The Wilderness of Affirmation


The wilderness of affirmation is the first state of man. First, what do we mean by the first state of man.

When speaking of man, we mean mankind, both male and female.  And by first state, we mean the newly born baby, not some primitive form of homosapien devoid of civilization.

Every newborn child is devoid of civilization and knowledge of the world.  This child is a blank slate.

How do we arrive at the wilderness of affirmation and do we share this with all animals?

First, let us imagine that the mind of all living creatures with the capability of thought via brains as a building.

Every building has a basement and an even lower level we might call the sub basement.

In the sub basement is the engine and plumbing for the entire building, the physical brain.  We could think of this as the engine room.

Above that in the basement is a warehouse. In this area, all accumulated knowledge is stored and categorized.

Even simple moving creatures with the most basic nervous systems have an engine in their engine room, but not all life with brains has a warehouse area.

Think of how a dog remembers your face or basic commands.  These are pulled from the warehouse, matched to inputs via conduits with the engine room.

And when we move up to more complex brains, and more complex warehouses, we start seeing a more complicated first, second, and third floor.

This paper will not attempt to philosophise on how a brain is analogous to a building.  This is only a basic analogy to provide a mental image of how the mind works.

Interestingly, the fact that you can picture a building in your mind of an abstract concept shows you what happens on the above ground floors.  You are doing something necessary to sentient beings, which is running a virtual reality within your mind to simulate worlds that you can play with mentally.

And we're not just talking about dreams, but thoughts.  Think of your first kiss, and you will pull objects out of your memory and run a simulation.  This is the reason that memory is maliable.  The memory doesn't simply play back as a movie, but is a full simulation unto itself.

Put yourself into the memory of your first kiss.  Now imagine that this person stepped back and punched you in the face.

You are playing a simulation, not merely a memory.  It is a reconstruction.

To accomplish this incredible feat of evolution, your mind uses still unknown mechanisms.  But we can think of this area in your mind, above ground, as a large holodeck like in the television show Star Trek.  But unlike a television show, your mind is full of these simulation rooms, some running simultaniously.

For the moment, let's imagine an initial state of this system, fresh in the mind of a baby, with "Under Construction" signs all over the place.

This is the wilderness.  The only thing that exists in this place are the limited amounts of information gathered in the womb and by the brain itself.

On this flat, barren land, there are few fences.  In the mind, we can imagine that every area relates to a topic of thinking.  Our mind, and the things contained in it act as little player agents, walking around this land doing things automatically with only basic instructions.  We might imagine one agent the hunger agent, which is activated when the nervous system reports the need for food or an empty stomach.

In a new born, there is only a very small area of explored places to go and actions to perform.  Cry, sleep, coo, yell, reach, grab, and bite.  These actions come preprogrammed, but not many others.  The hunger agent runs over the the cry area and flips a level to start the signal to cry so that those taking care of us might feed us.

In this land, we have a few simple tools.  We can build things.  We can designate areas.  We can put up fences and walls.

Do we come with any preprogrammed fences and agents?  Yes.  We come with basic guard agents and fences for them to guard.  There is a fence around foul smelling foods and strong scents.

These are zones of negation.  But the brain doesn't come preprogrammed with many of these.  There are no fences and guards stopping agents from seeing a knife and picking it up as a baby, for instance.

But the child's mind has access to building its own fences and guards based on the consequences of its actions.  It hasn't yet developed sophisticated agents that can build complex simulations of reason.  We as infants cannot, for instance, imagine what might happen to us if we drop the knife on our foot.

What we can do, though, is start to gather experience and build fences, buildings, agents, and the other necessary components of more complex thought.

To do this, a child has a large wilderness of affirmation.  Behind a few default fences are zones of negation.  Smell Pinesol, and the baby will scrunch its face and back away when the smell becomes to strong.  But these defaults aren't always predictable.  Some children are repulsed by peas, and some love them.

