Chris Sloan

Writings by Chris Sloan

by Chris Sloan

Chris Sloan is an intelligent young fellow with the weight of a dictionary on his mind, a jacket on his back and a hefty slice of cynicism on his lips. He really needs to get that looked at.

Human Nature, Eh?

Okay guys, before I begin I’m just gonna give you fair warning, this little piece might just be amongst the most disorientated, ambitious and ‘god damn I sound insane’ string of thoughts I’ve had for a little while…it’s mainly about how our personalities are minimal and more importantly, reactive.

I hope everybody reading this will disagree with me in lieu of more optimistic theories, and everybody learns some science to debunk me, and then everybody knows science and wins at thinking about crap. So with advances in things like cognitive neuroscience and psychology, researchers have discovered one of the big reasons for things from our most basic to our most complex instincts and psychological defences, its survival.  It’s difficult to tell what choices you are making freely and when your biological blueprints are forcing your decisions, and happens far more often than most would like to comfortably believe.

Here’s a little example to get your head round it. Ever notice that a lot of guys get nervous when trying to score?

That’s survival.

Humans travelled in nomadic tribes of around 100-200 people for the majority of our existence. So how many out of that number would not be male, diseased, too young, too old, already taken (likely forfeiting your life in the attempt), not disfigured? …and so on. Around ten maybe, they all have high status within the tribe and know each other, so if an attempt to attract one of them fails that person will never pass on his genes and would likely be killed by his own tribe as a result of their disapproval. He’s fucked, basically, and it was that way for thousands of years. Why do some guys get nervous around women? It’s rarely some profound emotional reason; they can’t get past their survival blueprints involving fear, that’s all.

This is where we start to suck. You see, almost everything we do is influenced by some degree by these survival patterns, and they’re actually outdated by a few fucking centuries. These rusty genetic blueprints cannot evolve at the same rate as our society has over the last 200 years, and this partly accounts for our problems with war, fanatics, authoritarian control, complacency, conformity, organised religion and why democracy just is not working, for a start. Without guidance we cannot overcome said evolutionary predispositions which remain stuck in The Stone Age.  Getting a sense of how influential these hard-wired codes are yet? Tackling these issues individually without addressing this core issue would prevent us from improving our species in the long term (not that you likely care as you’ll be long dead before the issue is addressed).

Cultural influences take away yet more of our free will, sculpting our personalities under massive societal pressure to conform and obey. It has been a while since I studied sociology, but I remember hearing about tribes who gave all their children to the collective village elders to be raised, the biological parents showing little interest about the welfare of the child, and about how various indigenous tribes like the Amazonians would have reversed gender roles (likely because dexterity, agility and balance was needed to hunt in said areas as a whole rather than strength, endurance and speed, but I am both guessing and generalising here). This shows how culture can override biological imprinting, but it’s still another form of unconscious control.

The third culprit of unconscious control in my depressing little triumvirate is the subconscious, which seems to be paradoxically your unfiltered self whilst being an automated response system, and that’s absolutely chilling. I don’t pretend to know about the subconscious however, I’m just pondering how many of my decisions are made by this ‘androidian’ subconscious (not a real word, by the way), with conscious emotion only allowed in at a later stage of the decision, like an afterthought. It’s only a horrible feeling I have, though.

So if evolutionary blueprints, society, and the inorganic feeling subconscious all influence you, to what extent could you have (key phrase) a self-formed personality? How much of your nature can be attributed to these factors? To what extent are the more mentally impaired or imbalanced responsive, correlating to which conditions? I’ll likely never know but the existence of the question will still perturb me. Oh, woe is me with my existential funk!

Our personas are formed by others, not ourselves, and knowing this makes me feel that personal growth is done with others, not singularly. All humans are reactive, not proactive. Props if you can find who it was originally attributed to, but what I am saying can be summed up in the quote “The notion that nature can be calculated, inevitably leads to the conclusion that humans too, can be reduced to basic mechanical parts”. I’m not a determinist however, as I believe in anomalies and this existence alone disproves determinism. Hopefully.

