Saturday, September 25, 2010

complexity and simplicity in the spheres of thought and action

Both before and after we do anything consciously, we normally go through a complicated, often haphazard process involving interwoven thoughts and emotions. Any given action can be seen as the simple consequence of the matrix of thoughts and emotions leading up to it; after the action has been performed, an expanding web of post hoc thoughts and emotions will emanate from that action: reminiscences, rationalizations, doubts, queries, vindication, defensiveness, etc.

An adult can, for example, debate for minutes about what to select from a restaurant menu, but in the end, a simple choice will be made. A teen debating over whether to contact a girl he likes might agonize for days before a special school event, but when the moment of truth arrives, he'll either contact the girl or not. The mental consequences of his action (and here we can include inaction as a species of action) will radiate outward and forward in time.

The brain complicates the world, but the world is just a brute fact, straightforward in its suchness and unconcerned with our mental static. No matter what we do, our every action is the simple result of all that convergent complexity, and the divergent complexity of our post hoc thoughts and emotions is an echo-- perhaps a necessary one, given the nature of mind-- of that action's simplicity.


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