceptualization,” and confronting the “low order” evidence being presented by the intellectual, the economist, the expert, etc., as proof that he or she does fully grasp the “high order system,” you have reason to think that he or she is right. Like the intellectual, you cannot full grasp a “high order” system, and hence cannot fully grasp what the intellectual doesn’t understand to make a case that the person lacks full understanding. In other words, you cannot create “linear evidence” that will satisfy staunch empiricism which will prove there is “high order complexity” which the person doesn’t grasp. When asked for evidence that “high order” complexity is being misunderstood, you will be unable to provide it, and so prone to fall for the tricks of those who claim to grasp the dynamic.

30. It is possible that introverts are more “high order” while extroverts are more “low order,” which would help us understand why we live in an “Extrovert Ideal” society, assuming correct the thesis of Susan Cain in her book, Quiet.

31. Tragically, technology increases and spreads our capacities to translate “high order complexity” into “low order complexity,” contributing to our (mis)understanding of the world.

32. When “high order complexity” is translated into “low order complexity,” the fact this translation/hiding occurs is hidden from us in the act of translation/hiding: the act of hiding is also hidden. Hence, we have no reason to think we translate/hide “high order complexity”; hence, we have no reason to think we (mis)understand.

33. On the topic of discrimination, I think it is the case that most discrimination, implicit bias, oppression, etc. (at least today) are a result of “high order complexity” more so than “low order complexity,” and seeing as human brains struggle with “high order complexity” and tend to automatically understand it in “low order” terms, this contributes to our failure to understand modern oppression and to think of it in terms of individual agents (which can make people defensive and miss the overarching problem). At least today, it isn’t so much that people actively oppress (“low order”) as it is that people act dynamically and organically in such a way that oppression occurs without any direct center (“high order”). The oppression isn’t found in the acts of a single agent so much as it is found in the collective; to reduce the oppression down to the acts of agent is to look where the oppression will not be found.

This being the case, failure of society to understand oppression and discrimination in terms of “high order complexity” has contributed to people looking for oppression where it cannot be found, seeming to give them “objective” reason and evidence to think that oppression and discrimination don’t exist today. Humans naturally think only in terms of “low order,” and when they encounter a “high order” concept, they instantly translate it into “low order” terms, confusing themselves. When discussing racism in America, I think we are mostly discussing a “high order” event, but in failing to have that language, we can only think of racism in “low order” terms.

Lastly, I believe institutional discrimination “incubates” discrimination, that the “high order” activity described here is primarily a result of institutional agents more so than individual agents, for the individuals are dynamically and organically oriented by the institutions. What constitutes those institutions is a different question, and it is possible some of them were created for the very purpose of helping end oppression.

33.1 This understanding of discrimination as an “emergent phenomenon” may help Progressives and Conservatives find common ground, seeing that it is similar language used to describe how the free market works, at least from a Hayekian view.

34. We tend to call “nonsense” what is “non-sense-able,” and that can make us bias toward “low order complexity.” If our five senses can’t experience it, we think it doesn’t exist. Since we can’t sensually experience the order of the books on the shelf (from section four of this paper), we tend to say “there is no order” — the order doesn’t exist. Granted, perhaps what we can’t sense is “non-sense,” but that doesn’t mean it is false. There can be reality to what is “non-sense.”

35. If it is the case that racism, sexism, etc. can only be overcome by “high order complexity,” than overcoming these discriminations is unnatural for “low order” humans.

36. What can (seemingly) provide “low order” versus “high order” solutions to problems is not only that which will be (seemingly) rational to use, but it will likely be that which alone seems to offer solutions, seeing as “high order solutions” transcend conceivability.

37. How do you identify something as “that which cannot be known?” What is the intelligible method by which unintelligibility can be identified? In other words, what is the “low order” method by which “high order complexity” can be identified as “high order complexity” (seeing as “low order” naturally translates “high order” into itself)?

38. There is always risk involved in engaging with “high order complexity,” as there is always risk involved in engaging with what you don’t understand. The “higher” the “high order complexity,” the greater the risk, and yet we are ill-equipped to identify “high order complexity,” let alone various levels of it. We should be aware of our limits: perhaps that would help.

39. Could intellectuals call something that is “low order” a “matter of high order complexity” to get away with being the only ones who understand it (hence giving themselves monopolistic value)? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean “high order complexity” doesn’t exist — it means we must be wise and discerning ourselves to avoid being deceived by those who perhaps don’t even realize they are deceptive.

40. I cannot intend or force my daydreaming to produce creative solutions, for then it ceases to be daydreaming. At best, I can intend a space in which daydreaming can do its own thing.

41. Unlike “low order complexity,” people can choose to disbelieve in “high order complexity” without being “in denial,” only “in ignorance” (note that they wouldn’t know they were “in ignorance,” by definition, for we can only know we’re ignorant if we’re not ignorant). As Dostoyevsky’s “Underground Man” can always choose to deny “2 x 2 = 4” (showing that the will, in a way, can be stronger than reason), we can always choose to deny the complexity which we cannot grasp. Precisely because we cannot grasp it, we can deny it without “knowing better” — without existential ramifications — and furthermore we can choose to deny any process by which we could “know better,” grasping no reason to engage in that process. Hence, without any existential ramifications, we can choose to deny “high order complexity,” and so live out our lives.

Additionally, if a society cannot follow arguments (even if it chooses to be willing to follow them), then it can deny the existence of “high order complexity” without being “intellectually dishonestly,” and furthermore believe it has evidence that “high order complexity” doesn’t exist (for there is no evidence of it like there is for “low order complexity”). If following arguments is an art that has been lost (something schools may have contributed to), people will likely not change, for they won’t see the need to change. And so they will always be able to say “high order complexity” is a myth, and not seeing the truth, they won’t have reason to think they are wrong.

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