If you stop and think about it we are so similar to bacteria on a macro scale that it is beyond fucked up, almost every natural instinct revolves around surviving and reproducing, and facets of your ‘personality’ could very well be nothing but a complex mechanism to make you more comfortable and efficient at doing so. It’s truly ironic then, that these instincts that cause so many problems are referred to along with natural emotions as the caring ‘heart’ and that we owe most everything good in society to logical thought, the ‘mind’.

As our instincts twist against us through the ages we turn to logic, improve or die, and if we can understand these influencing factors, we can attribute a modicum of control over them. The ‘human spirit’ seriously needs an OS (Operating System) update. Logic saves us, emotion comes after the fact. We don’t know how lucky we are, being able to think up nonsense like this.

I think what I’m trying to say is that you’re simply a response to everything that’s happened to you and your ancestors; you never had a chance to create the fundamentals of your essence. Also editing these survival instinct relics can only be done through science.

Transhumanism for the fucking win, guys.

Tags: , , , ,

by Chris Sloan

Chris Sloan is an intelligent young fellow with the weight of a dictionary on his mind, a jacket on his back and a hefty slice of cynicism on his lips. He really needs to get that looked at.

Has the Lack of Innovation in Mainstream Music Signalled a Withering of Expectations, the End of Artistic Horizons or a Perversion in Art?

I suppose I should start this off with a twofold apology, for starters I assured Matt I would ramble on his blog for what must be months now, it seems he has underestimated both my lethargy and forgetfulness, silly man. Secondly, I imagine you’re wondering if I could possibly be any more pretentious after witnessing my title. You have no idea.

It seems more than ever that we live in an age of apathy, no longer is popular music something strange and raw, something artistic at its core. Popular musicians are not judged on artistic merit alone, becoming models, public speakers and dancers, working solely to create the catchy, three minute simply structured mainstream friendly piece for ‘easy listening’. We see this reflected in other aspects of culture too. No longer do we stand in awe of the greatest painters, sculptures, poets and philosophers of our times and instead we end up listening to what ‘Soulja Boy’ thinks about foreign policy? Fuck off. Many of these artists (and I use the term loosely) fit into three easy contrived personas; the angry blowhards, the ‘good role models’ who are anything but, and the everyday lads teaching the next generation to excel only in mediocrity.

Does this mean we need uncaring eccentrics on drugs to storm the music industry once again? Probably.

Why the fuck has this happened then?

It seems the gatekeepers of the music business are economically rather than creatively minded, choosing to pour out replicas of earlier models; the skinny blonde pop star singing the same love songs, the mild indie-rockers who sing much without delivering any sort of powerful message, the ridiculous rapper singing about how bad his neighbourhood was whilst threatening to shoot his listeners and slap a ho, is it our fault? Have the public’s standards lowered on what is art deserving of fame and fortune? You bet they have, and the vast majority don’t seem to care enough to create and push their own alternatives (a frightening parallel with our politics).

So my inane little thoughts on the subject come to this: a music industry concerned only on its profit and keeping a conservative standard of expectations in lieu of taking risks and experimenting with new sounds goes against the very nature of art itself. You shouldn’t expect with certainty anything in art, and if you do those expectations should be thrown back in your face, how many of these popular musicians shock us or make us think, or has the industries bastard child failed to do so? We will not run out of new ground to cover so long as earth keeps changing culturally and socially, so why stick to these strict models on what music is?

I know what your thinking, “You haven’t even listed any alternatives in bands or genres here, you pompous elitist prick”, but I have limited space, and would want to recommend in more detail, if I do write any more on the subject. Thanks for bearing with my puffed up artsy ramblings, I’m away for a smoke, X-Box and lasagne.

Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: