Shaping and Flowing

We humans evolved to be as smart as we are, not just because of our brains, but also because of our hands.

We like to make stuff with our hands. We like to pick up sticks and bash things down. We like to build things out of sticks and blocks.

We like causing and building.

All this is very well -- but it provides dramatic habituation to our conceptual vocabulary.

We would do well to think a little less in terms of causing and building, and a little more in terms of shaping and flowing.

Instead of causing and willing things, we should more often think of ourselves as flowing along with broader processes with which we are correlated.

Instead of building things, we should more often think of ourselves as shaping and influencing ongoing processes.

This is not to say that shaping and flowing are invariably better concepts than causing and building. Just that we habitually overemphasize the latter and underemphasize the former. Other kinds of minds might have different biases.

These particular biases of ours go along with our general bias -- which is to some extent a human bias, and to some extent a modern-Western-culture bias -- to overemphasize our degree of separation from the cosmos with which we're enmeshed.

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