Discover more from Intimations of a New Worldview
An Update to the Essay "Intimations of a New Worldview"
And a discussion of works in progress and subscriber growth
My “Intimations of a New Worldview” essay is the most popular post on this substack by far, so I thought I should let you know that I’ve made some changes and additions to section 8. I added a figure that demonstrates how the “journey of the revolutionary hero” lines up with the process of complexification discussed throughout the essay.
I added a brief discussion of this figure along with rearranging some of the discussion around it. Check it out if you’re interested.
I am currently working on a pretty long post detailing out what “meaning in life” signifies from the perspective of evolutionary psychology. Here is an excerpt from the draft of that essay:
To put it succinctly, all animals must find a way to integrate their psychological adaptations (and the learned behaviors that facilitate pursuit of adaptive goals) such that their adaptive goals are being pursued in a way that doesn’t cause too much internal or external conflict. Adaptive goals, along with the perceptions and beliefs which facilitate pursuit of those goals, often come into conflict with each other and reducing the behavioral uncertainty associated with that conflict is an adaptive problem facing all organisms with complex nervous systems. Although this problem faces all complex organisms, it may have taken on an outsized importance in humans, who are far more behaviorally flexible than most animals, meaning that our behavioral affordances are more likely to conflict with each other. When our own behaviors, goals, beliefs, and perceptions are functionally integrated such that there is little conflict or contradiction between them we experience them as “meaningful”. Furthermore, when they are becoming more integrated we experience that process as meaningful…
The extent to which we are disintegrated can be thought of in terms of psychological entropy, which is a mathematical measure of uncertainty. The “flow state” is an experiential state in which we are optimally reducing this kind of entropy by exposing ourselves to uncertainty at the optimal dose. People tend to experience this state as deeply meaningful. I will review empirical evidence to support all of these claims below.
After that I will probably finish up part 5 of my “Revaluation of All Values” series. Here’s an excerpt from that:
It is a strange coincidence that as I was working out the ideas for this series a graduate student in philosophy was working on a dissertation along very similar lines. Sometimes an idea really is just “in the air” and multiple people converge on it. Paul Curtis, in his 2022 dissertation entitled “Nietzsche’s Will to Power: A Naturalistic Account of Metaethics Based on Evolutionary Principles and Thermodynamic Laws” argues that Nietzsche’s will to power thesis is a metaphysical doctrine which provides a basis for making objective value judgements and that the will to power thesis is supported by modern scientific understandings of evolutionary theory and thermodynamics.
Finally, I thought I’d let you know about how the substack is growing. After nine months on substack (including a nearly four month break from last November to this March), there are now a little over 1,400 subscribers.
I didn’t know what to expect when starting this, but given that I am pretty much unknown on the internet I think this is decent progress.
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