But to survive, a child must have absolute and utter trust in its parents or guardians.  It must trust almost everything that it is given, shown, and told.

Children will start building its own fences, usually from pain.  If it reaches for a lit candle and its hand is smacked each time, it will associate pain with the candle.  To avoid pain, the child's mind will build a fence around that area, and create a zone of negation.

As children get older, they start acting more independently.  What their parents tell them conflicts with areas they've designated as pleasure and pain.  This causes conflict.  Often, parents will start moving towards reasoned responses, teaching the child how to use reason and other complex mental operations to better define appropriate fences and agents.

In essence, the parent is attempting to clone its own knowledge into the brain of the child.  Humans are unique among all animals that we know of in that we don't just spread knowledge directly, but through external sources, such as books, where a writer long dead can introduce their thoughts to a generation born after their death.

The concepts that we transfer between humans may have a life all of their own, as posited by Richard Dawkins.  These concepts are known as memes.

The story of Santa Claus passes from generation to generation like a mental virus, spreading, morphing, and changing.  Religion is a highly adaptable form of meme.  Children form their religious concepts at an early age.  We find that humanity has not learned answers to children's questions.  Thus, most parents find it easier to answer questions about life, death, and morality, all of which are highly complex subjects, with religion rather than facts.

But let's digress a bit and explore one of the most fundamental operations of the brain, practiced by every child in every culture for tens of thousands of years of sentient thought.

The brain can create very complex simulations.  But like any computer, it is simple at its most basic operation.  Before we form more complex methods of thinking, the world around us is very black and white.

We start off in an unexplored wilderness where almost everything is yes.  We can thus explore the world around us without thought to our future or our safety.  Our surrogates take care of these concerns by washing us, clothing us, feeding us, and protecting us.  The child's mind is free to explore all thoughts as possible.

We find that toddlers and young children have wonderful imaginations that tend to diminish greatly over just a few years as they enter into adolescence.  At some point, children seem to act as though they have built a giant fence, creating a zone of negation for unfamiliar areas.  They block out the majority of the wilderness, never to explore it at all.  They've fenced in their acceptable reality within a zone of affirmation.  And within that zone of affirmation, the small well lit circle of the person's reality, they venture out less and less.

The lesbian fling the daughter has when she goes off to college, while an interesting memory, is fenced off as she marries and progresses towards her 30s with a house with a white picket fence and 2.4 children.  Her experiments with pot and drinking herself to the point of passing out go behind a fence, too.

But we don't lose this ability entirely.  In fact, when confronted with unknowns, we will attempt affirmation through associative thinking as a default state that our brain is comfortable with.  A new area will open up at attempt the connection.  Sometimes this leads to breakthroughs of discovery, and other times it leads to false beliefs based on incomplete knowledge and wishful thinking.

And when an agent tries to enter a fenced area, it is not always stopped.  Sometimes, the fence is not well maintained, and the guards are lazy and inexperienced.

But someone with a traumatic experience and a fear of heights might have stone walls and guards carrying fully automatic rifles.  Should a thought appear inside this area, it will see itself in a prison and killed on sight.  Should a thought stray into this area, the guards will violently toss the thought agent away or over react and start killing any agent nearby.

Thus, we have people having nervous breakdowns on airplanes who didn't even know that they were afraid of flying.  Machine guns and rocket propelled grenades are exploding in their mind as agents overreact to the breach of a zone of negation.

Again, this is not meant to be a medical or psychology paper.  This is just a really good analogy for us to think about how we think. Put one of your fears into this simulation, and watch as you aren't even allowed to properly simulate these experiences.  Afraid of snakes or spiders?  Imagine one popping into existence in your zone of negation, and your own mind will not just attack it in the simulation, but will actually attack it.  The simulation is both just an exercise we are doing, but exists in the real simulation that is your mind.  And they will mirror each other very well.  To simulate these concepts without your own mind intruding, you would need to simulate them outside of your own mind, and then not observe that simulation.

What are my own zones of negation?  I have a zone of negation around religious myths.  I've built a modern prison around this area with highly trained guards that even Neo from the Matrix couldn't break into.  The prison has doors, and only researcher agents are allowed in.  Anytime they wish to pull out a concept, it is treated like a bomb.  Several other agents must vouch for the validity of needing this information.  After signing seven forms, passing through an xray machine and a metal detector, concepts may be explored and carried out while guards follow the agent around my mind, ready to execute it from sniper posts.

Why?  I've consciously decided that religious concepts are a dangerously viral form of meme.  If I let one Jesus, or Mohammed, or Buddha out, they could overtake large portions of my mind and enslave many of my agents.

While this is a mental exercise, the concepts we are dealing with here are very real and are very dangerous.  Just look at any war.  We will explore agents and memes later, and learn that most of what happens in our mind is not actually ourselves.  Mostly, we are zombies directed around by memetic viruses at the controls of our thinking.  We are born human, but the real intelligent species on this planet may not actually be human at all.

We have already met the aliens.  They are the mental parasites, and they are determining everything from our choice in music to foreign policy.  There may not truly be any such thing as objective thinking.  We might just be biologically equivalent to dumb computers, and it is the sophisticated software is the memes that live on the hardware like software.

But just as a computer runs Microsoft Office, and our own genes contain the DNA of hitchhikers, we cannot assume that all memes are harmful.  Some may be quite helpful.  We have, after all, survived for quite a long time with memes.

But let's return to a basic view of the system.  Let us realize that it is a series of fences and walls.  Agents (and "us") can build and break down walls.  We guard them, and often, we can't even control our own agents and guards.

Don't think of a pink elephant... and yet, you cannot prevent an agent in your head from grabbing onto the idea of a pink elephant and running around screaming, "Haha, you can't ignore me!"  We can't consciously tear all walls down and tell guards to quit and leave.

Afraid of spiders? Tell the guards of the spider zone of negation to tear down the walls and then go home, never to return.  Great, now go pick up a spider and play with it like a puppy letting it crawl all over your face.

No, you have no control. And if you actually had a fear, and you tried to do that, you are probably knocking furniture over and breaking out windows in your house in a state of complete and utter panic.  You just started World War 3 inside your own mind.

Why does this matter, and what does it have to do with my previous paper on the Philosophy of Negation.

Because rather than simply understanding how our mind works, we have to determine what we are allowed to control within our own minds.

Imagine a totalitarian goverment as exampled in the book 1984.  This government's ultimate goal was to have the power to edit your zones of negation.  It pushed through those fences with bulldozers by creating the world's most infectious and destructive meme, reinforced by an entire society built around it.  The Big Brother meme wishes to deconstruct the mind and make it completely maliable to The State.

This is a fictional meme, of course, but these dystopian meme theories (even when the author wasn't sure what he was getting at, not knowing how memes and psychology actually worked) have played out in many artforms of humanity.

We've always known that the memes are with us, and we fear their power.  Monarchies feared the meme of democracy.  Capitalist memes have a mutual fear with communist memes.  The battle of the sexes, the battle of the races, the battle of the classes, politics, war, genocide, religion, and the like are all, at their heart, global battles of memes.  While the human race may be a single species, we do not share a common set of memes.

In fact, this may be why alien species not on this planet refuse to communicate with us.  It may not be a fear of biological infection, but of memetic infection.  Either they could destroy us with a meme (think Prime Directive for Star Trek) or we could even destroy them.

We call it "going viral" for a reason.  How would you, as an alien culture, like to be overrun by cat videos?  We may find this a joke, but their entire culture could be overrun by fascination with this alien species that we ourselves are obsessed with.  And if they are using an advanced form of direct mental communication, it could literally act like the Black Plague on this culture.

