I think the reason why people put so much glitter and pomp into ceremonies is because deep down in our unconsciousness, we realize how fragile these socially constructed events are, and we want to do everything in our power to keep them from functioning.   Socially constructed events and entities exist only because we say they exist, and are totally observer/mind- dependent.  What’s the difference between a dollar bill and a mountain? Sure, both of them are physical entities made up of atoms. The difference is that in money, we lay down arbitrary rules that constitute the physical objects that we arbitrarily choose to represent economic exchanges as having properties that go BEYOND anything in its physicality.  Society as a whole exists and depends entirely upon those made up rules and observer depended “facts”.

Money exists simply because we say it does, and if everyone suddenly have the part of their brain that recognizes the conceptual facts and rules about money erased, then money would be erased along with it. Mountains on the other hand, would exist no matter what we think of it. Everyone on the planet can suddenly refuse to believe in mountains, and they would go on existing because they are observert-independent. This means that the whole of society and civilization is grounded upon faith. And faith, by its intrinsic nature, is fragile and sometimes unreliable. Weddings, funerals, dollar bills, English sentences, and everything else that we depend heavily on for the stability of civilization and humanity are essentially arbitrary entities and discourses that depend on one person agreeing with another. But human agreement can easily break down. What is an agreement but temporary mental activities – something that boils down to chemicals and electric signals firing in a certain abstract patterns of computational aphorisms? And these abstract mental/computational patterns and information processing activities that constitute human agreements are the only barrier that stands and separates sanity from madness, organization from complete chaos.

You can see my concern here. Society seems to be running smoothly, but what’s holding everything that make us civilized and sane are entirely arbitrary and fragily depended on faith. Imagine if everyone begins to deny the meanings of words and sentences. Everything you utter would be complete nonsense. Or if your diplomas were decreed invalid, or if people start to treat your dollar bills as worthless papers. There would be nothing to fall back on if this happens because these entities that make up civilization exist only because we say so, despite the fact that we take them for granted and almost never realize that collective intentionality is a fragile, fragile thing. This is why I always feel like the world is about to break down, and that what’s holding everything we know of in society together would suddenly collapse. We could easily go back to the chaos that we emerge and evolved from.


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