Why we share our minds?
Solitary confinement is the worst punishment that any civilised country inflicts on their citizens. It is the punishment that we enforce on those people who are so dangerous that they need to be isolated not just to protect the rest of society but even those who are themselves a danger to normal society. These are the people who pose a risk of serious harm if they were free to do as they wished. Whilst we have made the collective decision to use as little force as possible to protect us, even pacifists and those who have decided that the use of force should be minimised, have recognised that there are people that the community needs protecting from so that we all can enjoy the shared benefit of a safe society, free from the threat of force, sometimes we have to be what we are not to protect ourselves and even when we decide that the use of force is undesirable, the one justification is where it prevents a greater use of force, though citizens should always be wary and watchful of governments which wish to extend the effects of its violence.
What is remarkable and seldom commented on that we do reserve solitary confinement for those who represent a danger to those who are already removed from society, rather than it being the first choice, we do not just close the door and throw away the key, as we want these people to return to society in the end. We recognise that there are degrees of separation, and that we slowly increase that isolation as a measure of last resort. We are social being, and even short periods of isolation can be painful to us, we all feel pain when we are put on the naughty step of life and even adults end up there sometime, though mostly it is just for the moment of a look of disgust that we are seeing in someone else's eyes. We can feel socially isolated even in the middle of a conversation when we have said something that displeases someone else, it is as real to us as it is to a six-year-old being sent for a time-out, it is how we know what is acceptable to others. Our minds are not places where we are restricted by social convention, indeed the purpose of the ego is to have every single thoughts it is possible to have, it is where we try on thoughts to see how they feel, it is like walking into a shop where is every possible style and size of clothing on the racks and unlike real life, we do not actually know what we look like, we can only find that out by trying on every single item of clothing and seeing how they feel.
In this imaginary shop, the ego is the store assistant which keeps on generating random pieces of clothing for you to try on a whilst having no idea who you actually are or what you look like, it just keeps on producing different thoughts, and the strange thing is in the shop, the more you try on the same sort of clothes, the more you become the sort of person who wears that type of clothes. If you wear angry thoughts all the time, you become type of person who is angry, generous thoughts lead to a generous person who does generous things, but do not blame the ego for this, it is the generator of first thoughts (and it is relentless) which comes as a kind of a relief, to think that you are not responsible for your first thought, first thoughts are not you, however you are fully responsible for your second, that is the area where you have control, you have the power to say that is not me, that is not who I want to be and I choose not to be that.
Luckily we are not alone in this heroic task, we have all our friends, family and community to help us. And it is truly an heroic task in which, we are supported not just by our entire society, but by the last ten thousand years of people trying to live a better life, what that meant back then, was just not killing every single person you did not know, it is a good sign of progress that it is pretty much an unforgivable action nowadays, the kind of action that results in your complete isolation, the fact that we do not have to celebrate this win for society, is in fact a reason for celebration in itself, that it is unthinkable is such a huge leap forward compared to a thousand generations ago, that in their actions they will be barely recognisable as being people nowadays and they would be rapidly isolated as manifestly dangerous.
It is a wonder of nature that our collective consciousness is able to dominate the actions of seven billion people who have barely evolved past monkeys (no insult to monkeys). Groups of human beings who were left to their own devices would be murdering each other, our collective consciousness dominates them so completely that the actions of their natural instincts are now unthinkable. And it is unthinkable because of the guidance that we give each other, when we talk to each other, even strangers, we are engaged in an act of social grooming, instead of picking through someone else's hair, we groom the expressed thoughts of the person we are talking to, whenever someone says something our body language tells them what we think of their thoughts, what they do and how they express themselves.
That is what conversation is, listening and reacting, and we rely on that reaction, it is how we regulate our own second thoughts in a way that is compatible with the rest of society, that is how we end up all singing off the same hymn sheet, it is how we end up with common human values, they emerge from the bottom up from a billion conversations and turning in to social ideas. Not using force came from a common wish to be free from the threat of force, it was an idea that emerged from a collective consciousness of opinion, we might use the synonyms of good and evil, though they are just label for the comparison of what is better or worse for both society and the individuals within that society.
What is truly incredible is that we cannot do this alone, it is literally impossible, we need conversation to be able to regulate and sort through our own thoughts, most conversations are us thinking out loud and organising our thoughts based on the micro reactions of other people, we change our thoughts as we are thinking them, having a good friend is the ability to be able to have our first thoughts out loud without the fear of being socially excluded. That is why we value friendship so much, we are able to talk freely and help each others be more social creatures, and that is how societies are able to coordinate what is socially acceptable, we are able to outsource our minds capacity to this collective consciousness and indeed it only works because of the freedom of each point of the network to be able to have any first thought it likes.
We literally share our mind, we tune our own second thoughts by seeing what the second thoughts of other people are, that is why we so clearly see the faults in others or the solution to a problem, we are optimised to be better at solving other people's problems, or at least seeing them in a different way, is just more efficient to use someone else for second opinion rather than trying to have two opinions in your own mind, that way you each have one opinion and then you share them. That is the power of the freedom of thought, we need that freedom in private conversations so that we are able to regulate thoughts, and society needs it so that it has a healthy collective consciousness.
Of course sometimes things go wrong, there might be a conflict between two different collective consciousnesses, capitalism and communism, totalitarianism and democracy, Germany and Russia (always an old favourite), religion and spiritualism, individualism and collectivism are all examples of ideas clashing. They are both important and ultimately meaningless, is how we act in the moment that is always of primary importance, however how we act is always dependent on our life situation which includes the collective consciousness that is operating our lives at that moment. Though despite those momentary glitches, there is so much more to be proud of in our history than there is to be ashamed of, we are so much more aware of who we are, what we do and the effects of our actions on others, we are so much more empathic than we have been at any other point in our development, and we are so close to a more enlightened age that the glimpses of its sunshine is already poking through the black cloud has been above our heads for millions of years, and that seems like something to be very happy and hopeful about, I just had to share my first thoughts.