The Exponential Rat Race

The ability to coordinate focusing with our senses, bodies, and minds, lies at the basis of the habitual ruts which we humans developed to secure our survival and develop our civilisations.

We learnt, remembered, and repeated all the things we needed or wanted – all the things which gave us security or pleasure. These were our focal points; our plans and aims for life.

But repetitions always repeat, that is their nature, repetitions are self-perpetuating, and we always want more. And it's the exponential speed of the repetitions which are causing the problems in the world today.

And it's a natural evolution. Once atoms had found security in the first molecules, they could copy, repeat, and combine in ever more complex ways. Once plants could reproduce themselves they could generate infinite new strains and species.

The first words took millennia to get established, and then the first sentences started combining with ever more complex meanings. Until very recently, in the last few hundred years, when the majority of people could understand long paragraphs of abstract ideas.

The first spoked wheel combined the specialised knowledge of 20 trades from forestry and curing wood to metal smiths. And as more ideas became available the inter-connections gained momentum. Until now, when all the different intercultural molecular bits of knowledge, have repeated and combined and suddenly, we have cars, planes, and internet.

So, not only the habitual ruts are repeating, the speed of the combinations are repeating as well.

Focusing, learning, and repeating were essential to our cultural development.

But it's the exponential speed of the repetitions on all levels which are causing the problems in the world today.

Culturally with exploiting our environment, financially with inflation, and reproductively with the population explosion. And individually with an ever increasing amount of new beliefs, ideas and opinions, closed minded extremism, conceit, greed and vanity.

The exponential acceleration of life – the rat race – has become the new normal. The amount of new things to have to repeat in order to stay where we are – to keep up with Alice's Red Queen – has accumulated and multiplied.

And all this speed of new choices and possibilities in modern life, are all natural consequences of our approach to life. It is a natural consequence of the human 'learning, remembering, repeating' approach to life.

It is the product of our habitual behaviour; the result of our culture's exclusive emphasis on educating and training, focusing with our senses, bodies and minds.

Here is a dividing line.

A Buddhist Perspective

Buddhism offers a similar explanation of repetitions. In Buddha's time, the new invention of continuous rotary motion and the wheel was causing a cultural revolution.

Buddha saw the connections: Desire is self-perpetuating, and once the repetitions start, once the wheels start turning, then they turn with their own karmic momentum. This is explained fully in Chapter 4 : Buddhism and Wheels.

Please continue with Beliefs and Their Confirmation

Back to Chapter Three : Civilisation's Habitual Ruts