Give out iPads, internet, and pornography to remote tribes, and watch how quickly they go extinct.  Some may laugh at this, but as a culture, we have memes to counterbalance these ideas.  We have built up immunities and meme antibodies.  And it is no laughing matter that we could kill a society with something as simple as a Coca-Cola bottle, as exampled in the classic movie, "The Gods Must Be Crazy", where a single bottle thrown from a plane brought war and strife to a peaceful village in the middle of Africa.

Memes are trying to infect us every waking moment of the day, and I don't just mean Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons knocking on the door to convert us.  But if you question the power of memes, realize that a meme is directing them to physically confront you for infection.

The Fundamental Human Right

So why is the fundamental human right the right of negation, aka the right to say no?

Here is the logical chain.

Our minds are what make us human.  The basic tools of the mind are affirmation and negation, primarily to our sensory inputs.  We either accept or reject ideas, and in more nuanced cases, we can accept a part of an argument while rejecting other parts.

As we start in a wilderness of affirmation, we start in an innocent state of accepting that anything can be true.  Dogs can talk to us, we can fly, and mom and dad are immortals that can do anything.

Our primary tool of becoming a sentient, independent human is the ability to build fences of our own choosing.  And while many of these fences are built by biology, experience, parental guidance, and peer pressure, we must make the following fundamental assumptions.  If we do not make these assumptions, then we may as well give in to predestination of humanity to the course of uncontrollable memes.

WE exist.  This means that there is either a part of us in every agent, or that we have our own unique agents operating independently of memes within us, or that we've chosen that certain memes shall represent "us" within our own minds for the purpose of independent thought, self examination, and self expression.

If we exist, we only truly exist in our own minds, and we must be allowed full dominion in this one area, even if we do not have dominion anywhere else.  Otherwise, what is "us" is put within a zone of negation and we cease to exist.  We are then merely puppets or robots, programmed by memes from the outside world.

Therefore, negation is what we must primarily control, and must be enforceable outside of the mind to prevent infection and thus loss of control of the one place we exist that is properly self possessed, the mind.

I will flesh this out in more detail, but this is a basic structure.  To summarize it, we say that we are only human when we have a mind that we independently control as an individual.  And the only tool we have to maintain that independence is the control, the gatekeeping, of what ideas and memes may be accepted or rejected.

It is also why I formulate The Obligations.  We may form our own memes, or promote other memes, but we must honor the negation of other humans, sentient beings, minds.  We may use reason, but we may not use force or coercion to force compliance.

Thus, to preserve the one basic facet of humanity that matters, the mind, we grant the one basic right and most basic mental tool that accomplishes that, negation.  And to be ethical is to honor the Obligation and the Obligation Corollary that accomplishes the absolute respect of this right, which in turn honors the most basic thing that makes a human an independent sentient being.

I put religion into a militarized zone of negation.  This choice is a fundamental human right that I own, prior to the law, prior to civilization and society, prior to knowledge and other memes.  Other's may identify with religion, and they too possess an absolute fundamental human right to control their own negation and not put their religion into a zone of negation.

This not only conforms to the highest ideals of mankind, but to the practice of the natural order.  It reduces war to reasoned debate, and makes democracy its ultimate end, and coercion its most vicious crime.

We will explore children's rights in the wilderness of affirmation, how an independent sentient being is inseparable from being an independent moral agent.  We will also tackle how this affects Kant, consequentialism, utilitarianism, and even explore Aristotle and Socrates.

I'll give you the following spoiler.  The failure that most of them make is putting morality outside of the mind of man, rather than making it completely dependent on externalities or the Protocols.

The Protocols

Existence places its own requirements on humanity.  We fight against them, be it hunger, shelter, safety.  But existence requires us to take action to preserve our lives.  And those actions place requirements upon us, which, while we may reject them, will result in our ultimate extinction.  What protocols must we follow to even exist, to be rather than to not be?

These differ from rights in that they are "musts" placed on us by the universe, rather than rights which can be broken.  The Protocols cannot be broken anymore than gravity or space-time can be ignored.

I'll leave that for my future paper.