For our brains there is only this instant. My personal, private and subjective instants.
Probably like wealth being restricted to the a very few people, knowledge and true intellectual and artistic work is likely being narrowed to a very small percentage of the population: the 1% phenomena. The romantic ideal of an informed populace is not longer possible, nor is there any demand for real knowledge, facts and intellectual or or artistic things anymore.
Pop culture and mass market things have completely taken over the society, culture, media, politics and the new electronic distribution channels. Behavior is reality and the behavior of consumers is to focus on fewer and fewer and narrower and narrower, and more immediate things to consumer – right now. The brains of individuals will simply not pay time money or attention to anything that takes time and thought.
Each of our brains “votes” with it’s “eyeballs”, clicks and “feet.” The vote for anything other then pop culture/media/politics things is – pertty much zero and dropping. This claim is a matter of public dataand facts. Look at the numbers on any sort of consuming behaviors, voting, etc. Look at what producers of ANY kind of intellectual, creative or thought/fact based materials get paid – nothing!
Fake news is a further proof point of this claim. Fake news is what our brains want! THAT’s why it is so popular! My read of brain and behavioral science is that the human brain is mainly a consumer of magical claims, statements and ideas – NOT facts. And it always has been.
Back to the Monastery
Historically, knowledge and creative work have always been marginal to human societies. Warfare and trade have dominated human behaviors. Well, of men. Childcare is the priority of women, although now more female behavior is work.
Monks and minstrels have either wandered from place to place or been separated from the wider society behind walls. “Walls” for their protection or the societies? Knowledge and creative work has never been central to any society. Religion and magical supernatural always has and still is – but never facts or knowledge. There are also endless historical examples of hostile and destructive attacks on knowledge, the arts and intellectual work.
Jewish culture seems unique in an elegant and devoted dedication to learning and commerce as complimentary, not competitive, for over 2,000 years. In Viennia, at the turn of the last century there was a flowering of art and thought and science and amazing discoveries. Many of these were the basis for modern American culture and art. Then Hitler and mass torture, robbery and killing!
China also has a milienias long tradition on intellectual work, in Confuscnism, but in exclusively support of the government and no it exists no longer. Certainly, the main Chinese response to new ideas in intellect, cultre and art is fear and attacks.
The three fear responses of fight, gflight and freeze seem the core repsonse of the human brain, and it’s institutions, to anything new.
Bread, Water and Garret
Anyone doing cultural, art, intellectual, knowledge or science work – all of which require the opposite of pop culture behaviors – is starving. There is no money for even piece work, let alone a career and whatever money exists is being lost. The shrinking number of distribution companies, “the last mile” make the most money, and more and more: Google, FB, etc. But they are shrinking in another top 1% dynamic as well. Gadget makers, phones, etc, make a little money but most don’t and will fail.
The individuals doing the actual work and producing the stuff that it “curated”, collected, distributed and sold make, effectively, nothing.
Let’s hold off on moral/ideological judgements and just try to do a realtiy check on the actual behaviors and trends in actions being taken by consumers/audiences/readers/”goers” the general population and mass market of non-producers. The dominant consuming behavior is paying no money for anything. In fact, whether the consuming behavior is good or bad is a very hard and complicated tasks. We would have to define outcomes, how they would bemeasured and over what period of time. Infinitely complex. So, who knows?
In fact, the new knowledge in technical, creative, scientific and intellectual fields is simple too big, fast growing and complicated for oanyone who isn’t dedicated to it – to even comprehend, let alone understand or appreciate. In fact, while we can be snooty, maybe there is nothing to consume anymore for a mass market.
When books first came out they were immensely rare and expensive hyper-luxury goods. Again, only the 1% could even own a book or few.
My interest is brain science applied to business. I have been studying it for 8 years, part time. In that timeI have seen a dramatic increase in complexity and paradox of more and moreinformation being available to everyone, but the knowledge required to follow the science become more and more of a barrier – even to professionals in the field.
While brain science knowledgeis relevant to anything to do with human and animal behavior, which is pretty much….ah, everything, effectively no one knows anything about it and they don’t want to. Along wit the general consumer and even, college educated mass market folks, academics in disciplines that specialize in human behavior – the humantieis and social sciences – are ignornant of event the basic of the medical physiology of the brain and behavior, and proudly so!
The falling away from knowledge, art, culture and intellectual and professional skills and work is endemic. Very few jobs demand skills anymore, so why not robots? It’s not people that are being disrupted away, it is human skills and talents. Pretty much everyone knows nothing and is proud of it.
Impulse, intuition, instinct, magic and the supernatural and information and entertainment at a childlike level is what sells. We have to say these behaviors are normal and what mass culture, society and mass markets will always be.
Maybe we are returning to a medieval form of society where the level of activity and curiosity and distribution of wealth in capital/money and information is very narrow, specialized and not a profession but a past time or kind of antiquarian hobby. The wandering, traveling mistral, poet, and troupes of theatre players living hand to mouth. The knowledge workers cloistered away in “castles” and “monasteries” where the lords and ladies – today’s billionaire-oligarchs – support the knowledge workers, sorta. Where the new knowledge will be only treasured and created behind “walls.” “Walls” to protect the knowledge for future societies and “walls” to protect the knowledge workers and the knowledge from the fear and attacks from the general public/politicians/media/pop culture – of this instant.
For the post modern brain, there is ONLY my personal instant.