7. Our endurance as a force will rely on refiguring the limits of our responsibility and ability to respond to one another.
Capitalism, as a system, ceaselessly encroaches upon every atom of the world to ensure that survival is only possible on its own terms to the point where the possibility of life itself is called into question. Interrupting this process won’t depend on any brilliant maneuver or tactical success as much as it will on our ability to redefine the limits of care and compassion, to reimagine the form and distribution of our interdependencies so we can move towards a world in which it may be possible to endure differently. In the coming years, our solidarity must become a weapon so sharp that it will cut straight through cages, borders, and walls, seeing in variably distant and different others the possibility of survival.
Source: A Line Is a Territory – A tangle of thoughts from Ian Alan Paul.
Your brain’s ability to collect, connect, and create mosaics from these milliseconds-long impressions is the basis of every memory. By extension, it is the basis of you. This isn’t just metaphysical poetics. Every sensory experience triggers changes in the molecules of your neurons, reshaping the way they connect to one another. That means your brain is literally made of memories, and memories constantly remake your brain. This framework for memory dates back decades. And a sprawling new review published today in Neuron adds an even finer point: Memory exists because your brain’s molecules, cells, and synapses can tell time.
Defining memory is about as difficult as defining time. In general terms, memory is a change to a system that alters the way that system works in the future. “A typical memory is really just a reactivation of connections between different parts of your brain that were active at some previous time,” says neuroscientist Nikolay Kukushkin, coauthor of this paper. And all animals—along with many single-celled organisms—possess some sort of ability to learn from the past.
Source: Your Brain Doesn’t Contain Memories. It Is Memories | WIRED
In terms of power, it’s obvious that this ability made Homo sapiens the most powerful animal in the world, and now gives us control of the entire planet. From an ethical perspective, whether it was good or bad, that’s a far more complicated question. The key issue is that because our power depends on collective fictions, we are not good in distinguishing between fiction and reality. Humans find it very difficult to know what is real and what is just a fictional story in their own minds, and this causes a lot of disasters, wars and problems.
The best test to know whether an entity is real or fictional is the test of suffering. A nation cannot suffer, it cannot feel pain, it cannot feel fear, it has no consciousness. Even if it loses a war, the soldier suffers, the civilians suffer, but the nation cannot suffer. Similarly, a corporation cannot suffer, the pound sterling, when it loses its value, it doesn’t suffer. All these things, they’re fictions. If people bear in mind this distinction, it could improve the way we treat one another and the other animals. It’s not such a good idea to cause suffering to real entities in the service of fictional stories.
Source: Yuval Noah Harari: ‘Homo sapiens as we know them will disappear in a century or so’ | Culture | The Guardian
What is there left for us hominids to do in this ruinous age but cultivate the will and opportunity to hone our abilities and weaponize our desires and cosmic uncertainties in resistance to both the pull of extinction and the inhuman push of Capital. We are no essence, nor eternal arbiter – we are simply the glitch staring directly into the abyss of possibility too afraid to explore. But if not us who? And if not now when?
Source: Weaponized Nihil | synthetic zerø